Music, Death and Sorrow

One similarity that I found between “God’s Trombones” and “Hallelujah” almost immediately is the strong connection in themes of music, death and sorrow. The excerpt from “Go Down Death: A Funeral Sermon” especially highlighted this with its lamentations over the death of a mother, and the family left behind who are encouraged to “weep no more” as she has gone home to heaven. This reminded me of the scene from Hallelujah when Zeke brings home his brothers body and breaks out in song as his family mourns their loss. The next scene shows Zeke’s rebirth as Ezekiel. Both of these scenes show an initial death and sadness, followed by a comfort found within religion to move on from the pain to renewal and regeneration. These are very common themes in religion, especially Christianity.

Within the review that was left for God’s Trombones, I saw language that described the emotions and rhythm that I felt when watching Hallelujah. Aside from the religious themes, more specifically the vocal ranges of Zeke as well as his poetic words. James Weldon Johnson, who was the writer of “Seven Negro Sermons” found his inspiration from the preachers of old times, such as played by Ezekiel, and the great orator figure that Johnson describes these preachers as, matches the character in Hallelujah. The reverence, the power behind his voice carry the weight of both pain and great strength, and I think that’s very apparent just from listening to one song. This oracle power that is intertwined with religion gives a meaning behind the stories, and brings them to life.

3 thoughts on “Music, Death and Sorrow

  1. I really appreciate the connections you made between the two moments you mentioned in the first paragraph. Finding comfort in religion is a very common theme among older black works, and using music as a way to show that also popular

  2. I also enjoyed your connection between the two scenes that show death and sadness being followed by regeneration and rebirth. In one of the videos I watched, Dr. Lerone Martin expresses this communal moment in churches where everyone comes together to cry, shout and sing. He describes a feeling of the congregation’s pain being his own and his own pain belonging now to the congregation. I believe that this is a useful way to regenerate pain into growth and eventually happiness.

  3. I appreciate how you extrapolated and connected the themes from the movie and gods trombone. Music is a way to express a lot of difficult emotions and you captured how the movie worked that in well.

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