Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Singing the Scriptures - The Music of Jonah 1:4-7

The drama continues - but Jonah has not gotten far enough down yet. He will hit bottom at the roots of the mountains. First he needs to get the short straw. That's where this segment of the story takes us.

4 but Yahweh hurled a great wind onto the sea
and a great tempest happened on the sea
and the ship, she was reckoning she was a wreck
5 And the salt-seafarers feared
and they cried each to his God
and they hurled their cargo
that was in the ship onto the sea
lightening themselves of trifles
but Jonah had descended into the recesses below decks
and he was laid out unconscious
6 so the pilot approached him
and said to him
what's with you - unconscious!
Rise! Call out to your God
maybe this God will do something for us
and we will not perish
7 and they said, each to his companion
look here, let's throw the dice
to know from whom this evil is ours
and they let the dice fall
and the dice fell to Jonah

See how the music paints Yahweh's hurling and how the note doesn't recur until the ornament where the seafarers hurl their cargo into the sea. Note the pondering of the ship - she knew trouble. The pilot knew how to get him to rise even if Yahweh had been unsuccessful in the first command - "rise (but I know you will descend instead)". Note the ululation in the music on the "maybe". The ornament is repeated in the talk of the companions reflecting the fear of their pilot. And there is an ornament on the falling of the dice.  This is music - not punctuation on steroids.

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