Anonymous saying of the Desert Fathers no. 758 BHG 2329b, apophthegma de cantu monachorum. The anonymous sayings of the Desert Fathers: a select edition and complete English translation, ed. & trans. John Wortley (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013), 616-619. Cf. no. 726 (pp. 576-579):
. . . The brother said: 'Father, ever since I became a monk I have been singing the sequence of the canon and the hours and the [contents] of the Oktoêchos', and the elder said: 'That is why sorrow for sin and lamenting flee from you. Think of the great fathers, how simple they were, knowing only a few psalms. They had no knowledge of tones or tropes and they shone like luminaries in the world—and witnesses to what I am saying are Abba Paul, Abba Anthony, Abba Paul the Simple, Abba Pambo, Abba Apollo and so forth, those who raised the dead and received power over demons, not by tunes and tropes and tones, but in prayer and fasting. It is not the elegance of the tune that saves the man but the fear of God and keeping the commandments of Christ. Singing has led many down into the lowest parts of earth and not only worldlings but priests too; it entrenched them in porneia and many passions. Singing is for worldlings, my son; that is why people congregate in churches. Just think how many ranks [of angels] there are in heaven, my boy, and it is not written of them that they sing with the eight tones but that one rank unceasingly sings: 'Alleluia', another rank: 'Holy, holy, holy Lord of Sabaoth', another rank: 'Blessed be the glory of the Lord from this place and from his house.' So do you, my son, love the humility of Christ and watch over yourself, keeping watch over your mind at the time of prayer and, wherever you go, do not display yourself as one of ready wit and a teacher but be humble and God will grant you sorrow for sin.