Beyond the Roof of the WorldMusic, Prayer, and Healing in the Pamir Mountains

Beyond the Roof of the WorldMusic, Prayer, and Healing in the Pamir Mountains

Benjamin D. Koen

Print publication date: 2009

ISBN: 9780195367744

Publisher: Oxford University Press


Western medicine has conventionally separated music, science, and religion into distinct entities, yet traditional cultures throughout the world have always viewed music as a bridge that connects and balances the physical with the spiritual to promote health and healing. As people in even the most technologically advanced nations across the globe struggle with obtaining affordable and reliable healthcare, more and more people are now turning to these ancient cultural practices of holistic and ICAM healing (integrative, complementary, and alternative medicine). This book convincingly demonstrates the relevance of medical ethnomusicology in light of the globally spreading ICAM approaches to health and healing. Revealing the Western separation of healing from spiritual and musical practices as a culturally determined phenomenon, the book confirms their underlying unity. In a place poetically known as the Roof of the World, the culture found within the towering Pamir Mountains of Badakhshan Tajikistan serves as the paradigm of ICAM healing practices. The book’s research and immersion into the Badakhshani culture provides a well-balanced “insider” perspective while maintaining an “observer’s” view, as it effectively bridges the widespread gaps between ethnomusicology, health science, and music therapy.