Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The Art of Gregorian Music

The CMAA is pleased to present "The Art of Gregorian Music" by Andre Mocquereau, a lecture delivered in 1896. I do believe that this is the first essay to appear on the web by Mocquereau, a man whose contributions to the art and science of sacred music need far more attention and appreciation.

Plato has given us an excellent definition of music. "It is," he says, "art so ordering sound as to reach the soul, in­spiring a love of virtue." He would have the best music to be that which most perfectly expresses the soul's good qualities. "It is to serve no idle pleasures," he says in another place, "that the Muses have given us harmony, whose movements accord with those of the soul, but rather to enable us thereby to order the ill-regulated motions of the soul, even as rhythm is given us to reform our manners, which in most men are so wanting in balance and in grace." This was the high ideal which the Greeks had of music. It was, in their conception, the expression of order in all things: far from regarding it as a mere pastime, they made it the indispensable foundation of civilization and morality, a source of peace and of order for the soul, and of health and beauty for the body. Their masters were insistent that "rhythm and harmony should be so identified with the minds of the young that as they became more balanced and composed, they might be better able to speak and act aright. For, as a matter of fact, man's whole being has need of rhythm and of harmony." Continue Reading...

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