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Both from the Ears and MindThinking about Music in Early Modern England$
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Linda Phyllis Austern

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780226701592

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226704678.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 29 June 2022

“Comfortable… in Sicknes and in Health”

“Comfortable… in Sicknes and in Health”

Music to Temper Self and Surroundings

(p.217) Chapter Five “Comfortable… in Sicknes and in Health”
Both from the Ears and Mind

Linda Phyllis Austern

University of Chicago Press

Chapter Five considers the therapeutic benefits of music and musical performance as preventive medicine, cure for a range of mental and physical ailments, and means to influence the human organism from insubstantial interior faculties to specific bodily organs and systems. It establishes the changing place of music in medical thought and practice from the Classical heritage through new programs of healing and anatomical knowledge in the seventeenth century. It also takes up the issue of music in human ecology, as a means to achieve and maintain equilibrium not only within the self, but also natural and social surroundings. Music worked in conjunction with other salutary practices such as nutrition and physical exercise, and was used slightly differently by women and men of the same social status. Music had an especially remarked place in humoral medicine, particularly for melancholy, and was connected most closely to the passions of joy and sorrow. The same slipperiness that enabled music to signify other things also meant that, in spite of some accord about the affective connotations of certain musical structures, choice of music for personal maintenance, restoration, and to accompany routine salutary practices remained highly individual.

Keywords:   affect, emotion, healing powers of music, humors, melancholy, music and mental health, music as exercise, music as medicine, passions, sadness

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