Exploring Christian Symbolism in Bach’s Passacaglia and Fugue in C Minor

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Photo by Sole D'Alessandro G. on Unsplash

Introduction

How do religious composers create works that express the divine? An exploration of any religion will yield some practice that involves a spiritual journey through music. Music and spirituality enjoy an inextricable link; one has always been connected to the other. In western history, music was valued as a means of connection with God. The church historically valued music in their services and sought the most talented composers and musicians to bring their music to the highest level. Why was the church so heavily involved in this endeavor? …


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Destroyed church with the three genders standing

Søren Kierkegaard would today be described as a brilliant philosopher, a religious fanatic, and a violent misogynist. He grew up where gender roles were as rigidly defined as they could be, and Christendom was eminent in the kingdom. Despite this environment, Kierkegaard’s writing may have use today in queer-liberation theology. One can use Kierkegaard’s analysis of the self in The Sickness unto Death as a basis for self-acceptance with regards to gender identity, the opposite of what is typically advised in most modern Christian institutions. A Complete overview of gender roles, identities, attributions, and assignments in the context of Kierkegaard’s works provides a framework for Christians to understand the importance of gender with regards to one’s faith. …


If you’re here, you’re probably an artist or a creative considering joining Patreon. The post-COVID norm left many artists with the need to find innovative ways to generate income and Patreon is one of the go-to methods of acquiring income online. If you’ve done a google search you may have found a number of success stories, list of cons, and plenty of conflicting information that may or may not even apply to you.

I have been asked by several friends about Patreon, and I have a feeling there’s about to be a lot more accounts opening up as we move to an online society.I don’t want to contribute to that general cacophony by making sweeping claims for or against Patreon. Instead, I will share my story with Patreon, and some tips on how to make it work. …


One issue I am exploring as part of my mission to decolonize my own music from western imperialist practice and in turn find a way forward as a classically trained composer of color is the perpetuation of class dynamics in classical music. While musicians, composers, and audiences listen to classical music to witness something profound, it simultaneously reinforces a dynamic between the elite and the common people. That distinction is still strong, and will not break down unless we reevaluate our recital spaces and repertoire.

What I mean by this class distinction is that the upper class, formerly the nobility starting in the Baroque period through the Classical via patronage, desired to listen to music as distinct from their subjects as possible. For example, waltzes in Vienna were not allowed to be too fast because they would mimic peasant dances. Despite the move away from patronage to public recitals in the 19th century, Classical music never ceased to be emblematic of the elite. It’s my suspicion that is why atonal music became popular with academics as a way to contrast from Jazz which was becoming much more popular. …


What does gender diversity look like? Many writers, composers, and musicians have written various articles calling for greater diversity in the field of classical music, yet very few are willing to increase representation for minorities other than white women. Opportunities for Black, brown, trans, non-binary, and gender non-conforming composers remain abysmal with no sign of public support in sight. While it is great that there is finally a growing sentiment among liberal composers that our current lack of diversity is unacceptable, the need to only elevate (white) women adds to the problem. Many of those calling for greater gender representation riddle their calls with cissexism, language which excludes or doesn’t consider the existence of trans or non-binary people. …

About

Nebal Maysaud

Lebanese composer, writer, and freelancer based in the Washington D.C. area.

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