Feeling light, floating, leaving one’s body

Alf Gabrielsson

in Strong Experiences with Music

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780199695225
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191729775 | DOI:
Feeling light, floating, leaving one’s body

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In accounts of strong experiences with music, many bodily/physical reactions are mentioned. Some of them are well-known physiological reactions such as tears, shivers, goosepimples, palpitations, sweating, and feeling dizzy. Other reactions include behaviours such as moving to the music, jumping, dancing, shouting, laughing, etc., and also the direct opposite such as becoming totally immobile, dead still, ‘sitting as though petrified’. This chapter focuses on certain other, more remarkable, experiences affecting one's body: feeling lighter than usual or even weightless, taking off from the ground, hovering or floating above the surroundings, feeling as if one leaves one's body and observes oneself from outside: out-of-body experiences. Such reactions may be called quasi-physical (Latin: quasi = as if); it is as if one's body functions differently than usual, as if one finds oneself in a completely different place from usual. In a strictly physical sense, the body is, of course, in its usual place — on the ground, on the floor, in a chair, etc. — but nevertheless it can feel as if one takes off, hovers, or leaves one's body. These experiences are on the whole fairly short-lived.

Keywords: strong experiences with music; personal accounts; out-of-body experiences; weightlessness

Chapter.  3844 words. 

Subjects: Music Theory and Analysis

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