Music and Altered States: Consciousness, Transcendence, Therapy, and Addictions

Music and Altered States: Consciousness, Transcendence, Therapy, and Addictions

Music and Altered States: Consciousness, Transcendence, Therapy, and Addictions

Music and Altered States: Consciousness, Transcendence, Therapy, and Addictions

Synopsis

The use of music as a means of promoting changes in states of consciousness has been practised for centuries across different cultures. This international collection explores the different ways in which music is used to achieve states of altered consciousness for a variety of purposes.

Excerpt

David Aldridge

Music and consciousness are things we do. And we can do these things together.

Music is what we do together when we play together as musicians, or partake as listening audiences or when we engage in that sublime activity of dancing. When I write of music here, and as we will see in the rest of the book, I should maybe be referring to musics. The notion of one universal music, or some high concept of Music, is not applicable here. Being a pas- sionate traditional folk-singer, an unrepentant addict of early rock and roll, having spent my formative years immersed in rhythm and blues and many adult years ensconced in dark places with juke boxes, then my taste can only be described as low, rather than high, and eclectic, rather than discerning. Throughout the chapters we will be returning to music but each will present its own variety of music, and each be located in its own setting.

While we read about personal responses to music, we will also see that musics are also communal activities that bring people together. While being personally expressive, they may also be socially expressive. These forms of expression are achieved in performance; in some cultures those forms will be fixed as conventions; in many cultures the actual making of music is something that challenges convention. My earliest recollections are of my grandfather teaching cornet or rehearsing with his brass quartet round the fire at home. Music was something we did like eating and drinking. It was social in its rehearsal and on the bandstand in the park on . . .

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