In ancient Greek musical theory, harmony was seen as being endowed with a natural virtue capable of altering the rational faculties of the listener’s soul, to the extent of depriving that person of his freedom. The many theological implications of this classical axiom featured in early modern theological debates. In fact, the traditional uses of material objects in the liturgical and spiritual practices, and the sensory experiences associated with them, are at the heart of the Reformation discourse. Reformers and traditionalists are affected to some extent by efforts to separate the sacred and the profane, to reorder gender relations, and to discipline human conduct according to new moral standards. It was impossible for music not to be implicated in the Reformation conflict and its consequences. Instances of crisis, conflict, and change in Milan and Geneva may provide ideal opportunities to explore the ways in which music was experienced, repressed or promoted.
Keywords: Religious history, Music, Carlo Borromeo, Jean Calvin, Social control, Censorship.