Music Well – Dosia McKay, Composer, Painter, Writer

Reflections on Art and Life

Glossolalia – New Music for String Quartet


Here is the formal design of Glossolalia – my new piece for string quartet I will be recording in Poland next month with NeoQuartet. It’s an adventurous and an unusual piece for me because of the concept, the textures, and the binary design (I tend to gravitate toward the odd number of segments and climaxes and this piece has two).

Glossolalia, or speaking in tongues, is a spiritual practice and a worship expression found in some streams of the Christian church, as well as in certain non-Christian religions. Glossolalia does not function only as a spoken word, but also in the context of music. Certain congregations practice glossolalia in group worship where the congregants join together in an improvisatory cascade of individual melodies which instinctively gravitate toward embellishments of a common chord (usually major). This practice sometimes leads to a spiritual trance and ecstasy.

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