Deep Listeners: Music, Emotion, and Trancing

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Indiana University Press, 2004 - Music - 194 pages
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"A fascinating thesis and a timely synthesis.... Becker urges the reader to view certain arcane cultural rituals as being in the mainstream of spiritual development and argues that the resulting trance-like states may relate to the basic fabric of emotions and consciousness, which are our ancestral, animalian heritage. This is both a risky and courageous undertaking that challenges both cultural and neuroscientific studies."
—Jaak Panksepp, author of Affective Neuroscience: The Foundations of Human and Animal Emotions

In Deep Listeners, Judith Becker brings together scientific and cultural approaches to the study of music and emotion, and music and trancing. Becker claims that persons who experience deep emotions when listening to music are akin to those who trance within the context of religious rituals. Using new discoveries in the fields of neuroscience and biology, Deep Listeners outlines an emotion-based theory of trance using examples from Southeast Asian and American musics. A companion CD includes excerpts from several of the musical genres under discussion, and a 16-page color insert presents vivid documentation of the global experience of "deep listening."

 

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This is ethnomusicology, not neuroscience, to the reviewer who bashed the Geertzian particularist approaches to understanding the phenomena of music and trance. These examples offer great insight into an experience where the "hard sciences" cannot. They complement each other.

Review: Deep Listeners: Music, Emotion, and Trancing

User Review  - Vanessa - Goodreads

I was fascinated by the material that covers neurophysiology and psychology but disappointed by the many open questions, unproven theories and even mythical ideas discussed towards then end of the book. Read full review

Contents

Trance in Europe and the United States
13
Figures
16
Rethinking Trance
25
Deep Listeners
45
emotion
46
Habitus of Listening
69
BarongRangda ceremony
85
Trancing Selves
87
Toward a Theory of Trance
131
Trancing Deep Listening and Human Evolution
150
P1 David St Marks cathedral Milan
152
Notes
157
Bibliography
167
Index
187
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About the author (2004)

Judith Becker is Professor of Ethnomusicology in the School of Music, University of Michigan, where she directs the Center for Southeast Asian Studies and the University Gamelan. Her field of expertise is the music of Southeast Asia, and she has conducted research in Burma, Indonesia, North India, and Sri Lanka. She lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

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