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In case of illness, turn to Bach

June 20th, 2009 · No Comments · Classical Music, Genres of healing music, Music and Emotion, Music and the Mind-Body

Does Bach’s Music have a Regenerative Effect?

There is an interesting article by Avis O. Gachet, “A Walk with the Master” (Charlotte Observer, August 8, 2007), which carries the subtitle “In times of trouble, teens turn to music. Let’s hope it’s Bach.” Gachet, a personal friend from far back in Hickory, relates how the music of Bach — especially his Concerto for Two Violins and Orchestra (BWV 1043) — sustained her during her dark night of the soul many years ago. She says that Bachs music had a healing and regenerative effect on her, not only elevating her spirits, but sorting out her priorities and consoling her soul. “I am talking about something alsmost mystical,” she says. She then contrasts the music of Bach with the genres popular with the younger generation today, worrying that they lack the guiding capacities of the old Master, of whom she says: “He did not lead me astray.” In light of Plato’s reflections on the power of music in the Republic, I cannot help wondering whether Gachet has hit upon something profound. One thing is certain to me, and that is the truth that good music is more than what one happens to like. What makes music good or bad lies significantly in the objective properties of the music itself.

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