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date: 23 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Sounding or listening practices are central to most forms of religious activity, and in some traditions particular spirits or deities, even the universe itself, may be associated with particular sounds. The chapter explores the significance and potential of a sound-based approach to the study of religion using the themes of voice, ritual instruments, and spatiality. Such an approach is timely given the growing attention to the phenomenon of sound, noise, and silence in a range of academic disciplines from ethnomusicology to ecology, and physics to phenomenology. A more sonically aware religious studies provides new analytical insights into forms of religious mediation, expression, and communication, notably in those cultures that do not privilege visuality. Moreover, new forms of technological mediation that have transformed the capacity to amplify, record, transmit, modify, and repurpose religiously or spiritually significant sounds call for our scholarly attention.

Keywords: aesthetics, sound-making instruments, music, noise, religion, sound, soundscape, voice

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