MSS 2/0186-02	     Acc. 1992-067-01


 Manuscripts on music,
[ca. 1839] 


Rene La Roche, son of a French physician of the same name, was 
born in Philadelphia on 23 September 1795.  He married Mary 
Jane Ellis in 1824; they had at least two daughters and one 
son.  La Roche died of prostration in Philadelphia on 9 December 

La Roche received his M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania 
in 1820.  He was an active member of the Kappa Lambda Association 
of Philadelphia, edited the North American medical and 
surgical journal, and wrote extensively on yellow fever. 
 His best known work was Yellow fever, considered in 
its historical, pathological, etiological, and therapeutical 
relations (1855).

He was also a member of the Academy of Natural Sciences, American 
Medical Association, American Philosophical Society, Pathological 
Society of Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania Prison Society, and 
the Philadelphia Medical Society.  From 1827 to 1861, La Roche 
was a Fellow of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia.

Scope and contents

This collection consists of three holograph manuscripts 
on music and numerous holograph notes that were used in preparing 
the manuscripts.  The unpublished manuscripts might have been 
written as three separate essays or as chapters for a book. 
 Topics addressed in the manuscripts include ancient Chinese 
music, music in religious ceremonies, and music in different 

The first manuscript is housed in a folder on which La Roche has 
written "Music in China   Egypt".  The manuscript, titled "Observations 
on the Ancient Music of the Chinese", is based on Abbe Arnault's 
French translation of a work by Ly Kuang ty.  Arnault proposes 
that Chinese music is based on the music of the ancient Egyptians. 
 Although La Roche agrees that both the Egyptians and the Chinese 
used music to calm the passions, enlighten the mind, and inspire 
a love for virtue, he ultimately disagrees with Arnault's assumption. 
 After a thorough examination of ancient Chinese music, musicians, 
instruments, and ceremonies, La Roche examines other theories 
about the origins of Chinese music.  La Roche concludes that 
the differences between Chinese andjEgyptian music 
suggest that neither influenced the other, but that both were 
derived from the music of the Greeks.

In his second manuscript, La Roche examines "the effect of music 
in inspiring and fostering religious feelings".  La Roche describes 
how music elevates the soul and sublimes the thoughts, allowing 
for the contemplation of the Divine.  According to La Roche, 
"hymns and harmonies of devotion are as effective as sermons 
in leading the heart from sin".  The manuscript then discusses 
the use of music in religious ceremonies, using examples from 
the Bible and from ancient cultures.  

The final manuscript, which does not have a title, begins on 
page twenty two.  In the text, La Roche argues that the music 
produced by a nation reflects the emotions and feelings of the 
people in that nation.  Thus, a lively and gay population will 
enjoy lively and gay music, while a melancholy population produces 
melancholy music.  La Roche describes the instruments and "national 
airs" of various countries, and then discusses the music of 
different nations in terms of rhythm, tempo, and harmony.  La 
Roche concludes his essay by assigning a "degree of musical 
feeling" to each country; Germany, Italy, and Spain are given 
the highest rankings.

La Roche's manuscripts on music are very rough drafts with numerous 
additions and deletions.  La Roche frequently wrote only on 
the right half of the page in order to leave room on the left 
side for quotations and insertions.  In many cases, small pieces 
of paper and clippings are attached to the manuscripts.  Included 
with the manuscripts are numerous pages of notes and quotations, 
some of which are in French.


This collection of Rene La Roche's manuscripts on music 
were separated from the Rene La Roche manuscript treatise on fevers 
and was reviewed by Karen Adelman in 1973.  The source of the 
material is unknown.

The collection was processed and catalogued in 1992.

[ca. 1839]
1 box (8 folders)


MSS 2/0186-02		Acc. 1992-067-01


Manuscripts on music,
[ca. 1839] 

1.  "Observations on the Ancient Music of the Chinese"
    	[pp. 1-20 with extra 
	unnumbered pages, n.d.]		(1 folder) 	[n.d.]

2.  Notes on the music of the Chinese				
	[n.d.]		(1 folder)	[n.d.]
3.  Manuscript on "the effect of music in 
	inspiring and fostering religious feelings" 
    	[pp. 1-10, n.d.]		(1 folder)	[n.d.]

4.  Notes on music and religion
	[n.d.]		(1 folder)	[n.d.]

5.  Untitled manuscript on music of different nations 
     [pp. 22-35, n.d.]		(1 folder)	[n.d.]

6.  Miscellaneous notes on the music of different nations
     [n.d.]		(1 folder)	[n.d.]

7.  Notes on the music of different nations, 
	divided according to nation
	[ca. 1839]		(2 folders) [ca.1839]

[ca. 1839]
1 box (8 folders)