Eastern culture often seems far removed from our mostly Western sensibilities. Epistemologically speaking, when the most New Worlders hear the word "chant" in relation to music, we immediately think of Fifth Century Gregorian Chant, so named for the sitting Roman Catholic Pope at the time, Gregory I (590-604).
Presently considered is a cycle of Tibetan Buddhist Chant with which the monks and nuns of the Karma Kagyu Lineage begin their day, and the ritual chant with which they close their day. The idea is not so different from what Catholic Monks do during morning prayers and evening vespers. The chant cadences are considerably different. Whereas monophony is characteristic of the Roman Catholic Tradition, a quasi polyphonyalmost conversationalcharacterizes the Tibetan tradition. The music is not exactly soothing, but is introspective with a mantra-like quality.
The true value of this music is its utility in breaking us Westerners out of our Eurocentric trance. This music demonstrates all that is similar and different in our respective cultures. That makes it indispensable.
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