I'm skeptical of a musically pre-prepared "right mood" for meditation. Tense mood, dull mood, angry mood, restless mood, bliss mood, bored mood, agitated mod...all moods are subject to meditation as they are. Meditation (both concentrative and contemplative) is the path and the fruit, no need for a pre-path, imo.
I'm also skeptical that modern music (even "meditative") has the intended effect of preparing a state of mind that is "receptive" to meditation. Why not ice cream then? Or sex? How about watching tv? Aren't they all just stimulations that move the mind, each in their own particular ways? I don't see the point in stirring the mind prior to meditation. Also, if we put most modern music in a music editing program we see that even though the output may seem to be soothing, the actual construction of the music (what we're hearing under what we expect to hear) reveals a building block pattern of electronic noise that merely simulates soothing music, but that potentially stimulates erratic or linear brain activity.
Organic (acoustic) chanting evolved with duel purpose: as a tool of memorization, and also as a tool for resetting the calibration of the brain - not to be confused with modern music which seeks to entertain and is generally not created consciously with it's effect on brain function in mind. Chanting, in most premodern cultures, was the output of a highly refined science - chants were tonally and rhythmically constructed specifically to balance the left/right hemispheres of the brain - soothing one and activating the other, with equal function as one goal - and heightened capacity for memorization as the other. The rise and fall and repetition found in premodern chanting was carefully calculated and mirrors/emphasizes/creates integration with the the breath and the pulse of existence, both external and internal. Tones and tonal variations also were carefully chosen with this integration in mind. The goal of chanting was both to open the contracted mind and re-pattern it in balance with the natural world. It was medicine. This differentiates it from "music" as we know it, and as it is constructed in the modern world.
Imo, ideally, a gong at the beginning of a meditation session clears the mind of surface garbage and sets the stage for clear awareness. Chanting sound should be functional and medicinal, not mood-enhancing. Anything else stirs the muddy glass of water.
Last edited by pink_trike
on Tue May 19, 2009 8:18 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss
- Dawa Gyaltsen
Disclaimer: I'm a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training.