United in the Idea of Innocence and Joy

Music in Masonic Ceremonies

By: Bert Dalton
Grand Musician

Bert Dalton

It is a great honor, very humbling, and a pleasant surprise to be asked to return to the office of Grand Musician. There are many moments in Lodge meetings where music is appropriate. We hope to encourage more use of live or recorded music, and in the near future will be making available recordings and suggestions of music appropriate for lodge use.

MWGM and Grand MusicianThe purpose of music in the [Masonic] ceremonies is to spread good thoughts and unity among the members” so that they may be “united in the idea of innocence and joy,” wrote L.F. Lenz in a contemporary edition of Masonic songs. Music should “inculcate feelings of humanity, wisdom and patience, virtue and honesty, loyalty to friends, and finally an understanding of freedom.” 1

For this issue, I hope you might enjoy this 1789 painting by Ignaz Unterberger depicting Brother Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart attending a lodge initiation in the lodge “New Crowned Hope” in Vienna, Austria. He is seated in the lower right hand corner next to his friend Emanuel Schikaneder, librettist for “The Magic Flute.” The lodge is believed to be “New Crowned Hope” (“Zur Neugekrönten Hoffnung”).

Mozart_in_lodge,_Vienna1Mozart was initiated in the Viennese lodge “Zur Wohltätigkeit” (“Beneficence”) on Dec. 14, 1784, passed to the degree of Fellowcraft Jan. 7, 1785, and raised to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason “shortly thereafter.” 2 “Beneficence” Lodge was consolidated with two other lodges in 1785, the newly consolidated lodge being named “New Crowned Hope.” Mozart’s father, Leopold, joined the same lodge that in 1785.

MozartMozart incorporated Masonic symbolism in many of his works, most notable “The Magic Flute.” An excellent book for further reading on this painting, and on Mozart’s relationship with Freemasonry, is “Mozart and the Masons; New Light on the Lodge “Crowned Hope’” by H.C. Robbins Landon.

A copy of this painting hangs at the Austrian Museum of Freemasonry in Schloss Rosenau (Waldviertel).

[1] Thomson, Katherine (1977). The Masonic Thread in Mozart. London: Lawrence and Wishart. ISBN 0853153817

[2] Deutsch, Otto Erich (1965). Mozart: A Documentary Biography. Stanford: Stanford University Press

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