Musical and Religious Experiences: Their Relationship and Influences on Humanity

Cezar, Richard Albert Gerard (2019) Musical and Religious Experiences: Their Relationship and Influences on Humanity. Masters thesis, University of Wales Trinity Saint David.

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Abstract

My dissertation will investigate the relationship between musical and religious experiences and the similarities that have made them such emotionally-charging phenomena. Because of the power of music and religion to promote feelings of happiness, lucidity, and escape from everyday living, both have enriched the lives of countless societies around the world for generations. This connection will be addressed from multiple perspectives. First, I will discuss music that is written for religious purposes such as rituals and prayers. Such repertoire, written to help people feel closer to their higher powers, can be important for groups and individuals in a variety of positive and negative situations and a fitting complement to the comfort that they feel from their faith. Next, I will focus on how secular music can help to establish feelings of bliss that emulate a religious experience and may lead to feelings of getting in touch with divine forces - even for people who are firmly opposed to religion. In the third section, I will present several neurologic hypotheses as to why descriptions of musical and religious experiences seem to be so similar. By comparing studies of the two in separate contexts, we will see that music and religion do in fact seem to trigger the same areas and processes of the brain, perhaps because they have similar biological functions. Finally, I will highlight that the positive experiences generated by both music and religion have been used for therapeutic purposes since they can so profoundly influence our being. Because of this, it might be possible that their combined usage may be even more beneficial in healthcare. From all of these accounts, we will have a better understanding of two parts of life that have helped to shape history and define aspects of our humanity. Music and religion have brought out many feelings of hope, introspection, and comfort that are there for us in many different situations. Because of this, it is fitting that this relationship be thoroughly studied.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
M Music and Books on Music > M Music
Divisions: Theses and Dissertations > Masters Dissertations
Depositing User: Lesley Cresswell
Date Deposited: 25 Feb 2020 14:19
Last Modified: 25 Feb 2020 14:19
URI: http://repository.uwtsd.ac.uk/id/eprint/1221

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