Music and Christianity

According to the early Christian views The positive power of music coordinates to the prayer and even tends to take its place. The euphony is associated with the God and the most explicit way of praising Him. A musician receives the role of a priest to some extend as he possesses the mystery and masters the instrument that awakens the feeling of the God’s grace and creates harmony to soothe the rebelling hearts.

On the other side cacophony and dissonance are understood as the attributes of the Devil. The most unpleasant for a human’s ear musical interval received the name “diabolis in musica” in the early nineteenth century. This was tritone- a musical interval consisting of the three tones. For its tension and sinister sounding it was prohibited by the Catholic church. Being a dissonance the accords based on tritone are extremely difficult to be sang. Nowadays it seems that all the horror movies soundtracks are full of that sequence of notes. Certain musical instruments commonly associated with wine and entertainment were also banned. The sounds of flute were considered to be sinful no matter if they were heard or produced by the people. In the hell these musical instruments turned into the instruments of the torments, as seen from the triptych by Hieronymus Bosch “The Garden of Earthly Delights” where the lutanist is chained to his lute as the to the pillory, and the harper is prostrated on his harp as on the incandescent rack. This point of view is formed by the primitive attitude to the divine: God is graceful and Satan is dreadful.

The Christian apologetic of the middle ages changed the point of view on the matter of what should be considered to be from God and what from devil. The evil side of music was accepted to possess a certain beauty and mesmerizing enchantment of the darkness. But these characteristics were meant to alienate the humans from God and to seduce them with the earthly pleasures and actually evil ideas. The music which wasn’t aimed to serve the goal of the prayer and humbling the souls was considered to be the tool of the devil who was manipulating the people by affecting their emotions. That’s why coping with the slightest feelings was popular among the people in that period of time, as being lead by the feelings was considered to make the human vulnerable and unable to resist the evil powers.

It is important to see that various tunes and sounds may have different impact on the human emotions and mental state. Certain music instruments were banned by church as they appeared to destroy the hierarchy by disturbing the minds and giving to impulse to riot which wasn’t acceptable for a real Christian. Thus music turned out to be not only and aid but also a strong instrument of influencing and controlling the congregation. The hidden power of a sound is being studied now as it is still terra incognita.

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