MORE ABOUT ROCK
Where did rock 'n' roll and hard rock come from? A clear understanding is needed, so here is this information:
Earnest Budge has traced this strange music from Egypt to West Central Africa, where it still exists (Osiris, p. 34).
Rodney H. Mill, former Music Specialist at the Library of Congress, explains how this pagan dance music (used in fertility rituals and to make contact with demons) traveled west:
"Brought to the American continents with the slaves and incubated in the voodooism of the Caribbean region, the resultant mixture made landfall at New Orleans in the first decade of the twentieth century. There, in the brothels of that city's notorious Storyville district, it developed into jazz.
"Jazz then made its way up the Mississippi River to the nightclubs of Saint Louis and Chicago, from there it spread to New York and California—and so on to the rest of the world. It soon infected, to a greater or lesser degree, all American popular music.
"In the 1950s, through fusions with its alternates, the blues, and with country-western music, it formed an idiom that was designated 'rock and roll,' a euphemism for illicit sexual intercourse."—R.H. Mill, from a forthcoming book he is writing.
Louis R. Torres, once a bass player in one of the very earliest rock bands (Bill Haley and The Comets), is now the head of a Christian school of evangelism. His research agrees with the findings of Mill, and provides a still more complete picture:
"The use of syncopated rhythms, with their ability to alter states of consciousness, stem from ancient Egypt. It is to Egypt that historians trace the origin of drum-syncopated music and its uses. In the temples, priests intentionally employed complex syncopation in order to induce trances and other disturbances (Pennethorne Hughes, Witchcraft, p. 23; cited in Ismael Reed, Mumbo Jumbo, p. 191).
"Primitive percussionists learned to induce physiological responses, from ecstasy and hallucinations to seizures and unconsciousness (Michael Segell,
"Rhythmitism," American Health, December 1988, pp. 19, 37).
"This form of pagan worship was in time transplanted to central Africa, where it took root especially in Duhomy, now known as the Democratic Republic of Congo (Marshall Stearn, The Story of Jazz, p. 20). Duhomy became the center of voodoo religion. Participants were moved by the rhythmic beats. In the danse du ventre, or belly dance, shoulders, buttocks, stomach, and breasts were all separately or simultaneously rotated, wagged, or otherwise set in motion.
"Through the slave trade, this devil-worship music, with its incessant beat, was carried to the island of Hispaniola in the Caribbean. Here again it took root. Today, voodoo is still practiced in Haiti, which occupies the western third of Hispaniola, and in the Dominican Republic, which occupies the rest of the island.
"As the slave trade continued, the rhythm was transported to the United States. New Orleans became a hotbed for the new pounding of drums and the erratic dancing that accompanied it."
While this music was arriving in the Caribbean and Gulf Coast, European settlers were bringing a different kind of music to the northeastern American Colonies: Christian music.
In marked contrast from the pagan music of Africa, which is based on polyrhythms (odd and multiple rhythms and beats), Christian music is keyed to harmony and melody. This simple melodic music was used to worship the true God, the Creator of heaven and earth. (Some of it was also polyphonic, that is, consisting of counterpoint; which is a couple simple melodies placed together.)
Ira Altshuler explains that sacred music can be traced from Jewish synagogue music, through Byzantine and Gregorian chant, onward, through classical music (A Psychiatrist's Experiences with Music, pp. 270-271). It is here, in Christian music, that we find the chorales of the Lutheran church and hymn and psalm tunes of the Protestant churches in England and early North America.
But eventually, the Egyptian/African music began to be mixed with the melodic and harmonic type of music, brought to America by Christians. This began in New Orleans and spread northward, from there to the red-light districts of St. Louis and Chicago (Andre Francis, Jazz, p. 56).
The new music was called "rhythm," "blues," and "jazz." Soon, "boogie-woogie" and similar music was devised. Women were flung, twirled, and swung around as the pounding beat dictated.
The style of music known as "rock 'n' roll" (which gradually intensified in later years into "hard rock") originated in the early 1950s with the music of such groups and individuals as Bill Haley and The Comets, and Elvis Presley. The term "rock 'n' roll" was first coined by an Ohio disc jockey, named Alan Freed.
"In the early 1950s, a Cleveland disc jockey, Alan Freed, was one of the first whites to play rhythm and blues over the air. He had borrowed the term, 'rock 'n' roll' (a ghetto expression sometimes used to mean illicit sex) and attached it to this music."—Lowell Hart, Satan's Music Exposed, p. 83.
Bill Haley and his Comets were one of the first to play the new music. In 1951, he recorded Crazy Man Crazy, which eventually sold a million copies. Two years later, Rock Around the Clock became his first big moneymaker.
In 1954 an unknown black group, The Chords, recorded Sh-Boom. Within a short time, it was the top seller in Los Angeles. When the Crew Cuts did a reissue of it,—it went across the nation as a national hit.
Then, in 1956, young Elvis Presley stepped before the cameras on a national telecast. His stage conduct was something new. With his hair flapping in his face, voice charged with emotion and hips gyrating back and forth, he wailed, "Ah w-ha-hunt yew-hou. Ah nee-heed yew-hoo."
A new era had begun. Millions of teenagers flipped. So did their parents, but for different reasons.
"He outraged adult sensibilities. But the more parents, moralists, clergymen and critics railed against him, the more teenagers flipped for him. Elvis was, for them, the supreme symbol of juvenile rebellion."—Ira Peck, ed., The New Sound, Yes, p. 62.
Riots broke out in Atlanta, Boston, Washington, D.C., Minneapolis, San Jose, Hartford, and elsewhere. Theaters in London and Sao Paulo, Brazil, were demolished.
A storm of national protest grew, and civic leaders soon insisted that rock 'n' roll be banned. A Senate subcommittee investigated the link between rock music and juvenile delinquency, but nothing more was done about it.
Soon other singers began using Elvis' style. Parents hoped it would all end soon. But then came the wave of excitement.
In February 1964, the Beatles appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show, one of the largest TV audiences in history, and was watched by an estimated 68 million. Using amplified music, long hair, undersized suits, and high heeled boots, the four Britons from Liverpool, who originally called themselves the Quarrymen Skiffle Group, were given a makeover by Brian Epstein, a former women's dress designer. He gave them peculiar beetle-shaped hairdos, and then called them "Beatles." By 1964, they were earning over $14 million a year, plus millions more on Beatle-licensed products.
It was after Queen Elizabeth presented them with medals of the Order of the British Empire, that John Lennon remarked, "Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn't argue about that. I'm right and I will be proven right. We're more popular than Jesus now!" (Lennon was later shot to death, at the age of 40, on August 12, 1980, while Christianity continues to expand.)
Whereas folk singers had earlier majored in simple ballads, like The Green Leaves of Summer, the flood of new Beatle copycats hardened everything into solid rock music—and the message was centered in anti-establishment themes: protest, violence, drugs, and sex. Bob Dylan's 1969 song, Lay Lady Lay, became a national hit. The Rolling Stones came out with Let's Spend the Night Together and I Can't Get No Satisfaction, which sold 4.5 million copies.
By the mid-1960s, yearly single records of rock sold totaled 137 million records (90% of total single records). Album sales added another 100 million.
A decade later, the rock music industry was totaling almost $2 billion a year.
There are several types of rock, including folk rock, hard rock, and acid rock. When it is used only to serve as a musical background for those listening under the influence of drugs, it is called psychedelic rock.
What is it about rock 'n' roll and hard rock that makes both so hypnotic? Here is part of the reason it so captivates minds:
"[Rock music] is a type of American music that became very popular in the late 50s and early 60s in the U.S., England, and elsewhere. Its main distinguishing feature is a driving rhythm based on eighth notes of equal duration. The meter is frequently 4/4, with accents on the second and fourth beats of the measure, instead of the traditional first and third beats . . Harmonies range from the common triad of classical harmony to formerly forbidden parallel fourths and fifths, as well as every kind of dissonant harmonic progression."—Christine Ammer, Harper's Dictionary of Music, 1972.
Rhythms that emphasize the second and fourth beats are described by supporters of rock music as "simulated sexual rhythms."
In the same dictionary, music itself is defined as "the art of organizing or arranging sounds into meaningful patterns or forms involving pitch, harmony, and rhythm." Notice that the emphasis is on the organization of sounds which use the three basic building blocks: pitch, harmony, and rhythm.
If the definition of "rock music" is atonal music that has become "increasingly amorphous," that is "without definite form, formless,"—then, by definition, rock is something which ceases to be music.
Dr. Frank Garlock, in his book, The Big Beat, describes rock as "characterized primarily by repetition; strong, driving beat; and intense, loud volume."
It is actually a type of noise which has no moral or cultural value. The dictionary describes "noise" as "a din." The word, "din," is defined as "Noise: particularly loud, confused sound that is continued." The verb form of "din" is defined in this way: "to assail with loud noise, to press with constant repetition."
In those two definitions of "din" we have two of the basic and most fundamental components of rock: intense, loud volume and constant repetition!
In his book, How to Sing for Money, Charles Henderson tells some of the secrets of captivating audiences with modern music, with the help of instruments which scoop and slide, using unresolved dissonances (6ths, 7ths, and 9ths) and repetitive use of the same few chords. Never-changing, throbbing syncopation occurs. Often two or three syncopated rhythms are played simultaneously. There is a heavy beat, with dissonances and rhythms which keep the nervous system keyed up and tense. Heavy emphasis on rhythm instruments: drums and bass guitar.
Add to this the "mike in mouth" syndrome, producing the intimate sensual sounds.
Finally, combine all these into a "total sound," then amplify it to a screaming extreme—and you have rock.
("Scooping" is a sensuous technique, used by vocalists when they start just below pitch and then slide up to the pitch. "Sliding" is when the singer or instrument does stay within distinct notes, but slides between them.)
But we need to dig deeper into the hypnotic power of this weird mixture of sound. First, there are the strange rhythmic patterns which are used.
Earlier, we discovered that the meter of rock is "frequently 4/4 with accents on the second and forth beats, instead of the traditional first and third beats" (Harper's Dictionary of Music). That is a description of a special, basic characteristic of rock—its syncopated beat.
"Syncopation" means "to modify a piece of music by displacing normal accents to create rhythmic contradiction" (New Webster's Home and Office Dictionary).
"A metric pattern created by stressing one or more normally unaccented beats in a measure."—Macmillan Dictionary.
Notice that syncopation is an abnormal set of beats. The "normal accents" are changed to ones which "create rhythmic contradiction."
The term, "contradiction," means "to be logically inconsistent with."
The normal accents are on the first and third beats (in a 4/4 meter); whereas rock music frequently displaces those "normal accents" to the "abnormal" second and fourth beats.
"Syncopation is the accenting of a beat between the regular beats of the rhythm.
You might call it misplacing the beat."—Steve Lawhead, Rock Reconsidered, 1981, p. 62.
There are times in various musical forms, where this misplaced beat occasionally occurs—but rock uses it almost constantly.
"Rock relies on this musical device to a greater degree than other forms of music."—Ibid.
This is an understatement. Syncopation is one of the fundamentals of rock!
"Rock uses stronger or more urgent rhythms than other forms of music . . and it is the intensity of rock which sets it apart from other types of music."—Ibid., p. 69.
"It is the rhythm that controls the activities of large groups . . It furnishes a nonverbal persuasion not only to act—but to act together."—E. Thayer Gaston, Music in Therapy, p. 140.
In one experiment, a young man was listening to a military march, and he began tapping his toe. But on the repeat, the band jazzed up the music with syncopation. Immediately, the young man's body began to sway slightly to the offbeat rhythms.
The driving syncopation had built tension in a different part of the body.
Our bodies are rhythmic in nature. Each of our hearts has a "beat." This is a regular beat pattern, during which blood is pumped through its four chambers and on out into the body.
The main beat is called the "systolic." This occurs as blood is pumped from the left ventricle out into the aorta into the body. In music, this occurs on the first beat.
The secondary beat in the heart is known as the "diastolic," and occurs as blood is pumped from the right ventricle to the lungs (in order to be replenished by fresh oxygen). In music, this occurs on the third beat.
"Good music" emphasizes the first and third beats in the rhythmic pattern (when the meter is 4/4). This is a normal, natural biological pattern.
In contrast, the rhythmic emphasis of rock music is on the syncopated beat; that is, the abnormal second and fourth beats. This causes rock to not be in synchronization with the beat of the heart.
Not only is the rhythm of the beats important, but also the speed of those beats.
The normal pulse rate of the heart is between 60 and 90. The MM (metronome markings, which indicate the pace or speed) of most rock music is between 70 and 90. This is right within the normal pulse range. In this way, the off-balanced beats will more directly conflict with those produced as blood flows through the body.
We have here a musical pattern which appears to have been devised in a council of devils. By keeping the same basic time (musical tempo) with the body's natural rhythm,—but emphasizing that abnormal beat pattern,—a mental and emotional tension is produced in both performer and listener. The physical body is also affected. The "misplaced beats" create tension, confusion and (with extended exposure) causes the blood pressure to rise.
Those who are exposed to the ultra-loud, syncopated sounds of rock music, over a period of time, experience to one degree or another, long-term nervous and emotional problems.
Just as street drugs produce a "high," followed by a "downer," the same occurs with rock music. The more that either or both are done, the worse the effects on body, mind, and soul.
As in the beats of the heart, so in normal music: The first, or primary, beat is slightly louder and the third, or secondary, beat is much softer and more subtle.
In order to magnify the pressure of emotional confusion within the mind and body of the person who listens to rock music, the emphasis is equally strong and powerful on both beats 2 and 4.
It was mentioned earlier that the "intensity" of rock also sets it apart from other music. This is another serious problem with rock music. It is extremely intense and extremely loud!
To add to the overall effect, so that it becomes both overwhelming and overmastering, the volume of the speakers is turned up extremely high—so the incredibly loud noise of rock is often between 100-125 decibels. Rock music is usually as loud as being close to a jack hammer, which registers at 125 decibels.
Research studies have found that even attendance at one rock concert—just one—can cause a slight hearing impairment that might last for years. What happens to those who go to several concerts?
"From a physical standpoint, there is plenty of evidence that the loud blare of rock has left a generation of young people hard of hearing. In the mid-60s, colleges were finding that the average entering freshman possessed only the hearing efficiency of a typical 65-year-old.
"In experiments with guinea pigs, the unfortunate rodents also developed hearing problems when exposed to rock for comparable lengths of time and at similar decibel levels as these young people were hearing."—Lowell Hart, Satan's Music Exposed, p. 101.
Another research study found that rock music damages the mind. In 1988, Gervasia Schreckenberg and Harvey Bird, two scientists at Princeton University, placed three groups of mice in different environments.
The control group of mice remained in the lab, surrounded by the normal quiet sounds of scientists at work. The second group was placed in a sound chamber where they listened to classical music at a normal sound range (75-80 decibels).
The third group was subjected to rock rhythms, played at the same moderate (75-80 decibels) sound range. These mice were only being tested for possible effects of rhythm, not loudness.
Both the first and second groups developed normally, with quiet inquisitive temperaments, good appetites, and glossy fur. They quickly learned the "tricks" taught them by the researchers (such as what button to touch or which tunnel to select, in order to find food).
In remarkable contrast, the fur of the rock-rhythm mice became dull instead of glossy. Some became hyperactive and aggressive, even to the point of killing and eating fellow mice, while others became lethargic and inattentive. All became unable to follow directions and think as clearly as before.
Music is perceived through the portion of the brain that receives stimuli for emotions, sensations, and feelings, without being first subjected to the brain centers involving reason and intelligence. This discovery was made more than 50 years ago, and since confirmed by a number of scientific studies.
"Music which does not depend upon the master brain to gain entrance into the organism can still arouse by way of the thalamus—the relay station of all emotions, sensations and feelings. Once a stimulus has been able to reach the thalamus, the master brain is automatically invaded."—Ira A. Altshuler, A Psychiatrist's Experiences with Music," quoted in Dorothy Schullian and Max Schoen, Music and Medicine, pp. 270-271.
Research studies have convinced even the American Medical Association that jazz and rock music negatively affects the minds of those who listen to it, especially young people.
"Doctors should be alert to the listening habits of young patients as a clue to their emotional health, because fascination with rock 'n' roll, especially heavy metal music, may be associated with drug use, premarital sex and satanic rites. A study found that 7th and 10th graders, after watching one hour of music videos, were more likely to approve of premarital sex than was a control group of adolescents."—Chicago Sun Times, September 15, 1989.
Another research study found that children and youth who like rock music became confused, lost their moral bearings, cast normal caution aside, and tended toward aggression and violence.
"[Among boys, the study] reported a higher rate of a wide range of reckless behaviors, including driving behavior, sexual behavior, and drug use. They were also less satisfied with their family relationships.
"Girls who liked heavy-metal music were more reckless in areas of shoplifting, vandalism, sexual behavior, drug use, and reported lower self-esteem."—Eric Werner, The Sacred Bridge.
Rock has devastating physical effects on those who listen to it. It damages a person's emotional bearings. It leads to moral pollution. Not only the lyrics but the music is deadly to one's well-being.
Commenting on some of the problems of rock, Lawson speaks of its "rhythm and beat which produce a hypnotic effect." But then he mentions another soul-destroying aspect of rock music—the people who perform it and the places you go to hear it:
"This grease on the slide to depravity is supplied by the cultural atmosphere surrounding rock music—the way the fans and the performers themselves live."—Lawson, Rock is Here!
Jazz, rock, and their variants is the music that is used almost exclusively in nightclubs, taverns, discotheques, houses of prostitution, and striptease joints. This is because such music is more in harmony with the objectives of those places.
It helps attract customers to enter. And, when they arrive, it reduces the inhibitions of the customers as well as the entertainers.Actually, much of our church music, that is called "contemporary," is not contemporary at all. It has been borrowed from musical styles that have been in existence since the late 1890s, when ragtime, grandfather of all "beat" music, became popular. But these styles—jazz coming before World War I, swing in the 1930s, boogie-woogie in the 1940s, and rock in the 1950s—have always been a part of the honky-tonk, ballroom, nightclub culture. They have never been a part of the church.
Not until the 1960s did someone decide that this worldly music would be just the thing to attract unsaved young people to Christ.
—We are using the world's music as the basis for many of our new Christian songs!
Here is a promotional copy, describing several "Christian music" albums:
"Ranging from a Chicago [rock-jazz group] sounding, My Tribute, to the country gospel music of Since I Opened the Door . . This recording combines the easy listening of Given Them All with the country-flavored soft rock of You Got the Power and includes a popular tune, For Baby . . You'll be thrilled by Randie's interpretation of the hymn tune Amazing Grace covering styles from Elton John and other hit-tuners . . These Christian songs vary from rhythm and blues to tender ballads . . The new album will use the same unique combination of rock, pop and country sounds, that first brought him national attention."
This new "Christian" sheet music (in place of traditional tempo markings: andante, allegro, moderato) is very rhythmical, with rock beat which is driving, aggressive, lively, bossa nova, and medium bounce.
These are the tempo markings you will also find in hard rock. The music industry is taking the sensual and fleshly—and saying, "With a few Christian words, we are going to appear to be spiritual while we work to take control of the music of Christians."
Why are they doing it? For the money.
Young people and young adults are frequently immature in their understanding of Bible truths; and they do not understand that this is contrary to clear Biblical teaching. It is also evident that those same young people were not taught respect for the authority of God's Word. They are not familiar enough with it to use it as a guide in making life's decisions.
The effects of rock music can be deadly to the soul. Yet "Christian rockers" counter with the argument that Martin Luther and Charles Wesley used low-class tunes, so we should do so today.
First, Martin Luther did not use barroom music for his A Mighty Fortress is Our God. The fable that it was a "drinking song" is denied by all historical musicologists.
It has also been said that he used beer hall music for the song, Away in the Manger. But that tune was not written until 300 years after his death! It first appeared in a collection published by James Murray in 1897. "The tune is without question by James Murray (Story of Our Hymns, p. 161). Describing Luther's hymns, Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians, says this:
"Noble words, closely wedded to noble music, severely simple, yet never trivial; these hymns seem an echo of the Reformer's own great spirit."—Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians, Vol. 2, p. 178.
But we should let Luther speak for himself:
"These songs were arranged in four parts to give the young—who at any rate should be trained in music and other fine arts—something to wean them from love ballads and carnal songs, and teach them something of value in their place, thus combining the good with the pleasing as is proper for youth."—U.S. Leupold, ed., Luther's Work: Liturgy and Hymns.
This does not sound like a man who borrowed beer songs to make into hymns!
"The value of the melody for Our God He is a Castle Strong [a literal translation of the German title] consists . . in its basic integrity and strength. This is no patchwork of bits and pieces taken from here and there [in barrooms], but a masterpiece of musical expression. The melody reflects not only the general mood of the text, but gives strong rhythmical emphasis to the important words."—Ulrich S. Leupold, Liturgy and Hymns, Vol. 53, in Helmut T. Lehman, gen. ed., Luther's Works, pp. 283-284.
One-fourth of Luther's upper-division doctoral studies was devoted to music. Luther knew music theory and played well on the lute (a soft-toned guitar) and the flute.
"Luther undoubtedly was a musical genius of high rank, who would have become a great composer, had not Providence destined him" for a differing work (Paul Netl, Luther and Music, p. 62).
Second, it is said that Charles Wesley used crude worldly tunes for his songs! That is also not true! A noted British hymnologist wrote:
"The poverty-stricken drunks of Redruth and Wednesbury were not providing this music for the Wesleys."—Eric Routley, Twentieth Century Church Music, p. 155.
Here is a summary of the problem in two paragraphs:
Rock music is degenerate, immoral, and degrading. Musically, it is poorly constructed and uses a few simple chords with much dissonance. It also has intense, loud volume and wild, syncopated rhythmic patterns.
These weird effects drive people to distraction, so they can hardly think straight. The objective is to promote free love, sex, perverted sex, drugs, rebellion, and violence.
—This is rock music. Can any good come out of it? Can it possibly be used to help people come to Christ? Can it help them clean up their lives and, in the enabling strength which only Christ can give, obey the Ten Commandments?
Pastors and "gospel" singers urge that Christian rock is all right because the words are different. Worldlings are laughing at professed Christians for believing that lie.
We know now what rock music is. Next, we must turn our attention to so-called "Christian" rock.
"If My people, which are called by My name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."—2 Chronicles 7:14
"Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted."—Matthew 5:4
"Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit . . see that ye love one another with a pure heart."—1 Peter 1:22
"Open ye the gates, that the righteous nation which keepeth the truth may enter in."—Isaiah 26:2
"Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat.
"Because strait is the gate and narrow is the way which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it."—Matthew 7:13-14
"The end of all things is at hand. Be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer."—1 Peter 4:7