World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Meditation music

Article Id: WHEBN0003920447
Reproduction Date:

Title: Meditation music  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Meditation, Dancemeditation, Religious music, Meditation in popular culture, History of meditation
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Meditation music

Meditation music is music performed to aid in the practice of meditation. It can have a specific religious content, but also more recently has been associated with modern composers who use meditation techniques in their process of composition, or who compose such music with no particular religious group as a focus. The concept also includes music performed as an act of meditation.


Modern meditation music in the 20th century began when composers such as John Cage, Stuart Dempster, Pauline Oliveros, Terry Riley, La Monte Young and Lawrence Ball began to combine meditation techniques and concepts, and music. Specific works include Tony Scott's Music for Zen Meditation (1964), Karlheinz Stockhausen's Inori (1974), Mantra (1970), Hymnen (1966–67), Stimmung (1968), and Aus den sieben Tagen (1968), Olivier Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time (1941), and Ben Johnston, whose Visions and Spells (a realization of Vigil (1976)), requires a meditation period prior to performance. R. Murray Schafer's concepts of clairaudience (clean hearing) as well as the ones found in his The Tuning of the World (1977) are meditative (Von Gunden 1983, 103–104).

Stockhausen describes Aus den sieben Tagen as "intuitive music" and in the piece "Es" from this cycle the performers are instructed to play only when not thinking or in a state of nonthinking (Von Gunden asserts that this is contradictory and should be "think about your playing"). John Cage was influenced by Zen and pieces such as Imaginary Landscape No. 4 for twelve radios are "meditations that measure the passing of time" (Von Gunden 1983, 104).

Christian meditation music

Some Christian faiths, particularly the Catholic Church, reject meditation practice from outside their traditions, particularly new-age music (Anon. 2003; Arie 2003; Krumboltz and Chan 2005, 358; Pontifical Council for Culture, and Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue 2003). However, the Olivier Messiaen piece referenced above is explicitly Christian, and Messiaen himself was a practicing Catholic and a church organist.

See also


  • Anon. (2003). "Vatican Book Is Offering Reflections On 'New Age'". New York Times (4 February).
  • Arie, Sophie (2003). "Beware New Age, Vatican Tells Flock". The Guardian (Thursday 30 January).
  • Krumboltz, John D., and Anne Chan (2005). "Professional Issues in Vocational Psychology". In Handbook of Vocational Psychology: Theory, Research, and Practice, third edition, edited by W. Bruce Walsh and Mark L. Savickas, 345–68. Contemporary Topics in Vocational Psychology. Mahwah, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. ISBN 978-0-8058-4517-4.
  • Pontifical Council for Culture, and Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue (2003). "Jesus Christ the Bearer of the Water Of Life: A Christian Reflection on the 'New Age'". Vatican website (accessed 2 January 2014).
  • Von Gunden, Heidi (1983). The Music of Pauline Oliveros. Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow Press. ISBN 0-8108-1600-8.

Further reading

  • Johnson, Tom (1976). "Meditate on Sound", Village Voice (May 24).
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.