Literal meaning. That literal meaning may be misinterpreted somewhat as this phrase is commonly misreported as 'music has (or occasionally 'hath') charms to soothe the savage beast'.
The phrase was coined by William Congreve, in The Mourning Bride, 1697:
I found this information at The Phrase Finder site. So my Friday First this first day of March 2013 is what is the first song or singing group you remember as really liking?Musick has Charms to sooth a savage Breast,
To soften Rocks, or bend a knotted Oak.
I've read, that things inanimate have mov'd,
And, as with living Souls, have been inform'd,
By Magick Numbers and persuasive Sound.
What then am I? Am I more senseless grown
Than Trees, or Flint? O force of constant Woe!
'Tis not in Harmony to calm my Griefs.
Anselmo sleeps, and is at Peace; last Night
The silent Tomb receiv'd the good Old King;
He and his Sorrows now are safely lodg'd
Within its cold, but hospitable Bosom.
Why am not I at Peace?
When I was a kid, my aunt and uncle had a Wurlitzer Juke Box from the restaurant they once owned. Every time we visited them, I'd play the records that were on it. My favorite song back then, and still one of my favorites today, was On Blueberry Hill sung by Fats Domino. Ocassionally I hear it on the radio, 50's channel, and it brings back pleasant memories of those visits.
Okay. Your turn.
Have a super weekend. Happy reading and writing.