Silence, Music, Silent Music  book cover
1st Edition

Silence, Music, Silent Music

ISBN 9781138265097
Published November 15, 2016 by Routledge
268 Pages

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Book Description

The contributions in this volume focus on the ways in which silence and music relate, contemplate each other and provide new avenues for addressing and gaining understanding of various realms of human endeavour. The book maps out this little-explored aspect of the sonic arena with the intention of defining the breadth of scope and to introduce interdisciplinary paths of exploration as a way forward for future discourse. Topics addressed include the idea of 'silent music' in the work of English philosopher Peter Sterry and Spanish Jesuit St John of the Cross; the apparently paradoxical contemplation of silence through the medium of music by Messiaen and the relationship between silence and faith; the aesthetics of Susan Sontag applied to Cage's idea of silence; silence as a different means of understanding musical texture; ways of thinking about silences in music produced during therapy sessions as a form of communication; music and silence in film, including the idea that music can function as silence; and the function of silence in early chant. Perhaps the most all-pervasive theme of the book is that of silence and nothingness, music and spirituality: a theme that has appeared in writings on John Cage but not, in a broader sense, in scholarly writing. The book reveals that unexpected concepts and ways of thinking emerge from looking at sound in relation to its antithesis, encompassing not just Western art traditions, but the relationship between music, silence, the human psyche and sociological trends - ultimately, providing deeper understanding of the elemental places both music and silence hold within world philosophies and fundamental states of being. Silence, Music, Silent Music will appeal to those working in the fields of musicology, psychology of religion, gender studies, aesthetics and philosophy.

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction; The texture of silence, Jenny Doctor; Faith, silence, and darkness entwined in Messiaen's 'Regard du silence', Matthew Hill; Sounding silence, moving stillness: Olivier Messiaen's Le banquet céleste, Jan Christiaens; Going gently: contemplating silences and cinematic death, Stan Link; Film sound, music and the art of silence, Ed Hughes; Pragmatics of silence, William Brooks; Some noisy ruminations on Susan Sontag's 'Aesthetics of Silence', Darla M. Crispin; Preliminary thoughts about silence in early western chant, Emma Hornby; The communicative rest, John Potter; The air between two hands: silence, music and communication, Julie P. Sutton; 'Meditation is the musick of souls': the silent music of Peter Sterry (1613-72), Tom Dixon; Silent music and the eternal silence, Nicky Losseff; Selected bibliography; Index.

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Nicky Losseff and Jenny Doctor are both Senior Lecturers in the Department of Music, University of York, UK.


'A fortuitous power outage muffled my living room the night I finished Silence, Music, Silent Music; plunged into a deep quiet that seemed alternately comforting and unnerving, I realized how much not just my perceptions but my awareness of those perceptions had been altered by having read this collection of essays. As one might expect, the material includes discussions of silence in the works of such familiar composers as Ives, Cage, Messiaen, and Takemitsu. But it also touches on silence in Japanese, Sufi, and Indian musical traditions, and - perhaps more intriguing - on the meanings of silence in meditation, therapy, and mystic philosophy. As a group, the contributors easily make the point that silence is no mere absence; on the contrary, it is a very real ’something’ that can be approached in richly different ways.' James Wierzbicki University of Michigan, USA ’... a long-awaited and most welcome addition to the literature... rich variety of the contributions...The diversity of chapters is impressive... The editors are to be congratulated on the care and attention that provides space to the voices of individual authors whilsst exploring underlying and potentially linking themes. The rich diversity is explored very successully...’ British Journal of Music Therapy