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church dynamics

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by jacohead, Oct 27, 2009.

  1. jacohead


    Aug 6, 2006
    I was playing bass at a small church that used a lot of dynamics and played at higher volumes. Now I am at a mega church that plays really reserved with lower volumes with much less dynamics. The members of this church dont seem to connect and feel that intense emotion as when i was playing in the smaller church. Should I approach my worhship leader to see if he would add more intensity (dynamics) and raise the volume a bit. Doesnt raising the volume make music much more emotional and powerful ?
  2. JackANSI


    Sep 12, 2006
    If you don't agree with how the church worships, maybe that church isn't for you?

    Pure volume has nothing to do with emotion, IMO. It can draw your attention to a piece of music, but if there is no emotion in the music, its going to be dead at any volume.
  3. jacohead


    Aug 6, 2006
    I agree, but do any of you bass players listen to hillsong? I get a emotional rush whenever I listen to these guys in the car with the volume up.. hillsong musicians use great dynamics and it really shines when you turn it up. Any other church bassist agree?
  4. MNAirHead

    MNAirHead Supporting Member

    Really depends.. Is the sound even?

    Is it a Music focused service or speaking?

    What kind of room.. most churches battle the acoustics.

  5. MNAirHead

    MNAirHead Supporting Member

    But then again a Chris Tomlin tune doesn't have to crank.. it would suck at blistering levels.
  6. JackANSI


    Sep 12, 2006
    Great example of what I mean. it's taking the extra volume to grab your attention away from driving.

    So in a way I agree with you. Maybe these worshipers need to be snapped out of their autopilot mode. But more likely, it's that the mega church atmosphere, and the style of worship, are just way different than your last church.

    I would guess the person leading the music part of your service would be the best to talk to, but he/she is just going to diplomatically ignore you. ;)
  7. ericw


    Aug 19, 2009
    Hagerstown, MD

    +1... I don't like it.

    On the volume issue - I think people are more inclined to cut loose and really sing, rather than worrying about what the person next to them thinks of their singing, if the volume is at a higher level.
  8. I would guess that the issue isn't how loud or dynamic the music is. I would be much more interested to see what the preaching is like, and how much of the congregation is actually digging into the Word throughout the week, rather than how loud the music is.

    Worship through singing should only be the tip of the iceberg when it comes to glorifying God. If your life has no passion for Christ from Sunday at noon to Sunday at 9AM, then why would it have passion during church? There is no sense in trying to whip the congregation into an empty emotional frenzy for half an hour a week if there is nothing to sustain passion the rest of the time. If there isn't a clear message of Christ and Him crucified coming from the pulpit, then all the dynamics in the world won't "fix" the worship.
  9. I listen to them a lot, so much that there's times where I burn out on them. I've played several of their songs in churches and retreats. In fact, one of the retreat praise teams plays 90% Hillsong.

    I'm assuming you mean the Hillsong within the last 5 years or so, since the overall sound and style has changed and evolved over the years. Hillsong (especially United) relies on a lot of layers of sound that contribute to their dynamics. They also rely A LOT on the bridge build up for the slower songs. They typically have 2-3 electrics, 1-2 acoustic guitars, 1 keyboard, 1 bass, 1 drummer, several singers. Church praise bands love covering their songs, but most of the time they are so focused on trying to emulate the Hillsong sound that they don't try to figure out how to arrange the song for what's best for their own band.

    You have to remember that in order to use dynamic range to its fullest, it's not as easy as just cranking the volume. You have to know how to play soft as well as loud, and be able to do so gradually. For the bridge build up on say, "Came to the Rescue" or any of the other slower songs, look at how many instruments drop in and out, how many notes Tenni the bass player plays at certain points, etc. These all contribute to the dynamics of a song, not just volume.

    Anyway, I'm rambling. The original question was " Doesnt raising the volume make music much more emotional and powerful ?" Well, it depends. I've played in, and still play in, bands that HAVE TO play Hillsong, but I love all forms of worship music from gospel to the contemporary Christian circles to even the more out there stuff like hip hop and metal. I've really been doing a lot of soul searching as to what praise and worship really is, and how and why some things work for some people but not others. Worship really depends on the hearts of the congregation, not the band. Oftentimes people forget that when engaging in worship, the congregation and the band are one voice. I am not saying that excellence in musicianship should not be sought after, but it really is secondary to the heart. I've been moved by old as well as new songs, played with one acoustic guitar or a full band.

    Praise and worship will continue to evolve and change stylistically, but the heart and the lyrical content should still remain true.
  10. The use of dynamics in any given song is controlling the volume.Doesn't matter how big your box of crayons are,its how you make use of said colors.At my church we have 2 separate "sanctuaries" Mainly the smaller of the two was used to take the "overflow" with the message played on the big screen via video but the both buildings have a worship band playing the same set list but the smaller venue is playing the songs with sometimes different/less instrumentation( acoustic guitars,mandolin,percussion pieces vs. no drums- many variables) and always with a more laid back feel .The use of dynamics is always at play.No need to crank it to get the musical as well as non musical point across,especially when they're sitting 15 feet in front of you
  11. I would probably be in the same boat. But it really depends on the attitude and each person's maturity as a believer. If this is for teenagers then they are in a completely different mindset than "old fogies" like me. And we all walk differently. The hard part is finding that common ground.

    Agree 100%.
  12. JackANSI


    Sep 12, 2006
    But then again, maybe they need to be snapped back from their complacent state so they can hear and want to be part of the sustaining message. Music, however loud, surely can do that. That can and sometimes IS the point.

    The organized church disbeliever in me is screaming:
    Besides, who are you to judge anyone for how they worship? Just because they show no over-the-top emotion in church doesn't mean they aren't the meek that will inherit the earth.

    People need to be free to worship how they want, if their way is pleasing in the eyes of God, then so be it. The music can be a way to allow expression outside of just sitting there and listening to the sound of a bible being thumped.
  13. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    It could be that the mega church is keeping the dynamics and volume down on purpose to encourage the congregation to engage. It is very easy in huge, theater style "sanctuaries" to turn up the band, fire up the light show and then what you have is essentially a concert the congregation observes rather than a service they actively participate in. It could be that your current worship leader is being very sensitive not to overwhelm the congregation with the music, but rather draw them in. To make the music the "soundtrack" underlying the corporate worship and not the focal point itself.

    Just a thought.
  14. nastyn8c


    Feb 7, 2005
    Tampa, FL
    +1. I love loud church music, but this is a great point. Talk to your worship leader.

    OTOH, I played with a college band for the main service at the church I grew up in. About 2-3 years ago, they removed the live drums and went with V-drums, being kept quiet.

    We played with live ones this past Sunday, and there was not a single negative comment. In fact, so many church members said this was the best worship service we've had that the worship leader decided to permanently dump the V-drums for live ones.

    YMMV :rolleyes:
  15. jacohead


    Aug 6, 2006
    +1 I have a few friends that were initially connected to Christ through worship concerts. People use to cry, yell, jump, just all kinds of things during worship at my old church. The mega church where I'm at now has people talking and not focusing during worship and that is why I believe in adding as much dynamics and power behind worship no matter what style.
  16. DesertCreature


    May 19, 2009
    Phx, AZ
    Doesn't hurt to ask. As others have indicated, it may not be a volume issue. But that doesn't mean volume is a non-issue.

    There may be carefully thought out reasons for the levels and mix they use now, but maybe not. Your feedback is data for them to consider in any event. As an esrtwhile church leader I genuinely appreciated getting feedback from everyone.

    However for a sound issue, I suggest sitting in the congregation if the band can spare you for a week. Move around to different parts of the building during worship if you can without being a distraction. See if that perspective confirms or modifies your current assessment.

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