Constructing Spirits: An Exercise in Pluralist Composition

15 Pages Posted: 13 Jul 2013

Date Written: July 12, 2013


It is well known that music can engender altered states of consciousness that are difficult to interpret scientifically except its odd malfunctions in the nervous system. In this paper I report on a phenomenon known among some musicians as "the magic of the bell," the apparent emergence of spirits while a groups is playing bells with passion and precision. I argue those sounds arise through interpersonal coupling among the musicans and that those twittering "spirits" should be considered as embodiments of non-mysterious and physically coherent group consciousness.

Keywords: music, bells, rhythm, coupling, synchrony, time, interpersonal synchrony, spirits, religion, spirit possession

Suggested Citation

Benzon, William L., Constructing Spirits: An Exercise in Pluralist Composition (July 12, 2013). Available at SSRN: or

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