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"Inspired Songs"

A word to the Wise Musicians!

By David Brandt Berg, August, 1971
Inspired and Uninspired Songs

A SONG HAS GOT TO MOVE YOU! It has got to make you want to do something--to dance, or fight, or love, or cry!--or something! Our songs of the Revolution for Jesus are not for entertainment--they're sung to make people respond to a Message--to evoke emotions which result in action!

YOU CAN'T EVEN GIVE A GOOD MESSAGE, IF YOU HAVEN'T A CATCHY TUNE! For no matter how good your message is, if the tune is not appealing, you might as well forget the song!

THERE IS SOMETHING ABOUT MUSIC THAT REALLY EXPRESSES EMOTION!--Just the music without any message or lyrics. Because the music itself must express the message, too! If you've got a song that has real cheerful words speaking of happy situations, yet the tune has a hopeless sadness to it, you've defeated your very purpose, and because you sing it sadly, it makes people feel, "I don't really believe you" No matter how happy your words are, if your music is not in accord with your words, something is wrong, and your song sounds hypocritical.

MOST PEOPLE WILL REACT TO THE TUNE MUCH MORE THAN TO THE WORDS OF A SONG. A strong tune can carry the message, regardless of poor words. On the other hand, if the words are catchy, appealing, or arresting, they will add to and supplement the tune, and make it even stronger. But if the words don't go with the music, then something's wrong with the song--the words contradict the tune, and you have to have a strong, convincing tune to overcome them.

WHEN IT COMES TO MUSIC, THE MUSIC IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING:--The music should be the message too. The music itself has got to paint the emotional picture or feeling of the message of the song. The tune should be sad if the words are sad; glad, if the words are glad; the tune should be funny, if the words are funny.

REAL INSPIRATION COMES WITH REAL FEELING--really feeling a certain emotion, and both words and music will express it. Both will move you in the same direction. Even though some songs have a sad refrain, they include a lilting, silver lining, beyond the dark cloud of their sorrow, as rays of hope break through the clouds. As Wordsworth said, sometimes: "Sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought, E'en sincerest laughter with some pain is fraught."

SO EVEN A SAD SONG CAN HAVE SOME SWEETNESS AND A CHEERFUL RAY OF HOPE--a silver lining--a happy ending--the answer to the problem. Otherwise, all is lost, and you leave your audience in the depths of gloom, even deeper and darker than before, like so many worldly songs. But even our sad songs give hope, like "I Shall Be Released", " Jesus Really Loves You", "Cry of Revolution", "Now's The Time", etc.

SO A SAD SONG DOESN'T HAVE TO NECESSARILY BE ALL SAD--IT CAN END WITH A CHEERFUL NOTE--A RAY OF HOPE! It's like witnessing: You first have to show someone that they're a sinner before you can convince them they need a Saviour, and give them the happy answer of who He is. First you must cry, "Woe, Woe," but then, "Jesus Saves"! So our songs are a combination of the best of both.

WHAT WE'RE TRYING TO SAY IS THAT HAPPY WORDS MUST BE BORNE BY A HAPPY TUNE, just as sad words must be carried by a sad tune; but you cannot have happy words to a sad tune, or vice versa.--But you can have a sad song--sad words with a sad tune, which ends, or includes some happy note-- with happy words with a happy tune--a happy ending.

IN THE MOST POPULAR SONGS EVER WRITTEN, THERE IS USUALLY ONE PHRASE THAT KEEPS REPEATING--ONE CATCHY PHRASE that the people really remember--and that one part of the song is its theme. If you've only got one good line in a song and you keep repeating that line, you could have a hit, regardless of the rest of the song--even if only that one line is inspired!

ONE OF THE SECRETS OF "YOU'VE GOTTA BE A BABY" IS THAT YOU KEEP REPEATING THAT ONE PHRASE over and over--and it sticks with people, and they can't forget it! When titling a song, always make the title the catchy phrase, or the phrase that has the message, or the one that's repeated most.

AFTER ALL, OUR PURPOSE IN SINGING IS NOT TO ENTERTAIN--BUT TO IMPLANT AN IDEA or message in people's minds that they just can't shake--and the best way to do it is to make the music and the tune both so catchy they can't forget it!

A SONG THAT HAS TO BE EXPLAINED IS NOT MUCH GOOD! What makes a song a hit, and gets across its message is usually a combination of the tune that carries the message, and that one outstanding phrase or refrain repeated constantly throughout the verse--worked in throughout the whole song--emphasised where you can really hear it. You must repeat... repeat...repeat! It will be that one unforgettable phrase that will stir your emotions and provoke you to action!--Hallelujah!

Copyright (c) 1998 by The Family International


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James Arendt
James Arendt

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James Arendt
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