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Blog 7 Wong

The role of the Sema ceremony is for a person’s soul to meet with God’s. This highly symbolic ceremony contains music that support this role. There are two parts of music in the Sema ceremony. The first is the Taksim or improvisation on the a ney, or flute (Mevlevi Slides). The second is the Peşrev which unlike Taksim is not improvised. It is composed. In combination with symbolic dance moves and the flute, the “divine is made manifest in the world” (Music and Spirituality). In short, the music in the Sema ceremony has the purpose of bringing a person’s soul into the divine presence of God reflecting “the ideal of surrendering one’s individual identity to the all-encompassing universalism of God” (Music and Spirituality).

With relation to Buddhist chants, gospel music, and Western art music in the Christian church, this Mevlevi music is comparably more calculated in its symbolism. Every dance move down to the direction the palms are facing has symbolism and purpose. The music has sections that each represent a particular moment in the history of their religion.

Specifically compared to gospel music, Mevlevi music in the Sama ceremony has no words. There entire song is instrumental while in gospel music, there is usually a choir. Another obvious difference would be the difference in religion. Mevlevi is a mystical branch of Islam while gospel music is from Christianity. In terms of similarities, they are both forms of worship to God. They both have symbolism whether in forms of lyrics, dance, or sections they both intended to bring people into the presence of God.

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