Music-Prayer-Meditation Dynamics in Healing

Benjamin D. Koen

in The Oxford Handbook of Medical Ethnomusicology

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780199756261
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:
Music-Prayer-Meditation Dynamics in Healing


This article is concerned with the relationship between science and religion, the dynamism between the physical and spiritual and with the roles that music, the mind, prayer, and meditation play in bridging these domains of human experience when health and healing are the goals. It endeavors to articulate, cultivate, and apply in the author's work a constellation of culture-transcendent or universal principles and processes that undergird and facilitate health and healing. It explores aspects of these relationships and dynamics in the context of the Pamir Mountain region of Badakhshan, Tajikistan, an ancient land in the heart of the legendary Silk Road where such culture-transcendent principles and processes underlie a culture-specific form of religious music that is employed for health and healing. This music, known as maddâh (literally “praise”) is a rare genre of devotional music, prayer, meditation, and Persian mystical poetry that is performed for multiple cultural purposes, including the maintenance of health and healing.

Keywords: science; religion; health; healing; maddâh

Article.  11463 words. 

Subjects: Music ; Ethnomusicology

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