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Experiencing Music – Restoring the Spiritual

Music as Well-being


June Boyce-Tillman

This book concerns an examination of the totality of the musical experience with a view to restoring the soul within it. It starts with an analysis of the strands in the landscape of contemporary spirituality. It examines the descriptors spiritual but not religious, and spiritual and religious, looking in particular at the place of faith narratives in various spiritualities. These strands are linked with the domains of the musicking experience: Materials, Expression, Construction and Values. The book sets out a model of the spiritual experience as a negotiated relationship between the musicker and the music. It looks in detail at various models of musicking drawn from music therapy, ethnomusicology, musicology and cultural studies. It examines the relationship between Christianity and music as well as examining some practical projects showing the effect of various Value systems in musicking, particularly in intercultural dialogue. It finally proposes an ecclesiology of musical events that includes both orate and literate traditions and so is supportive of inclusive community.


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Chapter Six: Musical Construction


Chapter Six Musical Construction A Story An African leader was taken by his British host to a concert of Mozart at the Royal Festival Hall. After listening politely he said to his host: ‘Thank you for this but I thought your music was more complex than that.’ His host was surprised. Introduction This is an interesting story when viewed from the assumed exalted posi- tion of the Western classical tradition. It shows the dilemma concerning how musical ideas are debated in various cultures. Many of the African traditions have chosen to debate them primarily in the area of rhythm (as we shall see below). The African was skilled in understanding them in that area; however, the Western classical European cultures have chosen melody and harmony as the prime areas for musical debate. The Mozart concert asked for skill in understanding ideas debated in those areas and the African leader was not experienced in understanding debate using melody and harmony. As the rhythm of Mozart was relatively simple, he perceived the argument as simple. The complexity was not in an area he could grasp. In the same way, Western classical theorists have regarded the African traditions as simple because they could not read complexity in the area of rhythm. 182 Chapter Six This domain is about the ordering of time in a particular culture, as we shall see when we compare orate and literate traditions. Charles Taylor sees a new form of time emerging from the processes of secularisation. He links...

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