Music is among the many and great gifts of nature with which God, in Whom is the harmony of the most perfect concord and the most perfect order, has enriched men, whom He has created in His image and likeness. Together with the other liberal arts, music contributes to spiritual joy and the delight of the soul.
On this subject St. Augustine has accurately written: “Music, that is the science or the sense of proper modulation, is likewise given by God’s generosity to mortals having rational souls in order to lead them to higher things.”
No one, therefore, will be astonished that always and everywhere, even among pagan peoples, sacred song and the art of music have been used to ornament and decorate religious ceremonies. This is proved by many documents, both ancient and new. No one will be astonished that these arts have been used especially for the worship of the true and sovereign God from the earliest times. Miraculously preserved unharmed from the Red Sea by God’s power, the people of God sang a song of victory to the Lord, and Miriam, the sister of Moses, their leader, endowed with prophetic inspiration, sang with the people while playing a tambourine.
Later, when the ark of God was taken from the house of Abinadab to the city of David, the king himself and “all Israel played before the Lord on all manner of instruments made of wood, on harps and lutes and timbrels and cornets and cymbals.” King David himself established the order of the music and singing used for sacred worship. This order was restored after the people’s return from exile and was observed faithfully until the Divine Redeemer’s coming. — from Musicae Sacrae (1955)
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