Here are some interesting quotes by Calvin:
"It would be a too ridiculous and inept imitation of papistry to decorate the churches and to believe oneself to be offering God a more noble service in using organs.... All that is needed is a simple and pure singing of the divine praises, coming from the heart and mouth, and in the vulgar tongue.... Instrumental music was tolerated in the time of the Law because the people were then in infancy." 1
"The Levites, under the law, were justified in making use of instrumental music in the worship of God; it having been his will to train his people, while they were as yet tender and like children, by such rudiments, until the coming of Christ. But now when the clear light of the gospel has dissipated the shadows of the law, and taught us that God is to be served in a simpler form, it would be to act a foolish and mistaken part to imitate that which the prophet enjoined only upon those of his own time. From this, it is apparent that the Papists have shown themselves to be very apes in transferring this to themselves."2
Because of these beliefs, many church organs were taken down, broken apart and used for other things. Here is another interesting quote about organs from Cotton Mather:
""And because the holy God rejects all He does not command in His worship, He now therefore in effect says to us, I will not hear the melody of thy Organs." 3
This is rather tricky because organs were not around in Bible times, thus they are not listed in the Bible. The Author of the book, Robert M. Stevenson says of Calvin, "In Calvin’s mind, music, when he did allow it, was conceived as Spartan in simplicity; like St. Augustine he knew the emotional power of music sufficiently well to fear it." 4
It is important to have a sort of "fear," when dealing with music. I believe that this fear should be a fear of God. But, I do not believe that instruments such as organs, and part singing cannot be used for worship. I do believe that those who are not trained in part singing should not be forced to do so to worship, but on the other hand, I do not believe that it is wrong to sing your part if you know it.
The 3rd chapter was on John Merbecke and the First English Prayer Book. I learned that the Archbishop Cranmer helped to translate the Latin verses into English and make them fit the origional tunes. He had John Merbecke help him in adapting the music for the Booke of Common Praier noted and insisted that there should only be one musical note per syllable. 5 Merebecke's musical talent later helped save him from execution.
These are just a few things I read and learned. I am interested to hear if you have any thoughts on the above quotes.
1. Stevenson, Robert M. Patterns in Protestant Church Music. London, England: The Duke University Press, 1953. pg. 14
2. Ibid pg. 15
3. Ibid pg. 17
4. Ibid pg. 21
5. Ibid pg. 26