Music and Healing

Roadkill Rhapsody

To the unaccustomed ear, Gregorian chant sounds something like, “ErrrrrrrrrER!errrrr…” which is certainly not everyone’s proverbial cup. Even so, I’ve seen or heard people moved to tears (of joy!) by amateur plainchant, exhausted, worn-out, neo-conservative roadkill saying of their first experience of traditional chant, “That was so healing,” mourners at funerals – in which the circumstances of death were too horrible to describe – saying afterwards, “I did not think that anything could make me feel better today, but that music did,” and non-religious visitors requesting religious instruction after their first experience of chant, with the words, “I never felt anything spiritual in my life until today.”

I’m not gloating about chant. Not everyone loves it, and bad organum is torture. My point is that it’s interesting to think of music in general, and the Church’s liturgical music in particular, as something other than decoration, recreation, or personal…

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