Noise levels in worship...
As a Presbyterian Church of America (PCA) pastor of a church in Bloomington that has many Indiana University School of Music grads and undergrads in our fellowship, it's always been a challenge to balance our congregation's disparate musical tastes. Our liturgy is quite straightforward, adhering closely to the practice of reformation Geneva, but our music is eclectic (not the words--they're always doctrinally solid and tending to the objective, with a healthy dose of Psalm 73 subjectivity). For leadership of our congregational singing, our normal practice is to accompany the singing with a band or to sing the hymns a capella. This means half the people are happy half the time (or not happy half the time). But we love each other and...
love covers a multitude of prejudices even though, at times, we forget to love and our prejudices masquerade as principles (or even theology).
Anyhow, in recent months we've learned more than we ever wanted to know about echo, decibel levels, and acoustics. My son, Joseph, spent about a month pouring his time into a crash course on sound systems and acoustics. In the course of his study, he sent me the link to this helpful web page, pointing me also to this best quote:
Question: Certainly listening to Beethoven and Mozart is not the same as working around factory noise![?]
Answer: When the differences in the time spent listening to music and working in noise are taken into account, there is very little difference between the exposure one receives from Beethoven's Fifth and an assembly line in a factory. Some reports state that if you like the music it is slightly less damaging than noise of equal energy. Indeed, this appears to be the case, but it should be emphasized that enjoyment of the music only offers a very slight decrease in your likelihood to suffer a hearing loss.
Classical music is some of the loudest music performed. How come people don't complain about the volume levels at classical concerts but they will complain about an electric guitar played at a lower decibel level? You know the old saying, "All an Englishman's preferences are a matter of principle."