Secret Sound is a podcast focusing on the esoteric history of American music, from the 18th century to the present. For the last 15 years host Matt Marble has been researching marginalized American artists and the spiritual, often esoteric, influences that have empowered their work. From psychic pianists to prophetic instrument-makers, these artists found inspiration from within and often musically expressed themselves in experimental and imaginative ways. 

Each episode focuses on a single artist, and explores their biography, creative process, musical works, and influences. Along the way, listeners are introduced to diverse esoteric traditions, such as Theosophy, spiritualism, New Thought, Kabbalah, Enochian Magic, Vajrayana Buddhism, and more. We’ll also explore aspects of American history and society as broader contexts to individual artists and their work.

All episodes are free to stream or download. Also available on iTunes and Spotify.

Contact: scrtsnd@gmail.com
 


 

Secret Sound - 12 - Marcotone Meditations (Edward Maryon) 

Welcome to Episode 12, Marcotone Meditations. This episode features one of the stranger personas in our history, British-American Edward Maryon (1867-1954). He was a Theosophical composer, a mythical Count, a criminal forger of master paintings, and a man of many…

Secret Sound - 11 - The Cradle of Harmony (William Sidney Mount) 

Welcome to Episode 11, The Cradle of Harmony, on the life of painter, composer, fiddler, inventor, and spiritualist William Sidney Mount (1807-1868). Mount, who lived primarily in Stony Brook, Long Island, pioneered genre painting, giving a strong focus upon African-American…

Secret Sound - 10 - Surrounded By Infinite Space (Alan Hovhaness) 

Welcome to Episode 10, “Surrounded By Infinite Space.” With around 500 works to his name, Alan Hovhaness (1911-2000) is one of the most prolific American composers of the 20th century. His works are pervaded by an idiosyncratic mysticism and as…

Secret Sound - 9 - Born With Second Sight (Mary Lou Williams) 

Welcome to Episode 9, “Born With Second Sight.” Through the life of pianist and composer Mary Lou Williams, we meet a self-described psychic, a child prodigy pianist, and a renowned composer of zodiac jazz and catholic jazz masses. From her…

Secret Sound - 8 - An Unconventional Faith (Henry Cowell) 

Welcome to Episode 8, “An Unconventional Faith,” in which we explore the radical world of Henry Cowell (1897-1965). Cowell was one of the most prolifically experimental composers in American history. He was one of the first composers to incorporate diverse…

Secret Sound - 7 - A Veil of Sound (Ruth Crawford-Seeger) 

Welcome to Episode 7, "A Veil of Sound." Ruth Crawford Seeger (1901-1953) is a pioneering composer from the early 20th century, and the first female composer to win a Guggenheim fellowship. Her early experimental work was inspired by the esoteric…

Secret Sound - 5 - The Answering Intelligence (Arthur Farwell) 

Welcome to Episode 5, “The Answering Intelligence.” This episode features composer and educator Arthur Farwell. Raised in an esoteric household, Farwell would go on to incorporate Native American religion, New Thought meditation, and Jewish Kabbalah into his life and music…

Secret Sound - 4 - The Wildwood Troubadour (Anthony Philip Heinrich) 

Welcome to Episode 4, The Wildwood Troubadour. This episode focuses on composer Anthony Philip Heinrich, aka the Wildwood Troubadour. Through Heinrich, born in 1781, we pass through the visionary theology of Emanuel Swedenborg and Native American religion, to meet Heinrich’s…

Secret Sound - 3 - Music From Summerland (William Grant Still) 

Welcome to Episode 3, “Music From Summerland.” Here our focus is on the renowned “Dean of African-American composers”, William Grant Still. One of the more well known composers in this history, Still’s spiritual biography has largely remained hidden, as…

Secret Sound - 2 - Her Dreaming Fingers (Katherine Ruth Heyman) 

Welcome to Episode 2, Her Dreaming Fingers. In this episode we focus on composer, pianist, and author Katherine Ruth Heyman. Through Heyman we explore the esoteric tradition of Theosophy and itsrole in American music. For Heyman musical pitches corresponded…

Secret Sound - 1 - The Illusioned Ear (Francis Grierson) 

This first episode, The Illusioned Ear, focuses on 19th century mystic philosopher and psychic pianist, Francis Grierson. Through Grierson we dive deep into spiritualism, séances, and the illusions of sound. Ghosts are everywhere…