Shifting sounds: music as a ritual of transformation

Veltheim, Erkki (2010) Shifting sounds: music as a ritual of transformation. Research Master thesis, Victoria University.


This project explores music performance as a ritual, arguing that its performative form reflects and reinforces a particular worldview and its concomitant social structures and relations. It proposes a definition of a standard Western form of music performance, identifying it to be based on a duality of an active performer and passive audience, and suggests ways in which this form sponsors ‘everyday’ social structures and relations, emphasizing rationality and individuality. It follows this by proposing an alternative form of performance, one of active participation, that is seen to sponsor social structures and relations that emphasize viscerality and community. It draws extensively on the writings of Georges Bataille, particularly his concepts of the sacred, self and community, and the art of Joseph Beuys, particularly his active employment of myth and shamanism, and his concern with the socially transformative potential of art.

Additional Information

Master of Arts

Item type Thesis (Research Master thesis)
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 1904 Performing Arts and Creative Writing
Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Communication and the Arts
Keywords music, musical performance, musical participation, ritual, transformation, sacred
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