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October 2021

Reflections: Music - the language of immediacy

Journal/Book: The Arts in Psychotherapy. 1987; 14: 255-261.

Abstract: Very personal essay - with reflections on "how immediate reception of music by the listener and performer may have a vital impact on the total person." And also a report on a group discussion of the "State of the art MT", where 5 experiences MTh.s (from USA, GB and Aus.) confronted the problems of the profession. A need for a new language of music was felt, different from the descriptive forms and conventions of spoken/written language - "the messages of music are more in the affective than in the cognitive realms" (experienced during GIM). Bonny argues (with hevner 1937) for the aesthetic attitude when sensing (perceiving) and experiencing music. Quoting 3 philosophers B. outlines music as a "lived" model of life - with its object side in outer life (allocentric experience) and its subjective qulities in inner life (autocentric exp.) Thus Merleau-Ponty (Phenomenology of Perception, 1962) speaks of the "lived dimensions of becoming and being relaxed yhrough the utilization of music" and defines 4 levels of 'musical existence' (probably coexisting, when we listen to music): "1. objective sound that reverberates outside me in the instrument. 2. atmospheric sound that is between the object and my body. 3. a sound that vibrates in med 'as if I had become the flute or the clock'. 4. the acoustic elements disappears and becomes the highly precise experience of a change permeating my whole body." Drawing on her personal experiences with ilnesses and old age B states that you are kept alive by creative work, and that the body-mind communication must be on a deep level to work properly. Deep meditation was required - and music as meditation requires "a one-pointed concentrated attention towards distractions". As Rodegast (1985) puts it: "When you break the barriers of limitation, necessary limitations-through the barriers of limitations into All-That-Is. It is then that Music becomes the language of immediacy, only if you allow it to remain in the format of immediacy and not to relegate it to the format of recall".

Keyword(s): Guided Imagery and Music. GIM


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