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Contemporary Christian Music and Worship: A Variety of Composition From Christianity Today

A Variety of Religious Composition | Christianity Today | A Magazine of Evangelical Conviction.

In its series on “worship music,” Christianity Today Magazine has published an article by Lawrence R. Mumford, PhD, a professor at the Biola University Conservatory of Music, looking at what Contemporary Christian Worship Music is.  Mumford spent many years playing in praise and worship bands, as a minister of music in two Los Angles churches, and writing pop music.  Mumford describes it, looking solely at the music, as a “subgenre of the American popular music that emerged in the mid-1960s and has been pervasive in society ever since…. This relatively recent pop music, with its almost infinite branches, includes soft rock, hard rock, country crossover, folk rock, punk rock, alternative, adult contemporary, rhythm and blues, hip-hop, and so forth. It has always been a model for CCM, and a few creative CCM artists have been musical innovators in their own right.”  Truth be told, CCM has its origins and roots in the “Jesus Movement” of the 1960s, part of the hippie counter-culture (with elements of mysticism, revivalism, and communal living), and the Charismatic Renewal Movement (with strong elements of unexplained spiritual experiences described as the baptism of the Holy Spirit, supernatural power of the Spirit and mysticism), particularly in Australia where some of the most popular praise and worship songs originate.

What are the characteristics of this music?  Rhythm with an off-beat accent, more rhythm with a rock beat, and a middle of the road vocal sound designed to appeal to a wide audience.  And do not forget the guitar solos and other improvisations that fill in some gaps in the music.  Mumford describes: Read the rest of this entry