Comfort and Joy

in The Music between Us

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9780226333281
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226333274 | DOI:
Comfort and Joy

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According to R. D. Laing, people who have a basic sense of belonging to the same world as others are “ontologically secure” and the lack of ontological security is a form of profound psychological disturbance. Laing describes music as a special case in which some schizoid and schizophrenic patients can overcome a sense of deep isolation and a desperate need for protection. This chapter, which suggests that music helps to establish a sense of ontological security in an individual and to reinforce feelings of security more generally, challenges the view, advocated by Theodor Adorno, that we should be dubious of music that promotes a sense of comfort and security. It focuses on three categories of musical features that produce feelings of security. The first category links music to ontological security, the second to existential security (the sense of being at home in the world), and the third to a sense of belonging (in relation to some particular social membership).

Keywords: music; R. D. Laing; ontological security; existential security; sense of belonging; Theodor Adorno; comfort

Chapter.  10369 words. 

Subjects: Music Theory and Analysis

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