EMS Proceedings and Other Publications

Bridging a Shamanic Worldview and Electroacoustic Art

Gary Kendall

Gary Kendall, Sonic Arts Research Center Queen’s, University Belfast Belfast, UK BT7 1NN


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Abstract Much of my compositional effort over the last ten years has been directed toward creating works that bridge the world of Peruvian shamanism with the world of technological music. These works emerged out of a need to re-conceptualize my musical practice in the face of the personal changes I experienced during years of study with Peruvian shamans. One of my goals when I started this journey was to understand the shaman’s use of sound so that I could apply this knowledge in my own compositions, but it is the total shift of my worldview that has come to inform my approach to composition. The single most important thing to know about my shamanic compositional process is that the vast majority of the compositional decisions are made by divination. The divination is performed by holding a small crystal pendulum over my personal collection of sacred objects, a practice that I learned from my very first Peruvian teacher. But then, what is the essential nature of shamanic composition? It is about the impact of the composition in the unseen world including its affect on what we might call the non-physical body of the listener, the energy body.

EMS11 Proceedings