I Am A C-H-R-I-S-T-I-A-N Sheet Music Drums and Worship – The Rhythm of Religion

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Drums and Worship – The Rhythm of Religion

Drum music can be extremely moving. It’s vital, powerful, and works on our most basic instincts. Maybe it’s because the original purpose of drum music is to provide beats that everyone can hear. Beats bring listeners together, put everything in the same time and space, and create a bond between them. Given its abilities, it is not surprising that drums are her one of the most prevalent musical instruments in the world, found in cultures of every continent on earth. And, perhaps less surprising, is the fact that many cultures have applied the energy of taiko drums to their religions and rituals throughout the ages.

It would be impossible to list all the various religious uses for which drums were placed. After all, there are countless religions in the world today, and who knows how many have disappeared over the decades. I will only discuss the application in Judaism and Christianity.

Shinto is a very old religion that has existed as long as people have lived on the islands of Japan. It existed before the introduction of Buddhism and continues to this day. It is a polytheistic and animistic faith, commonly translated as “the way of the gods”. For visitors to Japan, the most obvious manifestation of Shintoism is the many shrines that ordinary people can visit. Various festivals are held at these shrines throughout the year, and traditional Japanese drums called taiko are often used in these festivals. Drums can produce tremendous sounds, and the rumbling sound of drums has long been associated with the gods. Indeed, there was a time in ancient Japan when taiko drums could only be played on religious occasions and only by men with special permission from a priest.

Many people may be surprised to learn that Judaism has a tradition of using drums. You won’t find drums in traditional ceremonies in synagogues, but the religion has a strong tradition of using music to celebrate the gods, and drums were often part of that music. It is specifically mentioned in several places. Miriam (sister of Moses) played drums in celebration of the exodus of the Jews from the Egyptians and the division of the Red Sea (Exodus 15:20). And in the Psalms, King David speaks of praising God with a timbrel, a small hand-held drum (150:4).

Traditionally, Christianity has excluded the drum from religious ceremonies. However, in the past decade or two there has been a growing movement to expand the boundaries of Christian music to include more contemporary music, sometimes to include non-traditional instruments such as drums. In addition, Christianity is unique in that it has successfully spawned several contemporary music genres such as Christian Rock, Christian Contemporary and even Christian Rap. Taiko drums are certainly used to produce such music.

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