Music (Part 2)

Distant Worlds

Part 1

It is a bit of a shame, really. Music was one of the foundational pursuits of human civilization – the most ancient tribes around use music in some form or another, and the Bible constantly mentions songs, singing, dancing, and music. My Protestant brethren might not appreciate such things, given as they were to oppose dancing and music (sorry, I’m not sure if I mean Baptists or not!), but it’s definitely there! Heck, there’s a whole book of Psalms in the Bible, and it’s the longest book in the whole 66 canonized texts. Clearly, something about music remains important.

And, just to drive the point home, there’s tons of other songs in the Bible as well:

Psalms accounts for over 7 percent of the Old Testament. In addition to the Psalms are other song- and poetry-focused books such as Song of Solomon, Ecclesiastes, and others. In the New Testament, we have song lyrics recorded in Revelation 5, 7, and 15; the mention of Jesus and the disciples singing in Matthew 26:30; and the example of the apostles’ singing in Acts 16:25. Many people also consider Mary’s Magnificat in Luke 1:46–55 and the angels’ announcement in Luke 2:14 to be songs. The church is commanded to communicate with each other “with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:19).

Anyway, we could go on and on about this topic, but suffice to say God created music as an important force in our lives for worship, connection and relationships. Part of it comes down to the fact that music is so universal; every culture on earth still finds ways to relate to each other through it. The Internet alone shows the cross-pollination of musical cultures and genres, to the point where you can listen to musical instruments from wherever, from bizarre Japanese throat singing (enka, I believe) to the dancing of American Indian tribes. Though we tend to categorize all of it under “world” music, a very Eurocentric way of looking at it, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t broaden our horizons a bit.

I guess I should thank video games for significantly broadening my horizons in this regard. There’s such a diversity of strange, weird music in video games that’s exclusive to the platform (as Part 1 demonstrated), and that introduction led to further research once I obtained the tools to find such music. I should even credit Guitar Hero and Rock Band for broadening my musical horizons even further, considering that I probably wouldn’t even know one of my favorite bands (Queens of the Stone Age) unless I had played that game! That’s a strange thing to think about – if you had missed this game, you may never have discovered the joy of ever-repeating riffs pounded into your head for minutes at a time!

And hey, even friends came out of video game music. I probably wouldn’t have ever met Patrick Gann in person if not for his copious RPGFan soundtrack reviews (and video game concerts right in Boston) or ever knew about Jay Tholen if not for his music being referenced…somewhere on the Internet (my memory is a bit fuzzy there, lol). Video game music connected me to a lot of people, and probably in part led to the creation of Theology Gaming; my Game Music Saturdays remain a testament to it, until I discovered I don’t like writing about music all that much.

So, long story short: music’s important, in video games and elsewhere. No matter the genre, the location, or whatever it is, I see God’s glory in music, no matter where it comes from. I don’t talk about it much on this blog, but suffice to say if I like a game, it usually has music that resonates with me. Praise God for music!

[a]Praise [b]the Lord!
Praise God in His sanctuary;
Praise Him in His mighty [c]expanse.
Praise Him for His mighty deeds;
Praise Him according to His excellent greatness.

Praise Him with trumpet sound;
Praise Him with harp and lyre.
Praise Him with timbrel and dancing;
Praise Him with stringed instruments and pipe.
Praise Him with loud cymbals;
Praise Him with resounding cymbals.
Let everything that has breath praise [d]the Lord.
[e]Praise [f]the Lord!

Psalm 150

About Zachery Oliver

Zachery Oliver, MTS, is the lead writer for Theology Gaming, a blog focused on the integration of games and theological issues. He can be reached at viewtifulzfo at gmail dot com or on Theology Gaming’s Facebook Page.