Melody or Lyrics - what matters more?

Posted by Stuart Townend on 27 April 2016

Stuart Townend spoke to WeAreWorship about getting the balance right.

I sometimes hear people in churches – particularly leaders – saying ‘what’s really important with worship songs is what the words say.’ Lyrics are the key, and they choose songs based on what is being expressed through the words.

I can understand why. To some extent I agree with it, but sometimes it seems as if all we want from a melody is that it is easy to sing and doesn’t get in the way of the words.

I don’t think that’s how things should be. It certainly wasn’t the case with In Christ Alone. Those lyrics only came about as a result of the melody. I found that when I listened to the melody that Keith had written it had an impact on me. The melody already said something and it was my job to find out and to fill in and to articulate what it was hinting at.

I’m convinced that melody and lyrics are equally powerful. Both have a role to play when it comes to taking us on a journey – both in terms of what our faith is and what our response could be. The two go together. Melody writers are just as valuable as lyric writers.

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