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Music and ConsciousnessPhilosophical, Psychological, and Cultural Perspectives$
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David Clarke and Eric Clarke

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199553792

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199553792.001.0001

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‘In the heard, only the heard …’:

‘In the heard, only the heard …’:

music, consciousness, and Buddhism

(p.111) Chapter 7 ‘In the heard, only the heard …’:
Music and Consciousness

Bethany Lowe

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the interaction between music and consciousness in Buddhist thought. It argues that knowledge of Buddhist thinking on consciousness can illuminate the way that a new approach to sonic materials has radicalized Western art music since the 1950s, and suggest fresh insights into all kinds of music through observing our mental processes in response to it. Insight and awareness into a Buddhist view of sound, if developed to a high level, also has the potential to reveal profound truths about the nature of existence, and even to facilitate significant changes in the structure of consciousness. Such theories and practices that show us new ways to perceive the nature of sound, of consciousness, and of reality itself suggest how the elusiveness of music can be turned to good account.

Keywords:   Buddhist thinking, music, consciousness, Buddhism, Western art music, sonic materials

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