Tuesday, July 12, 2011


The great and most obvious difference between music and the other arts is that music is the only art which is made of tones - tones that are ordered in such a way as to be listened to. All the other arts manage to fit themselves in with the world which the eye has ordered. In music we pierce through the frame of the visible and enter the primal world of sound where no thing subsists.

When we transcend the world of objects in hearing music, what we experience is the presence of Being itself. We have crossed a frontier, a crossing which occurs nowhere else with such directness. Only music possesses the means for achieving a sensuous presentness of Being which is both direct and non-objective. The simplest music transcends the purely objective. Music too, however, can slip into the cold uniformity of empirical existence. It is then experienced as a surface, as something in which we are merely 'interested.' However, if in listening to music there is a suspension of the aesthetical mode of experience, a suspension which paves the way to a 'listening through' instead of a 'listening to' then music is experienced as a direct, open, powerful presence of Being.

Music occupies a high place in man's cipher script, in his endeavor to pierce all veils of the mystery of existence.

from Chapter Nine of my 'Music and Metaphysics'


  1. This is why virtually all religions place a higg importance on music. They use it to communicate with the Divine, with each other to build community, and with aspects of themselves. All arts have this transcendent power, but music, as an act of the mind, body and spirit is very well equipped for it, and helps us unify these aspects of our being.

  2. In that previous post I seem to have merged big with high, geting higg! Sorry!

  3. Henry:
    Your comment is, as always with you, very well-stated - and much appreciated.