Author: Nicky Losseff
The contributions in this volume focus on the ways in which silence and music relate, contemplate each other and provide new avenues for addressing and gaining understanding of various realms of human endeavour. The book maps out this little-explored aspect of the sonic arena with the intention of defining the breadth of scope and to introduce interdisciplinary paths of exploration as a way forward for future discourse. Topics addressed include the idea of 'silent music' in the work of English philosopher Peter Sterry and Spanish Jesuit St John of the Cross; the apparently paradoxical contemplation of silence through the medium of music by Messiaen and the relationship between silence and faith; the aesthetics of Susan Sontag applied to Cage's idea of silence; silence as a different means of understanding musical texture; ways of thinking about silences in music produced during therapy sessions as a form of communication; music and silence in film, including the idea that music can function as silence; and the function of silence in early chant. Perhaps the most all-pervasive theme of the book is that of silence and nothingness, music and spirituality: a theme that has appeared in writings on John Cage but not, in a broader sense, in scholarly writing. The book reveals that unexpected concepts and ways of thinking emerge from looking at sound in relation to its antithesis, encompassing not just Western art traditions, but the relationship between music, silence, the human psyche and sociological trends - ultimately, providing deeper understanding of the elemental places both music and silence hold within world philosophies and fundamental states of being. Silence, Music, Silent Music will appeal to those working in the fields of musicology, psychology of religion, gender studies, aesthetics and philosophy.