Can music (christian?) change our emotions? Perhaps our view of God?
Instrumental music has just as much of an effect on the listeners as does songs that have lyrics. This can be proven with a simple and fun experiment. The very familiar tune and very patriotic tune of the 1812 overture is always played on the 4th of July, and usually always has the same reaction, especially in children, who are most likely marching to that familiar beat towards the end.
Instrumental music effects the emotions too. Listening to a resounding rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner" would spark patriotism in any American and should also cause feelings of nationalism and the sense of American pride. In the same way, listening to Beethoven's 5th symphony sparks different emotions then listening to "Flight of the Bumblebee" or any other instrumental. In most instances, the composers had those emotions in mind when they composed that piece and those emotions have been assigned to that piece of music. A simple example of the emotions that could be conveyed by certain instruments follows.
- The throb of low drums remembers the pounding stampede of a herd, the rumble of thunder, a shaking earthquake, aggression or anticipating potential danger.
- The oboe or cello is the mournful crying of a grown adult.
- The violin, the cries or playfulness of a child.
- The breathiness of a wooden flute, may recall the whispering of a loved one's sweet nothings in your ear, or simply the light-laden joy from childhood, bringing happiness and fond memories outdoors.
- The gentle shaking of percussion, remembers the wind through leaves, signifying calmness and serenity.
Instrumentals of all genres, have emotions already assigned. The composer(s) of the music already had which emotions they wanted the listeners to feel in mind and therefore controls the way they want the listeners to feel in that moment. One aspect of biblical worship is self control, which would include awareness over how we're made to feel and having control oher how we feel. Since certain music makes us feel a certain way, and if we use that music in our worship to the Almighty, eventually our feelings towards God will change. The emotional message in the music we choose in our worship should match the message in the lyrics, which will shape the way we view the person of God.
Yes, there is great emotion in worship, but it needs to be appropriate and point to who God is.
Conduct your own little experiment and pay attention to how just music makes you feel. How should we feel towards God? Does that music promote the appropriate feeling?