Outline for my Research Article (and Applied Project)

This past month has been filled with great turbulence, specifically in illness and trying to secure funding for my course of study at seminary. However, despite all of this, I have been able to make great time in catching up in all the work that I haven’t been able to do amidst the craziness of life. Here I give my working, and almost complete outline for my research article. Also I have hopefully worked out the majority of the ‘front junk’ for the short book I am going to do for my Applied Project.

Front Matter

Title: Contemporary Worship: Harmony and Theological Doctrine
  • Front Matter for AP
    1. Title Page
      1. Title
      2. Author
      3. Copyright
    2. Dedication
    3. Acknowledgements (if needed or wanted)
    4. Abstract (not sure if I want to do <200 words, or more extended ‘abstract’)
    5. Table of Contents
    6. Preface (if wanted)
    7. Epigraph
  • Front Matter for RA
    1. Title Page
    2. Acknowledgements (if needed)
    3. Abstract (not sure if it should be <200 or <250 words)
      • What is CW? (maybe mention Doctrine of Ethos)
      • How much study has been done (esp. theomusicology)?
      • Why does this matter?
      • Proposed methodology: 3 songs
      • Results: simple harmony, does it mean simple theology?
      • Discussion: What was gained from this research?
    4. Table of Contents (if needed)

Main Material

  1. Introduction (serves as my literature review)
    • ‘Inspiration’/Reason for purpose
      • CW is overtly repetitive and harmonically simple
      • As a trained musician, it is hard to engage
      • The only time I can ‘engage’ with CW, is if I ‘detach’ myself from the ‘world’, and ascend to a ‘transcendental’ ‘evangelical imagination’
      • Isn’t this bad, to lose oneself in the music?
        • Augustine and Aquinas: Y E S, VERY BAD
    • Purpose
      • Negatively
        1. Not Worship Wars
          1. My Stance: CW has established itself in ‘Christendom’
        2. Not exclusively sociological, historical, theologically, musicological, or lyrical
          1. Music, as a whole (harmony + text), and theology
          2. Not overview of genre/corpus
      • Positive
        1. To examine how the theology is painted by the harmony and melody, for music could impact our personal theological doctrine (Ingalls 2008, and Woodruff & Frisius 2014)
      • Thesis: CW with simple harmonic structure leads to an over simplistic/reductionistic/fundamentalist theology, and congregational music must change its text, if it wishes to be more ‘theologically correct’
    • Methodology
      • 3 differing individual songs to represent 3 spheres of worship: local church, conference, and concert)
        1. Found on RIAA bestselling singles chart
        2. Semi-random . . .
          1. Inclusion of at least 1 Hillsong song
          2. At least platinum
            1. Oceans, This Is Amazing Grace, How He Loves
          3. Within past decade, 2009-2019
            1. I Can Only Imagine, double plat, but from 1999
          4. 3 Spheres had to be represented
          5. Each song had to be ‘stylistically’ different from the others
            1. How He Loves: slow, only chords, C Major
            2. Oceans: slow à mid, fingerpicking, B minor
            3. This Is Amazing Grace: upbeat, synth/pop, X major
      • Look at harmony, then melody for weird musicological motifs (cross motifs,  B-A-C-Bb, etc.)
      • Examine text’s theological intent
      • Combine points two and three!
  2. 3 Analyses (needs better title)
    • How He Loves (Local Church)
      • Notes
        1. Reductionistic harmonic progression: I à vi(7) à V à IVmaj7
          1. Easy – Easy, increased chromaticism – Important – Super Easy
        2. Easy to follow lyrically, and has an open texture
      • A (repetitive verse) analysis
        1. Harmony, Melody, Text
      • B (repetitive chorus) analysis
        1. H, M, T
      • Wrap it up
    • Oceans (Conference, also Concert too)
      • Notes
        1. Hillsong Phenomenon: Identity/Brand and Theological Shift
        2. Acoustic/‘Conference’ and ‘Concert’ Version
          1. Acoustic: Finger Picking à Bar Chords
          2. Concert: Cello à Synth
        3. Melody has repetitive up-down motion, maybe painting ocean waves?
      • A analysis
      • B (chorus?) analysis
        1. Bridge analysis
      • Wrap it up, again
    • This Is Amazing Grace (Professional Concert)
      • Notes
        1. Synthesizer
        2. ||: AB :|| (double check)
      • A (verse) analysis
      • B (chorus) analysis
      • Bridge analysis
      • Wrap it up, again-again
  3. Representative Conclusions of 3 against each other (Compare & Contrast/ also needs a better title)
    • (Rounded) Binary Form only
      1. ||: AB :||
    • Mostly semi-dynamic homophonic texture
      1. True chord changes never occur more than once per measure
      2. Oceans has inversions occur in the same bar as same chord (Ex: G à G/B)
    • No Modulation, Key and Rhythm
      1. 2 Simple Meters, 1 Duple Compound Meter (How He Loves)
    • Duration (Thornton 2015)
    • Look at originality (Thornton 2015)
    • Vocal Range and Tessitura (Thornton 2015)
    • Instrumentation!
  4. Counter Arguments
    1. Counter Argument: Does simple harmony necessarily equate to simple/lacking theology?
      • Response: The gospel message must be simple (Paul?)
      • Answer: Still thinking on this
    2. Counter Argument: Does simple harmony not grant more open access to the musically ‘illiterate’
      • Response: Congregational worship should be open to all
      • Answer: Concede, however the text always lacks in light of this; whereas in Bach the text may lack, but never the harmonic structure
    3. Counter Argument: The Embodied Ritual of Sacred Play
      • still need to fully read this dissertation
      • My understanding of a possible response: Does the transcendental ascension of consciousness towards that of God’s holiness NOT align with the ultimate goal of sanctification, to become more like Him?
      • Answer: Yes and No. It is an attempt of sanctification, but a clear ‘transgression’ of the human condition: sinful being. Furthermore, personal transcendental sanctification lends itself easily to gnostic heresy, wherein Paul refutes Gnosticism, in favor of One Gospel (also first counterargument)
  5. Reconciliation: Musical Illiteracy and Theological Inaptitude (still working on this section and its rationale/argument/if it should even exist)
    • Dichotic Dilemma arises: Either text that is theologically inept, or music with harmony too complicated for most listeners, giving way to an ‘elitist’ corpus of music
    • Solution: Retain current harmonic trends of complexity, but massively change text
      • This rationale still needs to be worked on
  6. Conclusion/Discussion/Summary/Recap
  7. Bibliography
  8. Appendix
  9. Glossary (if needed for AP, hopefully not)

End Matter

  1. Bibliography
  2. Appendix
  3. Glossary (if needed for AP, hopefully not)

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