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Music and Analysis: Contrapuntal Reflections

by Patricia Skar
Copyright © 2015

When I decided to apply to the Jung Institute in Zürich, many who knew me were surprised. "You're a musician," they said, "why do you want to become a Jungian analyst?"  Some of my friends thought that I was giving up music to become an analyst.  "On the contrary," I said, "I intend to do both." At first, this meant that I continued playing the piano and violin as I always had. But during my Zürich training, I started to see that my musician-side could be brought into the analytic context as well. I then decided to focus on the theme of music and analysis for my Diploma Thesis.  

One of the first questions I asked myself was, "What do the processes of music and analysis have in common?" One of the important tasks of analysis is to further a dialogue between consciousness and the unconscious, so that a new wholeness within the person is facilitated. Music also bridges the conscious and unconscious sides of ourselvesit embodies the expression in time of the deep archetypal layers of the psyche. Music opens us to undiscovered aspects of ourselves, such as when we realize that a certain piece of music simply is as we are at a particular moment. I am reminded of a passage from T.S. Eliot's "Four Quartets", where he speaks of "music heard so deeply that it is not heard at all, but you are the music while the music lasts" (Eliot 1969, p. 190).

Jung's concept of individuation could be seen as the process of making a coherent whole out of the disparate parts of our personalities. Music is similar, in that it makes sound coherent, ordering it in time and creating a meaningful synthesis out of its contrasting elements. Probably one of the reasons music affects us so deeply is that we identify with its sound-structuring process, and this in turn promotes a re-ordering process within our minds. Jung wrote, "Individuation does not shut one out from the world, but gathers the world to oneself" (Jung 1947, para. 432). Music brings us into connection with one another, as playing and listening to music with others gives great emotional satisfaction. Music also unites us with our culture, since the entire development of a society is reflected in its music.

The Piano, Performance, and Individuation

My own individuation process has been intimately connected to my musical development and experience. I started playing the piano at the age of three and the violin at eight, and continued performing both instruments as I grew up, later graduating from the University of Iowa with Bachelor of Music and Master of Fine Arts degrees in piano performance. I was teaching piano at the time I entered my first Jungian analysis in San Francisco, and slowly began to notice that the process I saw happening with my students, as well as the nature of the relationships I built up with them, were in many respects similar to what occurs in analysis. The main difference was that my students and I were relating through the medium of learning a musical instrument. But just as in analysis, I saw individuals confront the persona, shadow, animus and anima in the context of what could be called an individuation process through music. [For unfamiliar Jungian terms, see Glossary at the end of this paper.]

My experiences as a piano teacher seem in retrospect a natural prelude to becoming an analyst. I began to notice quite early in my teaching that many people were coming to piano lessons for extra-musical reasons. In other words, learning the piano was often a disguised attempt at working on some other aspect of themselves. I would say now, from a Jungian perspective, that for most of my piano students, taking lessons was intimately involved with their individuation process.  

A professional woman ("Mary") who came to me in her late thirties had studied piano throughout her childhood and adolescence and was quite an advanced pianist. What I noticed immediately in her playing was a lack of flow and a dryness and rigidity of sound. I could see that playing the piano was a rather limited, somewhat painful experience for her. So I asked her what she would really like to do at the piano. Mary replied without a moment's hesitation that she would love to be able to improvise on an idea of her own, or play popular or jazz music that appealed to her. She had never ventured into this type of playing before, and was visibly excited at the prospect of being allowed to explore these clearly shadow areas of her musical development.  

We decided together to approach playing the instrument as if she were a beginner, learning to let the energy for the sound production come from the center of her body. Then we started working without a score, learning simple harmonic patterns over which she could create her own melodies. Within a few weeks she was coming to her lessons, nearly ecstatic, saying that she had never dreamed this was possible--playing without being "bound to the notes" and actually creating music on her own! But Mary soon realized that it would be a long process to build the repertoire of musical patterns she needed to give free rein to her ideas, and she became somewhat discouraged.  

It was clear that Mary needed something more concrete to tackle in her practice. As a bridge between her former and new ways of playing, I suggested some transcribed jazz tunes. One that she particularly liked was Vince Guaraldi's "Cast Your Fate to the Wind" (Guaraldi, 1962, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rTA3aOfrDHA ). The title or the piece gives a good indication of its character, and this became immensely freeing for Mary. The expansive quality of the melody seemed to create 'space' for her, and she began to move in a much rounder, feminine way as she played. The syncopated, repetitive rhythmic pattern in the left hand had the effect of propelling her forward rather than keeping her "stuck" on the beat, which was a former tendency in her playing. 

This piece also gave Mary the opportunity to confront a particularly difficult rhythmic problem for her, a triplet (three-note) figure in the right-hand melody against a four-beat division in the left-hand part: 

This "three-against-four" rhythmic pattern is difficult for everyone to master at first. In this piece, the triplet figure has a round, lyrical feel which propels one forward, while the quadruple grouping has a more square solidarity. When the two rhythms are combined, they produce a "tension of opposites" that heightens the expression of the musical theme.  

Since Mary's dominant function was thinking, in tackling the three-against-four measure, she diligently worked out mathematically where the notes should fall. She could play the measure slowly by itself, but could not fit it into the context of the surrounding music without the rhythm falling apart. Her intellectual approach, which had the effect of isolating this particular bar of music from its context, had to be sacrificed in order to bring the measure back into a feeling mode with the rest of the music around it. We did this by playing each hand separately, connecting the problem measure with the music around it, and feeling the flow of each part. Gradually she was able to put hands together and link up this section with the rest of the piece. It was a joy to see the abandon which Mary developed as she "cast her fate to the wind" while playing this tune. Mary continued to learn other blues and jazz transcriptions, happily exploring sides of herself through the music which were quite remote from her conscious personality.  

The psychological process she experienced through her piano lessons was in many ways similar to what occurs in analysis. For Mary, there was first an evaluation of her history at the piano, which had formed the 'personality' of her playing of today. We could say that she had developed a faulty relationship with the instrument, which was constricting her ability to find joy in her playing: it was necessary to go back to the beginning and start over, finding a new way to approach the piano in a different kind of relationship with her teacher. In analysis, the same process might involve forming a new, more positive relationship with the analyst than had earlier been experienced with parental figures. With my student Mary, the contrast of the freedom of the new way with the rigidity of the old patterns initially produced an ego inflation. But this soon disappeared as Mary realized the amount of hard work necessary to achieve her goals. Likewise in analysis, the analysand's positive or idealizing transference toward the analyst will often produce a honeymoon effect. But, as the analyst inevitably fails to fulfill all these expectations, more realistic inner parameters slowly begin to emerge in the analysand. Through Mary's struggle with the rhythmic problems in "Cast Your Fate to the Wind", we were able to see that her dominant function, thinking, needed to make room for her inferior feeling, which in turn allowed the synthesis between three and four in the music to take place. Coming to terms with one's typology and how it affects the way life problems are approached is certainly an important aspect of analysis. Additionally, after establishing that her lessons with me were a 'safe container', Mary worked through persona issues (which had to do with performance fears), identified and integrated elements of her shadow (expressed through the jazz tunes), and confronted aspects of the negative animus. He appeared in the form of the critical inner judge, who always entered the scene when she was not making 'good enough' progress. By facing these repressed aspects of herself, she became more whole musically and as a person. She was also able to free blocked areas of emotional expression in her body and gain access to new states of feeling which had previously existed only in the unconscious. And, as in analysis, a dialogue opened between the unconscious and conscious parts of her psyche, though here it occurred in the context of our musical relationship.  

Jung and Music

As I began to think about how music creates a link between consciousness and the unconscious, I wondered what Jung had to say about music. I discovered to my dismay that there were only a handful of references to music in Jung's 20-volume Collected Works. It was in his letters that I found Jung's clearest statement on music. Jung had received a request in 1950 from Serge Moreux, Director of Polyphonie, Revue Musicale (Paris) to write an article on "the role of music in the collective unconscious". He declined on the grounds of "age and health", but gave these few important words in his reply:  

Music certainly has to do with the collective unconscious--as the drama does too . . . . Music expresses, in some way, the movement of the feelings (or emotional values) that cling to the unconscious processes. The nature of what happens in the collective unconscious is archetypal, and archetypes always have a numinous quality that expresses itself in emotional distress. Music expresses in sounds what fantasies and visions express in visual images. I am not a musician and would not be able to develop these ideas for you in detail. I can only draw your attention to the fact that music represents the movement, development, and transformation of the motifs of the collective unconscious. In Wagner this is very clear and also in Beethoven, but one finds it equally in Bach's The Art of Fugue. The circular character of the unconscious processes is expressed in the musical form; as for example in the sonata's four movements, or the perfect circular arrangement of the The Art of Fugue.  (Jung 1973, p. 542.) 

Jung had referred to The Art of Fugue before, in Mysterium Coniunctiones, where he pointed out that it is important to give shape to the images which emerge from the unconscious. Jung suggested that a musical configuration of these images might also be possible, and offered Bach's Art of Fugue as an example (Jung 1963, para. 754). I was reminded of my own impetus to learn this work, which came in the form of a dream where I saw myself playing it on the piano. This was during a period when my energy was somewhat unfocussed, as I was doing several different occupations part-time. The day after the dream I bought the score to The Art of Fugue, and was amazed at my strong attraction to the first of the fourteen fugues, which became a sort of daily meditation for me. The piece seemed to have an amazing ability to organize my energies. I did not ask myself why at the time, but simply accepted that the form of the music and my immersion in it were responsible. Jung must have also sensed the special quality of this piece, to have named it twice in his reference to the archetypal quality of music. By giving me a dream where I was playing The Art of Fugue, my unconscious was compensating in no uncertain terms for the lack of focus and order in my outer life. I was doubly lucky that I could go out, buy the score and start learning the piece the next day!  

When Jung mentioned the circular arrangement of The Art of Fugue, he was undoubtedly referring to the process of inversion which characterizes the development of the fugue theme throughout the fourteen fugues, which are all in the key of d minor. I noticed that if we line up, for example, the first five bars of Fugues I and IV, visual circles seem to emerge from the space between the notes of the theme (in Fugue I) and its inversion (in Fugue IV):   

Contrapunctus 1 [BWV 1080,1]
Contrapunctus 4 [BWV 1080,4]
For Jung, a circular pattern is central to the idea of individuation, or as he sometimes described it, "the circumambulation of the Self". Jung conceptualized the role of the unconscious as a counterpole to consciousness. Out of the collision of these two opposing forces, the unconscious tends to create a third possibility. We could say that the entire Art of Fugue is a process of uniting the opposites inherent in the first fugal theme. This is a kind of musical analogue to the psychological process of individuation.   

Individuation inevitably entails facing our typology and coming to terms with our inferior function, which often leads to the unconscious. The concert pianist and music therapist Margaret Tilly began analyzing music in terms of Jung's psychological types in the 1940s (Tilly, 1947). She observed that people were more responsive to music that matches their particular masculine or feminine orientation and their typology. Tilly established rapport with her clients primarily through improvising at the piano, intuitively grasping which type of music reflected the psychological make-up of the person or his psychic state when therapy began. Once rapport was established, she introduced music that would stimulate the inferior function, put moods in the context of a greater wholeness, or bring a new perspective on a situation by first experiencing it through music.  

Tilly was an excellent pianist and could play the whole range of classical literature as well as folk music, popular music, and spontaneously improvised music. In 1956, prior to a trip to Switzerland for a professional engagement, Tilly sent some of her case histories to Jung. He was so impressed with them that he invited her to his home to discuss her work. This may have been the first time Jung had encountered a performing musician who could relate music consciously to psychological processes. In fact, he told Tilly that music exhausted and irritated him since it "is dealing with such deep archetypal material and those who play don't realize this" (Tilly 1956, p. 274). Jung went on to say that he had always thought music therapy was sentimental and superficial, but that her papers were "entirely different". He asked Tilly to treat him as if he were one of her own patients, saying, "Now--what do you think I need?" (Tilly 1956, p. 274). As Tilly alternately played and related case histories, Jung was more and more deeply moved, finally saying:

This opens up whole new avenues of research I'd never even dreamed of. Because of what you've shown me this afternoon--not just what you've said, but what I have actually felt and experienced--I feel that from now on music should be an essential part of every analysis. This reaches the deep archetypal material that we can only sometimes reach in our analytical work with patients. This is most remarkable.  
(Tilly 1956, p. 275) 

Music Therapy and Analysis

Nearly sixty years later, we have not come much closer to making music "an essential part of every analysis," as Jung suggested. Although one occasionally finds articles in analytical journals concerning music, these rarely contain any practical suggestions for using music in analysis. Why is this? If we think of the importance of drawing, painting, sandplay, etc., in the mainstream of Jungian analysis, it seems odd at first that there is not an equal emphasis and ongoing research in the use of music. Surely one reason music so rarely comes into an analytic setting is because of a lack of pioneers in the field--people who have had training in both music and psychoanalysis--and who have seen or can envision, as Jung himself did on the day he met Margaret Tilly, the ways music could be used in the context of the analytic relationship. To explore this question further, I decided to look outside analytic circles and into the world of music therapy. Although music has been used in conjunction with healing since the earliest times, music therapy became a distinct modern profession in America only about seventy years ago. Since then there has been a remarkable development and expansion of the concepts and practice. Along with this has come an increased interest in incorporating music in various forms of psychotherapy.  

There are two obvious possibilities for using music in the psychotherapeutic context:  listening to music or improvising music. A widely used music therapy technique which employs music listening is known as "Guided Affective Imagery with Music" (hereafter referred to as "GIM"). This was developed by Dr. Helen Bonny, who in 1973 founded the Institute for Consciousness and Music in Baltimore, Maryland (Bonny and Savary, 1973). In GIM, one listens to music in a relaxed state for the purpose of allowing imagery, symbols and deep feelings to arise and then be used for self-understanding. This is very close to Jung's idea of active imagination (see CW8:400), so a potential model for therapeutic music listening in analysis could be called "active imagination through music". In both Jungian active imagination and GIM, we could say that the transcendent function is at work, bridging the gulf between consciousness and the unconscious. The main difference is that the "image" we start with in GIM is the music. In active imagination through music, the music could be chosen by either the analyst or analysand to facilitate the investigation of a mood, picture, event, or dream. There might be a specific piece of music which has appeared in a dream or has particular associations for the client--for example, music that is connected to a specific intimate relationship or event.  

In analysis, sharing the experience of listening to music that appeared in a dream or in connection with a significant event, memory, or conflict could well be a catalyst toward deeper insight or aid the release of repressed material. However, there is another possibility that I feel has greater potential for effectiveness within analysis: improvisational music therapy with instruments. In the course of researching different forms of music therapy in use today, I discovered Mary Priestley's 1975 book, Music Therapy in Action (Priestley, 1975). I immediately recognized that her way of working was highly relevant to Jungian analysis. "Analytical Music Therapy," conceived and developed by Priestley, Peter Wright and Marjorie Wardle in England in the early 1970s, employs words and symbolic music improvisations to explore the inner life of the client. It involves the use of simple tuned and untuned percussion instruments, such as drums, cymbals, xylophones, tambourines, and an unlimited variety of South American and African percussion instruments. Delicate instruments which have to be tuned, including most string instruments, are generally not suitable for analytical music therapy. 

Shortly after reading Priestley's book, I contacted her in London, and later trained with her in individual music therapy sessions. During this time I gradually accumulated an array of simple percussion instruments. Following my training, I decided to bring these instruments into my consulting room. Since I did not want the instruments to dominate the room, I placed them on the floor and on shelves against the wall behind the client's chair. Some of my clients noticed the instruments in the room right away and others only after several weeks. When they asked about them, I replied that the instruments were there for us to use, just like the drawing materials I always keep ready for spontaneous drawing. Most clients seemed quite intimidated at first by the idea of playing any of the instruments, saying things like, "I was never any good at music," or "I wouldn't know how to play them correctly". Some (including a few who knew about my musical background) were afraid that I would be especially sensitive to their "mistakes". I explained that the very nature of these instruments, as well as the context in which they were to be used, more or less ruled out the possibility of mistakes. As part of the analytic dialogue (i.e., active imagination), there was no critical standard by which any of their sounds could be judged, much the same as in spontaneous drawing.  

Occasionally a spontaneous improvisation came out of the initial exploration of the instruments; other times the analysand would simply express an attraction for several specific instruments and perhaps have an interesting association to the sound. For example, one instrument, the "Caterpillar" (made of slats of hardwood attached to a flexible backing, and sounding like a falling set of dominoes when flicked), led a client to associate to tension in his spine. As another client played the small finger cymbals, she was reminded of a delicately embroidered pillowcase given to her by her grandmother.  

When instruments are explored in the analytic space, the idea of play is introduced. Of course, it is just this thought of 'playing' that may be intimidating to a client. In this context, a particular instrument or sound may lead back to an earlier developmental period. Mary Priestley stresses that musical improvisation can reflect the developmental process. She even relates certain ways of playing music to Freud's oral, anal, and genital stages (Priestley 1983, pp. 149-54). Heinz Kohut also compared the effects of music to the developmental stages. He felt that the same piece of music can affect people differently, and may offer a "subtle transition to preverbal modes of psychological functioning" (Kohut 1957 (1978: p. 253). Kohut also compared the concepts of primary and secondary process to the organizational features in music. For example, a simple rhythm, or primary process, is often concealed underneath a sophisticated tune or variations of a theme, which would represent the secondary process.

Apart from reflecting developmental stages and fixations, it should be obvious that one of the most important things music improvisation can facilitate is the acting out of emotions. Music can release energy bound up in repressed memories and images or trapped in destructive patterns or physical symptoms. It is as if feelings normally hidden beneath the level of consciousness can rise to the surface with more safety when they are contained by a sound matrix. In this context, Mary Priestley has modeled several of her techniques on the work of Melanie Klein. For example, in Priestley's "Holding" technique, the client is allowed to express herself fully through sound while being held symbolically by the musical matrix of the therapist. The "Splitting" technique is used when a client has projected part of herself on another person and needs to reconnect to the emotion invested in that person. She may first improvise as herself and then switch to becoming the other person, consciously owning the feelings which have been projected onto the other. Alternatively, the therapist can play the part of the other person, and a duet of the opposing forces takes place through the music (Priestley 1975, pp. 121-28).  

I once worked with a 60-year-old woman ("Ann") who was carrying immense anger toward her ex-husband. She felt that he had never been able to see or hear her. When she tried to express feelings to him, he rigidly shut her out. I asked Ann if she could imagine what these interchanges would be like, expressed in sound. In this session, she had already been playing the "deckadrum," a pitched tongue/slit drum with ten different pitches. Ann said, "My husband would be like this--" (playing very loud regular beats) "completely rigid and unmoving!" I asked, "And how would you be?" She then played wildly, with varied rhythms and dynamics, all over the deckadrum. I suggested that I play the husband and she play herself. I chose a small snare drum and beat regularly on it with wooden beaters. Ann's drumming alternated between a rather seductive soft insistence and frenetic pounding, as I continued my totally unresponsive, monotonous drumming. But as our eyes met, I felt that she knew I now understood what it had been like for her. Through the music, I was also connected to my own inner frustration in trying to penetrate the wall of her defenses. At the end of this session, Ann said, "It was like dancing--you followed me! I feel you really heard and understood me--maybe something is moving now!" 

Besides free improvisation or improvisation on personal themes, analytical music therapists use a number of imagery techniques similar to Jung's active imagination. One can improvise on any theme which seems relevant to the feelings--physical or emotional--brought into the session. For example, in one of my sessions with Mary Priestley, my right shoulder and arm were hurting, so we did an improvisation titled "Shoulder and Arm". This helped me to focus on the feelings needing to be expressed in that symptom.  

What effects do the specific aspects of music have on us? Rhythm, the feeling of movement in time, is perhaps the most important element in music, since it is the driving and ordering factor behind the sounds. It has a stimulating or depressing effect on the rhythmic systems of the body (blood circulation, breathing, and heart rate). A client's rhythmic expression can reflect the dynamics of early and current relationships, and show the state of his "inner rhythm" (Priestley 1975, p. 213). For example, on her first day of trying my instruments, one of my clients (who suffered from a lack of order and control in her life) played xylophones and drums without any discernible rhythm. At one point, I decided to try to play with her, and found it a most frustrating experience because of the erratic nature of her sound patterns. This musical experience was similar to and heightened my awareness of my countertransference feelings, which had often made me want to impose rhythm and order onto her mostly disordered monologues.

The specific element most people associate with music is melody. It is probably first experienced as the rise and fall of the mother's voice. Tonal relationships in a melody provide possibilities for tension and relief: factors such as the frequency of and distance between consonant and dissonant intervals, the size and direction of the intervals, the fulfillment of expectations based on past associations, and manners of resolution. All of these appear to have an effect on the physical body of the performer or listener. However, melody also appeals to the intellect, since we must follow the notes of the melodic pattern if it is to make sense to us (Priestley 1975, p. 214). So, if a person becomes overly emotional in a free improvisation, the therapist may be able to bring up the client's thinking function again by playing something melodic.  

Harmony provides the ground for melody; it is the underlying chord structure based on the key or musical scale on which the music is based. Harmony can produce the physical sensations of tension and relief. To most people, consonant harmony feels agreeable and dissonant harmony disagreeable, so tension is produced either by delaying the consonant or using the dissonant harmony. In music therapy, the skillful use of harmony can encourage the exploration of emotional areas. Using major chords tends to strengthen and soothe, while minor chords can mirror sorrow and yearning. An atonal tone cluster could act as a catalyst toward the expression of unconscious disturbing feelings (Ibid., 213-14).

Another aspect of sound is timbre or tone quality. This results from a blend of the complex wave motion of the fundamental frequency plus its harmonics, and enables us to distinguish between different instruments that are sounding the same pitch. The timbre changes for each instrument as it moves from note to note, from a low to a high register, and from soft to loud dynamically; there are an infinite number of possible variations in timbre. The greater the number of harmonics and the stronger they are, the more rich, brilliant, cutting or strident the tone quality of a sound becomes. The timbre of an instrument will often provoke an association for the client. For example, as one of my clients played a range of tuned and untuned percussion instruments, she remarked that certain pitches or sounds were "dead sounds". This she correlated with "dead feelings inside", which she had previously had difficulty expressing in words.  

All the elements of music can express and successfully work on aspects of the transference between analyst and client. Having improvised music most of my life, I initially found it difficult to unite my improviser-self with my analyst-self. Putting these two sides together meant holding two types of awareness: an inner, detached observer and an open receiver of the client's sound patterns. While improvising music, a pathway to the unconscious opens up, making it more difficult to be protected and objective. Maintaining the analytic stance while improvising music means that one must be on the alert for such things as a musical syntonic-countertransference reaction. But when the analyst can contain and take on the split-off parts of the client in her musical response, the door is open toward reintegration and transformation.  

Felix Mendelssohn wrote, "The word remains ambiguous; but in music we understand one another rightly" (Jacob 1963, pp. 185-86). Sometimes it is possible to hear a thought or emotion being expressed in a client's music which has never been accessible through words. One of my analysands habitually raged at others' lack of caring and sensitivity to her needs.  She seemed to have no access to sensitive mothering in herself, but as she played my delicate wind chimes, she immediately connected to a restful, quiet place, which in turn led her to a desire to paint and express her feelings. For another quite timid man, who constantly made excuses for a mother with whom he was actually furious, music became a vehicle for angry, strong feelings. When invited to express his feelings about his mother, he beat loudly on a drum for over fifteen minutes. Afterwards, he seemed visibly relieved and amazed at the strength of the emotion he had accessed through his drumming. This made it easier for him to talk about his negative feelings toward his mother. It seemed to be the anonymity of the sound expression, which Priestley calls the "guilt-free medium of non-verbal sound" (Priestley 1975, p. 19) that allowed those previously tabooed angry feelings to emerge. When emotion has been discharged in sound, it can often be easier for words to flow.  

Whether music is used actively in analysis or not, it remains an essential element in the consciousness and unconscious of us all. Music can lead us beyond the personal dimension into those deep archetypal structures which share a "common rhythm" with the order of the universe. Listening to and playing music help us rediscover an inner place of "unitary reality" where we are rooted in the cosmos and also in our individual selves. This is similar to Erich Neumann's description of the awareness of the ego-Self axis: "the experience of the harmony of the individual ego with the totality of its nature, with its constitutional make-up" (Neumann 1990, p. 43).

Analysis creates a facilitating environment for the process of individuation. I believe that music, with its powerful potential for connecting us to the deep layers of the psyche, has the potential to enhance this facilitating environment for the individuation process. Music exists experientially in time: it can directly express the rhythmic and cyclic processes that make up our lives. The pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim comes very close to my own feelings when he writes: "there is no better escape from life than through music, and yet there is no better way to understand life than through music" (Barenboim 1991, p. 160).

Copyright © Patricia Skar 2015


Barenboim, Daniel (1991), A Life in Music. Michael Lewin, ed. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson.  

Bonny, Helen and Louis Savary (1973, 1990), Music and Your Mind: Listening with a New Consciousness. Barrytown, New York: Station Hill Press, Inc.  (Distributed by MMB Music, St. Louis, Missouri.)

Eliot, T. S. (1969), Four Quartets. In The Complete Poems and Plays of T. S. Eliot. London: Faber and Faber.  

Guaraldi, Vince (1962), "Cast Your Fate to the Wind" (New York: Atzal Music).  

Jacob, H.E. (1963), Felix Mendelssohn and His Times, (Richard and Clara Winston, trans.) London: Barrie & Rockliff, 185-86.

Jung, C. G. (1947)  "On the Nature of the Psyche." Collected Works 8. 

__________ (1963)  Collected Works 14: Mysterium Coniunctionis

__________ (1973), Letters, Vol. I (1906-1950). Gerhard Adler and Aniela Jaffe, eds.  (R. F. C. Hull, trans.)  Bollingen Series CV.  Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.
Kohut, Heinz (1957), "Observations on the Psychological Functions of Music." Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association 5:389-407. Reprinted in The Search for the Self, Vol. I. New York: International Universities Press, Inc., 1978, 233-53.

Neumann, Erich (1973; 1990), The Child. (Ralph Manheim, trans.) With a Forward by Louis H. Stewart.  Boston: Shambhala. 

Priestley, Mary (1980; 1983), Analytische Musiktherapie. Vorlesungen am Gemeinschaftskrankenhaus Herdecke.  Translated by Brigitte Stein. Stuttgart: Klett-Clotta.   

____________ (1975), Music Therapy in Action. With a Forward by Dr. E. G. Wooster. London: Constable, rev. ed. St. Louis: Magnamusic-Baton, 1985.

Tilly, Margaret (1956), "The Therapy of Music," in C.G. Jung Speaking (1977), William McGuire and R. F. C. Hull, eds.  Princeton, N. J.: Princeton University Press, 273-5. 

_____________ (January, 1947), "The Psychoanalytical Approach to the Masculine and Feminine Principles in Music." The American Journal of Psychiatry 103, no. 4, 477-83. 


An earlier version of this paper was published under the same title: "Music and Analysis:  Contrapuntal Reflections," in Mary Ann Mattoon, ed., Zurich 95:  Open Questions in Analytical Psychology, Daimon Verlag: Einsiedeln, Switzerland, 1997, pp. 389-403.


Glossary of Jungian Terms

Archetypes: non-representable structuring patterns of psychological performance linked to instinct, which order experience. The archetypes themselves are irrepresentable, but images that stand for an archetype, such as the hero, dragon, cross, treasure, etc., are typically found in mythology, religion and folklore. Jung says that a person:  
"is not born as a tabula rasa, he is merely born unconscious. But he brings with him systems that are organized and ready to function in a specifically human way, and these he owes to millions of years of human development. Just as the migratory and nest-building instincts of birds were never learnt or acquired individually, man brings with him at birth the ground-plan of his nature, and not only of his individual nature but of his collective nature. These inherited systems correspond to the human situations that have existed since primeval times: youth and old age, birth and death, sons and daughters, fathers and mothers, mating, and so on. Only the individual consciousness experiences these things for the first time, but not the bodily system and the unconscious." [Jung, CW4, para. 728]

Self: the central archetype of order within the individual, as well as the entire archetypal system of the unconscious. The Self is the principle mediator of opposites, producing numinous symbols of a self-regulatory and healing nature. The Self is both the center of the psyche when perceived by the ego, and a way of speaking about the entire psyche as a unified whole. For Jung, the Self was a dynamic concept responsible for personality development and individuation.  

Ego: the central complex in the field of consciousness, concerned with personal identity and mediation between the conscious and unconscious realms of the personality. It is based on the archetype of the Self, and is its representative in the field of consciousness. A strong ego can relate objectively to activated contents in the unconscious (i.e., other complexes), rather than identifying with them, which can appear as a state of possession.  

Persona (Latin: "actor's mask"): mediator between the ego and the external world. One's social roles, derived from expectations of society, and early training. A strong ego relates to the outside world through a flexible persona; identification with a particular persona (doctor, artist, etc.) inhibits psychological development.  

Shadow: an unconscious part of the personality characterized by traits and attitudes, either negative or positive, which the conscious ego tends to reject or ignore. The shadow is usually personified in dreams by persons of the same sex as the dreamer. Becoming consciously aware of and integrating one's shadow usually results in an overall increase of psychic energy.  

Anima (Latin: "soul") has traditionally been conceived as the contrasexual complex in the man. Personified in dreams by images of women ranging from seductress to spiritual guide (Wisdom). Anima is the eros principle; Jung called it "the archetype of life itself." A man's anima development is reflected in how he relates to women. Identification with the anima can appear as moodiness, effeminacy and oversensitivity.  

Animus (Latin: "mind" or "spirit") has traditionally been seen as the contrasexual complex in the woman, the "inner man" who acts as a bridge between the woman's ego and her creative resources in the unconscious. The animus personifies the logos principle.

Anima and Animus: these contrasexual complexes connect with the inner world of the person, just as the persona interfaces with the outside world. In their healthy form they enlarge the sphere of the ego through fascination with inner images or through involvement with someone on whom the archetypal image of anima or animus is projected. While in the past it was thought that only men had an 'anima' and women an 'animus', today the concepts of anima and animus are considered relevant for both genders.    

Complex: a group of related images having a common emotional tone and gathered around an archetypal core. Our complexes (such as the "mother complex") are formed as our unique experiences interact with universal developmental patterns. One can be unconsciously identified with and/or overwhelmed by a complex. Jung said that complexes have the character of "splinter psyches" [CW8:203] and can "behave like independent beings." [CW8, para.253] For Jung, the complex was the "via regia to the unconscious" and the "architect of dreams and symptoms."  

Individuation: the conscious realization of one's unique psychological reality, including both strengths and limitations. In Jung's words, it is "the development of the psychological individual as a being distinct from the general, collective psychology." [CW6, para. 757]  The main goal of the process of individuation is to achieve a conscious harmony with the forces in the unconscious that are seeking a centering or development of the whole personality. Jung saw the main function of analysis to be a furthering of the process of individuation in a person, not just curing neurotic symptoms or promoting better adjustment to social life.  

Psychological Types:  
Attitude Types:  
Extravert: energized by the external world; instinctively reaches out to the world.  His subjective attitude is constantly related to and oriented by the object. Decisions are determined by objective conditions, not subjective views. Extraverts are comfortable with people and attuned to their environment. They tend to bury themselves in tasks, sometimes ignoring the body's messages.  
Introvert: energized by the internal world; aware of external conditions, but relies principally on what the sense impression constellates in his own inner process. The introvert is more comfortable with the outer world when he has an inner model available, and prefers his own company to the company of others.   

Functions of Consciousness: ways of comprehending and adjusting to the world. Each function can be either extraverted or introverted, making possible eight different types.  

The "rational" functions work with evaluations and judgments:

Thinking = through thought or cognition, i.e., logic (something is "true" or "false").
Feeling = through evaluation based on feelings of pleasant or unpleasant, acceptance or rejection.

The "irrational" functions operate with perceptions which are not evaluated or interpreted:

Sensation = through perceiving things as they are; sensing reality.
Intuition = through perceiving the inherent potential of things. 

Superior Function: most well-adapted function.  
Inferior Function: usually the opposite to the superior function (thinking-feeling); least adapted function.

Symbol: Jung wrote that it is "the best possible description or formulation of a relatively unknown fact, which is nonetheless known to exist or is postulated as existing." [CW6, para. 814]. Symbolic thinking is right-brain oriented, non-linear thinking; it is complementary to logical, linear, left-brain thinking.  

Transcendent Function: The reconciling "third thing" which emerges from the unconscious (in the form of a new symbol or attitude) after the conflicting opposites of some life problem have been consciously differentiated, and the tension between them held.  

Personal Unconscious: the same as the Freudian "unconscious" (i.e., the unconscious aspect of the individual psyche). Its mental contents are inaccessible to the ego, and are a repository of repressed, infantile and personal experience.
Collective Unconscious: those psychic structures and functions that are characteristic of all human beings. This includes psychological activity relating directly to the instinctual bases of the human race and the inherited structure of the brain. Its contents have never been in consciousness and reflect archetypal processes.