Deep Listeners: Music, Emotion, and Trancing
"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."
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 TrancingUser 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
Trance in Europe and the United States
Habitus of Listening