De Mirimonde 1971
“Le symbolisme musical chez Jérôme Bosch” (A.P. de Mirimonde) 1971
[in: Gazette des Beaux-Arts, 6e série, 77 (January 1971), pp. 19-50]
[Also mentioned in Gibson 1983: 61 (D83)]
According to De Mirimonde Bosch follows the steps of traditional medieval symbolism. As far as music is concerned this medieval tradition continues the classical tradition according to which there are two kinds of music: one has a positive connotation and represents cosmic harmony, the other is considered negative because it appeals to human emotions. In order to reach a correct interpretation of symbolical musical instruments we have to pay meticulous attention to the context in which they appear.
The author then offers a survey of the musical instruments in the Bosch oeuvre. Sometimes they are played by angels and in those cases they have a positive meaning, but mostly they appear in a context of luxury and diabolism. De Mirimonde interprets the harp, the flute, the drum, the bagpipes, the redshank, the lute, the shawm, the trumpet and the triangle as erotic symbols with a negative meaning. Bosch was not an entertainer but a cynical moralist.