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.


Ministry reserves the right to approve, disapprove, and delete comments at our discretion and will not be able to respond to inquiries about these comments. Please ensure that your words are respectful, courteous, and relevant.

comments powered by Disqus

By JOHN HICKMAN, Gospel Musician, Baltimore, Maryland

August 1938

Download PDF
Ministry Cover

More Articles In This Issue

Protecting Against Offshoot Deceptions

I believe that definite responsi­bility rests upon all our ministers a n d leaders in trying to safeguard our church members from the deceptions brought to bear upon them by offshoots that arise from time to time.

The "Manifestation" of Christ's Coming

What is the significance of the Greek word "epiphaneia"?

Principles of Administration—No. 6

Part six of our continued looking at the principles used in church administration.

Implications of Catholicity—No. 2

Our continued look at the meaning of the term catholicity and its application in church history.

Maintaining A World Movement

The financial support of the Seventh-day Adventist organization is derived largely from the tithes and offerings of its church members.

African Bible "Worker Institute

For some time our evangelistic program in the South African Union has suffered from a lack of a sufficient number of trained Bible workers.

The Paramount Lesson of Israel—No. 1

From a study of the conditions existing just before Christ's first advent—having first placed them in the proper setting of the previous centuries—we may gain a glimpse of some of the pitfalls that are before us, and of God's method of saving to Himself those who specially desire to keep covenant rela­tionship with Him.

"Dress Reform" Counsels—No. 2

A look at Ellen White's counsel on modest dress.

Safeguarding Our Properties

Preventative measures in case of fire.

View All Issue Contents

Digital delivery

If you're a print subscriber, we'll complement your print copy of Ministry with an electronic version.

Sign up
Advertisement - RevivalandReformation 300x250

Recent issues

See All
Advertisement - IIW-VBS 2024 (160x600)