For no particular reason, some of my favorite moments in recorded worship music history.
- The chord on “rise in honest worship” in Our Heart. I’ve talked about this too much, but yeah, it’s the single greatest chord in the history of modern worship. Bold claim? Name a counterexample. You can’t.
- The ending harmonies in In Your Hands. The Hillsongs song. It’s just really cool what they do on the “go” in “never let you go”. It’s a 3 part harmony, and as the chords change, first the low harmony goes up a step as the melody and high harmony stick on their notes, then the high harmony does the same thing. So if it’s in A, the chord is an A and the sung notes from low to high are E-A-C#. The chord switches to F#m, and the low harmony moves up to F#, so now it’s F#-A-C#. Then the chord switches to D, and the high harmony moves up to D so it’s F#-A-D. It’s just a really cool vocal thing.
- The end of You Are Holy (Prince of Peace). The first recording of this song, I have no idea where it’s from. But they do something I really like. For most of the song, the chorus refers to Jesus in the 3rd person, both the guys and girls’ parts. “*He* is Lord of Lords.” “I will bow down before *Him*”. But then they end the song by both the guys and girls singing the female part, but this time to Jesus in the 2nd person. “*You* are Lord of Lords”. I really like that, having the guys and girls both singing about Jesus in the 3rd person, then bringing it home with the 2nd person at the end, and I make a point of doing it that way whenever I lead. However, most recordings I’ve heard don’t do that, they have the women sing “You” but the men sing “Him”. That disagreement annoys me, and I feel like it misses out on a little cool twist about the song.
- The modulation in Shout To The Lord. First, the fact that it happens in the middle of the chorus. Then, I just find the mechanics of it interesting. The bass moves up to a B, so that it kind of forms as an advance foundation as the song goes to B, but that’s all there is, no other musical transition. It’s hard to do right, but awesome when it works. It did not work at Urbana ’96. The transition is just too subtle, and the volume was way too low for the space, so unless you were waiting for it (like I was), you didn’t hear it. So after the band went up to B, the majority of the people were still singing in A. Chaotic.
- Irregular/complex meters. I’m not sure how much this adds to worship, but musically, it’s interesting. Delirious does this on What A Friend I’ve Found, abbreviating a beat on “friend forever”. Chris Tomlin has a 5-beat measure in Famous One. And Matt Redman does it on You Are Good and Breathing The Breath. I dig.
- The modulation in Another Drink. The song goes from E to G. Is that musically legal? How do you pull something like that off? My opinion: the vocals are key. In the transition, you need to have the female keep singing the melody, but have the male go up. It’s masterful.
- The way Scott Underwood sings about anything. He does little things that just kill me, and I’ve mentioned many of these before. But the way he gets everyone to sing softly on Hallelujah, Glory. Bold. The way he sings “geeft” in his version of Father Of Lights. The way he holds the ‘n’ sound instead of the vowel for “in” on You Are In Control. The way he’s kind of just barely behind the beat in the same song, as if to emphasize the point of the song, he’s gonna follow instead of driving it. The way he laughs out loud while leading. All fascinating stuff.
- The transition from Awesome In Power to Jesus You Are Lord on a truly obscure album, inexpicably titled Khool Praize. Maybe it’s just that I’d learned the latter song as a slow song, but the energy on this transition is incredible.
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