No Fan of Church Music!

Music sullies the Divine Service, for in the very sight of God, in the sacred recesses of the sanctuary itself, the singers attempt, with the lewdness of a lascivious voice and a singularly foppish manner, to feminize all their spellbound little followers with the girlish way they render the notes and end their phrases. Could you but hear the effete emotings of their before-singing and their after-singing, their singing and their counter-singing, their in-between-singing and their ill-advised singing, you would think it an ensemble of sirens, not of men; and you would be astounded by the singers’ facility, with which indeed neither that of the parrot or the nightingale can compare, nor of whatever else there may be that is more remarkable in this kind, can compare. Indeed, such is their glibness in running up and down the scale, such their cutting apart or their conjoining of notes, such their repetition or their elision of single phrases of the text — to such an extent are the high or even the highest notes mixed together with the low or lowest ones — that the ears are almost completely divested of their critical power, and the intellect, which pleasurableness of so much sweetness has caressed insensate, is impotent to judge the merits of the thing heard.

–John of Salisbury (d. 1180), on early polyphony

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