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Deep Listeners

Music, Emotion, and Trancing

by Judith Becker

Published by: Indiana University Press

210 Pages, 6.12 x 9.25 x 0.00 in, 17 b&w photos, 26 figures, 8 color photos, 1 bibliog., 1 index

  • Paperback
  • 9780253216724
  • Published: July 2004


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"A fascinating thesis and a timely synthesis. . . . Becker urges the reader to view certain arcane cultural rituals as being in the mainstream of spiritual development and argues that the resulting trance-like states may relate to the basic fabric of emotions and consciousness, which are our ancestral, animalian heritage. This is both a risky and courageous undertaking that challenges both cultural and neuroscientific studies."
—Jaak Panksepp, author of Affective Neuroscience: The Foundations of Human and Animal Emotions

In Deep Listeners, Judith Becker brings together scientific and cultural approaches to the study of music and emotion, and music and trancing. Becker claims that persons who experience deep emotions when listening to music are akin to those who trance within the context of religious rituals. Using new discoveries in the fields of neuroscience and biology, Deep Listeners outlines an emotion-based theory of trance using examples from Southeast Asian and American musics. A companion CD includes excerpts from several of the musical genres under discussion, and a 16-page color insert presents vivid documentation of the global experience of "deep listening."