By James Kennaway
Tune has been used as a remedy for affliction considering that way back to King David's lyre, however the proposal that it'd be a major explanation for psychological and actual disorder used to be infrequent until eventually the past due eighteenth century. at the moment, physicians began to argue that over the top tune, or the inaccurate type of song, may perhaps over-stimulate a weak apprehensive method, resulting in disorder, immorality or even dying. seeing that then there were successive waves of ethical panics approximately intended epidemics of musical anxiety, because of every little thing from Wagner to jazz and rock 'n' roll. It was once this clinical and important debate that supplied the psychiatric rhetoric of "degenerate tune" that used to be the explanation for the persecution of musicians in Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. via the Fifties, the point of interest of scientific nervousness approximately tune shifted to the concept "musical brainwashing" and "subliminal messages" might pressure the nerves and bring about brain keep watch over, psychological affliction and suicide. extra lately, the superiority of sonic guns and using song in torture within the so-called warfare on Terror have either made the topic of song that's undesirable for the overall healthiness worryingly topical. This e-book outlines and explains the advance of this concept of pathological tune from the Enlightenment until eventually the current day, offering an unique contribution to the historical past of medication, song and the physique.
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Additional info for Bad Vibrations. The History of the Idea of Music as a Cause of Disease
172. 36 Bad Vibrations when stimulation is notably increased. 58 For instance, an article by Fr. Guthmann from 1806 used overtly Brunonian words, and took the argument, found in Cheyne’s The English Malady, that luxury is bad for the nerves, and applied it to the musical luxury that had long been subject to moral criticism: When I look at the current state of the sciences and the arts, I cannot help thinking that our current era is suffering from weakness due to over-stimulation in intellectual and aesthetic terms, just as doctors say it is in physical terms (from direct asthenia).
76. ‘Es würde mir leicht fallen, bei dieser Gelegenheit zu beweisen, dass sich die 52 53 Wirkung der Musik nach der Reiztheorie bestimmen lasse. Grosse Musikkenner haben selbst in der Erregungstheorie die Grundsätze entdeckt, nach welchen man den Effekt, besonders der Theatralmusik, voraus bestimmen kann’; Joseph Frank, Erläuterungen der Erregungstheorie (Heilbronn, 1803), p. 341. For a Brunonian view of music in Italy, see Guglielmo Schlesinger, Dell’ influenz fisica e morale della music sull’ uomo (Pavia, 1842).
Sutton, Science for a Polite Society: Gender, Culture, and the Demonstration of Enlightenment (Boulder, CO, 1995). From Sensibility to Pathology 29 physicist Pierre Bertholon de Saint-Lazare to enjoy huge success with his book L’électricité du corps humain (‘Electricity of the Human Body’), which argued that illness is due to a lack of animal electricity. 26 Although these medical ideas about nerve stimulation had become the implicit basis of much thinking on music, for most of the eighteenth century few commentators voiced serious fears about music’s effects.