Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Passionate tones

Sometimes when reading the ancient Christian authors I run across a line of thought that is so different than ours today; the following piece is a good example.

Music and Painting require the same precautions; all these arts are of the same taste and tendency: as to music, we know that the ancients thought nothing was more pernicious to a well regulated republic, than to admit an effeminate melody: it enervates men, unbending and sensualizing their minds: languishing and passionate tones please only, by subjecting the soul to the seducement of the senses, till it becomes intoxicated by them. It was on this account, that the magistrates of Sparta broke all the instruments, the harmony of which was too delicate; and this was one of the most important parts of their policy. On the same account Plato strictly forbids all the luxurious tones of Asiatic music; and Christians, who ought never to pursue pleasure only for the sake of pleasure, are under much stronger obligations to guard themselves against these dangerous entertainments.

  This thought, which is completely foreign to me, may have been the chief reason that hymns were composed without the beat and melody of our modern music which is specifically written to excite the passions. Music which I was raised on and saturated the background of my life. The intoxication of music is what I seek when listening to music. Odd, that this was looked down upon; certainly manhood, protection and ability to war was a prevalent thought in rearing boys. I found this interesting and thought provoking.
How times change. 

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