Sunday, August 21, 2011
Musings about Muses - Polyhymnia
I sat in church today, mulling over an article about music during writing as a topic, mostly reviewing my research about the muses. In Greek mythology, Polyhymnia was (or is) the muse of hymns. I sing hymns every Sunday morning when I attend church. I wondered about the Christian church and how it would view a Greek demigoddess as the source of their music. Then, I realized, she would be the source of all religious music regardless of religion because that was what a hymn was - the musical embodiment of faith.
Imagine. A Greek demigoddess just embodied a concept that crosses ancient belief structures that have been in contention for nearly as long as they existed. Well, mainly among a few, anyway. Every church, synagogue, temple, mosque, etc. that has any music of any form would have the spirit of Polyhymnia within their walls. I know Muslims don't necessarily have singing in their mosques, but I have heard the Call to Prayer before. The way it is intoned it vibrates similarly to song. Hindu, Native American, Pagan, and other religious faiths have some form of music involved in their worship. "Hymn" does not strictly apply to a book of songs one finds in a church. It is wherever musical vibrations are used to gain closeness, acceptance, even the attention of one's own chosen deity.