In my performing life, I have been fortunate enough to experience many moments of what I call artistic transcendence.
If you’ve ever witnessed something breathtaking in your life, a beautiful sunset, an exquisite piece of music, an amazing and gorgeous art work or other experience that lifts you up out of your daily understandings, you already know what transcendence is like.
The definition of “transcendence” yields many descriptive words that underlie a general experience of separation from the mundane or ordinary.
Transcendence: Having or showing supernatural ability or powers.
Synonyms include: unearthly, magical, superhuman, metaphysical, uncanny, mystical otherworldly, phenomenal, spiritual, miraculous, ethereal, heavenly, sublime, divine, exalted and ineffable.
I loved finding this background from Miriam-Webster:
The Latin verb scandere means “to climb,” so “transcend” has the basic meaning of climbing so high that you cross some boundary. A transcendent experience is one that takes you out of yourself and convinces you of a larger life or existence; in this sense, it means something close to “spiritual”. The American writers and thinkers known as the Transcendentalists, including Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, believed in the unity of all creation, the basic goodness of humankind, and the superiority of spiritual vision over mere logic.
And for some more fun, here are Word Hippo Synonyms!
Back to the reason for this discussion – ! In talking with a student recently, the discussion moved into the overarching subject of storytelling in song. I once again brought to the table the fact that storytelling in song reveals what I call the “human condition:” a process which reflects in words and music the imperfect nature of human beings and our life-long struggles to find meaning. It is my firm belief that art works exist to help us all transcend our daily lives to become aware of the larger nature of life on earth for human beings. And when we do this, we have transcended. When we do this as singers, we have lifted ourselves up as well as those who would hear us.
I invite all of you who sing (and even those who do not), to take this winter to delve deeply into the human condition that is reflected in the songs you sing. How do they reflect the overarching fact of the human condition, and even more importantly how do YOU relate to it? Can you see yourself somehow in this story, or in the poetry of the lyrics?
Take the deep dive, allow your imagination to soar, and you will take yourself to a naturally transcendent place, one for which art work, especially music, was created. Tell the stories, and you’ll be telling your story at the same time. And THAT, my friends, is true TRANSCENDENCE.
Thanks for reading! See you next time for all things Folk Diva. If you have a suggestion for a blog topic let me know. You can email me HERE.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I give thanks for you.
Love and Blessings,
Award-winning recording artist, Broadway singer, journalist, educator and critically-acclaimed powerhouse vocalist, Susie Glaze has been called “one of the most beautiful voices in bluegrass and folk music today” by Roz Larman of KPFK’s Folk Scene. LA Weekly voted her ensemble Best New Folk in their Best of LA Weekly for 2019, calling Susie “an incomparable vocalist.” “A flat out superb vocalist… Glaze delivers warm, amber-toned vocals that explore the psychic depth of a lyric with deft acuity and technical perfection.” As an educator, Susie has lectured at USC Thornton School of Music and Cal State Northridge on “Balladry to Bluegrass,” illuminating the historical path of ancient folk forms in the United Kingdom to the United States via immigration into the mountains of Appalachia. Susie has taught workshops since 2018 at California music camps RiverTunes and Vocáli Voice Camp. She is a current specialist in performance and historian on the work of American folk music icon, Jean Ritchie. Susie now offers private voice coaching online via the Zoom platform. www.susieglaze.com
VOICE NOTES: A FOLK DIVA’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY Number 38