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Music and psychedelics have been intertwined throughout the existence of Homo sapiens, from the early shamanic rituals of the Americas and Africa to the modern use of psychedelic-assisted therapy for a variety of mental health conditions. Across such settings, music has been highly prized for its ability to guide the psychedelic experience. Here, we examine the interplay between music and psychedelics, starting by describing their association with the brain's functional hierarchy that is relied upon for music perception and its psychedelic-induced manipulation, as well as an exploration of the limited research on their mechanistic neural overlap. We explore music's role in Western psychedelic therapy and the use of music in indigenous psychedelic rituals, with a specific focus on ayahuasca and the Santo Daime Church. Furthermore, we explore work relating to the evolution and onset of music and psychedelic use. Finally, we consider music's potential to lead to altered states of consciousness in the absence of psychedelics as well as the development of psychedelic music. Here, we provide an overview of several perspectives on the interaction between psychedelic use and music-a topic with growing interest given increasing excitement relating to the therapeutic efficacy of psychedelic interventions.

Original publication




Journal article


Ann N Y Acad Sci

Publication Date



DMT, LSD, ayahuasca, music, psilocybin, psychedelic