chapter  15
Paracelsus
Renaissance music therapy and its alternative
ByPeregrine Horden
Pages 5

The creative revival of interest in classical antiquity that we – like those who brought it about – call a Renaissance or rebirth was a movement that came at differing times and in differing forms in the visual arts, in letters, in philosophy, in music, and in medicine. 1 But so far as the history of music as therapy is concerned, one development was crucial. This development is what gives the subject its Renaissance, a period that differs from the preceding Middle Ages (which are, of course, ‘middle’ only because Renaissance scholars saw them as an intermediate embarrassment between antiquity and its rebirth). It distinguishes the fifteenth, sixteenth, and early seventeenth centuries 2 as an era when musical therapeutics attained a philosophical centrality, a cultural resonance, among educated Europeans greater than it has enjoyed at any time before or since – and greater than it seems likely to enjoy in the future, at least until the ‘New Age’ truly dawns.