Death is an unanswerable question for humanity, the question that always remains unanswered because it lies beyond human experience. Music represents one of the most profound ways in which humanity struggles, nevertheless, to accommodate death within the scope of the living by giving a voice to death and the dead and a voice that responds. This book engages with the question of how music expresses and responds to the profound existential disturbance that death and loss present to the living. Each chapter offers readers an encounter with music as a way of speaking or responding to human mortality. Each chapter, in its own way, addresses these questions: How are death and the dead made present to us through music? How does music, as composed, performed and heard, respond to the brute fact of death for the living, the dying and the bereaved? These questions are addressed from a wide range of disciplinary perspectives: musicology, ethnomusicology, literature, history, philosophy, film studies, psychology and psychoanalysis. Singing Death also covers a wide range of musical genres from medieval love song to twenty-first-century horror film music. The collection is accompanied by a website including some of the music associated with each of its chapters.
Singing Death Reflections on Music and Mortality