Michael Mauldin Creative Page

The Spiritual Significance of Music
by Michael Mauldin
An interview with Justin St. Vincent on Xtrememusic.org, May 6, 2009

The "ecstatic memories" (Greek: ek statis--standing outside ourselves) of delight or fear, or both, that radiate through our lives are self-validating, like all peak experiences. As with religious services, art shows, plays or concerts that do not always move us, we are unable to produce such experiences at will. We cherish them largely for that reason. But we continue to set up what we think are the conditions they require.

Moments of "ek statis" may seem like fleeting visions, but they are pieces of "eternity"--connections to the sacred that is all around us, "all that is." Though such experiences usually benefit from freedom and stimulation of all the senses, music can intimately recall--sometime induce--the experience of "ek statis." Perhaps even more so than visual arts or performance arts which combine music with visual and spatial.

Music is temporal, like peak experiences themselves. It stimulates aural memories, the frequencies of which were felt inside ourselves, unlike visual memories of events that we perceived as happening outside of us. Because of music's personal nature, it encourages us to enter a more inclusive state of awareness than the one to which our daily lives are often confined.

The impetus of many of my compositions has been to musically recall the "ecstatic" feelings I had at "magical places," where the spirit of man and the spirit of nature met with mutual reverence. It took a lifetime to realize that my early fascination with such places was child-like wisdom, not childish sentimentality

Updated:  June 7, 2009

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