Question:

I have a very hard time worshiping in song after someone uses a pitch pipe. I have discussed it with brethren in our congregation. Some agree they don't like it either. If we visit other places for gospel meetings, it's to me like fingernails on a chalk board. I heard a few sermons that try and teach it's an aid. I feel it makes a noise just like a piano or guitar and now there are electronic ones. How do you feel on this matter?

Thank you.


Answer:

"Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus, that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Romans 15:5-6).

Singing is one way a congregation jointly praises God. To accomplish the idea of one mind, we all sing the same song. The reason we have song books is to facilitate everyone knowing what we are about to sing. We also have a song leader in order that we might sing together as one voice. "How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification" (I Corinthians 14:26).

Pitching a song is simply the practice of starting on the same key. If a song is not pitched, then the congregation generally has to wait a few notes to find the key before joining in. They are no longer singing as one, at least at the start. I have had musical training in my youth, but I will typically sing the melody line for a while, especially if the song leader doesn't give the pitch, before switching to the usual tenor that I sing. But if the "do" (the base pitch) is given first, then I can start directly with the harmony. Harmony is not essential for a song, but it is a part of singing.

A pitch pipe is not a musical instrument. You can't play a melody on one. It is not even used during the song. And the song leader certainly doesn't use it because it sounds pleasant to the ear. It is done to find the proper key so that the song is not too high or too low for all the singers, thereby allowing everyone to participate in the song.

Can a pitch be given without a pitch pipe? Certainly, but it takes far more talent than most people have. I don't typically use a pitch pipe because I was taught how to pitch songs when I was young, but I know most people don't have the ability. Expert singers are more likely to use a pitch pipe because the correct pitch is important to them. Still, I would much rather see men participate is worship by leading songs, even if they are not skilled at it. The use of a pitch pipe does not make a capella singing instrumental singing.

Before I end, I would like to bring the phrase "like-minded" to your attention. Paul told the Corinthians to be of the same mind (I Corinthians 1:10). This doesnít mean that they had to have exactly the same thought on every subject. Paul is taking about their thoughts about each other (Romans 12:16; 15:5-6). In other words they should be in fellowship, having one heart and one mind (Acts 2:42; 4:32; Philippians 1:27; 2:1-2; 3:16; I Peter 3:8). It is the oneness that Jesus prayed for his disciples (John 17:21-23). To look for reasons to be offended when no offense is intended or actually given is not thinking about your brethren in the same way. Sure, you can express your preference for songs being pitched without an pitch pipe, but understand that it is your personal preference. That you allow this to interfere with joining brethren in song is a pity.