I'm not *positive* which category this goes under, but I'm going to guess here since it's referring to ritual.
Who uses music in their rituals/devotions/etc? Do you use recorded music, or play your own, or both? Do you ever sing devotional poetry/hymns? Do you write your own music, or improvise music? Do you at all incorporate music or musical ideas from your chosen pantheons'/Gods' cultures(keeping in mind of course what little often survives)? Do you entirely use modern music/musical conventions? Does a certain kind of music draw you in for particular purposes/occasions?
I've just started reciting hymns(sometimes, not often) in a way similar to Anglican chant, though I improvise the melodies and don't have a consistent pattern I use from line to line. I plan on studying Greek music and trying to incorporate elements of that, and maybe formalize something a bit more. What are you guys doing, or not doing, or thinking about?
Post by WordMorris on Sept 26, 2013 19:51:51 GMT -8
I love love love to use music in ritual and devotionals, either new agey stuff or pop music, classic rock, etc. I use recorded music, but I'd love to be able to play and use live music. I'm trying to get more into music and dancing in my rituals. I love to sing and chant, and I'm actually trying to write my own chants (only I'm not at all musical... at all!) I'm thinking about using modified Orphic or Homeric hymns. I recently went on a search for a drum and tried very hard to find one that was "authentic" to the Deity I would like to be working with. I also attended a ritual devoted to Dionysus and we popped out the laptop and listened to Daemonia Nymphe, which was pretty great. (would have been even better with dancing, but next year!)
If you're interested in Greek stuff, maybe look at Greek chorus techniques (like from Greek theater and stuff) maybe there would be something there?
All great questions. It seems like we're both thinking of the same things, Marybeth! I'd love to see what other people have to say =)
I use sound and song in my practice a great deal. I play several variations on flute and sing reasonably well, which lends itself to using sound to clear space, call to entities, honor deities and so on. Sometimes I use existing material and sometimes I make it up. One of the lessons I really liked and kept with me when I left Catholicism was that 'he who sings prays twice' It had proven an accurate sentiment for me.
I'm not a musical person at all so I have a tendency to use music I've found elsewhere that either directly relates to them or that instantly links with the deity in my mind.
I know I ended up buying the album this is from, mainly for the two Delphic Hymns on it because the first time I listened to this song it was like I was in a trance! www.youtube.com/watch?v=cPCtQe8RN4c
Since reading Sannion's blog I've tried to be more aware of if the Gods are trying to point something out or send a message through music, especially as I listen to a fair bit walking to and from work.
Post by roguebiologist on Sept 27, 2013 5:34:55 GMT -8
I use music a lot but it's more of a tool rather than a devotional thing for me to be honest. I've been trained to use music as a guide for energy work and self-defense, and especially having essentially done drills to certain tunes means that I can automatically snap into altered states when the right songs come on. My ipod is probably my most important magical tool, odd as it sounds to admit it.
In terms of music for devotion specifically? There isn't actually songs that exist for my particular faith, and I unfortunately don't have the skill to write any. I do find music which resonates right for devotion, and it varies wildly in genre but seems well received. What I'd really love is to find and play (I'm a passable flute player) music from the ancient Middle East, especially Persia. My patron was utterly delighted when I found this Hymn to Nikkal online because he remembered it and was thrilled to hear it played again in the modern world, even if it's not even a hymn written to him, or even anyone in his family. It'd be amazing if more examples of music like that was found and re-transcribed to be played on modern instruments.
I use music in devotions, mostly things I create, though the words are sometimes borrowed. I let the music emerge from the words, so sometimes it takes a few repetitions before the words have a tune that's theirs - this leads sometimes to ad-libbing new lines or verses to suit the needs of a given day or rite. I sometimes compose tunes more formally, and then do sometimes try to work with Irish modes, though the only guide for that I have is folk music of arguable age.
I also do wordless singing for clearing space or changing my mental space. I find it's a really effective way to get into trance.
I don't usually use recorded music because it's hard to adjust it to fit what's happening in a given ritual and I find it less powerful in how it affects me compared to singing. The vibration of the sound in the body makes a real difference for getting into the right head space.
I have a few devotional songs that I've written for my gods and the spirits of the land. I sing them when the times seem right. Sometimes when I got out and connect with a place I feel the need to be silent and listen. Then at others a tune will come into my mind and I'll feel inspired to voice it, no matter what the words are or whether it makes sense. Some stick with me and I write them down, others fade away. Some carry me into a trance and even lead me to journey. Others demand I stay rooted in this world and sing its presence.
I've just started taking singing lessons so I can combine song with poetry at performances hoping this will help convey the emotion of some of my experiences to my audiences and maybe even bring them along on the journey with me.
@ Grace - Similarly I'd fear a piece of pre-recorded music might separate me from or block my experience during a ritual.
@ roguebiologist - Thanks for sharing this- wonderful piece. Makes me wish I could play the lyre!
Roguebiologist, that is super cool. Thank you for sharing the video and your experience with it. AND there is a link to the musician's album of ancient/original music on ITunes, which looks like it's going to be full of goodies.
Thanks everybody; I'm enjoying this, and I'm sort of relieved to hear music seems to figure so prominently into so many individuals' practice.
Someone who commented on the original Polytheism Without Borders blog post was looking for some devotional music for a specific purpose (check out the lazy Admin, too lazy to go look it up). It might be nice to compile a list of links to songs / artists that people find particularly good for worshiping the Gods. Phaedra, want to start a thread and add that link?
I'm not really a musician, and because of that, I've never really felt confident using music in ritual, even though I really love music. I've thought about it, though, like perhaps finding ways to chant hymns and such, or perhaps do some drumming for Sobek, since He seems to like that. But I don't really know where I'd start learning about these things, nor how to feel confident enough to do them during ritual. The joys of being solitary, I suppose.
I've thought about using recorded music as well, but I've never really found anything I like enough to use, and I don't want to use modern music because it'll be too distracting. I used to use Enya-ish Pagan/New Agey stuff when I was first starting out and was more Wiccish inclined, but that music doesn't speak to me anymore.
The biggest role music plays in my life is when gods use my mp3 player to get messages to me using songs. The Titan Muses in particular, being Muses of song, use this rather a lot, and it's the most common way we communicate. Other gods use it too, but it's mostly the Muses who talk to me in this way.
Sobemekti: Drumming seems like it'd be a good start, especially if you just keep it simple at first; you can practice holding a steady beat by drumming with a metronome or a song you like. I am certain there are ideas for homemade drums to start out with out there on the interwebs, too. Practice builds confidence. Also, Youtube is a great teacher for many many things.
You could also start with intoning a hymn on a single pitch, or improvise from that starting point. I just wouldn't overthink it; the important part in my opinion is the emotional connection(and you can always ask Them whether or not they want it/like it). Solitary would be kind of an advantage, I'd think, because you could try out new things without having to worry about people judging you, haha.
Post by aclockworkireland on Sept 27, 2013 19:24:49 GMT -8
It can be 50/50 for me. Where its appropriate its good.
For example: Folk metal bands here dedicate gigs to their gods. And it can be a great experience, 300 dervishes dancin in the name of Donn. On the other hand there was a lad on the roof of Loughcrew on Sliabh na Cailleach (a neolithic passage tomb aligned to the equinoxes so a shaft of light travels into the centre of the mound 5 days at that time of year) who was playing the bodhran at dawn and there were 100s of people going in and out of the tomb. It didnt seem culturally correct and because it was a mix of people it was like he was interfering with the whole thing. even though im sure he loved it himself.
Last Edit: Sept 27, 2013 19:28:42 GMT -8 by aclockworkireland: forgot to saw what the lad was playing
Tekkalynn, were you the person who said they were a composer on their introduction? What kind of music are you drawn to/do you like to write? What's your process?
Hi! I don't consider myself a composer in a formal sense, in that I rarely write anything down or have more than a basic melodic line. Something I started doing about as soon as I learned to read was to set things to music. I sort of lost the knack in my mid-teens, but it seems to be coming back (I suspect Someone might be having a hand in that, thank you, Sir.) It's not something I usually put a lot of analysis in, but I follow the basic stress patterns and rhythms of the poetic line, and pretty much go where it leads me. I used to joke that, no matter what text I had in front of me, it came out like an Irish jig, as my melodies have usually had a Celtic folk sound to them. I also tend to slip into whatever musical era I've been studying closely. Everything's been coming out Baroque twiddles and dotted patterns these days.