Golden Sunset, Blue Rain
: the shamanic journeys. A practice-based investigation into 'spiritual musicking' and its creative music-making realisations

  • Nicholas Peters

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This research combines my music-making practice with my spiritual practice of shamanic journeying. The thesis investigates, through the discussion of relevant contextual academic works, and through the multimedia documentation of my musical and spiritual practices, a series of interconnected research questions:
• How do I experience my spiritual practices through my music-making?
• Is there a point at which my music becomes spiritual? If so, how does it become spiritual?
• How do I construct ‘meaning’ through my music-making practice and my shamanic journeying?
• How do I document my shamanic journeys in a way that makes my spiritual experiences accessible to others?

These research questions are tied together by an overarching, ontological research question, posed in the style of a Zen koan, asking: ‘Who am I? And why do I do what I do?’. As a series of ‘answers’ to this koan, I have created six realisations of my ongoing electroacoustic work Golden Sunset, Blue Rain. These realisations range induration from eleven minutes up to forty-seven minutes each. I have then, through focussed listening to each realisation, changed my state of consciousness to enable me to undertake a shamanic journey into nonordinary reality. Each shamanic journey has been documented and analysed so that links can be established between my music-making practice and my spiritual practice.

The overarching theoretical model proposed in this thesis, developing upon Christopher Small’s concept of ‘Musicking’ (1998), is that of ‘Spiritual Musicking’. Here, the act of music-making is but only one component of a larger process that encompasses the spiritual functionality of the music and the process of undertaking, documenting and analysing my shamanic experiences in relation to the realisations of my music.
Date of AwardFeb 2019
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Coventry University
SupervisorChristopher Hobbs (Supervisor) & Tom Williams (Supervisor)

Cite this