Sidney M. Boquiren

Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Humanities

20032004 Forum on Belief

Sidney M. Boquiren

Music (Composition)

MISANG WALANG SALITA (MASS WITHOUT WORDS): A Musical Composition for String Quartet

What is the nature of the relationship between music and faith? In this research, Dr. Boquiren will extend the dialogue on Belief beyond the material text and into the realm of the aural and experiential. To do so, he will compose a musical work Misang Walang Salita (Mass Without Words), which encourages listeners and performers to reconsider commonly held assumptions regarding the practice of faith and the experience of music.

The musical composition in question is not intended to be performed in an actual religious service. Dr. Boquiren therefore is also faced with the challenge of conveying notions of faith and spirituality. Inherent to both faith and music are belief systems that span from being individually held to being institutionally and communally maintained. The tension between these two polarities and the range of beliefs within the continuum they form provide ample and interesting subject matter for analysis. By aurally suggesting and referencing sacred and spiritual notions through musical means, Mass Without Words, becomes a catalyst for the critical reconsideration of individually held as well as communally maintained beliefs on the dynamic and arguably synergistic relationship between music and faith.