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On Singing and Intersectionality

As many of you know, I’m a musician before a social commentator. This is something  that’s been on my mind which relates to both roles. 

First, listen to this popular song from 1942. It’s hard to believe this would fit under the genre of Country music today. 

Consider this: In 1942, most children learned, at the very least, their musical part from church if they did not learn it from school.

Gospel music in the 1950s was popular not because artists were popular, but because singing was popular. People would buy music books with four part harmonies to sing and then buy an accompanying record to hear what a correct rendition sounded like.

Think about what knowing your God given place in a choral arrangement might do for you. 

Not only would it help you produce a beautiful sound, but it would help you work well with others who are different and understand the principle of complementarity.

Not only do schools not teach this kind of musical instruction as a requirement, but churches themselves, which have transitioned to only contemporary arrangements, are breaking the chain of tradition which served to teach congregants valuable moral and social lessons.

Many of those younger than me don’t even know what I’m referring to.

Music is only a spectator sport now. Turn on your radio. Do you hear the kind of harmony arrangements that include the full spectrum of God-given musical ability? Even when you go to church, most of the songs you sing are likely written for alto or soprano voices only.

Now, why do I point this out?

It’s not to condemn institutions that claim they want to be inclusive to all ethnic groups, but are not inclusive to all voices, though that could be a valid takeaway.

It’s also not to claim that only music with four-part harmonies should be allowed on the airwaves.

Rather, it is to ask what has taken the place of the harmonies you just listened to?

What drives musical excellence today? A single soloist, perhaps with some limited light background vocals,  who sings, not to help an audience sing-along, but to entertain their ears with his or her unique sound. 

There’s nothing wrong with this. Particulars and universals are important. But, we have driven the universals out in favor of particulars, and music is not the only place this has happened.

Intersectionality destroys the social fabric because it eliminates the possibility of complementarity by replacing it with a moral spectrum measured against a solitary and universal egalitarian standard. 

We do not live life in harmony anymore, knowing our voice isn’t perfect, but God  sewed a place for it within the fabric of life.

Instead, we compare ourselves to that thing which we do not have, but want. That glittering thing on the stage that supposedly does it better than we can, not because of ability, but because of money, corruption, and unfair opportunity.

It’s time to remember once again that we all have an important part to sing even if it’s not the melody. Can you hear the beautiful blending of voices?

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