Great post about one way to categorize worship songs. It’s called Stuck In No-Man’s Land: The New Sound Of Contemporary Worship. Author Matthew Sigler writes:
Cyclical music is typically made up of short texts supported by a simple melody that is easy to pick up by ear, and lends itself to both repetition and innovation… Sequential music is inherently literary in its form, is teleological in its structure (the “payoff” is at the end), and is often more musically complex… While the songs of the church don’t always fall neatly into these two categories, they are a helpful way to think about what we sing in worship.
Matthew goes on to explain how this distinction, or lack thereof, has affected the shifting sound of worship music in the recent past:
This quick comparison should highlight what is intuitive to many of us—namely, that contemporary worship music sounds different (lyrically and musically) than it did just fifteen years ago. While the comparison between “I Love You, Lord” and “The Stand” might be an extreme example, it does highlight the fact that modern worship music has morphed into a form somewhere between cyclical and sequential. Without suggesting that there is any clear benefit or deficiency in this development, let me offer a few concluding thoughts about this trend.
Click here for the full post including Matthew’s thoughts on how the current state of worship music should inform how we plan our services.