The Function of Music in Worship

The Rev A Stewart Todd, MA, BD, Minister at North Leith Parish Church, Edinburgh

Todd was later to develop the ideas in this paper for the Lee Lecture of 1964, published in theAnnual of May 1965. Here he approaches the music of the liturgy by way of the book of Revelation and the song of the angels as well as the music of creation as in the Psalms. The music of liturgy is, however, to be seen as different from these other musics. Prior is the God who acts in worship, and music, as handmaid, services the Christ-Word in the midst. This leads the author to call in question much now familiar in worship, questioning the role of organ voluntaries (as too often speaking in tongues when ‘I would rather that you prophesied’: chorale preludes are preferred as closer to prophecy in that they frame a melody associated with words), anthems where music is pre-eminent or hymn tunes which do not serve the text.

Volume 31 1961, p30
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