Can music be inherently evil?


#1

Is it possible for music to be inherently evil? I’m not talking about lyrics or message, but instruments and sound, and I do consider the voice an instrument, but I’m not talking about lyrics. Some people think all heavy metal is evil and such. Others think everythings all fine and some think that the only listnable music is Gregorian chant. What do you all think? Can just the sound or notes make music inherently evil?


#2

I don’t quite know what you mean by “inherently evil.” In music and Church history, there was a time when instruments were not allowed during sacred Mass, because of their impure sound, looking back at that time, I’d say it was more of a cultural, not canonical idea. Why would God create something that brings spiritual union with Him for so many, create it inherently evil? Music, by today’s definition, contains all five elements of music:
Melody, Harmony, Tone Color or Timbre and Form. Harmony exists even in monophony. If the question is about whether or not instrumental music is inherently evil, then you are singling out Tone Color. Inherently evil is abortion, not the sound of a flute.


#3

Actually, this probably belongs in moral theology, can a mod move it there please?


#4

Nothing is inherently evil. God created all things to be good. Evil is the perversion of what is good.

On that note (pun intended :p), sound isn’t evil. If you want to get Zen about it, sound is sound. Music, being the collection of sounds, also isn’t evil.

In the olden days, however, it was forbidden for composers to utilize the dreaded “tritone” in their music because of its dissonance - thus, when the tritone began to be incorporated more often in the late 19th century, you can imagine the pious public’s reaction!

Evil-sounding music, though, doesn’t make something evil. I really don’t know how you could pervert sound so that music was made “inherently evil.” :confused:


#5

well, some people talk about how rock and metal is evil because of the way it sounds and such.


#6

[LEFT]But to say all instrumental music is inherently evil is going too far. I agree, some music, Marilyn Manson, death metal, etc, is inspired by evil. Listening to it, you can hear the demons’ who’ve inspired it singing through vocal delivery, and the timbral choices made by the musicians. Heck, most of the pop stuff out there is too!
[/LEFT]


#7

I don’t know, the themes in death metal certiantly arent good or holy, but there is Christian Death metal, sure it’s really agressive, but it’s not nessisarily always evil, but I agree about Marilyn Manson, he’s a freak.

PS, how does vocal dilivery make it evil?


#8

When Troparia and Kontakia–Byzantine hymnic forms–began to be written and sung in Churches, many monks objected.

“What piety or fear of God can be evoked by these man-made songs, as the people raise up their voices like cattle lowing in their stalls?” wrote one.


#9

The “themes” of death metal aren’t really apparent until you listen to the lyrics, and I thought we were discussing intrumentation and sound alone?

The effects of the sound of music are well-documented in behavioral sciences, producing emotions, but I don’t know that this proves that the music itself is evil. Oftentimes, people with a disposition to destruction will choose music that best reflects their attitude. Naturally, when you’re feeling sad, you’ll choose to listen to something sad and its poignancy is affective. For many people, death and speed metal is actually cathartic without being destructive.

I know that the electronic-ambient musician who goes by the name “Lustmord” tries to create music which is evil-sounding, but really, what does evil sound like? :confused:


#10

I like seed metal, I’m not an angry person, I just like the sound. And sure people who are angry are going to be attracted to agressive music.


#11

The word “inherent” means… to exist in a thing, as a permanent quality.

I would have to say that the answer to your question is “No”. In my humble opinion, there are TYPES of music, that could be qualified as “evil”… but on the other hand… there is also the beauty of Sacred Music… which lifts the mind to God. So, as a “general” statement… music could certainly NOT be called “inherently evil”.

Hope this helps in some way. God bless.


#12

Thats what I mean, can types of music be inherently evil? Are certian types evil by just the sound?


#13

“bacon man” All I can offer you, is my own personal opinion on this (for whatever it’s worth). But I think a general consensus for “evil music” would be anything with satanic, violent or impure (sexually explicit) lyrics.

As for my own taste… I don’t know if I would call this type of music “evil”… but I have a decided dislike of any kind of music which contains a repitious, noisy, mind-numbing “beat”. I suppose there are several types of music which could fall in that catagory. That kind of music really sets my teeth on edge.

When exposed to such music… I get the feeling that I’m being pummeled over the head with a baseball bat. :rolleyes: And I often experience migraine headaches from such music. And all I wanna do is RUN from it. :smiley:

You’ll probably get a great many, varied opinions of what is and isn’t irritating to the ear. But I’m not sure if anyone is prepared to say a certain type of “sound” could be evil. :shrug: Lyrics, yes. But sound? Hmm… not sure.

God bless you.


#14

I’m not sure, but I find it hard to separate certain types of music from the images they convey. Take rap, for instance (at least in my experience). Most popular rap titles have this heavy, undulating bass in the background. Due to my upbringing, that bass conjures up alot of weird images. 3 words: high school dance. Enough said.

Maybe certain rhythms and beats tend to arouse certain emotional states, making you more likely to think reprehensible thoughts or do reprehensible actions.


#15

LOL - “Ice, Ice, Baby” I may be dating myself, but hey, I hear ya!

Interesting point. Back in Colonial Times, and earlier, people thought that certain keys or tonal centers and qualities (Major, minor, etc.) would upset one’s Humors. Humors, to my recollection, were the colored fluids in one’s body. Red, Sanguine or Blood, had to do with Love, Passion, Anger, Fever. Yellow, Bile, Stomache maladies, etc. I may be wrong in my recollection though, I’d look it up if I were less lazy. Pieces that were written in minor modalities, ended in Major to keep the listener and musician’s Humors in balance.


#16

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.