Order of Service & Musical Instruments

Discussion in 'Baha'i' started by Bandit, Sep 29, 2005.

  1. Bandit

    Bandit New Member

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    How does the order of service go in Bahai?

    Are there any instruments used & special vocals in the praise & worship?
     
  2. arthra

    arthra Baha'i

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    Hello Bandit!

    Thanks for your questions!

    How does the order of service go in Bahai?

    Reply:

    Every day Baha'is individually recite certain obligatory prayers... a choice of three kinds of prayer... one short one around noon or a medium prayer three times a day or a long one every twenty four hours. These prayers are preceded by ablutions while facing the Qiblah or Bahji in the Holy Land. They resemble somewhat the Muslim obligatory prayers but as noted they are said privately and not in congregation.

    ___________________________________

    We have what is called a "Nineteen Day Feast" ...there are nineteen of these throughout the year to make a 361 day solar calendar.

    Feasts are for Baha'is only.

    Every day and Baha'i month is named after the attributes of God. Anyway our community gathers together every Nineteen Days for a "Feast"..this consists of three parts.

    The first part consists of prayers from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, the Bab and Abdul-Baha or readings from Holy Scriptures like the Qur'an, the Bible, etc. usually in that order.

    Second part deals with administrative information about our community such as the budget, news from our National office and a period of consultation with community members.

    The third part consists of informal socializing and refreshments.

    ___________________________________

    There are also occasional Devotional Meetings that are open to anyone and can consist of prayers, readings as arranged by whoever is presenting them.

    _______________________________________

    Are there any instruments used & special vocals in the praise & worship?

    Reply:

    There can be... that is if someone wants to they can play a guitar or sing or play music. There are Baha'i artists that publish their music on casettes and DVD's...

    Generally at our Houses of Worship there is only vocal music or choirs allowed and no instruments.

    - Art
     
  3. Bandit

    Bandit New Member

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    Hi Art:)

    these 19 services a year are the 'main' services where everyone in Bahai gathers?
    so that is like, about every two weeks & i am guessing on the weekend so more people can go. right?


    i think i would like the third part the best:)
     
  4. Popeyesays

    Popeyesays New Member

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    Actually, it's every 19 days, no matter what the day of the week. A Feast SHOULD be celebrated on the Feast day, but if the community has other engagements as a community they might elect to hold it on another day. Few communities will move a Feast day to a weekend, but some do set it to a particular day of the week - usually becaue they rent a facility as a center and it is easier to schedule it for a regular day.

    The calendar has 19 months, each month has 19 days, each month and each day have unique names. There is no "week" in the Baha`i calendar. To make this 361 day year come out even with the solar year, we have a season of gift giving and hospitality that lasts four days (five in a leap year( called "Ayyami-ha" or intercalary days.

    The Fellowship port ion is enjoyable, but the Feast is a wholistic kind of thing, you need to do it all.

    Regards,
    Scott
     
  5. arthra

    arthra Baha'i

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    Nineteen Day Feasts

    Bandit wrote:

    these 19 services a year are the 'main' services where everyone in Bahai gathers?
    so that is like, about every two weeks & i am guessing on the weekend so more people can go. right?

    _______________________

    As Scott wrote already usually the Feasts are held every nineteen days. The Baha'i day begins at sunset so the Feast is normally held between sunset of one day and sunset the next...most often the evening before.

    Here's a site where you can see the Badi Calendar used by Baha'is and inspired by the Bab...and is this calendar that we use to plan our Feasts:

    http://www.planetbahai.org/media/BadiCalendar161.pdf

    And

    http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/encyclopedia/b/ba/baháí_calendar1.htm

    _______________________________

    Holding the Nineteen Day Feasts are the responsibility of the Local Spiritual Assembly of each locality where nine or more Baha'is reside.

    - Art
     
  6. Bandit

    Bandit New Member

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    thanks Popeye & Art. Now i understand the every 19 days.


    so the house of worship does not have any instruments, though you have some choirs & solos.
    a lot of places today are using sound tracks over live instruments.
     
  7. Popeyesays

    Popeyesays New Member

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    Our Houses of Worship have special rules which only apply to them - one is a capella vocal music.

    At regular Baha`i Feasts and Holy Days held in homes or centers all around the world there is no such restriction.

    Our Temples (Mashriqul Azhkar = Dawning Place of God) are special, there are only eight. Oceania, India, North America, Australia, Europe, Africa, Central America, and one in construction for South America.

    Regards,
    Scott
     
  8. smkolins

    smkolins Bahá'í

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    It should be noted that these prayers and quotes are chosen and offered by individuals.

    Also Baha'is often live in areas where there are too few to manage the economics of renting or owning space for such meetings and thus meet in eachother's homes.

    Sometimes the Feasts are offered with a full dinner, often a coordinated pot-luck, but could just be modest refreshments and most often inbetween.
     
  9. Bandit

    Bandit New Member

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    Ok. I am also curious, would the old hymn Amazing Grace qualify for a Bahai song?
    & where would be a place online to see some lyrics or a hymnal?
    or i guess you can just put (copy&paste) one set of lyrics up here if you want to.
     
  10. arthra

    arthra Baha'i

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    I think "Amazing Grace" could be sung but it would be as a Christian hymn rather than a "Baha'i song".

    Here are examples of Baha'i songs:

    http://bahai-library.com/?file=compilation_bahai_songs.html

    There are a few I know that are modified from Christian hymns because in the late nineteen sixties a lot of people in South Carolina became Baha'is and brought their Gospel traditional singing with them...

    There are some songs that have African, American Indian, Hawaiian as well as Persian infuences.

    - Art
     
  11. Popeyesays

    Popeyesays New Member

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    "MUSIC

    This wonderful age has rent asunder the veils of superstition and has condemned the prejudice of the people of the East.

    Among some of the nations of the Orient, music and harmony was not approved of, but the Manifested Light, Bahá'u'lláh, in this glorious period has revealed in Holy Tablets that singing and music are the spiritual food of the hearts and souls. In this dispensation, music is one of the arts that is highly approved and is considered to be the cause of the exaltation of sad and desponding hearts.

    Therefore .... set to music the verses and the divine words so that they may be sung with soul-stirring melody in the Assemblies and gatherings, and that the hearts of the listeners may become tumultuous and rise towards the Kingdom of Abha in supplication and prayer."

    (Compilations, Baha'i World Faith, p. 378)

    We use "Amazing Grace" all the time, especially at devotional gatherings. Tradition has it that "Nearer My God to Thee" was Abdu'l Baha's favorite Christian hymn, though you won't find an authoritive source that says that. Many traditional things are said about Abdu'l Baha that can only be traced to "The Book of Hearsay".

    Regards,
    Scott
     
  12. Bandit

    Bandit New Member

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    thanks for the link to the Bahai songs. I see some familiar ones. There are some christian religions who use the same original tunes but change the lyrics.

    i know of one christian religion that also does not believe in using instruments during service & they sing acapella.
    interesting.:)
     
  13. arthra

    arthra Baha'i

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    I think this is because we live in a largey Christian area ... the songs are borrowed. In India Baha'i songs are influenced by Bhajans or those sung by the people there... I've heard some Chinese Baha'i music that's influenced by Chinese music and so on.

    There are also chants in Persian and Arabic of Baha'i prayers and these can be musical.

    Remember the instruments can be used locally in our Feasts... It's only at the House of Worship there is a restriction.. and there are a lot of instrumental Baha'i music on CD's.

    Our Baha'i music culture is very new and developing...

    - Art
     
  14. Popeyesays

    Popeyesays New Member

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    There is a strong symphonic musical tradition growing for Baha`i music as well. The dedication of the Terraces on Mount Carmel for instance featured world-renowned composers and world-class orchestra and choir.
    "
    Both of the orchestral works composed for today's inauguration are deeply connected to this theme. The first piece of music in the program was "O Queen of Carmel!," a cantata in three movements, written by Tolib Shahidi, a composer from Tajikistan. The second piece, "Terraces of Light," was composed by Lasse Thoresen, who is one of Norway's best known classical composers.

    Mr. Shahidi's piece is based on a eulogy by Shoghi Effendi, who led the Baha'i Faith from 1921 to 1957, to "the Queen of Carmel," as Baha'is sometimes refer to the Shrine of the Bab. Lyrical and melodic, it made for a serene opening work.

    Mr. Thoresen's composition is an oratorio in five movements, corresponding to the five paragraphs and essential themes found in the stirring Tablet of Carmel, a key piece of Baha'i Scripture, which was written by Baha'u'llah about the role that Mount Carmel plays in religious history and as the world center of His Cause. Its modern rhythms and complex intensity were stirring.

    Both pieces were performed by the Israel Northern Symphony Haifa, under the direction of Stanley Sperber, with support from three Canadian soloists -- mezzo-soprano Patricia Green, tenor Stuart Howe and baritone Brett Polegato. Also featured were Austrian violinists Bijan Khadem-Missagh, his son Vahid and daughter Martha, and the Transylvania State Philharmonic Choir of Cluj, Romania.

    The interplay of human voices and the orchestra, in an outdoor setting at the foot of Mount Carmel, with the audience facing upward toward the beautifully illuminated Shrine of the Bab, was a moving experience for many of the participants, most of whom had been selected by their national Baha'i governing bodies to represent their country at this event.

    The musical climax of "Terraces of Light" was timed to occur just after the sun had set, and as the music reached its crescendo. The 19 terraces were lit up one-by-one in a brilliant flourish that will be remembered by participants for a lifetime. " http://www.nsw.bahai.org.au/hawkesbury/Terracesnews.htm

    Regards,
    Scott
     
  15. smkolins

    smkolins Bahá'í

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    At the Holy Year celebration at the Second World Congress had acapella as well as instrument associated music. We happen to have at least one participant in the music of that event with us on the boards, if he is of a mind to comment. He has in fact toured often with Baha'i choral groups.
     
  16. Popeyesays

    Popeyesays New Member

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    You mean Bruce Limber, of course.

    Scott
     
  17. BruceDLimber

    BruceDLimber Baha'i

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    Greetings, Bandit!

    Yes, I sing with both the Voices of Baha and the Baha'i Gospel touring choirs, as well as the local Baha'i chorale here in the DC area. :)

    And both choirs routinely sing "Amazing Grace" as part of their repertoires!

    As to the restriction on instruments at the seven (soon to be eight) Baha'i Houses of Worship, this applies only to the main temple area. In the downstairs meeting rooms, instruments are welcome.

    We sing lots of different sorts of music, including some Christian music (especially spirituals and gospel music); in addition, we have plenty of uniquely Baha'i music by various composers, including Baha'i gospel music and several classical styles!

    I hope you get to hear us someday! :)

    And in the meantime, you can at least hear excerpts of many of our songs at: www.global-music.org

    BTW, as to worship services, various Baha'i communities hold these as well as prayer meetings (these are separate from our Nineteen-day Feasts, and the public is warmly invited!). In addition, the Baha'i scriptures say that work--our professions--done in a spirit of service to humanity--ranks as worship of God!

    Best,

    Bruce
     
  18. Bandit

    Bandit New Member

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    Hi Bruce:)
    thanks for the reply. i would enjoy the classical styles & gospel/spiritual that is for sure.
    i will have a listen to the excerpts also.

    the extra prayer meetings are a plus IMO.
     

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