The Mevlevi as shown in “The Mevlevi Sema Ceremony”, is a dance that is part of the mystical Sufi tradition of Islam. The role that music plays within the Sema ceremony, is that it symbolizes the soul’s journey to g-d. This is demonstrated with many formal sections. Since it is a slow dance of graceful and ecstatic turning, it has a calming effect on the listener’s body and mind. It is a time where one can forget about any stress they are experiencing and focus on their unity with g-d. It can also bring them to a place of positivity due to the instruments that are used. There are two parts of the Sema ceremony. The first one called Taksim, uses a flute to outline a scale used in the rest of the ceremony. The second one is called Pesrev, which uses string instruments, drum, and cymbal. These instruments can excite the listener, and they are able to celebrate their joy.
On the other hand, Kol Nidrei is a traditional prayer performed in the synagogue on Yom Kippur. Yom Kippur is the holiest day of the year for Jews because that is when they get to ask for forgiveness for everything they have done in the past year, and to wish for a better year ahead. The melody was used as a theme by many composers since the nineteenth century. The role that this music plays is to bring everyone to a peace of mind, and to ask for forgiveness for all the promises one said they can keep but failed to do so. This music has an intense effect on the listener’s body and mind, because it reminds them that there is a higher power always watching, and it serves as a wake up call on their actions in the future. That can be with them and g-d, or them and other people. Sometimes there is also a solo chanter, choir, and organ to accompany the music.
These traditions share some similarities and differences. There were two similarities which I found. The first one is that each music helps unite the person to g-d or to each other. The Mevlevi is played with instruments, and has dancers depending on each other to make the overall performance look smooth and in unison. And in Kol Nidrei, the people are asking for forgiveness from g-d and everyone surrounding them while sometimes with instruments in the background. The second similarity based on the “Mevlevi Slides PDF Version”, is that they both have to do with the soul’s journey to g-d. Each religion wants to return to g-d with a clean slate so they can go straight to heaven without experiencing any punishments. Both of these songs help aid their thoughts and actions to get to that point. However, there were also two differences which I found. First, is that Mevlevi is obviously a dance. Kol Nidrei is not, and it is usually sung while standing in place. Second, Kol Nidrei is also considered a prayer. It is a prayer that at times is not sung, and instead said to one self silently. There is also a tradition that goes along with it which includes throwing pieces of bread into a river, symbolizing one’s sins being washed away. The Mevlevi does not have that message and tradition attached to it.