Multi media is a relatively new field.
When you consider that hymnals have been around for two hundred or so years, we are just starting to see what is possible when it comes to using computers in worship.
One of the oldest songbooks in my library was published by Alexander Campbell in 1859.
It only has the lyrics to the songs.
Churches usually had a tunebook that had the music.
Once a church learned a tune for C.M. or common meter, that tune could be used for many of the songs written in common meter, depending on where the accents fell. You can look this meter up in our index file and find it listed as 220.127.116.11. Common meter has 8 syllables in the first line, 6 in the second, 8 in the third, and 6 in the fourth. The majority of the old British hymns were written in common meter. "How Sweet How Heavenly Is the Sight" comes to mind.
L.M., or long meter, has 8 syllables in each of the four lines per verse. It is listed as 18.104.22.168 in the indexes. "All People That On Earth Do Dwell" is a great example.
Then there is S.M., or short meter listed as 22.214.171.124, which has 6 syllables in the first line, 6 in the second line, 8 in the third line, and again 6 in the fourth line. A good example would be "A Charge to Keep I Have". The reason we listed meter using only the numbers was to assure proper sorting when you sort by tune meter. The D after a meter listing means that the meter repeats another time. Of course there are many other meters other than these.
So - "lyrics only" isn't something new. But "lyrics only" a hundred years ago isn't the same as "lyrics only" now. It was easy back then for people to learn the music, then use that same music for many different poems. But what happens now when we project only the lyrics to a song? Some of the audience may know the melody, but very few will know the harmony. For a worship leader to sing a new song and only show the lyrics, is asking to sing a solo and can not expect the audience to participate with him in the experience. Even if a worship team is used and you can hear all the parts, the audience will not participate unless time is spend to teach them the parts. I am sorry that I sound like I am sounding my own trumpet, but why is it that so many of our worship leaders get up Sunday after Sunday with music in their hands, and the hands of the worship team, but refuse to let the audience have it. I realize that there are many degrees of this, some publishing the music for the audience, etc., but wouldn't it just be easier to project the music to start out? There, that is off my chest and I feel much better.
I know of many who visited a "church of Christ" for the first time at the urging of a friend, but who came back the second time because of the singing. I really don't think that is happening near as much these days. In the past, our kids learned to read music and the choir directors in high schools sought them out because of their music skills, but we aren't teaching them music any longer. And what if we did teach them music - are we going to show them the music for them to read?
I know I am "preaching to the choir" in this newsletter, but you may have a chance to share your view with others on this matter and my little discourse may come in handy.
Our public schools no longer teach music to our young children the way they did when I was young. There are no longer community singing schools during the summer, and if there were, few would probably take advantage of them. So that leaves our churches to pass it on. And if your church doesn't care about doing it, it may come down to you. I know that my interest in singing was peaked by one individual and if he had not decided to teach a singing class at our church, I probably wouldn't be here urging you on. But education is the key and it is not too late for you to learn how to teach music to your congregation. There are singing schools within our brotherhood who specialize in teaching music in such a way that you can go back to your congregation and teach them. The Singing School at ACU even has a certification program designed for our ladies to equip them to teach our young children church music. The following link takes you to a list of the schools that we know about. This link is updated as we get information. http://www.paperlesshymnal.com/aca/confer.htm