Sunday, January 11, 2009

Middle C

This morning in church I was marveling at some of the music: the hymns, the choir's anthem, the pianist's offertory.... As my mind wandered a bit during the offertory, I got thinking about the thing that all of them have in common: Middle C. That's a common reference point for all western music. You can ask virtually any musician to give a middle C and he or she can produce it, provided that the instrument is capable of it.
Middle C is a note that is known to be a certain frequency, and though it's approximated, it's about 261 hertz. and some decimals. (A above middle C is 440 hertz). Whatever it is, it's a standard. Anything in western music, tuned to concert pitch is the same.
We now live in a society with few, if any absolute standards. It started with the "do your own thing" of my early years and has become more noticeable since. When our nation was founded, it was designed with certain absolutes; they came out of the Bible. Though the men who fashioned our republic had many and varied viewpoints on how they practiced their religion, they all had the same source of authority: The Holy Scripture.
The "Do your own thing" mentality was becoming popular in the same time frame that the Bible was being thrown out of the schools. Families ceased to worship together if at all. Colleges which had been founded with the teachings of the Scripture were starting to question, if not throw out, all it said.
Now, our society was in chaos. It's as though someone went through a major symphonic orchestra and tuned all the instruments to a slightly different standard.

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