Music and Transcendence

Having flicked through my notebook from the ‘Music and Transcendence’ conference, I was reminded of a well-presented idea that I loved hearing about from the very eloquent Christopher Page as he opened the conference with his paper on ‘Music and the Beyond’. His stance was that music has been used by the church (he was talking particularly about the time around 900-1100ish) to transcend boundaries, including the boundaries between the human and the divine, the present and the future, the body and the spirit. My favourite idea though, was that angels were thought to be singing the same music as humans, in real time, and that music therefore transcends that boundary between this life and the next.  I like the idea that the same music might be used in heaven and on earth, and that we currently have the ability to make the best possible music – because later thought seems to have strayed towards the idea that heavenly music is that to which we, on earth, aspire. Why should the best music be reserved for the afterlife?  Page finished by noting that music truly is universal and transcendent if it overcomes the boundary between this life and the next.

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