Music is a great blessing and its power to cheer us up, make us feel sentimental, make us want to dance, or even make us sad is well known. But there is a power that certain good music has, that goes beyond those everyday effects. It is experienced only rarely, unless you make it a point to listen to those works specifically. If you do experience it, you will feel like there is some kind of mysterious energy being conveyed in the music, that touches you at a deeper place than “ordinary” music.
The primary reason for this book is to try to get at that mystery. What is it and where does it come from? There are many writings about music’s
power, and some of them get close to explaining this deeper power, but fall short of the goal (see the first three entries in the Bibliography). The composer and psychic Kurt Leland, in his 2005
book Music and the Soul 1
, perhaps comes the closest. He introduces the concept of the “Transcendent Musical Experience”. If you are listening to
music and you feel deeply moved, and you feel transported out of the here and now, to an extent that almost seems like an out-of-body trip, you are
having a TME.
This is sort of what I'm talking about, except that it's more about how deeply and in what way I'm being affected, than whether or not I'm having a
TME. My focus will be on the music more than individual experiences; there are certain works that I
know will move me in a certain way whenever I listen to them. Leland, in his book, concludes that the TME experience can only be explained by
postulating the existence of the soul. The topic of spirituality cannot be avoided. Leland is correct in this top-level conclusion. As I will, he
attempts a classification of musical works into types, that correspond to the chakra centers of the body. Most of his classification scheme seems
arbitrary and he does not specifically say where it comes from. As far as I can tell it does not correspond to any other known classification
system. It is up to each reader of his rather lengthy book to decide if it makes sense, keeping in mind the principles of recognizing large-scale
truth: it is always simple yet all-encompassing, without anything that seems arbitrary or made up. It will have a minimal level of detail, and
in fact will be abstract enough to permit more than one interpretation. It will
be difficult to change, add to, or subtract from. In science, we call this kind of explanation “elegant”.
The concept of the soul and soul advancement is the key to understanding the effects of music. As mentioned before, the topic of spirituality is necessary. I speak of spirituality in the most generic sense: it means all that exists beyond the 3-D world that we can see. The context of any particular belief system is not needed, only a belief that a person’s existence is not limited to 3-D reality: there is an aspect of each person, called the soul, that exists separately from our bodies and transcends our bodily existence in time. And from that follows the idea of reincarnation (multiple lifetimes in different bodies) as the means of soul growth.
Can music be spiritual? The question is often controversial. Historically, the answer has always been “yes”. The poet Goethe said, “We enter godhood through the temple of music.” From the Baha’i Writings on Music we have “…The art of music is divine and effective. It is the food of the soul and spirit. Through the power of music the spirit of man is uplifted.” (Compilations, Lights of Guidance, p. 410); and
“Music is the inspirer or motive power of both the material and spiritual susceptibilities. What a motive power it is! When man is attached to the love of God, Music has great effect upon him.” And further, “In sooth, although music is a material affair, yet its tremendous effect is spiritual, and its greatest attachment is to the realm of the spirit.” George Bernard Shaw wrote, “You use a glass mirror to see your face; you use works of art to see your soul.”
A few excerpts from posts to Katinka Hesselink’s blog about “Music and Spirituality” 2
show a different attitude in the 21st century:
“At different times I want to listen to different types of music. It might be the Grateful Dead, Mozart, Tibetan chants, the blues, or something else. It just depends on how I’m feeling at the time. I don’t believe that anyone’s spirituality can be ‘assessed’ according to their musical tastes. Or by any other arbitrary measures.” (“Sallie”)
“I also have a big problem with that “spiritual grading system”, with the notion that some things are more spiritual than others. I know they are but on the other hand I could do everything ‘right’ and still not be a spiritual person. I find these things to be very confusing.” (“Susanne”)
“I think that music should be enjoyed depending on whether or not it sounds good and is appeasing to you. All too often too many spiritual tags are pinned to music and honestly, it’s just a gimmick. People get into fights as to which music is ‘pure’ and which is not. It’s totally and completely pretentious to denote a genre of music based upon its spiritual nature... Adults aren’t wondering how spiritually developed they are; they’re worried about whether or not they can pay the bills on time... All we’re looking for is something that sounds good and has a nice beat. (“Jonathon”)
But then we have
“ ‘Spiritual growth is about what happens in our soul’ — didn’t you just hit the nail on the head right there! For me music is a great form of soul communication.” (“Ruth”)
So apparently it is perfectly obvious to many that music has a spiritual dimension, while to others, the notion is ridiculous and smacks of elitism. The truth is, you can enjoy any kind of music you like at any particular moment, while still accepting that certain music might have spiritual content. It doesn’t have to be one or the other.
In this book I present a theory of musical energy. For it to work we must accept that music is spiritual; that is, it can carry qualities that originate at a higher plane of existence. Music, after all, is the only art form that is pure vibration, and one definition of spirit is pure energy unencumbered by a dense body, and pure energy is vibrating waves. What’s vibrating? It may just be regular electromagnetic energy, or it may something (“ether”) that we don’t know about yet. In any case music can be seen as a perturbance or refinement of the primordial single vibration, the Akasha, the Word or the Om. And since music is only vibrational energy, it exists not just in 3-D reality but throughout all the higher dimensions.
To talk about music being spiritual does not necessarily imply anything about what kind of music is spiritual, or what kind of music you should listen to, or how to listen to it. The bloggers are correct about going with what feels right at any time. But if you are aware of the color principle, and you occasionally want a strong dose of one of the pure energies, you can put your fingers on a piece that will do it for you.
Chapters 1 and 2 present the seven-energy theory. We start, in Chapter 1, with what the soul is and why and how it seeks evolution to a state of
complete awareness. In Chapter 2 we come at the basic question from the other end, the musical viewpoint: how does power encode in music and in what forms. I’ll
use the rainbow colors as a metaphor for those energies. Then I bring these parts together into an answer to the problem of how music and the soul
can resonate together. The seven fundamental stages of soul evolution will be seen to resonate with the seven higher emotions , or states of being
actually, that highly-inspired music can carry. You can use that principle, together with your musical experience, to get an idea of where your
inner essence (soul) is, on its path of self-discovery; and you may even be able use music to advance in that journey, if you are so inclined.
Chapter 3 looks at those seven fundamental energies and what their qualities are. I mention a composer who best exemplifies each theme, and
a list of mostly classical works that carry each of the energies.
Readers who are interested only in the new information about soul evolution can read Chapters 1 and 3, and skip the allusions to music entirely.
I want to say something, however briefly, about how I came by this knowledge. Pick up any book that purports to offer new information about any esoteric subject. Does the book mention where the information came from? Very few do. We are left to assume that it came out of the author’s intuition. When the subject is unseen truth, untestable by science, intuition and channeling are the only sources. How do you know the information is true? You don’t have any direct proof, but if there is agreement among more than one source, and if the material seems simple and whole and doesn’t contradict other known truth, and if it provides believable answers to important questions, it’s worth at least keeping an open mind about it.
The seven-energy theory of music comes originally out of my experiences with music and my intuition about those experiences. Later, I used the pendulum to connect with certain “high-level” masters in spirit who know how music works, to verify my system. These sources confirmed the seven-part theory, and completed my knowledge of the colors energies and their roles. My original understanding of most of the seven colors was 80 to 90 percent correct, but on a few of them it was only about 25 percent. In retrospect I could have been more accurate at the beginning if I had trusted my intuition completely. The principles are simple and have the ring of truth, and there is nothing arbitrary about them. I cannot offer any further confirmation of them and leave it to your own judgment to determine if they seem true or not.
This website is a little different from most metaphysical studies. I see it as being essentially a scientific paper about musical power, not too different from all other papers written by scientists. As such, it is not overly wordy; it sticks to the point, adding no more than what is needed to argue the proposition. Like most scientific writing, it perhaps sacrifices an interesting style in favor of conciseness, logic, and precision; that after all is how we were trained to write. But I will strive for some kind of balance.
And finally, I want to mention two books that any seeker of truth as it relates to music must read. They are incomplete in light of the information presented here, and far from error-free, but they at least understand what the questions are. They are the first two entries in the Bibliography (Cyril Scott and David Tame).
Next: The Soul and Soul Evolution
1 Leland, Kurt Music and the Soul
, Hampton Roads Publishing, 2005