Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


College of Arts and Sciences


Music MA

First Advisor

Paul E. Hamel


Problem Contemporary C hristian churches have a growing concern over music eth ics. A more o b jective standard than personal taste and opinion is needed to evaluate and assess both a r t music and popular music. The purpose o f th is present study was to determine a p h ilo sophy o f music h isto ry on which an o bjective standard can be based. The study also investigated the expressive function o f music. Method Two fie ld s o f investig atio n in music scholarship were c o rre la te d — the history of s t y lis t ic and instrumental development Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. 2 in Western a r t music and the s c ie n tific study o f the psychophysiological e ffe c ts o f music on the human organism. Results S c ie n tific research demonstrates th a t the musical elements o f p itc h , volume, harmony, and rhythm e l i c i t psycho-physiological responses in the human organism. Throughout the h isto ry o f s t y lis t ic and instrumental development in Western a r t music these elements have been developed in such a way as to have an increasin g ly potent impact on the human organism. Thus, a d e fin ite trend to increase the stim u lative po ten tial o f Western a r t music was traced. This trend permeates the e n tire fa b ric o f Western a r t music development and evidence fo r i t is exhibited on both the micro and macro levels o f music development. Consistently linked to th is trend is a desire fo r greater emotional expression, a move toward increased individualism and freedom in musical composition, and a gradual s h ift in o rie n ta tio n from sacred to secular music. Conclusion The history o f musical development in Western culture is not a s ta tic system in which a ll elements maintain a dynamic e q u ilib rium. The h is to ric a l facts and s c ie n tific data only allow fo r a d ire c tio n a l philosophy of mus'.c h isto ry. When aligned with s im ila r trends in the music o f two ancient c u ltu res, the process of desensit iz a tio n , s c ie n tific research in to the psycho-physiological e ffe c ts o f music, and the B ib lic a l account o f the nature o f man, the weight 3 o f evidence suggests th a t the trend is in d ic a tiv e o f a d eclin e. I t is therefore proposed th a t the h is to ric a l trend i t s e l f becomes a guideline fo r judging the r e la tiv e q u a lity o f p a rtic u la r s t y lis t ic featu res. As such i t provides a consistent and objective standard by which to evaluate a ll music.

Subject Area

Music--Psychological aspects.

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