This innovative book explores religion through music, the only art form named after a divinity and one of the most universally recognized forms of human experience.
Music has been documented from prehistory to the present age in virtually all known cultures. For many, it is a vehicle for spiritual growth and community empowerment, whether it’s understood as a gift of the gods or simply a practice for achieving mental states conducive to enlightenment.
Traditionally, when religious scholars talk about music, it’s as a kind of aesthetic supplement to the important spiritual content of a religion, analogous to stained-glass windows or temple paintings. In contrast, Sacred Sound: Experiencing Music in World Religions acknowledges the critical role of musical activity in religious life. Music, including chant and vocal utterance, is not incidental in religious practice but a sacred treasure that is central to the growth and sustenance of religions throughout the world. Musical sound is sacred in most religions because it embodies the divine and can be shared by all participants, enduring among diverse communities of people despite theological differences.
Covering six of the major world religions—Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism, and Buddhism—forty selections of music and chant are available on the publisher's website. Contributors are respected scholars in religious studies and musicology and provide insight from both disciplines. The first book of its kind, Sacred Sound is a milestone in the growing cross-disciplinary study of religion and music.
Audio files available at https://www. wlupress. wlu. ca/Books/S/Sacred-Sound
"A welcome addition to the fields of religious studies and music. ... Highly recommended. "- L. Smith, CHOICE
"Guy L. Beck's scholarly and innovative book explores religion through music. It elevates and emphasizes the critical role of musical activity in religious life. Rather than discussing music as an aesthetic supplement to religion, Beck's book takes the approach that music is not incidental in religious practice but is a sacred treasure central to the growth and sustenance of world religions. Sacred Sound promises to be a milestone in the growing cross-disciplinary study of religion and music. "- Greg Hansen, BYU Studies (Brigham Young University), 47:1