Abstract

PREMISE: How can music allow a man to see the face of God? How can music direct the spirituality of those creating, practicing, and listening to it? Music and sound have played a significant role in religious practice throughout and across human history and culture, but this sonic aspect of religious and spirituality has been significantly ignored. This thesis attempts to explore spiritual manifestations of people, both generally and specifically, through musical and sonic experiences, redirecting the focus of study in religion and spirituality from the visual to the aural, creating a concept of Spirosonance as compared to Theosonance. METHODS: Part One of this dialogue begins by deconstructing and reconstructing notions of religions, religion, and spirituality along with music, sound, and noise to first lay a foundation of definitions for the study, while also questioning common notions of these human constructs. This section hopes to begins creating better tools to define, discuss, and understand these constructed notions, employing subjectivity as a priority to objectivity in forming definitions. This sections ends by outlining the general concept of Spirosonance and how it can be used to better understand people's spiritual experience of sound. In Part Two of this discourse, a particular case study is used to demonstrate concepts discussed in Part One, outlining Christian monastic practices and experiences of music as related to their spirituality. Further in this section, outsider's experience of this same monastic music is examined to understand how people outside this tradition are also gaining spiritually from this same music. CONCLUSION: Many possible reasons can be given as to why monastic chant is so popular among such wide varieties of people as a spiritual enhancer. The reasons given here are just a few, focusing on the most cited characteristics of chant that people find attractive or exceptional. Ultimately, why someone is moved or attracted to the chant is personal and could be for any reason. What was attempted here was to show how, in a few ways, people are perhaps experiencing something personal, something spiritual, within this chant that does not necessarily tie itself to religious practice. There is clearly something about this music that speaks to people beyond the terms of religion, moving into more "spiritual" realms. Most importantly, what was attempted here is the creation of better tools of understanding music as both a tool of religion and a catalyst for spirituality, forming spirituality as a character of those experiencing the music, not a character of the music itself.

Advisor

Graham, Mark

Department

Religious Studies

Publication Date

2013

Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis

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© Copyright 2013 Jordan Alexander Key