Cosmic Music- Acoustic symbolism

Exerpts from ethno-musicologist Marius Scheider's essay 'Acoustic Symbolism',
from Cosmic Music-Musical keys to the interpretation of Reality', edited by Joscelyn Godwin.

"Of all the means for identifying oneself with the flowing of the cosmic rhythms, ancient ritual recommends music making as the best and most suited to man. Musical rhythm is unencumbered by any intellectual activity; it reaches down into our deepest unconscious because in it's empty form it constitutes the basis of that existence. It is the reality always operating in man, yet remaining inexpressible. Through music making one sets out on the path that leads to participation (or as they say,"drinking") at the river of cosmic rhythms. And even if one does not reach the ultimate goal, i.e., the completely empty form, by this kind of musical meditation, one nevertheless senses the nature of this ideal, most subtle and fluid filling of the empty rhythmic form by sound. There is in fact no kind of form filling of a material or static kind that can match for truthfulness the acoustic individuation of the empty rhythmic form. The flowing primordial energy can never become as transparent in solid form as it does in the fluid, or in particular the acoustic form. Not only does music making reveal the first and most palpable filling of the empty form, it also provides direct experiences of the contact between matter and spiritually significant sound, because this sound also sets the body of the singer in perceptible vibration. In wordless song, and in playing musical instruments, primal energies become transparent through matter in the purest conceivable form. Music making is a borderline occurrence between the tangible and the intangible, whereby the intangible is actually produced out the tangible. If one considers that the ancient cosmologies had the intangible and the invisible precede the material and tangible, then one begins to understand the pre-eminent significance of music in cultic activity. Whereas the sonorous word of creation gradually becomes enshrouded by the mute matter it is producing, the ritual strives toward making mute matter resonant. Music making is a borderline occurrence between intangible sounds and tangible matter. Its cosmological position in the reddening dawn between light and darkness springs from this borderline nature.........."

"The role of music in the concrete world is that of a mediator. It is no longer a primordial sound, nor a natural one, because since the dawn of creation it has become a conscious, man made art. But the the material that it uses remains the sound that reaches deep into our dark subconscious. According to the sayings of ancient cosmologies, music's place of origin lies in the breath, in the soughing of the wind and the roaring of the water. The home of music is the reddening dawn. There it has its castle with that high tower which, as it says in the fairy tales, sometimes even reaches beyond the borders of dawn into the bright daylight. As a purely sonorous phenomenon, music music is the archetype of movement insofar as rhythmic sound forms the basic structure of the world. Since man is also rooted in this early cosmos, he preserves this substructure in his subconscious, where the archaic and the truthful are ever present. The rhythmic substructure is the anthropocosmic primordial memory. As an art music- particularly in its connection with language- is a mixture of truth and falsity, and if the falsity of daylight is not overcome, music will become a bearer of illusion."

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