The Consecrated Violin

The value of the consecrated violin in evangelistic meetings and in the church service has not been capitalized by many. This instrument is often used by the musician to glorify self instead of God.

By JOHN HICKMAN, Gospel Musician, Baltimore, Maryland

The value of the consecrated violin in evangelistic meetings and in the church service has not been capitalized by many. This instrument is often used by the musician to glorify self instead of God. The music is technical, and the player demonstrates to the audience that he is master of his instrument. Music of this type has its place in programs and concert halls, but is not commonly adapted to the purposes of the religious service.

The proper function of the musical organ­ization of an evangelistic or church service, is to prepare the hearts of the people to re­ceive the message of the word of God. Music played on the violin should be such as will unlock the heart's door to the Holy Spirit. I have found that Kreisler's "Old Refrain," Schubert's "By the Sea," and other selections of that type, are good: but nothing can take the place of the fine old hymns that everybody knows. I have used some old hymns such as "Home of the Soul" or "What Hast Thou Done?" just before the sermon or the deci­sion call, with the result that the people have been greatly moved by the Holy Spirit.

Some musicians feel that they lower them­selves and their standing by playing "just a hymn," but that is a great mistake. I have played an entire group of hymns at public recitals with encouraging results. Only today my wife, who accompanies me, and I gavea concert before a large high school audience, and after playing a number of regular concert selections, we played "just a hymn"—"Home of the Soul." We were ma de happy at the close to see that students' hearts were impressed deeply by the message borne in that good old hymn.

We arrange the hymns for solo use. Usually the chord progressions do not need to be changed. But the soprano and alto parts often do not fit so well when played together on the violin, so the double stopping is arranged from the other parts as well as from the alto part. By a little care in arranging, varying from single to double notes, the most simple hymns become, the most beautiful and effective numbers to be found. There are many songs beside those here mentioned which make appealing solos. "A Clean Heart," "Where He Leads Me I Will Follow," "The Lord Is My Shepherd," and "What Hast Thou Done?" are of the type best fitted to the violin.

It is well for us to remember that if we wish to speak to the souls of our listeners, we must speak in a language they can under­stand. We are to use the technical as a means of presenting more beautifully the simple.

It is refreshing to read the writings of someone who has convictions, and who has, fur­thermore, the courage and ability aptly to ex­press them. The American Lutheran (quoted in December Pulpit Digest), qualifies under these terms in voicing the feelings of many long-suffering congregations and gospel work­ers concerning certain anguishing types of special music that are even more out of place in Adventist houses of worship:

Something ought to be done about the church soloist who arises dramatically before a long-suffer­ing congregation, without music, but with clasped, half-raised hands, and with intense pectoral heavings and distorted facial expressions and a liberal dental display, and with an operatic gasp at the end of her phrases tries to remember all the hints given her by a misguided vocal teacher while she bleats hero­ically and professedly to the glory of God. And there we sit with fascinated horror with all our reverence knocked out, mourning because of our much-abused Lutheran order of service, and con­cluding that the ways of vocal teachers are mysteri­ous and past finding out.

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By JOHN HICKMAN, Gospel Musician, Baltimore, Maryland

August 1938

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