Music Through the Eyes of Faith, Chapter 1

Music Through the Eyes of Faith, by Harold Best, is a book I re-read every few years. Dr. Best is Dean Emeritus of the Wheaton College Conservatory of Music and his book should be required reading for every Christian musician.

I'm embarking on another reading of Music Through the Eyes of Faith and over the coming weeks will be sharing some thoughts. These posts won't be a formal review and will not attempt to be comprehensive. I'll just be sharing items that stand out to me as I read - quotes, ideas, insights, and wisdom.

Previous posts in this series: Intro.


Favorite quotes from Chapter 1

God is both the supreme imaginer and the consummate craftsman, the true poet and the exacting grammarian. What God richly imagines God also carefully structures. And with undeniable clarity, the whole creation at once proclaims its maker and serves as the best possible model we can ever have for our own creativity.
— p. 12-13
As astonishing as human creativity is, it cannot satisfactorily explain itself. Philosophical and psychological attempts to explain creativity are useful but only carry us so far. To understand further, we must pursue the connection among Creator, creation, creature, and creativity. Then we can better understand why we are the way we are and why we possess this uncanny knack of coming up with things that have not been around before.
— p. 12
Great art and great music do not come about just by amassing detail. Instead, true artistry is more a matter of exquisite timing and spacing among all of the parts: how to make something, how much of it to make, and when to change or stop. Take, for instance, the hymn tune “Austria” (sung to “Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken”) or “Georgia on My Mind” or “Amazing Grace.” These are relatively short and simple pieces of music. Each uses less than the allotted twelve pitches of our musical system; they are easy to sing, they are eloquent, and they have been crafted in ways that can elude the best of us. They just don’t wear out. Yet, anybody who knows anything about the relation of musical analysis to aesthetic analysis understands that only a few “turns” within each one can spell the difference between mere goodness and greatness.
— p. 31
This concept of community reaches its highest in the body of Christ, within which all of the parts are in eminent need of each other. Whatever the foot does, the head feels; whatever is taken away from one part will result in a deprivation in all the parts. When a Christian musician goes about making music, the concept of the community/body should drive every note and every moment in which every note is heard. And the only object for every Christian musician is to build the body up into the stature and fullness of its head, Jesus Christ.
— p. 36