52 | LAPHAM’S QUARTERLY
feeling, stimulates the senses, and animates
warriors; indeed the more fierce the sound, the
braver the soul in battle. Music gladdens the
sorrowful, and it strikes fear in the guilty when
the trumpet of the enemy sounds in their ears.
Music lightens the labors of shepherds and of
others, and braces those who languish; it calms
agitated souls, banishes care and anxiety, and
restrains and curbs violence. Moreover, to cite
Isidore briefly, it miraculously draws beasts and
snakes, birds and dolphins, to harken to its
strains. And what is more marvelous, it casts
out evil spirits from the body, banishing them
by a certain miraculous and hidden divine
power. If indeed, as we read, the Most High
rightly allows demons to inhabit human bodies
because of man’s inclination to numerous vices,
nevertheless when soothing melody moves the
body to the opposite inclination, say, from se-
vere depression to joy, the evil spirit departs.
Aegidius of Zamora, from Ars Musica. Born in
Spain around 1240, the Franciscan friar studied in
Paris in the early 1270s, when the city was at the
center of the commercial bird trade; this may have
inspired his interest in the songs of the natural world.
Aegidius worked for a time at the court of Alphonso
the Wise, compiling for him the Cantigas de Santa
Maria, one of the largest known collections of medie
val monophonic songs. His conservative Ars Musica
never mentions polyphony, at the time a relatively new
development in music.
Somaprabha and a celestial nymph listening to music, from a c. 1590 edition of the Kathasaritsagara, by Somadeva.