The sound of dissonance?

The sound of dissonance?


There are classical composers who write for the Church such as Judith Bingham, Judith Weir, Gabriel Jackson, Francis Grier and other who are writing music that is not afraid to be dissonant. But we have not moved fundamentally from the idea that harmony is good and disharmony is bad in music, as it was argued by Aristotle, Augustine and Aquinas. Resolution and harmony is not always the sound we hear in Scripture, which tells the story of God who willingly became subject to human violence and those wounds were still visible after he was raised. Disharmony is evident too in the lives of men, women and children across the world dignity is stripped away by poverty, war, oppression and disease.

In the Church, our sound is our wound when we ignore the dissonance in the aching world; of unemployment, debt, poverty and abuse. Our harmony is not real harmony if it is land resolution that trivializes the singer and the song. It is a harmony that is made when we listen to the dissonances of Scripture and experience and deepen our understanding of another. It is the harmony that is made when we listen for the voice that is singing a different, even one that sounds contrary to the part we are singing. It is a harmony born of an attentiveness to God and to each other that means we will listen and take our rest as well as play and sing the part we have been given. This is the harmony that takes account of the suffering of God’s broken world, and as we listen for that profound song of love, we can invite others to sing.

Our Sounds is our Wound

by Lucy Winkett

Continuum 2010

 Page 34 & 35

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