Music and Mysticism
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Division: Eugene Lang College The New School for Liberal Arts
Department: The Arts
Course Number: LMUS 3018
Course Format: Seminar
Location: NYC campus
Permission Required: Yes
- Music History, Theory & Criticism
- Cultural Studies
- Religious Studies
Mysticism and mystical experience are culturally specific concepts with extensive connections to music. This course considers musical repertoires and practices tied to mystical belief systems, such as the Sufi zikr, Hasidic nigun, and Gnawa lila, as well as the music of composers deeply invested in mystical theologies, such as Scriabin and Messiaen. The focus is on religious practices in West Asia and compositions by European and North American composers, although students are encouraged to develop independent projects in other areas. The course also examines the impact of mystical ideas on music as a social activity: for example, mysticism may galvanize musical communities in popular spheres, transcend or reinforce social boundaries, or provide alternative avenues for musical expression within formal religious contexts. Through comparisons of musical expressions, students engage concepts and terms such as ecstasy, shamanism, trance, spirituality, nothingness, and oneness.
Open to Undergraduate students.