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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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Praise for Experiencing Music –Restoring the Spiritual


‘Music surrounds us on a daily basis, but do we have any real understanding of it? In a society that increasingly prizes visual stimulus and instant gratification, music can easily seem peripheral and little more than ornamental. Within the western art tradition, current comparisons of minor differences in the interpretation of art music and an obsession with the aesthetically pleasing can only mean that the position of music in our lives is in danger of being reduced to a sadly primitive stage. To the old patrician assumption that classical music is the only truly valuable part of our activity, this revolutionary book is the perfect antidote. Drawing upon a global range of sources and disciplines, June Boyce-Tillman displays immense flair, imagination and intelligence as she invokes an altogether broader concept of musical experience. In her own inimitable way she contrives to weave together philosophy, theology, musics, poetry and musical practice in the course of her spiritual journey, which effectively portrays truth as a crystal whose different facets act as lenses to reveal different aspects of itself. This transformational book extends way beyond musical agendas to explore and celebrate the very question of what it is to be human.’


Director, Royal College of Music

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