painting by Joseph Raffael

“Mathieu has found the words to tell the power of music.”
— Pete Seeger

Bridge of Waves W.A. Mathieu

Bridge of Waves: What Music Is and How Listening to It Changes the World (2010)

Who coaches Minerva's owl to hoot in tune? Why, it's none other than W. A. Mathieu. Music is the heart of a culture, and the philosophy of music is where we see the deepest values exposed. The deepest philosopher of music working today is W. A. Mathieu. This work describes music not as an isolated, abstracted system, but as a way of looking at the whole of reality and of being conscious of reality.
Jaron Lanier, author of 'You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto'

Bridge of Waves is available from Shambhala Publications

Intrinsically Lyrical

The author — a composer, pianist, and teacher — says this book is "primarily about open, intentional listening, how to practice it and what to expect from it." This is true and yet it barely taps the fecundity this book delivers. Bridge of Waves expresses an entire philosophy that perceives music as intrinsic to being human--and being human as intrinsic to listening.

Beginning with "music as body" — the musical effects of gravity on the muscles — Mathieu gives a lyrical stream of commentary about music as mind, heart, feelings, life, story, culture, cosmos, enlightenment, and even consciousness. Speaking primarily about wordless music he summarizes, "music is our creation story and we never stop telling it because we always have more to tell."

Writing has its own rhythm and practiced writers know well the inner feeling that signals their words being in sync (or not). The words in this book compose a brilliant and elegant symphonic arrangement that is innately recognized as the pulse of being-ness itself. A joy to read, Bridge of Waves will transform not only the way you "listen" to music, but what you know and appreciate about being human. Highly recommended.

—Julie Clayton, 5-star customer review on