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Meditation music

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Meditation music

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Meditation and music includes music played with or listened to during meditation, music the performance of which is a meditation, or music which is meditative. Music may distract from or enhance meditation, and meditation may involve music making.

Musical training is similar to meditation and musicians may study meditation for the benefits during performance, such as deep breathing and concentration. According to Claudio Naranjo, "the essence of meditation is also the essence of art." Composers such as John Cage (4′33″ (1952), Imaginary Landscape No. 4 for twelve radios (1951)), La Monte Young, Terry Riley, Stuart Dempster, and Anthony Newman have combined meditation and music while composers such as Karlheinz Stockhausen (Mantra (1970), Hymnen (1969), Stimmung (1968), and Es und Aufwärts den Sieben Tagen (1968, It and Upwards from the Seven Days)), Olivier Messiaen (listening to his works such as Quartet for the End of Time (1941) is meditating), and Ben Johnston (Visions and Spells, a realization of Vigil (1976), requires a meditation period prior to performance) have written meditative pieces. R. Murray Schafer's concept of clairaudience (clean hearing) and those in his The Tuning of the World (1977) are meditative. (Von Gunden 1983, p.103-104)

Stockhausen describes Es und Aufwärts as requiring "intuitive playing" and the performer is instruction to play only when not thinking or in a state of nonthinking (Von Gunden asserts that this is contradictory and should be "think about your playing"). The first recording (Deutsche Grammophon 2530 255), made from the tape of the first reading, features a surprising "constant dense sonic texture." John Cage is influenced by Zen and his pieces such as above are "meditations that measure the passing of time". (ibid)


  • Von Gunden, Heidi (1983). The Music of Pauline Oliveros. ISBN 0810816008.

Further reading

  • Johnson, Tom (1976). "Meditate on Sound", Village Voice, May 24.

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Music Sound, v. 2.0, by MultiMedia

This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.

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