© 2018 Hymnprovisation.

Website Design by Stephen Leckenby, Inc.

Terms & Conditions  |  Privacy Policy

  • Hymnprovisation on YouTube
  • Chris Dortignac on LinkedIn Icon
  • Hymnprovisation on G+

ABOUT HYMNPROVISATION

This site exists to serve the church and individual Christians who have a passion to make excellent music for the glory of GOD. We believe He deserves only the best. We may not attain to that this side of glory, but we strive for it in every way we know how.

This ministry is dedicated toward bringing praise, glory and the honor due to Chief Musician and King of kings, The Creator of mankind, of nature, and of this wonderful thing we call music! Music was designed to bring Him glory, honor, and praise. It is Him we seek to glorify, not we ourselves.

MEET CHRIS

Hi, I’m Chris Dortignac. I’ve been a church pianist in Southern California for over 20 years, now residing in the greater Coeur d’ Alene area, teaching and ministering part time in local places of worship.

 

When I was 9 years old, my worst nightmare came true: Dad came home and told us to gather up all of our Legos because he was going to get rid of them! We were shocked to say the least-Dad wasn’t cruel: he just had something much wiser in mind! Of course, we didn’t know that then, and convinced him to give them to the neighbor (figuring we would still get to play with them sometimes). So what does this have to do with music? Looking back, it was one of the best things that ever happened to us because he replaced Legos with musical instruments. Now we had a choice: we could learn to play and instrument, or go outside and play!

 

 

We weren’t forced to, but it had a good effect. Out of my 13 siblings, all of them play an instrument or instrument(s), and/or sing. Music has become a big part of our life.

I never took piano lessons because the teachers all insisted on teaching only classical and silly little songs written for children, and I wanted to play hymns and gospel songs after hearing a guy named Rudy Atwood, who skillfully utilized the entire keyboard while accompanying congregations singing the old hymns and gospel songs. My sister Tiffany had taken lessons, and she kindly taught me to read notes. The rest I picked up mostly by trial and error (mostly in a very gracious church fellowship) and from those willing to show

me what they had learned. I really can’t take credit, it has to go to the LORD who has given me the gifts I have. While by no means am the most accomplished pianist or improvisor (far from it), I have been able to pick up a few things here and there from others and apply them to playing hymns and gospel songs in churches.

This website was borne out of  the request of many people who have asked me to teach some of these things to others who play in church as well.  The purpose of this site is to share with fellow musicians, what I have learned the hard way, and am still learning, in hopes that you too, might be able to take a hymn, gospel song, or really any other music as written, and easily apply the techniques that are available to play the message of the song.

MY PHILOSOPHY OF MUSIC

NOTE: I am attempting here to vocalize my beliefs on music. These beliefs are subject to change as I hopefully mature in knowledge and understanding.

I believe… that music is a language that crosses cultural, national, and political barriers. Why? Because it speaks directly to the spirit- the mind, will, and emotions. This is why it both effective and scary in the realm of so-called “Christian” Music. I believe music was originally created by God for His people to praise Him with. Since the beginning, much of it has been corrupted, and is no longer bringing honor and glory to Him.

I believe… that all music has a message even if there are no words written to it. The question is, what message do you want to portray?

I believe… music has a definite purpose. Some music is a means of bringing praise and honor to the one we serve whether directly, or indirectly. Music can be used to tell a story, make a point, entertain, woo a lover, heal the soul, make you joyful or sad, put you to sleep, keep you awake, lead you into battle, etc…

I believe… that Scripture has a lot to say about music, but very little that can be directly applied, as some have attempted, to the style of band used, or the instruments, or lack thereof. Rather, I believe it has a lot more to do with one’s heart. While the Psalms do speak of “loud sounding cymbals”, they don’t mention 4, or 6 or 12 stringed instruments. Or, for that matter, amplifiers, trombones, clarinets, or acoustic pianos by name.  What we do know from scripture is that we are to praise the LORD with everything that has a breath. With stringed instruments, loud sounding cymbals, organs, harp, trumpets, voice, and definitely with our heart and in our spirit.

I believe… the list of instruments mentioned in the bible is in no way exhaustive. We are to bring a Psalm, hymn, and spiritual song, and make melody in our heart to the LORD. You won’t however, find “Thou Shalt Not Have Drums in Church.” In fact, I believe with all my heart that drums can be used to bring honor and praise to God. (Before you click that back button, read on!) Drums seem to have become a dividing line between fundamentalist, and contemporary Christians: Guilt by association is the unspoken thought. This is a touchy subject and more will be written on it later and in my blog. While I don’t prefer to have them in most church music, (and you will rarely find them in music I endorse whole heartedly), there are however, a few times when I believe I’d heard them tastefully used and appropriately used. That being said, most of the time in Christian music, like an excess of makeup on a beautiful face, they have become a distraction from the message of the music.

I believe… this is more a matter of the heart than of the instrument. I’m not saying there isn’t a proverbial “line in the sand”,  just that we aren’t the ones who draw that line, God is. He demonstrated this with the law when Jesus was on earth. Jesus “broke” many of the laws the Pharisees religiously kept, and Jesus said that their heart was wrong. In other words, it is not the letter of the law, but the spirit of it that is important.

I believe… that when our spirit is in harmony with the Spirit of God, than our music will reflect His character.

I believe… that not everything called CCM is necessarily bad.

I believe… that some hymns and a lot of “gospel songs” are not good music.

I believe… that most modern CCM is not good music.

I believe… that one does not need to sing opera or even in a classical style in order to bring praise to the LORD. In fact, I believe that Opera is gaudy and obnoxious, and way too much vibrato is distracting and annoying!

I believe… that Christians should not make “Christian music” as opposed to Rock Music, or some other genre, but that everything we do should be inherently through and through “Christian”, in that we are followers of Christ, seeking to honor Him above all else.

I believe… that music for the Master should be the very best that it can be, and that mediocre and lousy music should not be accepted as worthy of praise. (Would you give less than your best to play in the presence of your biggest hero?)

I believe… we should write, sing, play and record new songs, and new melodies and arrangements to old songs. I also believe there is some music which is outdated. Music that is out of tune, gaudy sounding, terribly played, horridly orchestrated or terribly sung should be gotten rid of. It shouldn’t be on the radio or performed in churches. If God has given you a song, and you can’t sing, but joy is welling up within you, by all means, sing! It’s okay to sing in your home, prayer closet, or in the shower, just don’t buy a bus and go on tour!