Contrapuntal Treatment

con·tra·pun·tal [kon-truh-puhn-tl]
adjective Music.
Of or pertaining to counterpoint.
Composed of two or more relatively independent melodies sounded together.

Bear with me and my semi-musically geeky self here a minute.

The other night while my husband and I were talking, we somehow got onto the subject of music and fugues. He, being rather non-musically inclined, asked me what a fugue was, and I, drawing on my ancient knowledge from Music Appreciation in college, told him it was a piece of music that is basically made up of several melodies—each line can stand on its own, yet played all together, they complement each other to make a song. I looked it up on just to see how close I was to the real thing, and sure enough, that was the gist of it.

What caught my eye, though, was where it said that a fugue is composed of “several parts or voices in turn, subjected to contrapuntal treatment...” That was something I didn't remember from Music Appreciation, so I had to click on over to learn what “contrapuntal” was. I was, quite frankly, fascinated—probably mostly because it was so much fun to say “contrapuntal treatment”!

Richard and I then started joking about how we were each our own melodies and that we were subjected to contrapuntal treatment on our wedding day, and then again when William was born. Then it hit me—blog idea!

Living contrapuntally


What started out as just having a couple laughs struck me as actually being very true. We enter this world with something to offer that no one else can. We go about our lives carrying out the tasks God has placed before us in whatever place he has called us to, and no two of us do things quite exactly like the other.

Taking the different lines of a fugue apart will give you several different voices that are able to stand on their own. But oh, the music they can make when played all together! When we live and work together in harmony—or contrapuntally, I should say—we can do great things to the glory of God, shine his light in this dark world, and lift each other up.

It's kind of like the body parts in 1 Corinthians 12—we all play a different part, “but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work” (v. 6). And the same as in music, “Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ” (v. 12). Every part is essential on its own and with others, and no one can tell you your music is no good (and even if they did, you could remind them that Psalm 98:4 says to “make a joyful noise,” not music!)

In the Round

Our lives are one big fugue, basically. You could even compare it to a round—you start your life as a counterpoint to someone else's melody that has been playing for a while. You grow up, you play your own tune, and one day that melody is joined with someone else's in a joyful contrapuntal treatment. You make beautiful music together, and, Lord willing, another little melodic line is added to your fugue in another happy counterpoint. That baby grows up, finds his own melody, and it's started all over again.

Each melodic line joins another in an unending song, starting with one fugue and then joining with another, one big round, over and over. It's one big hymn to our glorious God above!

See you in the Round!

*Scripture quotations are from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.