The Occult Arts of Music

An Esoteric Survey from Pythagoras to Pop Culture


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About the Book

Occult traditions have inspired musical ingenuity for centuries. From the Pythagorean concept of a music of the spheres to the occult subculture of 20th-century pop and rock, music has often attempted to express mystical states of mind, cosmic harmony, the demonic and the divine—nowhere more so, perhaps, than in the music for films such as The Mephisto Waltz, The Devil Rides Out, Star Trek, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, The Omen and The Exorcist.
This survey explores how such film music works and uncovers its origins in Pythagorean and Platonic ideas about the divine order of the universe and its essentially numerical/musical nature. Chapters trace the influence of esoteric Freemasonry on Mozart and Beethoven, the birth of “demonic” music in the 19th century with composers such as Weber, Berlioz and Liszt, Wagner’s racial mysticism, Schoenberg’s numerical superstition, the impact of synesthesia on art music and film, the effect of theosophical ideas on composers such as Scriabin and Holst, supernatural opera and ballet, fairy music and, finally, popular music in the 1960s and ’70s.

About the Author(s)

David Huckvale has worked as a researcher, writer and presenter for BBC Radio and as a lecturer for various universities in England. He lives in rural Bedfordshire.

Bibliographic Details

David Huckvale
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 224
Bibliographic Info: 12 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2013
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7324-3
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0205-9
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface 1
One—The Music of the Spheres 5
Two—Masonic Music 27
Three—The Birth of the Demonic 44
Four—Wagner’s Racial Mysticism and Schoenberg’s Numerical Superstition 71
Five—Synesthesia 98
Six—Theosophy 108
Seven—Phantoms at the Opera 131
Eight—Dancing with Death 150
Nine—Fairy Music 161
Ten—Satan Rocks: Popular Music and the Occult 176
Epilogue 190
Notes 193
Bibliography 201
Index 207

Book Reviews & Awards

“Huckvale presents a fascinating survey of the relationships between ancient, medieval, early modern, and contemporary ‘occult arts’ and Western music”—Reference & Research Book News.