Rivers of Sacred Sound


by Solveig McIntosh (Author)
Monographs XX, 176 Pages
Series: Music and Spirituality, Volume 10


Rivers of Sacred Sound traces the flow of influences from East to West, from
BC to AD and from wordless jubilations to the setting of texts. It takes the
discussion about western chant beyond a European perspective.
The text of this book, preceded by an introduction, is presented in seven
chapters and covers a period of approximately five thousand years. There are
many references all over the world to praising the divine with sound. Thus
the starting point is the praise song, a fundamental impulse in mankind. The
Rg-Veda requests that our loudest-sounding hymn be accepted, as food most
delightful to the Gods. The Psalms request us to make a joyful noise unto God
and to sing forth the honour of His name. Spontaneous songs became ritual
events. In an aural culture what was the role of gesture and what is its role
now? There are many doors to open in pursuing these and other questions.
This book opens some of them.

Table Of Content

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Contents
  • List of Figures
  • List of Musical Examples
  • Preface
  • Notation and Script
  • Acknowledgements
  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1. Historical Background
  • Chapter 2. Language
  • Chapter 3. Scale and Mode
  • Chapter 4. Recitation, Psalmody and Silence
  • Chapter 5. Alaṅkāras and Neumes
  • Chapter 6. Rhythm in Chant
  • Chapter 7. The Hand: Mudrās and Cheironomy
  • Epilogue
  • Glossary
  • Bibliography
  • Index
  • Series Index

← vi | vii →


← viii | ix →

Musical Examples

← xii | xiii →


Why are there so many references all over the world to praising the divine with sound? Why is the tradition of chant a sacred one? Could it be that praise songs and ritual are at the heart of life and have been, since the beginning of human existence?


XX, 176
ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2019 (September)
Chant from BC to AD Does chant have a common language? connection between ancient systems of chant and European chant forms?
Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, New York, Wien, 2019. XX, 176 pp., 9 fig. b/w

Biographical notes

Solveig McIntosh (Author)

SOLVEIG MCINTOSH is a musician and research scholar in the musical traditions of Northern India. She qualified as a teacher in the 1970s and completed her Doctoral studies in 1993. She has given talks in Britain, Holland, New Zealand and India and has contributed articles to various books and journals. As well as publishing a book, Hidden Faces of Ancient Indian Song, she has produced a DVD, Ancient Indian Song, and three CDs, Traditional Vedic Invocations, Hymns of the Vedas and Sanskrit Songs to the Divine. She has given workshops both in Britain and abroad.


Title: Rivers of Sacred Sound