Spring 2009

Sacred Sound

Listed in: Music, as MUSI-03


Jeffers L. Engelhardt (Section 01)


Sacred Sound examines the relationship between music and religion in broad comparative perspective. In the context of major world religions, new religious movements, and traditional spiritual practices, we will address fundamental issues concerning sacred sound: How does music enable and enhance the ritual process? How is sound sacred and what are its affects? What happens as sacred sound circulates globally among diverse communities of listeners and in secular spaces? Listening, reading, and discussion will include Sufi music from Pakistan, Haitian Vodou, the songs of Ugandan Jews, Orthodox Christian hymns from Estonia, Islamic popular music from Malaysia, Chinese Buddhist chant, spirit possession music from Bali, and the music of Korean Shamans. We will also benefit from visiting performers and the sacred sounds of religious communities in and around Amherst. Two class meetings per week. Limited to 25 students. Spring semester. Professor Engelhardt.