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date: 23 April 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Religious uses of music are highly varied, manifold, and yet selective. Some traditions, such as Islam, are wary of employing music in worship. By contrast, the Christian Mass can sometimes be musical throughout. Music’s powers, often regarded religiously as God-given, have much to do with its intimate connection with emotion. Music is involved in trance or in mystical states, and engages in acts of prayer, proclamation, and praise. It functions communally to establish religious identity. When combined with specific Christian teachings, music can also function sacramentally. Since antiquity, moreover, music has been associated with mathematical order and harmony, tuning the soul to the divine and to the cosmos. In all these ways music appears able to transform, and not merely reflect, religious perceptions and experience.

Keywords: emotion, music, mathematics, mysticism, religious experience, sacrament, trance

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