About five centuries ago, with the birth of modern science, the study of music became optional. Paradoxically, today, it is science that suggests the reincorporation of music in a formative context for the human being.
It is of great importance that Aristotle, in the eighth book of his Politics, he would dedicate a larger space to the analysis of music than other disciplines of education. It is here where the complex nature of music is observed by the philosopher, where he recognizes for this art, among other things, the faculty of amusement, but also a way to free men from the fatigue of work, to allow a good use of leisure, and also to provoke happiness and to praise the soul. Within his analysis he suggests that, “It is not easy to find out what its nature is, nor for what reason it should be developed; perhaps for recreation and rest, like sleep and drink?” (Politics, 1339a15-19) .When discussing whether it should be understood as fun, play or a path for education, he points out:
“reasonably, it can be placed in all of them and seems to participate with them. Play has rest as its purpose, and rest must be pleasant (for it is a cure for suffering due to the hard work of labors), and amusement must have, according to common agreement, not only beauty, but also pleasure (for happiness is composed of both elements), and we all affirm that music is of the most pleasant things.” (Politics, 1339b15-21)
In the 12th century, during the time universities were being developed, the Latins thought that music made possible the shaping of free men. For them, music -the number in time-, completed a body of knowledge whose object of study was the “number”, a set of learnings that had as purpose to instigate man’s freedom through erudition. This body of knowledge, called Quadrivium, also included arithmetic -the study of number per se-, geometry -the study of number in space-, and astronomy -the study of number in time and space.
Almost a millennium later, neurosciences nowadays have found in music a cognitive stimulus and a powerful medium through pedagogical and therapeutic applications, whether as a tool in accelerated learning, or in the treatment for neurological disorders, dementia, and mental illnesses such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, among others.
In a relentless way, modern science has not ceased to add elements that invite to redefine the art of sounds organized in time.
Philosophers and aesthetes, artists and scientists of all kinds, have turned their attention to music and have contemplated it from different points of views as diverse as one can think of. This diversity of approaches mingles in the increasing encounter of concepts that place music as one of the most enriching phenomena in human history.
Today we have scientific knowledge and evidence that suggest a new theoretical systematization, which will turn the attention and the consideration of different specialists to reestablish some aspects of public policies in education and health; policies that give music a fundamental place in the curricula, as it happened from the ancient to the medieval world.
It was only five centuries ago, with the birth of modern science, that the study of music became optional. Paradoxically, it is this science that, through the knowledge it has gathered, suggests the reintegration of music in the formative context of the human being.
Aristotle referred to music as a vehicle for the elevation of the soul. He did so after having recognized its most evident properties, such as its amusement quality. Today we speak of a return to the Aristotelian conception under a new consciousness, which goes beyond music as recreation, and places it as a formative instrument of very powerful magnitudes.
Because, just like an unnourished body can make the soul perish, a scarce soul ends up by letting the body die.