One thing that I haven’t figured out yet is why our brotherhood hasn’t embraced chanting more fully. Before we get distracted, please note that the ancient world didn’t make the distinction between chanting and singing that we do, so we’re not talking about anything extrabiblical. At least some of what we see in the psalms would probably have been presented via a chant.
There were other ancient music forms, so I’m not arguing that all the early church did was chant. But as I listen to people discuss the benefits of singing, it seems that most of those benefits are better served by chanting.
We do know that the early church wouldn’t have used the four-part harmony that is so common in the U.S. And our modern melodies would have definitely had a foreign ring to their ears. Undoubtedly, our singing is very unlike what the early church knew. I sometimes think that people envision the Ephesian church sitting in pews, holding Songs of the Faith and singing “I’ll Fly Away.”
Don’t chants better emphasize the idea of speaking to one another? Don’t they put the emphasis on the lyrics? Wouldn’t they avoid a lot of the sensationalism that we are concerned about?
Is there any theological justification for intricate melodies and part singing? Is there any benefit in those things, beyond the way they stir human emotions?
Why do you suppose we haven’t put more emphasis on the chant?