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Sara Surani's Creative Portfolio

MVICWL – Small

Although An Egyptian Childhood proposes various thoughts that emphasize a wide range of themes, one theme that struck me in particular was the importance of music in Egyptian society. In the story, the boy explains of how music speaks to him and he recalls how the laments and eulogies of his mother moved him to tears. He remembers the dedication and incantations of Sufis performing zikr and revers the spoken word of the lyrical Quran, despite his plight with memorizing surats. Seemingly, it is as if such religious prayers and chants are songs of the soul.

After reading An Egyptian Childhood, I was inspired to create my own song of the soul, but through instrumental music instead of vocal music. (Mostly because I can’t sing!) I used the piano as my method of making music, and incorporated dynamics to emphasize the unspoken lyrics embedded into my song. Initially, the song starts slowly, an arpeggio of three notes strung one after another for a few measures. The notes are played softly and it seems like some notes are intentionally skipped. Every one of these notes played symbolizes a different aspect of life—religious, material, physical. Without one, something just seems amiss. The song progresses to a trill, showing the unity of the esoteric and exoteric world, and how both may seem to contradict, but really, they are in harmony. The measures after the trill sound mysterious, much like the mysterious nature of religion. It seems like the person is trying to get somewhere, and is close, but hasn’t reached his destination quite yet. This reflects the path to enlightenment and how finding God is a constant entity that can be very self-fulfilling both emotionally and spiritually. The repetition of the note D three times in the middle of the piece represents the climax—the person has felt God’s presence. After this, the song repeats again, but it is louder and smoother; there are not notes missing. It is whole; he is whole. This echoes how even though the person’s physical life is unchanged, he is happier, more alive, and rejuvenated from being one with God.

October 27th, 2014 at 7:17 AM