Memorizing the Sublime Paul Dolden

There are two strands of the Sublime that find their expression in music composition.

From the Romantic period to today, the intangibility of music gives the listener a feeling of the Sublime. Music is understood to excite the highest of ecstasies, making it possible for the listener to go beyond the self into a state of boundlessness. In this light, a successful work is considered to “be out of this world” when the urgency of the composition threatens the sense of self that can be subsumed by the music.

By comparison, people of faith encounter the Sublime through memorizing stories rich with images and ideas, whether found in the Gospels or the Quran, creating a meditative state that could render the title “Memorizing the Sublime” a meaningless oxymoron.

However, music unites both methods of achieving the Sublime. When engaged in music we can be carried to such an extreme as to lose our sense of self; at the same time, we can also engage music with our analytical brains memorizing patterns and creating associations that conjure a sense of understanding leading to a new consciousness, which is the essence of the Sublime experience.

  • Year of composition: 2018
  • Format: Fixed media
  • Duration of the submitted work: 14:14

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