Conference presentation about Orientalism - Sami Seif - Composer Conference presentation about Orientalism - Sami Seif - Composer

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Conference presentation about Orientalism

March 25, 2023 @ 10:00 am - 10:30 am EDT

Pennsylvania State University

Conference presentation about Orientalism (String Quartet), titled “How Time Passes: Some Thoughts on Musical Time” ~ 2023 New-Music Festival and Symposium ~ Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA


Presentation Abstract

We are all familiar with the standard means of measuring time (usually in minutes and seconds); however, this manner of time-measurement is divorced from music. It is clock time, not musical time. One of the great powers and mysteries of music is that it can leave us feeling that musical time transcends chronometric time. To view time as mere numerical data ignores the fact that although music occurs in time, it also shapes it and our experiences thereof. Events and time therefore exist in a complex, interactive web.

My presentation seeks to give a theoretical background of my work as a composer, specifically, as it relates to my approach to temporality. Building on the relevant ideas of  previous theorists such as Jonathan Kramer, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Gérard Grisey, and Christopher Hasty, among others, my remarks on the passage of time will be nourished by philosophers from the phenomenological tradition, ethnomusicologists and cultural anthropologists, as well as some scientific literature on time-perception.

By investigating time manipulations in my own work from three different angles—matters of content, matters of form, and matters of context—this presentation describes how these parameters work together to create various experiences of time in my compositions; experiences of timelessness, of multiple temporality, and of extended temporality. My notation reflects this approach to time, as rather than making my music fit into time—as if time were a canister that held events and is not shaped by them—I grant precedence to the events over their temporality. This gives us a more subjective approach to time. The goal of this presentation is to examine this rift between objective and experienced time in my own compositions.


March 25, 2023
10:00 am - 10:30 am EDT
Event Category:


Esber Rehearsal Hall Room 121, Music Building I, Pennsylvania State University
Allen Road, University Park
State College, PA 16802
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