Scales- Unity or Uniformity?

Analogy: music scales and one’s preferred culture of comfort vs. true unity. Is it unity or uniformity we’re after?

Granted, individuals, tribes, this or that group you hang with have shared and sometimes not-so-much ideas about what sort of music they love and listen to daily.

Consider America alone and more styles of music than I’m going to name here and you begin to understand my point. Now consider other nations and the wider world. Off the charts -and likely plenty off of your or my personal “chart” of love or even like much less genuine acceptance.

For example, in 6 string guitar playing alone you have (at a minimum at least) steel or nylon or composite strings (3 kinds) then played w. fingers (often called fingerstyle) or a pick (plectrum) or with some sort of “slide” as in blues, country or bluegrass music (all different). These are only the tip of the iceberg as they say!

But at core there are scales. One definition is “Guitar scales are groups of notes that work with one another. If you stay within one scale, you will be more likely to sound as if you’re playing “in tune” and you will be able to create melodies that sound pleasant when played over chords that are also comprised mostly of the same notes.” With a guitar there are what are considered more “western” -as in European or U.S. guitar- patterns of notes used, yet also other scales pertaining to hundreds and even thousands of years of “eastern” music forms -plus hybrids of all this in near limitless variety.

Depending on a long list of things the scale may be long loved and accepted in one country, culture, tribe and sound crazy, horrible and not EVEN cool in another. It’s music to some, noise to others.

Is your head spinning yet?

Ok, so back to common “western” scale playing. Even within any of those instruments, playing styles, focusing on 6 string acoustic guitar playing we have wide and I mean variable tuning possibilities. Choose the guitar, six strings, with fingers, pick or slide, a chosen music style and still there are a multiplicity of tuning options. Oh indeed there is standard tuning and yet… By now you’re asking if there is any end to this?!

Yes indeed.

The unity is music, perhaps guitar-based, maybe the music style. But you and I both know your best friend/s may not like nor daily enjoy the sounds and songs you and I do, correct? So… “THAT ain’t MUSIC!” Uhhhh… you may share true and authentic unity while not lock stepping with one another in uniformity by a long shot!

UNITY: 1.the state or quality of being one; oneness 2. the act, state, or quality of forming a whole from separate parts 3.something whole or complete that is composed of separate parts agreement; harmony or concord: the participants were no longer in unity. 5.uniformity or constancy: unity of purpose. (By the time you reach 4 and 5… hmmm?)

UNIFORM: 1.Always the same, as in character or degree; unvarying: planks of uniform length. 2.Being the same as or consonant with another or others: rows of uniform brick houses. 3.A distinctive set of clothing intended to identify the members of a specific group: a police uniform. (Starting right at #1 here…)

Can we not be gut-honest and admit there are things with which we each and all disagree with in marriage, family, small group of friends, bands, workplace and associates and yes, the church -regardless of form? Jesus truly prayed for all of His followers that we would be one- in unity, but read through those common dictionary definitions with utter honesty and argue that any of us regularly maintain in our own minds or relationships utter unity much less uniformity!

I absolutely love my Methodist (and varied forms of) friends/churches, but the old joke goes “How free are the Free Methodists?” The other answered “About as united as the United Methodists.” This can be truly applied to all relationships I mentioned in the above paragraph and many, many more.

Apply this to anything and I’ll leave you with a punchline to also consider:

If you seek unity with God and the people of God, you still may rarely if ever end up with uniformity while on this planet. Since when does a style, a form of music (your chosen fave/s) equal true music?

“Love one another, as I have loved you”. “For those with ears to hear, let them hear.” -Jesus

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

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