Music and the Numinous


The continuum of music—what is it, what does it do, how does it do it—has taxed countless philosophers over recorded time, and even the verb for what it does (express? arouse? evoke? symbolize? embody?) meets with no universal agreement. Not always is music admired: in the Book of Ezekiel, the prophet likens the skilled musician to an ineffectual preacher. Richard Elfyn Jones brings new ideas to the conundrum by taking up certain philosophers not usually cited in connection with music, in particular Alfred North Whitehead and the classical Greek notion of process (as opposed to event), and thus of process theology. The book opens up an original approach to the transcendent and, to many, the sacred quality heard in music, drawing both upon authorities concerned with the numinous (that feeling of awe and attraction behind religious experience) and upon his own lifelong engagement with music as scholar, teacher and composer. – Peter Williams, former Dean of Music, University of Edinburgh
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Table of contents

Preface Introduction Chapter 1: The Transcendental and Rational Discourse Chapter 2: Music as Sublime Organism Chapter 3: Process Philosophy Chapter 4: Music and Process Chapter 5: A Whiteheadian Aesthetic and a Musical Paradigm Chapter 6: Music, the Other Arts and Process Conclusion Selected Bibliography Index