Jeremy Begbie: Using Musical Styles to Find a Writing Style

13 Mar

On Saturday I attended a luncheon with Jeremy Begbie, amazing jazz pianist and theologian, and then in the evening heard him speak as part of the Gospel & Culture series.  As a writer, I find inspiration everywhere and feel like I can learn so much from other arts disciplines.

Begbie really got me thinking about:

  • tension and resolution
  • abundance within containment
  • improvisation
  • the unexpected
  • discordance

He said art should serve a good end but warned against sentimentality.

Here’s how Redeemer’s Center for Faith & Work promoted the event:

What difference can the announcement that Jesus is raised from the dead make to the arts and artists today? Begbie will show how the arts have unique powers to unlock the revolutionary nature of this event, and in turn, how the resurrection revolutionizes the arts. The presentation will include extensive performance.
Jeremy BegbieJeremy Begbie is the inaugural holder of the Thomas A. Langford Research Professorship in Theology at Duke Divinity School, North Carolina, and founding Director of Duke Initiatives in Theology and the Arts. He teaches systematic theology, and he specializes in the interface between theology and the arts. His particular research interest is the interplay between music and theology. He is also Senior Member at Wolfson College, Cambridge, and an Affiliated Lecturer in the Faculties of Divinity and Music at the University of Cambridge. Previously he has been Associate Principal at Ridley Hall, Cambridge, and Honorary Professor at the University of St Andrews where he directed the research project, Theology Through the Arts at the Institute for Theology, Imagination and the Arts. He is author of a number of books, including Voicing Creation’s Praise: Towards a Theology of the Arts (T & T Clark); Theology, Music and Time (CUP), and most recently, Resounding Truth: Christian Wisdom in the World of Music (Baker/SPCK) which won the Christianity Today 2008 Book Award in the Theology/Ethics Category. He is a professionally trained and active musician, and has taught widely in the UK, North America and South Africa, specializing in multimedia performance-lectures.

Begbie played snippets of classical music to show how discordance can be beautiful because it is unexpected.  Not only did it make me want to listen to more live classical music, but it inspired me to be more playful stylistically with my writing.  It’s fun to experiment with how unexpected twists and turns that leave the reader turning the page to find out what happens next.

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2 Responses to “Jeremy Begbie: Using Musical Styles to Find a Writing Style”

  1. Ron Fischman March 13, 2012 at 2:34 pm #

    Works for me, as a former composer!

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