The Extravagance of Music

  • David  Brown
  • Gavin Hopps

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxv
  2. David Brown, Gavin Hopps
    Pages 1-29
  3. God and Classical Sounds

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 31-34
    2. David Brown, Gavin Hopps
      Pages 35-80
    3. David Brown, Gavin Hopps
      Pages 81-131
    4. David Brown, Gavin Hopps
      Pages 133-160
  4. Popular Music and the Opening up of Religious Experience

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 161-165
    2. David Brown, Gavin Hopps
      Pages 167-227
    3. David Brown, Gavin Hopps
      Pages 229-295
    4. David Brown, Gavin Hopps
      Pages 297-309
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 311-325

About this book


This book explores the ways in which music can engender religious experience, by virtue of its ability to evoke the ineffable and affect how the world is open to us. Arguing against approaches that limit the religious significance of music to an illustrative function, The Extravagance of Music sets out a more expansive and optimistic vision, which suggests that there is an ‘excess’ or ‘extravagance’ in both music and the divine that can open up revelatory and transformative possibilities. In Part I, David Brown argues that even in the absence of words, classical instrumental music can disclose something of the divine nature that allows us to speak of an experience analogous to contemplative prayer. In Part II, Gavin Hopps contends that, far from being a wasteland of mind-closing triviality, popular music frequently aspires to elicit the imaginative engagement of the listener and is capable of evoking intimations of transcendence. Filled with fresh and accessible discussions of diverse examples and forms of music, this ground-breaking book affirms the disclosive and affective capacities of music, and shows how it can help to awaken, vivify, and sustain a sense of the divine in everyday life.


bach james macmillan St Matthew’s Passion Thomas Browne Religio Medici

Authors and affiliations

  • David  Brown
    • 1
  • Gavin Hopps
    • 2
  1. 1.University of St. AndrewsSt. AndrewsUnited Kingdom
  2. 2.University of St. AndrewsSt. AndrewsUnited Kingdom

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2018
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages Religion and Philosophy
  • Print ISBN 978-3-319-91817-4
  • Online ISBN 978-3-319-91818-1
  • Buy this book on publisher's site