"The Spiritual Significance of Music" book review
Vicki Liston
Author of "Europe for the Senses - A Photographic Journal" 
By Vicki Liston
Published on 10/6/2010
Book review of "The Spiritual Significance of Music"

Book Review

The Spiritual Significance of Music

Edited by Justin St. Vincent

Xtreme Music

978-0-473-15690-9, 2009


Editor Justin St. Vincent compiles a fascinating array of answers to his thought-provoking question, “What do you believe is the spiritual significance of music?”  Organized in an appropriately named book, “The Spiritual Significance of Music”, St. Vincent offers insight from various industry experts – from authors to performers and from Christian to mainstream and death metal.


“The Spiritual Significance of Music” is a profound collection of exclusive interviews which seek to enunciate the concept of music’s role in society and its significance in personal spirituality.  St. Vincent asked his question to over a thousand individuals; over one hundred of these, such as Jefferson Starship, Devo, Daniel Bedingfield, Faith No More, and Petra, were utilized in the final version of his book.  The interviews reflect a remarkable depth and appreciation and will have the reader contemplating their own views on the subject.  St. Vincent also offers a short biography on each interviewee, including the genre they specialize in and a quick history of their work so the reader can fully understand from where this individual has developed their distinctive opinion. 


“The Spiritual Significance of Music” is an eye-opening read for both the hobbyist and professional musician.  As someone with a college degree in music, I found the interviews to be intelligent, insightful, and unique from one person to the next.  Containing only a very small amount of grammatical errors – which can be expected when quoting another person – the book is otherwise very well edited and the cover has an enticing design.  The only thing I saw that stuck out were the headings – some interviews have the band’s name in larger text with the interviewee’s name and title as subheadings while other interviews have the interviewee’s name as larger text and work or title as a subheading.  Still others have the name of a project/non-profit organization in larger text and the name and position in that organization as a subheading.  I would have preferred a more consistent approach to the headings, perhaps have the name of the interviewee as the main heading with the name of the band, organization, or project as a subheading.  A minor issue and it does not take away from the overall effect of the book.


Editor Justin St. Vincent asks a deep question and offers a myriad of creative and comprehensive answers in his book, “The Spiritual Significance of Music”.  Just as the term ‘music’ means something different to everyone, the concept of ‘spirituality’ further deepens the conversations.  Enlightening and passionate! 


Reviewed by Vicki Landes, author of “Europe for the Senses – A Photographic Journal”