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Music, Mysticism and Magic: A Sourcebook Paperback – November 1, 1988

4.3 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Arkana (November 1, 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140190406
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140190403
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1 x 5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #741,456 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Brian E. Erland HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on May 18, 2006
Format: Hardcover
'Music, Mysticism and Magic' by Joscelyn Godwin is an absolutely amazing first of its kind sourcebook that belongs in a honored spot in the bookcase of every serious musicologist, mystic, magician and theologian. This scholarly and invaluable work contains the testimonies of many of the greatest composers, philosophers and spiritual leaders of all-time. Much of this material has been translated into English for the first time and is available nowhere else. A truly staggering and epic work!

This rare hardcover edition published in '86 by Routledge & Kegan Paul didn't receive wide distribution in the U.S., so it was hard to locate a copy even when it was in print. Now OOP, it's almost impossible to find. Good luck!

My Highest Recommendation!!
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Format: Paperback
The Universe did not have to be and yet it is; that's a source of wonder. Similarly, there's no requirement for Music per se and yet it exists. Indeed, the phenomena are linked; the Pythagorean roots of music are just as engrained into the DNA of the cosmos as the valency of the carbon atom. And those among us who cannot live without `the harmony of the spheres' can identify with Goethe: Music of God, why do you seek me out in the dust?

Yes indeed: all great music - be it a symphony or a mazurka - reverberates in the eternal Yes.

There is a handy, non-doctrinaire book which surveys how writers, philosophers and musicians over time have sought to fathom the numinosity of music. Contributors include Plato and Plotinus (ever so rightly); Cicero; Boethius; Johannes Kepler; Chateaubriand; ETA Hoffmann; Balzac; Rudolf Steiner; George Sand; Schopenhauer; Robert Schumann; Richard Wagner and Karlheinz Stockhausen. Re the latter: I never thought that the composer of the Helicopter Quartet would write the following but there you go:

"We are mostly pretty physical sacks, are we not - all of us? (We) spend most of our time feeding ourselves, taking care of clothing and shelter, copulating and sleeping; primarily satisfying physical desires, then. Now and then one reminds oneself: `We are spirits and spirits should be connected with the superhuman, with the cosmos, with God . . . That is what is the most important thing now: that each person should gradually become conscious enough to choose specific music and be able to say `I choose that within myself which comes to vibration through this music.'"

The British composer Cyril Scott was a Theosophist.
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This is a wonderful compendium of philosophical thinking about music from the pre-Socratic philosophers to the late 19th century. Godwin provides very illuminating forwards to each entry. So far so good. But the source material that is included is terribly truncated, usually giving a page or two to the presenting the source. So it's a great way to sample some of this rich thinking. Unfortunately, the sources are usually a page, maybe two. You will not get any serious background from any of these selections. Therefore, avoid if you're looking for more compete treatments.
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Godwin spent a lifetime exploring Pythagorean and Neo-Platonists ideas. This "Sourcebook" of thinkers through the ages on the "Musical" order of the universe and its miraculous power over us and all life is a solid reference. I wish some of the translations were more up to date and readable, but overall, Godwin edited a worthwhile compilation.
Thanks to the merchandiser for accurately describing the condition of this paperback....it's actually in better shape than I thought it would be!
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