In Charles Frazier’s Cold Mountain, the theme of music is one of the novel’s most powerful themes. From symbolizing character growth to the healing of physical wounds, music plays an integral part in this novel. While many critics will point out that music has little effect on the human psyche, Charles Frazier shows his belief that music does indeed have a profound effect on the human mind throughout Cold Mountain. Throughout the novel, Inman, Ada, Ruby, Stobrod, and many other characters experience music that allows them to keep faith against the odds or even heal their wounds! There are three major types of music used in this novel; hymn music, folk music, and “natural music”. It is through these types of music that the characters in this novel regain their strength to continue their journeys. Many critics of Cold Mountain claim that Frazier ignored certain historical facts in order to make his point. However, when writing about the music of the South during the Civil War, Frazier stays very accurate in the use and power of music. In the world of Cold Mountain as well as the historical South, music is an extremely powerful force.
Even though there is only one scene in this novel that involves a church, hymn music is one of the most prominent themes in Cold Mountain. Even more surprisingly, Frazier’s usage of hymn music throughout the novel is very accurate. Hymn music during the Civil War was extremely important to the Christian churches as well as to society as a whole. Religious music was a wonderful representation of the values and culture of the times (Squire 237). It is through hymns during the Civil War that values and culture are passed down. The hymns of Monroe’s church caused Ada to grow...
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...venate, and even save the lives of people. To Frazier it is through music the meaning to life is found.
1. Bealle, John. Public Worship, Private Faith: Sacred Harp and American Folksong.
Athens: U of Georgia P, 1997.
2. Berger, Melvin. The Story of Folk Music. New York: S.G. Phillips, 1976.
3. Carlin, Richard, and Bob Carlin. Southern Exposure: The Story of Southern Music in
Pictures and Words. New York: Billboard, 2000.
4. Douglas, Winfred. Church Music in History and Practice. New York: The Hale
5. Frazier, Charles. Cold Mountain. New York: Vintage, 1998.
6. Jennings, Lane. “Where, Oh Where, Have the Good Old Songs Gone?” Futurist
Nov/Dec. 2003. EBSCOhost. Online. Academic Search Premier. 7 Feb. 2004.
7. Squire, Russel. Church Music. St. Louis: The Bethany P, 1962.
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