Are we doing Melisma all wrong?

I was watching a new video posted by musicologist Bishoy Awad, and he has some interesting insights on the way we learn melisma, where we open and close our mouths in the chant as a way of following the hazzat we learned them in, rather than as a flowing open vowel as he thinks it should. What do you guys think?

Here is the video:



  • Despite how correct or incorrect my opinion is:
    I think he is just being a great musician when he is speaking about our coptic hymnology. When he says that "the hymns changed"....i think that he is assuming that our alhan were once musically tuned. There isn't enough evidence to support that. This is what George Kerrelos and Raghep moftah have tried to do--show off our hymns into music standards but that is very difficult considering that our hymns were always passed own through oral teaching and in the same time without any musical standard, let alone western/European music. So with that assumption in mind, he'll probably have much more problems with our hymns and we'll be seeing much more of these vids. 

    I respect what he is saying, and what he is doing--recordings some of our hymns into this classical form, and i don't mind hearing it in church actually since it is an appropriate form of music--but i disagree with his assumption that our "should be" said in this way or in that way or according to this standard. I don't believe that our alhan are meant to be musically tuned mainly because not all people are musically tuned. They are prayers that were created by people full of the Spirit and passed on to others and slowly made their way in the liturgy. 
  • I'm going to agree with minatasgeel here. There is a lot of assumptions he is making and he offers no evidence. In fact, he states that his points don't need research as if they are self-evident. 

    As usual, without proper definitions and a philosophical methodology, everything he says is easily refuted. Starting with his definition of melisma (which he correctly defined), his definition is incomplete. Melisma normally means many musical notes on one syllable of text. However, it is an incomplete definition because melisma also means a genre of music. Most Westerns consider Gregorian chant as melisma. The most important point here is that melisma does not necessitate one continuous breath (or opening and closing the mouth as he put it). Multiple mini-melismas strung together with breaths in between on one syllable of text is still melisma. It is not the common understanding of melisma and that is why he is correct to say Western musicologists will wonder why there is opening and closing of the mouth. But that would be another example of musical ethnocentrism and ethnic racism which was extremely popular in the 19th century. Western musicologists, like Napoleon's musicologist to his Egyptian expedition, Guillaume-Andre Villoteau describing Coptic music, believed anything not normalized to their ethnic standard was not even considered music. Villoteau called Coptic music "poison to our senses". Newlandsmith called Coptic embellishments "the filth of the Arabs". Defining melisma by Western definitions without methodology is a crime to social and anthropological musicology. 

    In addition, he is confused about phonology and phonetics. /a/ and /ya/ are both phonetic variations of the letter "A". The only difference is where does the air contact the oropharyngeal path. For example, when saying the "a" in "cat", air contacts the throat in a different place then the "a" in "late" but they are both "a". So if one says a melisma of /a ya ya a ya/, it is still on one vowel or one syllable of text and by Western standards a melisma. 

    As usual, Egyptian intellectual knowledge is built on a system of "regurgitate what I heard without question". He attempts to give theological reasons for melisma and then uses "common sense" pragmatic reasons for why it was not practical to keep melisma. In other words, he moved from description of what Coptic melisma is to a prescription of what Coptic melisma should be. This is terrible scientific technique. He ends with the classical "this is evidence of the decline in education." The only knowledge he gave was "I heard" this explanation and that explanation and he did not question it: classical regurgitation from within his own bubble. If one wants to argue that our education in music has declined, he has to discredit the thousands of years of oral transmission from pharaonic times described by Hans Hickman and John Gillespie. He also has to show how contemporary musical theory and practice (transcription) is more effective than traditional musical theory and practice (oral transmission). As I see it, we have solid evidence that oral transmission has remained unchanged for at least 80-90 years since Newlandsmith transcribed Coptic music without any additional musical education. Learning musical transcription or classical musicology does not mean we are better equipped to sing or understand Coptic music.

    As Mina stated, this is another example of someone taking our hymns and "harmonizing them" (and I use that phrase extremely pejoratively) to contemporary standards. We are so willing to "correct" Coptic music that we are neglecting how dangerous it is to dismiss what is traditional and perfectly fine without any Western infiltration. We can learn from the Syrians and Byzantines who now mourn introducing modern instruments into their musical tradition. 

    I can't take him serious because he has no credibility if he is simply going to say we need to change to be something or someone else. 

    Thank you for pressing my buttons minasoliman.
  • Well, it makes for an interesting discussion. I'm no musicologist, but I hear many Byzantine experts that the way to preserve the beauty of hymns as well as to add to more of our traditional music is to study music theory AND theology. We are doing good in the latter lately, but the former is few and far in between, and to do both is a rarity in the Coptic Church.

    If anything, perhaps his melisma points are wrong, but what about musicology education in and of itself? Perhaps a YouTube video is not enough of course. But I do think we can agree we lack this type of education among us. I have seen great guys who knows more Coptic hymns than I do and then switch over to some Protestant guitar songs (yup same guys!). We shouldn't get riled up on what this man is saying, but on a lack of proper discernment among our youth in proper liturgical music, and maybe the lack of musicology mingled with theology should be a point to seriously consider.

    It's difficult to assess what hymnology sounded like a thousand years ago without a shadow of a doubt. There must be some other methods to best approximate this knowledge. Just phonetically chanting the Greek shows how much we don't really know proper accents in Greek. How much more the Coptic, and the music! I think these are valid points to really study and consider and hope for to try to stem the efforts of our misguided youth in improperly choosing any music for liturgy.
  • Ekhrestos anesty,
    I agree with what this guy had said 400%; indeed he concurs with Ragheb Moftah, the latter actually pointed this out in one of his introductions and elaborated that the larynx is the best musical instrument. However, I think that's absolutely difficult to master and I find that if I am leading a group of deacons I'd tend to close my mouth up during the vowels, which actually sounds rather bad, but useful at times. However that's only me but I believe it's much better to follow what he said and I will remind myself from now on..
    Oujai khan ebshois
  • Mina, 
    The problem I see is that we Copts are working on a faulty priori thinking, which is we need to update or correct our music. This is what I meant by methodology. It's not scientific. It's not even music theory. It's not even logical. What is it really, reversed ethnic racism. We are no good at music, so let's do what the others do.

    If you think about the relation of musical education and theological education, we already have a precedent from theological pedagogy in the Protestant missionary movement in Egypt from the 19th century. The Protestants came in calling our theology and religious education "superstition". So they tried to convert us into Western thought through the pretense of religious conversion. When they did not succeed at religious conversions (very few people converted to Protestantism under Rev John Liden and the American Presbyterian missions), they did succeed at making Copts believe they were so religiously ignorant in theology that the Coptic Church copied their Western methods without defining any methodology. Iin the end, we still practiced religious and theological education through the "superstitious" method of muallem and disciple, not seminary PhD's. It led to a near 50 year fight between Pope Cyril V and the Coptic elite (arakhna) who felt the clergy were too ignorant to even manage properties and money. Now history is repeating again and people are advocating the same claims as the Protestant missionaries (i.e., Copts are so ignorant, they need to abandon what has a long track record for what the West does.)

    This is what is happening with musical education. Yes we have our faults. Yes the most learned deacons are the ones who advocate protestant nonsense. Yes we need more musical research. But start with the premise that what we have is so wonderful, rather than what we have is so aweful. If we start with the paradigm that the music tradition we have is wonderful, more education will make it more wonderful. If we start with the music tradition we have is so aweful, then we will simply get sucked into heterodoxy and loose our theology in the process.

    If we are serious about music education, we start with theoretical methodology (not methods). Starting with claims that we need to change our methods of how to open and close our mouths, or how long a melisma should be, or Coptic music should be done from the larynx makes little sense. Does it even matter? Does it mean you will sound better? Does it mean Coptic music is designed to be sung with the same techniques, resonance and registers as Western music? You will not know and more Western education means nothing if we don't examine Coptic music theory first.  

    I don't mean to be overly critical of the guy in the video. He obviously means well. And I don't expect a 15 minute video to explain much.  But it is clear that he begins with the same false paradigm that Copts are doing something wrong because they lack any musical education and he provides no evidence to support it.
  • Quote from Rem:

    "This is what is happening with musical education. Yes we have our faults. Yes the most learned deacons are the ones who advocate protestant nonsense. Yes we need more musical research. But start with the premise that what we have is so wonderful, rather than what we have is so aweful. If we start with the paradigm that the music tradition we have is wonderful, more education will make it more wonderful. If we start with the music tradition we have is so aweful, then we will simply get sucked into heterodoxy and loose our theology in the process."

    And I think also even Bishoy Awad would agree with you on this one. Otherwise, he wouldn't take the time to do these recordings. He does start with the premise that what we have is precious. The only thing I see that is different between you and Bishoy is the way he goes about doing it.

    Furthermore, while his methods may be arguable, certainly I did not get the impression he thinks our hymns are awful or that advocating heterodox hymnology, but that he wants to change the way we do church choirs and chanting. Again this is arguable, but I can understand where he is coming from on this point.
  • I think both approaches are faulty. What we should do is refrain from making any judgments and ask to genuinely understand how was Coptic music *meant* to be chanted. Not whether we are flawed or not, but how was it originally meant to be chanted? Something like this may seem impossible, but comparing older recordings, musical tendencies to embellish and add hazaat with arabic ornamentation and tonal modulations on certain scales in some hymns over time can push us more toward a more authentic rendition of our beloved hymnology. There is no need to say it is flawed or wonderful, but simply, what is the best way to go back to its intended rendition as much as is possible.

    I personally love listening to Higher Institute of Coptic Studies (particularly their cleaner recordings) and find them to have a simpler older way of chanting, this is just by means of comparison of older and newer recordings and in terms of authenticity.
  • Ekhrestos anesty,
    Dear @kataNikhoros,
    Don't get me wrong in what I am going to say. I also very much like the HICS over any other recording but unfortunately they also are culprits in defiling some authentic tunes by virtue of giving way to the flawed Greco-Bohairic lingo.. oops here we go again.. sorry, but that's true..
    Oujai khan ebshois
  • The moment we begin to claim what something should be or what something is meant to be, then we have moved away from social science into opinion. One man's opinion (or one man's finding of a sound as an older way of chanting) is another man's nonsense (or at least another man's insistence to consistently articulate objective observations). We will never ever be able to substantiate an opinion. 

    In response to Minasoliman's comments, I want to clarify my initial comments.
    I know that Bishoy Awad is not advocating that our hymns are awful or any introduction of heterodox hymnology. My point was that he is starting with the premise that the current way Copts sing melisma is wrong if you open and close your mouth. This is true if you define melisma in a Western musical framework. The simple fact is that defining our Coptic music by Western musical theory is flawed to begin with.(You begin defining Coptic musical theory by methodology, not comparative methods to foreign theory.) He is not alone. Ragheb Moftah, Villoteau I mentioned above, and many others did the same thing for Coptic music. But it still begins with the premise that we are doing something wrong. This is the same premise that says we have to go back to what Coptic music was in the past. (It assumes that what is done now is not what is done in the past - something that can't be proven). This same premise is exactly the same starting point for those who want to introduce heterodox hymnology today. It is the same premise for those who currently advocate we don't need to fast so much, or we can break the fast with anything, or we don't need to pray so much, or have liturgies past 1 hour, etc. It was the same premise that started the Protestant missionary attacks on the Coptic Church. It was the same premise that started the conflict between clergy and laity in the time of Pope Cyril V. It is the same premise that Erian Moftah used to justify his change in Coptic linguistic pronunciation and it is the same premise for those who argue we should go back to Old Bohairic. There are so many examples of attacks on the Coptic Church by those who wanted to define some aspect of Coptic practice by Western (foreign) philosophy merely because they feel/felt the Coptic Church is/was practicing something wrong.  Feelings are outlets of opinion, not truth. If we change things because of opinions, we fail to understand that the Orthodox Church is outside time, outside generational trends, outside popular opinion. 

    This does not mean the Coptic Church is not doing anything wrong or that correction is an absolution contradiction in the Orthodox Church. But there is a right way and a wrong way to affect positive change in the Coptic Church. The right way attempts to minimize opinions. 
  • But wouldn't someone in musical theory not just study Western, but all types of music, including Syriac, Hindu, Islamic, Ethiopic, just to see if there is some sort of continuity in the system? Or are all these musical standards compared to some sort of "superior" Western standard? I don't know. I haven't studied music at a professional level to know what they do in these schools, but it seems to me you are saying they are suggesting the latter, rather than a fair and objective broad spectrum approach.
  • Ekhrestos anesty
    Dear @Remnkemi,
    What people say about Erian Moftah and authentic Bohairic is not based on opinion. Indeed it's the reverse..
    Oujai khan ebshois
  • @ophadece...i don't think Remnkemi meant that OB is based on an opinion. He is saying that what Erian Moftah did was based on an opinion. Nonetheless, it is also an opinion that we must undo what Erian moftah did. Because here is the issue with most OB supporters, at least as I see it, they keep saying that it's the "correct" coptic and ignoring the many studies that testify to a language is more like a dynamic way of communication rather than a static one that has a "correct" or an "incorrect" form.....Ok. sorry, i got side tracked since I had to explain this to a couple of people (including an abouna) this past weekend.

    Let's stay on topic and not fight on OB :-)
  • Ekhrestos anesty
    So Erian Moftah did it based on an opinion, and correcting the flaw will now be incorrect as it abolishes the dynamism of language change? Seriously? Am I missing something?
    Oujai khan ebshois
  • @minasoliman,
    Like any other liberal arts and scientific fields, there are many subfields. The majority of undergraduate musical studies revolves around classical music study (Beethoven, Mozart, etc). As you dive deeper there are subfields, like music theory, musical history, ethnomusicology, comparative music, etc). When you get into PhD, you have to do fieldwork usually in one of these subfields. At the undergraduate level, you're not going to focus on ethnomusicology or musical theory at all. Whatever is taught in the undergraduate level will introduce European, Western, American music theory and history. But it is only when you get to the PhD level that one studies musical methodology needed to describe a specific ethnic musical heritage outside Western musical methodology and transcription. 

    To answer your question, when these musical cultures are studied they are transcribed with Western musical notation system. They are described with names that make sense only for Western music. If one tries to describe them otherwise, you have to first build an entire framework. Just to give you an example. In our American Western musical heritage, we can describe the difference between a song and a hymn. But in Coptic what is the difference between hwc and lwbs and bwhem. What is the difference between a Byzantine antiphon and a Coptic antiphon? Do you know what the difference is between a Byzantine Canon hymn and a Coptic Canon hymn is? What about Byzantine theotokia and Coptic theotokia? They use the same terminology but they mean completely different things. In fact, in some cultures we can't even define the term music. You either use the same Western terminology with a very long editorial explanation describing the shortcoming of Western music or you transcribe the original language (Just like we do with the word "alhan") and risk alienating other musicologists. 

    You have to start with methodological framework. The only one that is perceived as universal and taught primarily is Western music theory. Take the following quote from Nicholas Cook, Music: A very short introduction. Oxford University Press (Oxford, 1998), p. 59. "Some ethnomusicologists are prepared to use staff notation to transcribe the music they study, as a means both of understanding it and of communicating that understanding to their readers. But they are painfully conscious that in doing this they are shoehorning Indian or Chinese music, or whatever it might be, into a system that was never designed for it. [In florid singing] trying to say where one note starts and another stops, as 'note' would be defined in terms of staff notation, becomes a completely arbitrary exercise; the music just doesn't work that way. There is a collision between music and notation." There are other systems used to describe and explain the microtonality of different ethnic vocal music cultures but they are so infrequently used or taught that most musicologists are not familiar with them. 

    Most of this information was already described by Marion Robertson when she described Coptic musicology in many articles. 

    While I agree we should not fight about OB, I only want to illustrate that trying to change Coptic back to OB is an opinion. Can you give any objective reason why we should change back to OB? If your only answer is because OB is the original, then it is not a sufficient answer because what is original is not always best (Just like reverting English back to Old English). If you can't give any other answer, then most likely the desire to reverse Coptic back to OB is based on personal opinion and preference. Just to be fair, I don't have a good reason to keep GB either. If we rely on natural language evolution, GB should be extinct. It is a matter of preference that we keep GB also. 

    Again, this is somewhat tangential here as minatasgeel said. 
  • edited May 2016
    Ekhrestos anesty,
    You are asking if my opinion is to bring back OB (moot point, as it is already back), because it is "best"? My answer is, it is not about being good, better, or best; only that it should be based on scientific evidence. I have already answered before, and my point is still as it is - someone bases a change on an opinion, such shouldn't have been propagated in the first place. 
    Oujai khan ebshois
  • So I just watched this video. 

    I totally disagree with what he is saying, because:

    1) Who is to say that the Western style of singing is the same as the Eastern and more specifically the Coptic way of chant?
    2) Most of these musical "scholars" are not cantors in churches, and do not have enough experience in the hymns of the church to make complete conclusions.
    3) There are places in Egypt that not only close their mouths while singing a melisma, they even include more than one vowel in a melisma. This occurs very frequently in Upper Egypt. 

    A side note: He kept missing the same part in Bekethronos and it drove me nuts. 
  • @dg920
    i think the third point is the answer...
    the old way of chanting between two vowels has affected this matter grossly..the moving from a closing-mouth vowel such as the (omekron)to an open-mouth vowel as the (alpha) necessitates the closing and opening of the mouth..i know that the person that made this video has not listened to anything out the very familiar hymns..
    this is a piece of an upper egypt hymn to clarify chanting in two vowels:التلحين+فى+حرفين...mp3

    -another point ..the length of the hymn has made it very difficult to chant it the way he does in the begining of beketheonos..the opening and closing of the mouth gives the one a chanse to divide the hymn and makes it easy to memorize it..
    try to chant the way he tells us about ,but without using a notation will be completely untastable!.. 
  • Ekhrestos anesty
    I completely disagree. Please listen to baketronos on this website by HICS. Not untastable in the slightest and the closing of the mouth only occurs in a small part, that is the h of allelujah. I'm sorry I don't have Coptic fonts on my phone but you know what I mean..
    Oujai khan ebshois
  • edited May 2016
    i did listened to it by the HICS..nothing different ..they said it as we chant it in the churches (by frequent opening and clothing..)
    ,,,the way the HICS chant pekethronos is completely different from what we have seen in the video

    i hope that i understood your comment correctly..
  • Here's an example of Bishoy Awad doing the melisma of E;be ]`anactacic:

  • Ekhrestos anesty
    You certainly did understand but our ears pick things up differently then.. that's OK. I believe he makes a good point and it does make perfect sense to me..
    Oujai khan ebshois
  • Ekhrestos anesty
    Thanks for sharing this clip. As I said before I agree with the principle but not with that style. That is completely westernised and I am not sure if that's what the above debate was about because I didn't listen to any other clip.
    Oujai khan ebshois
  • True. He does have a Western bent. But at least, I found this clip that could demonstrate how he is not opening and closing his mouth in melisma. So this can be an example without adopting his Western style.
  • We are back to the definition of melisma. The definition of melisma can be (1) multiple notes on one syllable without closing one's mouth or (2) multiple melisma on one syllable. Obviously, if you take definition #1, then if the notes continue for a very long time, one has to close his mouth to inhale more air and what Bishoy Awad is doing is not definition #1. If you take definition #2, then the opening or closing of one's mouth is irrelevant to the definition of melisma. 

    And for the record, none of us have the training to discern how one song is Western or not. We all have opinions on what Western style is but it is still just opinion. 

  • Forgive my random posting, I do not visit the forums often.
    I just wanted to say:
    I much prefer this style of melisma. 
  • edited June 2016
    I was listening to Anba Rafael sermon at SI church yesterday and he said the following about our hymnology in churches (around min 1:17:30):

  • Ekhrestos anesty,
    He didn't talk about melismata, did he?
    Oujai khan ebshois
  • edited June 2016
    I understand the intent of the video by HG Bishop Raphael, but we are not talking about the purpose of chanting, but how to do chanting correctly.  What use is it that we go and we stress that our minds should be praising and worshipping Christ, and yet our chanting is disorganized, causing distraction, and not the high quality praise that our Lord deserves?  His Grace is right that we should not go to liturgy making a theatrical show or expect from people to tell you that you did a good job and they want an encore...of course not!  That makes sense, and it needs to be said.  However, that does not give me the impetus to do whatever I want with melisma.  We need to do our best, so that we may please God (or to be more theologically accurate, that we may offer God the best sacrifice of praise like Abel and not just pick out poor quality sacrifice like Cain), not the people.  Furthermore, we need to teach the people.  Otherwise, it could also be implied by His Grace's message, forget melisma.  Throw it all away if the people don't join in.  And frankly, I agree.  

    But I also disagree with His Grace that just because kids can learn it does not mean adults can do.  Yes, people of all ages can learn melisma, but children, especially really young ones, have brains like sponges.  If you don't teach at that young age, you are going to have a hard time teaching them at an older age, and I'm all for teaching children every single hazzat before their brains reach that critical period when they wish they were doing something else.  Adults, while it's not too late, have their own rubble of problems that makes it quite frustrating to try to teach melisma.  So, really, in a utopian world, I would long for the day when there are no dressed up men in a higher stage of "chorus", but that men and women alternate and participate in melisma as it should.

    Until then, the question here is are we doing melisma correctly?  If we are, and Bishoy Awad is incorrect about his assumptions, that's an answer I'd like to hear.  If however Bishoy is correct, then there is room for improvement in our hymnology so that we may praise God better.  But I see nothing in the video by His Grace that is relevant to this discussion.
  • I would like to make a few comments Mina. From the onset, I think we are essentially agreeing with each other.

    You wrote, "We need to do our best, so that we may please God (or to be more theologically accurate, that we may offer God the best sacrifice of praise like Abel and not just pick out poor quality sacrifice like Cain), not the people.  Furthermore, we need to teach the people.  Otherwise, it could also be implied by His Grace's message, forget melisma.  Throw it all away if the people don't join in.  And frankly, I agree. " 
    I know what you meant to say but I see the bolded part and italicized part as contradictory. If praise is an offering to God and not to people, then it is irrelevant if the people approve of the offering. Now we all know that God's will is the salvation of the whole world, not one person. But the praise being offered cannot be absolutely contingent on the approval of others.  If the general population does not want to join in the offering, it doesn't make the offering (or the way of doing the offering) wrong or bad. Throwing out the melisma because people don't join in it is really throwing out the baby with the bath water. 

    This does not mean praising or offering a sacrifice without understanding is ok either. In the grand scheme of things, melisma is absolutely useless in itself and no one here will advocate singing or praising without understanding or offering a poor quality sacrifice of praise. 

    Along these lines, I want to comment on your discussion of children vs. adults. It comes down to sort of minimum standard of praise. I also long for the day when there is no chorus of males but the utopian minimum standard you described. However, this is only one standard. There is also a standard for children and a different standard for adults as you alluded to. Children learn and acquire knowledge better but they cannot be held to the same standard of adults because they are at a different psychological and behavioral maturity. Thus, the standard for adults may need to be higher than the standard for children. 

    In addition, there is no monolithic group of children or adults. Pre-K children are held to a different standard than 3rd or 4th graders which is also different than pre-teens, which is also different than middle school teens, which is also different than high school teens, which is also different than adults who never left childhood). The same is true for adults. There are differences between adults who are cradle Copts, adults who are converts, adults who are intelligent and have post graduate education, adults who have post graduate education and are completely ignorant in spirituality, adults who do not separate culture from Church, adults who believe an acceptable standard of "church going" is one hour before communion, and adults who believe the minimum standard is  never acceptable, etc. Expecting a common minimum standard for all children (or all adults) seems counter productive until we agree on a universally acceptable, philosophical framework for liturgical praise. 

    In a universally acceptable, philosophical framework, we do not ask for what is "chanting melisma correctly" but we ask "how do we come to or what steps do we need to address so that we can answer what chanting correct melisma is". We cannot do whatever we want with melisma. This is properly called liturgical innovation. In the framework of Orthodox Liturgical theology and praxis, this has already been addressed. What we strive for is (1) praying with understanding and (2) "contend[ing] for the faith that was once for all entrusted/delivered to the saints" (put another way, we deliver the musical tradition that was delivered to us.) and (3) receiving the end of [our] faith - our salvation. The liturgical tradition that was handed to us is delivered down for the sole purpose of salvation - nothing more, nothing less. It matters nothing how we do melisma if it is not for the salvation of souls. 

    However, this is not the philosophical framework Bishoy Awad used in his assumptions. He used  Western and Byzantine musical frameworks, which I contend is not applicable to Coptic liturgical music. In a purely Western musical framework, only harmony matters. Thus, it is perfectly acceptable for churches that use a Western musical framework to innovate new musical forms and genres and use theatrics and polyphonic instruments to engage both the audience's senses and the musical/emotional neural pathways. Again I know Bishoy Awad is not advocating any of this. But his presumption that we are doing melisma wrong is based on foreign philosophical frameworks and this leads to more ambiguity of melisma, not clarification.
  • Dear @Remnkemi,
    Thank you very much.. Very well said.
    However I for one would "advocate singing or praising without understanding or offering a poor quality sacrifice of praise" quoting your statement, as long as my aim is to strive for understanding and surely the Holy Spirit will bestow that unto me.
    Ekhrestos anesty
    Oujai khan ebshois
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