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05 October 2012

Sproul on Art #4

Sproul on the Arts Report #4
R. C. Sproul: Recovering the Beauty of the Arts
The Influence of Music”

In our adult Sunday school class, we are watching a series of lectures by R. C. Sproul on the Christian and the arts. I'm summarizing them and writing my responses. Here is an index to these posts. Today's post is a summary.

Sproul started out by talking in a general sense about the fact that music has a strong impact on our moods and behaviors. He said he has been often very moved, in an almost mystical way, by the mysterious power of music. Then he said he wanted to apply the “Classical, objective” principles—proportion, harmony, simplicity, and complexity—to music.

Then he went off on a discussion about pitch, talking about people who have perfect pitch (he claimed it's not natural, that it's developed). Then he mentioned Plato, who was very concerned about the power that music had to influence how people act. He said that music creates social interactions. He talked about dance rhythms, and about the story in the OT when David's harp-playing soothed King Saul. He said there are cases when animals and even plants have shown a response to music.

Then he shifted to talking more specifically about the negative influence of music. He told the story of two murders, young men who killed their parents. Each of these killers said that he was addicted to porn and involved in satanism, and that he had started down that road by listening to heavy metal music. Sproul also said that “rap celebrates violence and unrestrained sexuality.”

Then Sproul went on to distinguish between “music” and “noise,” saying that music is much more sophisticated. He talked about the four elements of music: MELODY, HARMONY, RHYTHM, and TIMBRE. He finished by getting a bit technical, talking some music theory to explain some elements of Western harmony and the progressive harmonies of jazz.

2 comments:

bob jetson said...

In response to "He told the story of two murders, young men who killed their parents. Each of these killers said that he was addicted to porn and involved in satanism, and that he had started down that road by listening to heavy metal music.", Sproul concludes this from 2 individuals among the entire population of individuals in the world past, present, and future. Besides generalizing to the extreme and drawing conclusions from insufficient samples, Sproul also makes the mistake of assuming the two murderers' self-reports can be trusted. Perhaps the sources are reliable; perhaps they are not. Just as many theorize Ted Bundy talked to Focus on the Family as a last resort to try getting his death sentence repealed, perhaps the two murderers claiming heavy metal music led them down the same path are attempting to lessen their sentences as well.

In any case, it is abundantly clear that Sproul earns an F in social science research methods. individuals looking to understand the other side of the 'music made me do this' debate need look no further than Sing for the Moment by Eminem.

jfutral said...

I still don't understand this perspective that puts the audience or viewer or art appreciator as a passive vessel with absolutely no capability to either inform the work or be the causation of the reaction or response.

As for his generic assessment of rap. He really needs to stop. He needs to admit this is not his area of expertise. Heck, it isn't even his area of a casual hobby. If anyone takes him seriously in to any extent he is doing more harm than good.

Joe