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Blog 9 Corrales

The musical and dance performance of the Mevlevi are very much connected to each other. According to the textbook, the Mevlevi is an aspect of Sufism, and despite there being different techniques involved in becoming connected to a higher being, the main goal with these techniques is spiritual union with God. The textbook also states that there is a big emphasis on connecting to God through music because it allows people to enter a state of “graceful and ecstatic turning” through dance. This dancing is performed in a ceremony called Sema, which symbolizes the soul reaching God while in this graceful state of being. After watching the video of the Mevlevi Sema ceremony, I was able to see how the music being played matched the graceful spinning of the dancers. In the Sema, the music was very calming and smooth sounding, to the point where it seems easy to enter a peaceful trance. This makes sense given that being in a peaceful and happy state physically and mentally allows for people to connect to a higher being much easier. According to the video, the Sema performance involves instruments such as the flute, kettle drum, cymbal, and at least one vocalist. These different musical parts of the ceremony help to create an overall calm and “out of body” feeling, especially since the soft sounding instruments are played at a seemingly slow tempo.

In comparison to the Mevlevi music and dance, the musical performances of Buddism are pretty different in that they don’t intend to make their music sound pleasing. The textbook states that the Monks ” chant verses to memorize and meditate upon the Buddha’s teachings, to center their minds, and to sublimate improper desire”. In other words, the Monks focus more on the text itself in order to become more spiritually connected. Given that there is more emphasis on the text and not the actual music, the music is heavy on vocals. These vocalists need to be in a completely relaxed physical state to perform, while there is more movement involved in the Sema (although the dancing is subtle, there is still more physical movement involved). But with this in mind, the overall requirement of being relaxed physically and mentally is seen in both practices.

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