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Stayin' alive! How music has fought pandemics for 2,700 years

Using music

During the plague of Saint Charles in the summer of 1576, religious gatherings were banned in Italy for fear of contagion. But nothing could stand in the people's way.

Following a call to go to church in spirit, they launched a collective act of social and musical defiance, opening windows and doors and started to sing together in a harmonious voice. It was such a sight that Milan appeared as "the heavenly Jerusalem" itself.

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Stayin' alive! How music has fought pandemics for 2,700 years

Stayin' alive! How music has fought pandemics for 2,700 years

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2020/apr/06/stayin-alive-how-music-fought-pandemics-2700-years-coronavirus

theguardian.com

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Key Ideas

Using music

During the plague of Saint Charles in the summer of 1576, religious gatherings were banned in Italy for fear of contagion. But nothing could stand in the people's way.

Following a call to go to church in spirit, they launched a collective act of social and musical defiance, opening windows and doors and started to sing together in a harmonious voice. It was such a sight that Milan appeared as "the heavenly Jerusalem" itself.

Music connects

Music is a very powerful tool during quarantine. People in Italy, Spain, and the wider world are using music to bring their communities together.

When you're making music, you submit your mind and body to its regulation. When you're doing the Macarena with your neighbors, you're contributing to the larger goal of the group and inspire global solidarity.

Other benefits of music

Since the time of ancient Greece, medicine claimed that maintaining a positive mind can help treat physical disease.

  • During the Renaissance, patients were encouraged to compose and study art and play music.
  • When plague approached England, Henry VIII chose his organ player as one of the five men he quarantined with.

Music asks that we laugh, and sing, and dance, and seems to be a real antidote to fear, just as the Renaissance doctors claimed.

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