Freud's Lost Chord: Discovering Jazz in the Resonant Psyche

Author(s) : Daniel Sapen

Freud's Lost Chord: Discovering Jazz in the Resonant Psyche

Book Details

  • Publisher : Harris Meltzer Trust
  • Published : September 2012
  • Cover : Paperback
  • Pages : 256
  • Category :
    Culture and Psychoanalysis
  • Category 2 :
  • Catalogue No : 31878
  • ISBN 13 : 9781780490120
  • ISBN 10 : 1780490127
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In Freud's Lost Chord, Dan Sapen explores what it means for the development of depth psychology that Freud was perplexed by music, and unlike nearly every other aspect of human life, had little to say about it – a problem shared by most others in the early generations of psychoanalytic thought. Psychoanalyst Charles Rycroft wrote "One cannot help regretting that none of the pioneers of the unconscious thought naturally in auditory terms"; more than this, over 100 years later, not only is music per se rarely looked it in psychodynamic terms, jazz music is almost completely absent from the literature. Dr. Sapen looks in depth at the intricate details of psychodynamic theory and practice, as well as an overview of its development, to address the possibility that a theoretical model that has little to say about such a basic and omni-present aspect of human life must be seriously flawed in its effort to explain what it is to be human, and how the mind functions and what it creates. However, Sapen illustrates how numerous other thinkers (Jung, Winnicott, Bion, Loewald, Rycroft), some seemingly at odds with and others serving as essential developments and re-workings of psychoanalytic principles, have managed to illuminate and integrate those missing principles so basic to music and creativity – to development, dreaming, thinking, and relating among other human beings intimately and in a society. Nearly uniquely in the psychodynamic literature, Sapen looks in depth at the music of Miles Davis and John Coltrane as examples of the living, breathing psychological processes so essential to understanding the meaning and dynamics of being human that Freud could not, for a variety of reasons, conceptualize.

Reviews and Endorsements

‘This is a timely and important book on the relationship of psychoanalysis and music. Its strength derives from Sapen’s command of both fields. Using psychoanalytic theorists such as Bion, Winnicott, Loewald, Meltzer, and Rycroft, Sapen maps a rich concept of the unconscious as creative process. He then applies that concept to jazz, with special attention to the great work of Miles Davis and John Coltrane. Previous psychoanalytic studies of music have focussed on classical music. Sapen makes out a brilliant case for jazz as the musical idiom that offers the richest possibilities for an art capable of exploring the dynamics of the unconscious. The book shimmers with fresh insights, both into psychoanalysis and into music. A seminal work.’
- Walter A. Davis, Professor Emeritus in the Department of English at Ohio State University

‘A wonderful exploration of the interface and intermingling of music and psychoanalysis. Sapen, a therapist-musician, explores the nature of rhythm, resonance, and response, melding a rich panoply of psychoanalytic writings, including Winnicott, Bion, and the relational psychology of analyst-musician Steven Knoblauch, with the music of Coltrane and Miles. Sapen’s sense of beauty and rhythm touches many chords, and brings out what music can do for psychoanalysis, not just what psychoanalysis can say about music.’
- Michael Eigen Training analyst with the National Psychological Association for
Psychoanalysis (USA); Associate Professor of Psychology, New York University

‘I am dazzled by how well Sapen articulates the subtleties of the analytic process and its purposes, and into the nature, technical aspects, and multidimensional dynamics of improvisational music and their relevance to the question of emergent consciousness. Few if any writers in my experience have demonstrated either the insight or quality of prose to deal so lucidly with these matters, let alone simultaneously.’
Lee Underwood - Musician and author; former West Coast USA editor of Downbeat; contributing journalist to Rolling Stone and The Los Angeles Times

About the Author(s)

Daniel Sapen received his PhD in Clinical Psychology from the Derner Institute of Advanced Psychological Studies at Adelphi University, and his Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy from Vassar College. He currently has a private, integrative psychotherapy practice in Long Island, New York, and has extensive experience in community mental health, schools for emotionally and developmentally disabled children, and nursing homes and rehabilitation centers treating geriatric and physical trauma issues. Musically, Sapen is a multi-instrumentalist (drums, saxophones, piano), composer, and poet-lyricist, and has written reviews and essays on jazz and audio for Earshot and Listener magazines. He is married with a young daughter.

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