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From:  Trevor Jenkins
Date:  Tue Feb 22, 2000  10:53 am
Subject:  Re: Writing Songs

On Monday, 21 February, 2000 22:28:22, Stuart Thiessen

> One of the most controversial subjects I have ever had to deal with in a
> church is the subject of music. Some deaf people in the churches I've
> attended love music and some hate music. Music is something that has
> generally been a transcultural phenomenon among Christian churches.

Recently I attended a meeting of the Deaf Christian Fellowship in London. As
a hearer I was amazed that the worship was sung, though I use that term
loosely -), but what amazed me more was that they used songs and choruses
from the hearing church---some of which embody theology/symbolism that is
difficult to fathom evenfor those with theological training. (If someone
could tell me what panoply means and then how to translate into sign I would
love to know.) At the end of the worship I wondered why there was no Deaf
liturgy; we have different styles of worship and hymns in the hearing church
why not in the Deaf church?

> The
> style, lyrics, instruments, etc. may vary but music is an integral part
> of Christian worship.

Durig this DCF meeting the only true instrument was a large drum. Who ever
was hitting it wasn't always in time with those singing. :-)

> I wondered if there was a way to use DanceWriting (or some other aspect
> of the movement notation) and Signwriting to transcribe signed songs,
> both those translated from existing hearing songs and those created by
> deaf signers themselves. I would like to capture the rhythm and the
> "flow" of the song so that the song is not just a bunch of signs strung
> together, but a song that has been translated into a visual format for
> deaf participants to enjoy.
> Any thoughts or responses??

I too have been thinking this. We've recently started a Deaf ministry at our
church. A small group of people with various stages of sign language
knowledge. I'm in the post-beginners camp, which is where most of us are
(about 8). We have three or four through the next stage. We have one member
who is working on recognition as an interpreter.

We also have some songwriters in the church. Matt Redman was our worship
director; he is now the same at our youth church in the adjacent larger

At the moment we are limiting our signing activities to the worship. When
our Deaf members come we try to give them 1-on-1 support during the
preaching. Occasionally we will arrange for an interpreter if the service is
evangelistic or we have a special preacher.

For the worship we have discussed having a standard interpretation of the
songs. We have been given this advice by someone who started the Deaf
ministry in one of the large London churches. I have thought that
SignWriting would be the ideal transciption scheme (a sort of signed
songbook) simply because HamNoSys and Stokoe notations are more cryptic. At
conventional font sizes they might not be readable in worship situations.
Also they require considerable training to be able to use properly. Based on
success that Ronald H. Dettloff has had in teaching
SignWriting to all ages, including children, in his congregation this is the
way to go.

Of course, in an ecclesiastical environment one needs more than "hymn
books". There are the Scriptures and for us Anglicans the liturgy. Again
Ronald has made a wonderful start with the KJV into ASL. I'd have prefered
he used the NIV but someday I pray we'll have a signed translation.

Collaboration between us might be impractical because I'm working with BSL
and I suspect that you (Stuart) are using ASL. Although there are lexical
borrowings from ASL into BSL they are still very much separate and distinct
languages. Even SignWriting doesn't help with cross-cultural translation.

If there are other BSL users here with an interest in this topic maybe they
would like to get in touch off-list?

Regards, Trevor

British Sign Language is not inarticulate handwaving; it's a living
language. So recognise it now.


<>< Re: deemed!

  Replies Author Date
2906 Re: Writing Songs Valerie Sutton Thu  2/24/2000

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