Spirituality and music

Authored by: Marcel Cobussen

The Routledge International Handbook of Spirituality in Society and the Professions

Print publication date:  March  2019
Online publication date:  March  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138214675
eBook ISBN: 9781315445489
Adobe ISBN:


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The basic point of this essay is to argue that through music we are able to rethink current ideas on spirituality. In other words, music – specifically, in its own terms, and on its own conditions – can contribute to the development of existing discourses on spirituality. It not only presents spirituality and makes it possible for spirituality to materialize, but, at the same time, music transforms, de-territorializes and re-territorializes spirituality. After having dealt with the idea that something like “spiritual music” exists and can be separated from “non-spiritual music,” the essay unfolds some cautious and inchoate ideas on a “material spirituality” or a “spiritual materialism” based upon reflections on music and sound. Three claims will be presented in more detail: (1) that spirituality should not be disengaged from the everyday; (2) that a spiritual experience is (also) corporeal; and (3) that a more comprehensive theory is needed, moving from “spiritual music” to “spiritual soundscapes.”

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