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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 Nine: The Extrapersonal Dimension: The Use of the Musical Liminality as a Space for Peace and Justice Making


Chapter Nine The Extrapersonal Dimension: The Use of the Musical Liminality as a Space for Peace and Justice Making Introduction As we saw in Chapter One, one of the central purposes of music is com- munity building. In general that has been done within a cultural frame – such as Western classical music – or even within a particular subculture such as religious traditions or folk clubs. By reading authors like Levinas and Derrida I became taken up with how our culture handles encounters with the Other and how the standard reaction is to make the Other like us. This is, of course, particularly true of those religions with an internal drive to conversion like Islam and Christianity. The chief rabbi’s book The Dignity of Difference ( J. Sacks 2002) affirmed my desire to develop frames in which difference was honoured and celebrated. I saw the possibilities in music for this. If the terrorist attacks epitomised by the Twin Towers disaster have taught the secularised view of liberal democracy anything, it is that religion is an intense driver of human action. Since 9/11 there has been a renewed interest in the urgency of interfaith dialogue for the establishment of world peace. This requires the acceptance of the validity of anOther’s point of view in the area of faith, an area particularly problematic for those faiths that lay claim to a monopoly of absolute truth. Religion cannot be left out of debates concerning, what Huntington (1996) called, the clash of civilisations. It needs to...

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