Table of contents
About this book
This book explores the ways in which music can engender religious experience, by virtue of its ability to evoke the ineffable and affect how the world is open to us. Arguing against approaches that limit the religious significance of music to an illustrative function, The Extravagance of Music sets out a more expansive and optimistic vision, which suggests that there is an ‘excess’ or ‘extravagance’ in both music and the divine that can open up revelatory and transformative possibilities. In Part I, David Brown argues that even in the absence of words, classical instrumental music can disclose something of the divine nature that allows us to speak of an experience analogous to contemplative prayer. In Part II, Gavin Hopps contends that, far from being a wasteland of mind-closing triviality, popular music frequently aspires to elicit the imaginative engagement of the listener and is capable of evoking intimations of transcendence. Filled with fresh and accessible discussions of diverse examples and forms of music, this ground-breaking book affirms the disclosive and affective capacities of music, and shows how it can help to awaken, vivify, and sustain a sense of the divine in everyday life.