"Music the fiercest grief can charm, And fate's severest rage disarm: Music can soften pain to ease, And make despair and madness please; Our joys below it can improve, And antedate the bliss above. This the divine Cecilia found, And to her Maker's praise confin'd the sound. When the full organ joins the tuneful quire, Th' immortal pow'rs incline their ear; Borne on the swelling notes our souls aspire, While solemn airs improve the sacred fire; And angels lean from Heaven to hear. Of Orpheus now no more let poets tell, To bright Cecilia greater pow'r is given; His numbers raised a shade from Hell, Hers lift the soul to Heav'n." - Pope.
In any new departure from the prescribed or conventional order of things in life there are always those who seek to put obstacles in the way. They are the people who say, "Let well enough alone, our fathers and forefathers did what we are doing, and what was good enough for them is good enough for us." Such argument, for a time, carries more or less weight with that large body of people who never do any thinking for themselves. It is not to be expected that the healing done through music and colour will meet with approbation or even approval from all sources. But if it is true that healing can be best accomplished through the use of music and colour, then in the end the truth shall surely prevail.
One might easily enumerate the various objections that are likely to arise from those in opposition to its use. The chief objection would be that while it might prove of some benefit to a nervous-minded person, yet it could never be used to heal real physical diseases. How is it possible that such abstract qualities could be made to affect a concrete physical body? Such people reason as though the body were something separate from the soul of man. Why, the very repetition of a sad tone or tones will tend to lower the pulse and oppress all the vital functions, while a bright, cheerful tone will have exactly the opposite effect. Now if that is true, and it is something that is susceptible of demonstration, how can anyone sing without producing an effect upon the whole physical organism? I am certain that the physical well-being of the body can be more influenced by man's inner emotional nature than by any or all other causes; that the best music does more to awaken that inner nature than almost anything else in life; and that harmonies of sound and colour may be so used to act upon the emotional nature that through such action the whole body may be quickened and renewed. Every one knows how the emotions affect the circulation, either to quicken or to retard it. Harmonious emotion also tends to set up a rhythmic action of the breath, and this rhythm produces a still further rhythmic action of the whole body. It will be found, too, that the breath not only becomes rhythmic, but that there is a decided increase of the quantity of the air breathed in, and therefore the body receives more oxygen and other life-giving properties from the without. All people must be conscious, too, of the disturbing effects produced on the body by the false and unreal emotions of anger and hate; how both these emotions set up un-rhythmic and discordant movement throughout the whole organism. If King Saul was soothed and charmed by music so that his evil passions were overcome, surely music could be used for the overcoming of unreal conditions to-day just as much as in that far-away day. We all know, if we would only stop to think, how worry and anxiety leave their lines on the face, and how vice writes its tale of disease and death daily upon the countenances of men and women. The people who fret, scold, and grumble, not only breed moral pestilence, but eventually undermine their own health. They poison themselves and the atmosphere in which they live. To harbour anger and hate against another not only poisons the mind, but the body also. Anger and hate produce more disease than all other known causes. Anything, then, which tends to overcome or eliminate anger and hate must be productive of great good, since it must act not only as a mental regenerative, but also as a health tonic to the body.
All musical tones, whether made by the voice or by an instrument, produce not only emotional and mental changes within the life of the one making or listening to them, but also structural changes of the body. Take a person who feels rhythm and loves music, and you will find such a person expressing a rhythm of movement through his whole physical organism. With the aid of music we can set up habits of correct physical movement so that after a time it becomes, as it were, automatic; and these right habits, when once established, have a reflex influence both on the mind and the body. That is, if one consciously establishes a rhythm in walking or any other movement, after a time, even if one is mentally out of rhythm, the habit of rhythm will have become so established in the body that it continues automatically, and not only this, its reflex action on the mind will tend to call back again mental rhythm. There is more of real magic for human good in beautiful tones produced either by the voice or a master player of some instrument, than in any belief in creeds or observance of forms. They serve to call out more of the religious element in man than any or all external religious ceremonies. They conceal within themselves a power capable of producing the deepest emotions in the listener. While under the spell of beautiful music all the functions of the body are exhilarated and harmonised. We know, too, that the emotions, when dominated by the spirit of love, joy, and faith, constitute the greatest influence toward higher living; and this, of a necessity, must have its direct action upon the physical organism. Let me cite here an incident connected with the great Italian singer Farinelli: "When Farinelli first visited the court of Philip V., King of Spain, where he became afterward so great a favourite, that monarch was labouring under a total dejection of spirits, which rendered him incapable of attending council, or transacting the affairs of state; and had the still more singular effect of making him refuse to be shaved. The Queen, who had in vain tried every common expedient that was likely to contribute to his recovery, determined that an experiment should be made of the effects of music upon the king, who was extremely sensible to its charms. Her majesty contrived that there should be a concert in a room adjoining the king's apartment, in which Farinelli, who had never as yet performed before the king, should sing one of his most captivating songs. Philip appeared at first surprised, then moved, and at the end of the second air, called for Farinelli into the royal apartment, loaded him with compliments and caresses, asked him how he could sufficiently reward such talent, and assured him that he could refuse him nothing. Farinelli, as previously instructed, only begged that his majesty would permit his attendants to shave and dress him, and that he would endeavour to appear in council as usual. From this moment the king's disease abated; and the singer had, ere long, all the honour of effecting a complete cure."