Communicating With The Gods Through Music
Humans have had many unifying traits across the centuries no matter where they lived. They form rules regarding the treatment of their dead, participation in sexual activities and they make music. While there have been countries and cultures that have sought to ban music, this is mostly because of the power they recognize in it. Here are some of the reasons that music has become a tool so universally linked with communicating with deities.
Music is evocative
There are certain sounds that we automatically associate with moods. Operas make use of this. You can feel the various characters in "Peter and the Wolf" just by listening to the members of the orchestra play their parts. Without words, we intuitively understand this. On some level we may be trying to reach out to the gods or goddesses by speaking to them in the most evocative way that we know. As a result, many prayers and incantations have been put to music.
Memories are better formed when paired with sound
In the creation of a hymn from what was previously only a prayer, the writer is able to make the words easier to remember. Consider the words to familiar jingles. As long as there was a melody, they incorporate themselves much more thoroughly into your long term memory. There are people with Alzheimer's disease who cannot remember their loved one's faces but can still sing all of the words to a tune they learned in childhood. The melody allows the words to be quickly learned and repeated by the whole group so that they can join together in their petition to whichever deity they worship.
Music can create a meditative state
Sound is powerful not just on an emotional level but on a cerebral one. There are tones that can bring the brain into a trance state. While this knowledge has mostly been lost from modern science, it is slowly being recovered. There are ancient places of worship in which the architects appear to have used their knowledge of acoustics to create buildings that would use sound to radiate peace. This would put the worshipers in a better frame of mind to give praise.
The need to make music or at least to experience it seems to be ingrained in the human psyche. In our attempts to communicate the divine, we most often use the methods we feel works best.