Southern Baptists unveiled a new web-based technology last week that allows musicians to make custom arrangements of hymns and praise songs with a few clicks of the mouse. It aims to make life easier for the local music minister, while providing a new revenue source for the denomination’s publishing company — LifeWay Christian Resources.
It’s called “SongMap,” and the website goes live today. The technology will move the Southern Baptists’ hardbound hymnal into the digital age.
LifeWay’s Mike Harland says music ministers tend to cut and rearrange music to fit their choirs and orchestras, which gets complicated.
“Mark out measures one through 12. We’re not playing those. We’re gonna start at measure 13. We’re gonna go all the way to the first ending. But we’re not gonna go back to measure 13, we’re gonna go back to measure 18 — and on, and on, and on. It does wonders for your prayer life because when you’re performing that, you’re wondering if all those volunteer musicians have the map down.”
The digital music tool puts verses, bridges, choruses and transitions in a bin and allows the user to rearrange. Then audio for the track can be downloaded and sheet music printed out for a fee. Harland says he also hopes SongMap can cut down on file sharing and copying of published material, which many people don’t realize is illegal.