Dr. Terry Watkins
NO. . .
In fact, music influences and manipulates us more than we know.
Note. This material does not even "scratch the surface" of the enormous amount of material
I have found - with little effort, on the effects of music. It is also worth mentioning that most
of the following material is not from a Christian perspective.
And when we refer to music, we are referring to the score or composition.
And not the lyrics.
Music effects the human body in subtle, but powerful ways.
A well established fact is the human body and mind can be controlled and altered with
music. Many scientific and medical studies have proved conclusively the tremendous effects
of music upon the human physiology and anatomy. Music is used to lower blood pressure,
treat mental illness, depression, mental retardation, insomnia and many others.
Musicologist Julius Portnoy found that not only can music, "change metabolism, affect
muscular energy, raise or lower blood pressure, and influence digestion," but "It may be able
to do all these things more successfully ... than any other stimulants that produce those
changes in our bodies." (Tame, David, The Secret Power of Music, p.
Clinical researchers at the U.C.L.A. School of Nursing in Los Angeles, and at Georgia
Baptist Medical Center in Atlanta, found that premature babies gained weight faster and were
able to use oxygen more efficiently when they listened to soothing music.
At Baltimore's St. Agnes Hospital, classical music was provided in the critical-care units.
"Half an hour of music produced the same effect as ten milligrams of Valium," says Dr.
Raymond Bahr, head of the coronary-care unit.
The great pianist and composer of the 1800's, Frederic Chopin, at the age of ten, was often
summoned to play for the Grand Duke Constantine, governor of Poland. The Duke had
recurring seizures of madness which could seemingly be controlled only by Chopin's music.
When the little boy played, the seizures abated and the governor could resume his normal
activities, only to send for Chopin again when the musical medicine wore off.
How does music help? Some studies show it can lower blood pressure, basal-metabolism and
respiration rates, thus lessening physiological responses to stress. Other studies suggest music
may help increase production of endorphins (natural pain relievers) and S-IgA (Salivary
immunoglobulin A). S-IgA speeds healing, reduces the danger of infections, and controls the
heart rate. Studies indicate both hemispheres of the brain are involved in processing music.
Dr. Sacks explains, "The neurological basis of musical responses is robust and may even survive damage to both hemispheres" ("Music's Surprising Power to Heal," 8/92 Reader's
"To the question, 'Does music affect man's physical body?' modern research
applies in the clear affirmative. There is scarcely a single function of the body which
cannot be affected by musical tones. The roots of the auditory nerves are more widely
distributed and possess more extensive connections than those of any other nerves in the
body. Investigation has shown that music affects digestion, internal secretions, circulation,
nutrition and respiration. Even neural networks of the brain have been found to be sensitive
to harmonic principles" (Tame, David, The Secret Power of Music, p.
Music can also be dangerous to the body.
Dr. Adam Knieste, a musicologist who studies the effects of music upon people
"It's really a powerful drug. Music can POISON you, lift your spirits,
or MAKE YOU SICK without knowing why." (Family Weekly Magazine, January
30, 1983, p. 12, article by David Chagall)
Rock music can literally kill.
The view that music is amoral or neutral with no inherent power to effect is completely
proven false by extensive research performed on plant life. Rock music, with it's hard
driving beat, played to plants will kill the plants - while soothing classical music causes the
plants to grow twice as fast.
"Paradoxical as it may seem, music's effect upon the more primitive
vegetable kingdom is one of the most convincing methods of all for proving that music does
affect life, including human life. For experiments conducted with humans, and even,
to some extent, with animals, have the extra factor of the mind to contend with. This means
that while men or animals may be demonstrated to have been affected by tones, the effect
may not have been a direct or objective one. Rather, the effect upon the body may have
been caused by the mind's subjective reaction to the music heard. In the case of plant-music
research, however, psychological factors cannot really be said to be present. If music
can be shown to affect plants, then such effects have to be due to the objective influence of
the tones directly upon the cells and processes of the life-form."
"An intensive series of studies carried out by Dorothy Retallack of Denver, Colorado, demonstrated the effects of different kinds of music on a variety of household plants. The experiments were controlled under strict scientific conditions, and the plants were kept within large closed cabinets on wheels in which light, temperature and air were automatically regulated. Three hours a day of acid rock, played through a loudspeaker at the side of the cabinet, was found to stunt and damage squash plants, philodendrons and corn in under four weeks. Mrs Retallack played the music of the two different Denver radio stations to two groups of petunias. The radio stations were KIMN (a rock station) and KLIR (a semiclassical station). The Denver
`The petunias listening to KIMN refused to bloom. Those on KLIR developed six beautiful blooms. By the end of the second week, the KIMN petunias were LEANING AWAY from the radio and showing very erratic growth. The petunia blooms hearing KLIR were all leaning TOWARD THE SOUND. Within a month all plants exposed to rock music DIED.
In another experiment, conducted over three weeks, Dorothy Retallack played the music of Led Zeppelin and Vanilla Fudge to one group of beans, squash (marrow), corn, morning glory and coleus; she also played contemporary avant-garde atonal music to a second group; and, as a control, played nothing to a third group.
Within ten days, the plants exposed to Led Zeppelin and Vanilla Fudge were all LEANING AWAY FROM THE SPEAKER. After three weeks they were stunted and DYING. The beans exposed to the 'new music' leaned 15 degrees from the speaker and were found to have middle-sized roots. The plants left in silence had the longest roots and grew the highest. Further, it was discovered that plants to which placid, devotional music was played not only grew two inches taller than plants left in silence, but also leaned TOWARDS THE SPEAKER. (Tame, David The Secret Power of Music, p. 142 - 144)
All the plants that were next to the rock music - LEANED AWAY FROM THE SPEAKERS - trying to get away from the music! And to show that it was not just the noise itself - the plants next to the classical music - LEANED TOWARD THE SPEAKERS - actually trying to get closer to the music.
In the end - ALL the plants next to the rock music - DIED!
Do you still think music is neutral?
Rock music, not the lyrics - JUST THE MUSIC, has been scientifically proven to
And some Christians actually believe that the giver of LIFE - the Lord Jesus
Christ is the author and god of "rock and roll"! The One that made the plants and LIFE
itself, is the author of a killer - Rock music! What could be more
Jesus Christ said in John 10:10, ". . . The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to
KILL, and to destroy: I am come that they might have LIFE, and that they
might have it more abundantly."
John 14:6, says "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the
LIFE: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."
And Christian rocker Larry Norman expects you to take him seriously when he falsely
"rock music comes from God through the church".
(Hart, Lowell Satan's Music Exposed, Salem Kirban Inc., 1980 p.20)
Christian rock band Petra has the gall to sing "God Gave Rock and Roll to You".
If you love the sound
And don't forget the source
you can love the rock
and let it free your soul
God gave Rock and roll to you
Gave Rock and Roll to you
Put it in the soul of everyone
Is music neutral - Absolutely Not!
Music by the arrangement of rhythms, tones and harmonics can have deadly effects! David
Tame writes in The Secret Power of Music:
"In conclusion, we can say that insofar as the physical body is concerned, the
notion that music has no effect upon man, or that all music is harmless, is absolutely in error." (Tame, David The Secret Power of Music,
Rock music can literally cook an egg!
Drs. Earl W. Flosdorf and Leslie A. Chambers found in a series of experiments that shrill sounds projected into a liquid media coagulated proteins. A recent teenage fad was that of taking soft eggs to rock concerts and placing them at the foot of the stage. Midway through the concert the eggs could be eaten hard-boiled as a result of the music. Amazingly few rock fans wondered what that same music might do to their bodies. (Larson, Bob The Day Music Died, p.116)
If music is neutral - how is it that certain music can literally break glass!
Bob Larson writes in The Day Music Died:
Perhaps you have seen the demonstration of the breaking of a glass by synchronizing high frequency vibrations with the vibrations of the chemical combination of the molecules in the glass. This in a word picture is what may happen physiologically to the human body when dancing frantically to rock music. (Larson, Bob The Day Music Died, p.124)
Music has a profound effect upon the mind. . .
One of the most frightening display of the awesome power of music upon the human brain
occurred in the conversion of Patty Hearst. In February, 1974, Patty Hearst was kidnapped
by the Symbionese Liberation Army. But shortly after the kidnapping, Patty is helping the
SLA rob banks. You wonder how they converted her? Dr. William Sargant, Britain's
foremost expert on brainwashing examined Patty Hearst. Here's his alarming conclusion
from Newsweek magazine, February 16, 1976, (p. 24):
". . .she was an unwilling victim of a "FORCED
CONVERSION" or brainwashing. According to Sargant, a person whose
nervous system is under constant pressure can "inhibit" and "exhibit paradoxical brain
activity - bad becomes good and vice versa." And that, Sargant argues, is precisely what
happened to Patty. . . .Her nervous system was kept at maximum stress by the continual
playing of loud ROCK MUSIC."(Newsweek, February 16, 1976
Not the LYRICS! Not the WORDS! But simply the MUSIC!
"Music is used everywhere to condition the human mind. It can be just as powerful as a drug and much more dangerous, because nobody takes musical manipulation very seriously." (Family Weekly, January 30, 1983, p. 15)
". . .music is more than a language. It is the language of languages. It can be said that of all the arts, there is. . . none other that more powerfully moves and changes the consciousness." (Tame, David The Secret Power of Music, p.151)
Dr. Howard Hanson, of the of the famous Eastman School of Music, University of
Rochester, and one of the greatest authorities on music, stated:
"Music is a curiously subtle art with innumerable, varying emotional connotations. It is made up of many ingredients and according to the proportions of those components, it can be soothing or invigorating, ennobling or vulgarizing, philosophical or orgiastic. It has POWERS FOR EVIL as well as for good." (The American Journal of Psychiatry, vol. 99, p.317)
But isn't music just notes and chords, etc.? How can notes be "bad" or "good"?
Tim Fisher, former music professor, and founder of Sacred Music Services, gives this
excellent analogy in his book, The Battle for Christian Music:
"Perhaps some of you are asking yourselves the question, But how can a
musical note be inherently good or bad? Aren't notes just a matter of pitch variation, tonal
vibration, compressions and decompressions of air? Those are fair questions, Let's look at
this more closely. Years ago I heard a tape of a man who was defending the neutrality of
music in a public service. He walked over to the piano and played a C major chord. Then,
he asked the audience if it was a good C major chord or an evil C major chord. After some
scattered laughter, he said `See, there's no such thing as good or evil music,' He made a
rather obvious mistake, however, in his reasoning: a C major chord isn't music! It is a
building block of music-and there's a big difference."
"Take the English language, for example. If I write the letter 'e' is that a good 'e' or a bad 'e'? Neither. As a building block of the English
language it is a neutral entity. However, I as a creative writer can put that letter in
conjunction with other letters and communicate something like ...
Praise the Lord...
I hate God.
"In both of the above usages I have taken neutral letters and put them together
to communicate something to you. However, what I have communicated is definitely
not neutral, and my intent is clearly conveyed. "(Fisher, Tim The Battle for
Christian Music, pp 60-61)
Lowell Hart in his book, Satan's Music Exposed, writes of the following
"The unsuspecting "guinea- pigs" were a teenage boy and girl. They had
never met previously and were completely unaware of any strange happenings. Unfortunately
for them, as they sat getting acquainted in a cozy "private" room with soft music playing in
the background, their reactions were being observed and recorded. When classical music and
soft ballads were piped into the room they talked and were friendly, but somewhat aloof.
When pop music and jazz were played they quickly developed a much "friendlier"
attitude and began to hold hands and put their arms around each other. When the music
changed back to classical and ballads they would again become more formal and reserved. If
the music would swing back to the jazz and pop music "their formality would give way to
familiarity."(Hart, Lowell Satan' s Music Exposed, p.63)
Highly-respected, Professor Alan Bloom, professor of social thought at the University of
Chicago, who has also taught at Yale, the University of Paris, the University of Toronto,
Cornell and many other schools, writes in his best-selling book, The Closing of the
"Nothing is more singular about this generation than its ADDICTION
to music. . . It is their passion; nothing else excites them as it does; they cannot take
seriously anything alien to music. . . I suspect that the rock addiction, particularly in the
absence of strong counter attractions, has an effect similar to that of drugs."
(Bloom, Alan The Closing of the American Mind, pp 68...81)
Another "proof" of the effects of music on a person is the billion dollar industry called
Muzak or "moodsongs". Muzak is the "mood music" that is piped into stores, airports,
doctor offices, et. al. in order to "create an atmosphere". The book, Elevator
Music by Joseph Lanza, tells the history of Muzak and other moodsongs. Lanza
describes an episode at the Hilton in Las Vegas when rock music was used as the
"moodsong". And because of the rock music customers experienced petit mal seizures! Lanza
writes, "A doctor friend, a psychiatrist, later told me that kind of pulsation might
create problems. I've gone into markets, telling them they are killing their business
with high-speed rock." (Lanza, Joseph Elevator Music, p.142)
Lanza also states, "Some background music has been known to induce musicogenic
epilepsy, triggering a chemical brain reaction that elicits thoughts of suicide or
murder. . .doctors had documented seventy-six similar cases." (Lanza, Joseph
Elevator Music, p.194)
Lanza also makes this startling statement:
". . . music designed to soothe can be altered to TORMENT, .
(Lanza, Joseph Elevator Music, p.196)
It's worth noting, that we are not talking about "lyrics" but simply the instrumental
Rock music has been proven to obstruct the brain's ability to think!
In 1978, a California music therapist, investigating the effects of rock music on teenagers,
administered to 240 school children aged 10-18 an emotional stability test during which rock
. was being played. The results were then examined by a psychologist who was unaware of
the experiment. He concluded that the test had been given in a mental
institution.(Hart, Lowell Satan's Music Exposed, p.101)
Is this one of the reasons, since the 1960's, when rock music began "taking over", our
education system has been a disaster? Despite spending billions and billions of tax payers
dollars on our education system - we can no longer teach the average young person even
simple reading and arithmetic!
The Bible clearly teaches music is NOT neutral!
Anyone who has read 1 Samuel 16, knows that music is not nuetral. Even back during the
time of Saul (around 1079 B.C.) they knew the power of music. When the "evil spirit from
the Lord" began troubling Saul - it wasn't a doctor or soothsayer they called -
but a musician! David! They knew music had inherent
powers! They knew music wasn't neutral!
14 But the spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from
the LORD troubled him.
15 And Saul's servants said unto him, Behold now, an evil spirit from God troubleth
16 Let our lord now command thy servants, which are before thee, to
seek out a man, who is a cunning player on an harp: and it shall come to pass,
when the evil spirit from God is upon thee, that he shall play with his hand, and thou shalt
17 And Saul said unto his servants, Provide me now a man that can play well, and bring
him to me.
18 Then answered one of the servants, and said, Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse the
Bethlehemite, that is cunning in playing, and a mighty valiant man, and a man of
war, and prudent in matters, and a comely person, and the LORD is with him.. .
23 And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul,
that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and
the evil spirit departed from him.
Who that has ever read 2 Chronicles 5 could ever believe that the Lord thought music was
neutral? At the sound of music - the glory of God was so strong the priests could not even
stand "for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of God."
13 It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers were
as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the LORD; and
when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of
music, and praised the LORD, saying, For he is good; for his mercy
endureth for ever: that then the house was filled with a cloud,
even the house of the LORD;
14 So that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud: for the glory
of the LORD had filled the house of God. (2 Chronicles 5:13-14)
The Apostle Paul clearly, taught in 1 Corinthians 14 that certain sounds, by
themselves, had meaning and are not neutral.
7 And even things without life giving sound, whether pipe or harp,
except they give a distinction in the sounds, how shall it be known
what is piped or harped?
8 For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the
battle? (1 Corinthians 14:7-8)
Let their be no doubt. . .
Music is not neutral. Has never been neutral. Nor ever will be neutral.
Anyone who suggests music is neutral, goes against all known disciplines of science,
musicology, academics, medicine, physiology and the word of God.
"Like human nature itself, music CANNOT POSSIBLY BE NEUTRAL in its spiritual direction ... ultimately all uses of tone and all musical lyrics can be classified according to their spiritual direction, upward or downward. ... To put it plainly, music tends to be of either the darkness or of the
light. (Tame, David The Secret Power of Music, 1984 p.187).
Neil Postman, professor of communication arts and sciences at New York University and a
highly respected critic, educator, sociologist, and communication theorist who has written
more than fifteen books. states point-blank, in his book, Amusing Ourselves to
"To maintain that technology [music] is neutral. . . is. . . stupidity
plain and simple." (Postman, Neil Amusing Ourselves to Death, p.
Dr. Schoen, writes in The Psychology of Music:
"Music is the most powerful stimulus known among the perceptive senses.
The medical, psychiatric and other evidence for the non-neutrality of music is so
overwhelming that it frankly amazes me that anyone should seriously say
Tim Fisher writes in The Battle for Christian Music:
"It is almost impossible to overstate the absurdity of the claim that
music is neutral, amoral, or void of communication by itself. . . Those who have
looked beyond the current music publications know that no one has ever taken the position
that music is neutral except for Christians in the last twenty-five years who are trying
to justify bringing rock into the church."(Fisher, Tim The Battle for Christian
Dr Alfred B. Smith, author of many hymns and choruses including the chorus, "For God So
Loved The World" and editor of Living Hymns states:
"Some would have us believe that all music is a-moral and that it is only the
words that make it Christian or not. I beg to differ with this philosophy! . . .
music in itself is a language which can capture and control the very thoughts and actions of
an individual, a crowd, or a nation. It is the fountainhead for good or for evil!
As one must be discerning in the device of their friends and their food for a happy
and healthy life ... so we must be careful and prayerful in the music we chose to listen to or
sing." (Hart, Lowell Satan's Music Exposed, foreword)
In his famous work Laws, Plato could have been writing about Christians and
their foolish insistence that music is neutral in order to justify their love for wicked rock
"Through foolishness they, the people, DECEIVED THEMSELVES
into thinking that there was no right or wrong in music that it was to be judged good or bad
by the pleasure it gave." (Plato, Laws as quoted by Tame, David
The Secret Power of Music, p. 189)
It's important to note, that musicologist, David Tame, who shows no sign of being a
Christian, makes these alarming statements:
"More than any other form of the misuse of sound, it is rock with which we
must deal today. ... It is a global phenomenon; a pounding, pounding destructive beat which
is heard from America and Western Europe to Africa and Asia. Its effect upon the soul is to
make nigh-impossible the true inner silence and peace necessary for the contemplation of
eternal verities. ... How necessary is it in this age for some to have the courage to be
the ones who are `different', and TO SEPARATE themselves out from the pack who long
ago sold their lives and personalities to this sound. . . I adamantly believe that rock in all its forms is a critical problem which our civilization must get to grips. . . if it
wishes long to survive" (Tame, David The Secret Power of Music, 1984
IS MUSIC NEUTRAL?
Not according to EVERY serious scientific, medical, physiological and psychiatric research known.
Not according to EVERY serious musicologist.
Not according to the word of God.
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