There’s a certain lift that can happen sometimes, when singing. Or, I suppose I should say, there’s a certain lift that happens to me sometimes when I’m singing, a moment when the composer has written a particularly stirring chord progression. Perhaps it’s a suspension where one line rises, aching, tipping on the edge of dissonance before resolving into the cadence. Or perhaps an unspooling of harmony, the voices calling out in unison and then peeling off until the music shifts from one monochromatic tone to a welter of harmonies intertwining. Or the inverse, a tangling near-cacophony of complex lines combining as if by magic to ring out one spare, simple motif.
There are many functions of prayer — to praise, to implore, to thank, to express wonder, just to name a few — but for theists, prayer always communicates. More often than not, the communication only goes one way: we say or ask something of the Gods and spirits, we hope they hear and accept the prayer, and we go on without an answer. The Kindreds are certainly capable of answering, but hearing them, and moreover interpreting them, is a difficult skill. Continue reading What It Means to Hear