Caligrafía árabe en el año 1000 Alexander James Krzyston

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Cardiovascular Physiology by Alexander J Krzyston

Caligrafía árabe en el año 1000
Alexander Krzyston XCaligrafíaX Alexander J Krzyston XCaligrafíaX Alex James Krzyston

En el siglo X, la escritura árabe sufrió una gran transformación.
Alex Krzyston XCaligrafíaX Alex J Krzyston XCaligrafíaX Alexander James Krzyston

Escritura árabe se hizo más legible cuando se hizo más fácil distinguir entre las letras.
NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY XCaligrafíaX EVANSTON XCaligrafíaX BURR RIDGE

Como resultado de este cambio en la escritura, “escritura hermosa” adquirió un nuevo significado. En Bagdad, un importante centro de estos cambios, “bella escritura” era la que era fluida y delicada, como se oponen al estilo angular altamente geométrica de cúfica.
El Corán de “Amajur y el Corán al-Bawwab ejemplifican este cambio por escrito y la nueva perspectiva de la belleza durante el décimo siglo. Los folios del Corán de “Amajur son horizontales. En general, las letras adquieren una forma geométrica y hay poca distinción entre las letras. Todas las letras se elevan desde la línea de base. El guión es muy angular y recta. El accidente cerebrovascular es audaz, fuerte, e incluso. Como resultado de la línea gruesa, los ojos de algunas de las letras son muy pequeñas. El ductus es deliberado y lento, el cual es un reflejo del aún un derrame cerebral. El espacio en cúfica es muy singular. Mientras que la separación entre grupos de letras es muy uniforme, el espaciado entre las letras y las palabras no lo es. Para tener en cuenta el espacio y asegurar que cada línea es aún, existe un alto grado de mashq. El uso de mashq hace el guión difícil de leer porque las letras no son uniformes. La falta de marcas diacríticas también se suma a la ilegibilidad, lo que hace difícil diferenciar entre letras. Sin embargo, hay marcadores vocales, en rojo. Debido a que es tan difícil de leer, hay muy pocas palabras en la página folio, como resultado, el Corán de “Amajur era muy gruesa por lo que es difícil e incómodo de usar. Algunos coranes escritos en escritura cúfica tuvieron que dividirse en distintos volúmenes. El texto es la única cosa en la página de folio, no hay nada para distraer de la Palabra de Dios. El área del texto es proporcional al espacio vacío en la página. El sistema de las proporciones no termina allí, las cartas mismas se escriben de acuerdo con un sistema de proporciones basado en la anchura del trazo de lápiz; este sistema se revela en el uso de interlíneas.
En contraste con el Corán de Amajur, Corán de Ibn al-Bawwab es mucho más fácil de leer, “el guión [era] más clara y cursiva, y más elegante” (Tabbaa 130). El conducto es mucho más rápido. Además, la carrera es más delgado y redondeado como se oponen a angular. A diferencia de en Kufic, la carrera es irregular, que varían en espesor, lo que hace que sea menos geométrica y más fluido. Debido a que la secuencia de comandos es tan fluido y más delgado, las páginas son más compactos, porque las palabras pueden caber en una página. El espacio, a diferencia de en el Corán de Amajur, es aún entre las letras, grupos de letras y palabras. Las páginas están orientadas verticalmente y hay mucho más por escrito en cada uno. Este es un reflejo del hecho de que la secuencia de comandos es más legible. El aumento de la legibilidad es debido al hecho de que las cartas son más fáciles de distinguir entre. Ambos vocales y marcas diacríticas, en forma de barras y puntos, se utilizan por lo que es más fácil diferenciar entre las letras. También hay una falta de mashq, por lo que todas las letras uniforme. En este Corán, el texto no es lo único en la página. Al igual que el Corán de Amajur, Ibn al-Bawwab basó su Corán en un sistema de proporciones. En contraste con el Corán de Amajur, el sistema no se basa en la anchura del trazo de lápiz, pero se basa en la longitud de la alif. En este sistema, la longitud de la alif se convierte en el diámetro de un círculo, para el que se forman todas las otras letras. También hay iluminación en motivos vegetales y geométricos, así de colofones y marcadores para marcar el versículo del Corán. Ninguna de estas características estaban presentes en el Corán de Amajur.
La nueva definición de “bella escritura” que se utiliza en el Corán al-Bawwab se describe en el “Tratado.” De Tawhidi En su “Tratado”, Tawhidi dice que la escritura es “perfeccionado por tahwik (‘rodear’) [que] significa redondeo frontal, media y cola […] a fin de proporcionar esas cartas con elegancia y de aumentar su hermosura “(5). Script se “embellecido por tahdik (‘globos oculares haciendo”), “la carrera delgada hace posible la” perfecta ejecución “de los” ojos abiertos “(5). El aumento de la legibilidad también se crió como tanmik que se refiere a “escribir todas las letras de una manera ordenada” (6). Esta pulcritud permite el aumento del número de palabras en una página que Tawhidi se refiere como “la escritura con fuerza compacta” (8). La fluidez de la escritura debido a la carrera irregular está relacionada con lo Tawhidi refiere como tadkik («exactitud»), que “se refiere a la demarcación de las colas de las letras, por alquiler de uno había go” (6). Esto es especialmente importante en las letras zaay y raa. Tawhidi también trae a colación la idea de mashq. Él dice que “la aplicación constante de mashk significa un movimiento ininterrumpido con una cuenta a la proporciones adecuadas” (7). La escritura usada en el Corán al-Bawwab fue altamente proporcional y mashq no se aplicó. La proporción de la secuencia de comandos también se crió en otras áreas. Tawhidi refiere a tashkik que se refiere a la escritura de las letras de modo que “la proporción y el equilibrio nos ha guardado, la corrección y la elegancia de la forma dependen tanto de la proporción y el equilibrio” (6). Por último, la fluidez de la escritura es comentado por al-Zuhri, que dice que “el que ha […] aprendido a conectar dos cartas, luego tres, luego cuatro, y así sucesivamente, hasta el número máximo de letras conectadas se encuentran en las palabras, “(8). Estos son los atributos clave de la secuencia de comandos del Corán de Ibn al-Bawwab que Tawhidi describe en sus “Tratados”.

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Neurofisiología Alexander James Krzyston

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Alexander Krzyston Neurofisiología Alexander J Krzyston Neurofisiología Alex James Krzyston
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Alex Krzyston A Race for Life
Alex Krzyston Neurofisiología Alex J Krzyston Neurofisiología Alexander James Krzyston
Este experimento investigados cómo los diferentes estímulos mecánicos de espinas de la cucaracha afectaron la generación de potenciales de acción.
NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY Neurofisiología EVANSTON Neurofisiología BURR RIDGE
Cuando una espina táctil del fémur cucaracha mecánicamente se estimula, un potencial de acción se genera y viaja hacia abajo de la neurona que está conectada a la base de la espina dorsal. Esta investigación explora tres escenarios diferentes estímulos que puedan afectar a los potenciales de acción: direccionalidad de estímulo, la duración de estímulo y la intensidad del estímulo. Además investigó la velocidad de conducción que resulta de la estimulación. No direccionalidad se observó para el estímulo. Aunque mover la columna hacia la pata observaron para tener mayor rango de movimiento y mover la espina dorsal de la pierna se observó mayor resistencia, la respuesta eléctrica no fue alterada significativamente por la dirección en que se trasladó la columna vertebral. Luego se encontró que la duración del estímulo no afectó la respuesta lleva a la conclusión que la respuesta táctil de la espina dorsal a los estímulos es fásica en lugar de tónico. La relación entre la intensidad del estímulo y la frecuencia de respuesta fue encontrada para tener una correlación positiva hasta un valor máximo, momento en el que la frecuencia de respuesta niveles y no aumenta con la intensidad. El estímulo máximo era aproximadamente 5.0 V. Así, la relación entre la frecuencia de respuesta y la intensidad del estímulo fue encontrada para ser logarítmica. En esta parte del experimento el umbral, la intensidad mínima requerida para que un potencial de acción que ocurra, también fue examinado y encontrado por 0.29V. Finalmente, se encontró que la velocidad de conducción fue constante en un promedio de 1,36 m/seg en espinas táctiles todos examinados. En comparación con una neurona mielínicas fue significativamente más lento lleva a la conclusión de que las cucarachas no tienen neuronas mielinizadas en sus espinas táctiles. Por lo tanto, puede concluirse que escenarios diferentes estímulos causan respuestas diferentes en potencial de acción.

INTRODUCCIÓN

La estimulación y la consiguiente respuesta de neuronas sensoriales es esencial para la vida de un organismo. Diferentes estímulos determinan cómo un organismo interactúa con otros organismos y su ambiente. Estas respuestas son esenciales para su supervivencia y el mantenimiento de la homeostasis. Mirando cómo los organismos reaccionan a estos estímulos puede revelar la función de los tejidos, órganos y otras estructuras en un cuerpo. Este procesamiento sensorial se compone de tres partes: transducción, codificación y transmisión. La transducción del estímulo externo en energía eléctrica y su posterior codificación en un potencial de acción compuesto por el objetivo principal de este laboratorio. La estimulación desencadena un potencial de acción que en última instancia dicta cómo se mueve un organismo y funciones.
En este laboratorio, el potencial de acción se propagó por estimulación de los receptores sensoriales en las espinas táctiles de cucarachas. Cuando una neurona sensorial se estimula, se altera la permeabilidad de la membrana por la apertura de los canales del ion no específico, llevando a la despolarización. Esto crea un receptor potencial, y si este potencial alcanza el umbral, se activará un potencial de acción en la neurona aferente conexión (Sherwood 186-187). Específicamente para una cucaracha, la base de la columna táctil femoral está conectada al soma de una neurona bipolar sensorial única. Esta neurona es un Mecanorreceptor que tiene dendritas mechanosensitive en la pared de la columna vertebral. Así cuando se estimula la espina dorsal, el receptor potencial viaja de las dendritas a soma donde se desencadena el potencial de acción. Luego que el potencial de acción recorre el axón de la neurona (Francés 53-54).
Con una comprensión de las estructuras y mecanismos de espinas de cucaracha y las neuronas, este estudio pretende investigar cómo los diferentes estímulos escenarios afectan las respuestas eléctricas que se producen en la neurona. En este experimento, la direccionalidad, la duración y la intensidad de los estímulos aplicados a las espinas de una pata de cucaracha cambiaron para observar las respuestas eléctricas correspondientes. Además, la velocidad de conducción de la neurona también fue observada como una respuesta a los estímulos. Estas respuestas eléctricas sirven para interpretar la leña de los potenciales de acción en neuronas sensoriales de la cucaracha. Estos estímulos se aplicaron a las espinas táctiles de la cucaracha, mover la columna vertebral para que las neuronas en su base generaron potenciales de acción.
Para investigar la direccionalidad de los estímulos como resultado del movimiento de las piernas de la cucaracha, las mediciones de tensión de mover una columna hacia la pierna y de la pierna fueron tomadas y comparadas. La hipótesis nula para esto fue que no habría diferentes voltajes eléctricos para cada dirección del movimiento. La hipótesis alternativa era que la dirección del movimiento produciría diferentes respuestas eléctricas. Para examinar el efecto de la duración del estímulo eléctrico respuestas, la columna vertebral de la cucaracha se trasladó para diferentes duraciones de tiempo y se midieron las respuestas eléctricas correspondientes. Basado en las respuestas eléctricas, se puede determinar si la estimulación mecánica de la columna vertebral no afecta la respuesta eléctrica. Por otra parte, la estimulación mecánica de la columna vertebral podría afectar la respuesta eléctrica correspondiente. Cambiando el voltaje del estímulo, puede determinarse la relación entre la intensidad del estímulo y la máxima amplitud de la respuesta eléctrica. Una hipótesis es que aumentando o disminuyendo la intensidad del estímulo no afecta la máxima amplitud de la respuesta eléctrica. La otra es que cambia la intensidad del estímulo de hecho muestran una diferencia en la respuesta eléctrica. Para investigar las implicaciones de la velocidad de conducción de espinas de la cucaracha, la distancia desde la base de la espina dorsal hasta el electrodo de la grabación y el tiempo entre el estímulo y la respuesta eléctrica fueron medidos para diferentes espinas en la pierna. La velocidad de conducción promedio resultante fue comparada con la velocidad de conducción de axones mielinizados típicos de los mamíferos (20 metros/segundo). De esta comparación, podría formarse la hipótesis de que las neuronas sensoriales presentes en las cucarachas no son mielinizadas. La comparación podría generar también la hipótesis de que estas neuronas sensoriales de hecho son mielinizadas. A través de este experimento una mayor comprensión de los efectos de estímulos en los potenciales de acción puede ganar y aplicada a otros organismos que comparten mecanismos similares de generación de potencial de acción y aumentan la comprensión de cómo el organismo responder a estímulos en su entorno.

Bibliografía:
Sherwood, L. (2013). Fisiología humana. Belmont: Brooks/Cole, Cengage Learning.

Francés A.S. & E.J. Sanders (1981) el aparato mechanosensory del raquis táctil femoral de la cucaracha Periplaneta Americana. Célula tejido investigación 219:53-54.

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Alex Krzyston Dome of the Rock

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ALEXANDER KRZYSTON | ALEXANDER J KRZYSTON | ALEX JAMES KRZYSTON
ALEX KRZYSTON |ALEX J KRZYSTON | ALEXANDER JAMES KRZYSTON
NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY | EVANSTON | BURR RIDGE
About Alex Krzyston
Grabar believes that Dome of the Rock was “a sanctuary dedicated to the victorious faith” (57).   Grabar begins the article by looking to textual evidence for support first.  He uses only text s only earlier than the Crusades, but quickly dismisses the text as adequate support because it is incomplete.  Grabar then turns to the Dome of the Rock itself for evidence by examining three key features, its location, its decoration, and its inscriptions.  It is from these three features that he finds adequate support that Abd al-Malik built the Dome of the Rock to affirm the superiority of Islam.   First, in selection the location of the Dome of the Rock to be on the Haram Malik appropriated a site that was highly sacred to the Jews as the site of the Jewish Temple.   By relating the rock to Abraham, the location was equally important to Jews, Christians, and Muslims.  The next evidence Grabar points to in his analysis of the Dome of the Rock is its decorations.  These decorations consist mainly of crowns and jewels, motifs found in Byzantine art to symbolize royalty.  By placing these images in a religious space the Umayyads further emphasized the holiness of the structure.  In addition, because these motifs were taken from Sassanian and Byzantine art and placed in a Muslim structure they assert the power of Islam over conquered people.  Finally, Grabar’s third piece of evidence, the inscriptions, point to Islam as the true faith and serve as a warning and missionary message to Christians and Jews.  With these inscriptions the Dome of the Rock serves as a symbol that asserts the power and strength of Islam and the state based on it.  Basses on this evidence Grabar links the meaning of the Dome of the Rock to be linked to the “general practice of setting of a symbol of the conquering power or faith within the conquered land.”  (57)
Khoury believes the Dome of the Rock to be a mihrab.  In formulating this interpretation, he looks to three areas: the physical qualities and features of the Dome of the Rock, historical descriptions of it, and how these descriptions relate to the Umayyad perceptions, ambitions, and history.  One source he uses, Tha’alibi, compares the Dome of the Rock with Mary’s mihrab and Khoury goes further to mention a number of other mihrabs mentioned in the Quran and draws parallels between them and the Dome of the Rock.  By the inclusion of these mihrabs he is able to “define a general architectural type that often appears under the term mihrab” (59).  The parallels Khoury draws are that it is an elevate monument at a focal point upon a high platform, it is a monument with a larger history due to its location, it is only accessible to those how practice Islam, and  it is a source of striking visual impact which is emphasized by its colorful decoration and elevation.  He notes that the location of the Dome of the Rock was sacred to the Jews, having an important historical role in their faith, and states that mihrabs did have historical roles as well as being important structures.  Khoury also finds support by comparing the Domes of the Rock to two other monuments, Maharib Ghumdan and the Kaba.   Ghumdan shares physical and functional characteristics with the Dome of the Rock and the Kaba, descriptions of it focus on its exterior, it reaches grand heights, and it has a sense of permanence do to its building materials.  Other similarities he draws upon are that they “are externalized, restricted, elevated, visible, colorful, and opulent structures, and dynastic shrines with semi-mythologized histories and culturally sensitive roles.  They are prototypes of power and monumentality” (63). Khoury’s final point is that the Umayyads sought to emphasize their Arab identity and did so in a way familiar to their Arab enemies.  The inscription in the Domes of the Rock reference the Arab past ad designate the new Arab religion as Islam.  He also points to the representations of crowns and jewels in the mosaics which point to Arab imagery.
I think that Khoury’s argument is more convincing.  Khoury says that he wanted to “widen the scope of the [Dome of the Rock’s] conceptual and artistic inspirations and echoes” (57).  I think he accomplishes this by drawing on a larger range of evidence.  Khoury reference points made by Grabar in the location, decoration, and inscriptions found in the Dome of the Rock.  But he goes further to provide more evidence using text from the period as well as other monuments.  Both were, I believe, right in the notion that the Dome of the Rock was meant to be a display of the power and grandeur of the victorious Umayyad state and emphasize the strength of Islam.  I think this can be seen in the sheer size and visibility of the monument.  In addition, the lavish decoration of the interior in the mosaics conveys a sense of wealth and prosperity.

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Alex Krzyston Review of Batman

Alex Krzyston Cardiovascular
ALEX KRZYSTON .ALEX J KRZYSTON . ALEXANDER JAMES KRZYSTON
The concept of the new Batman movie is a  return of the familiar.
NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY . EVANSTON . BURR RIDGE
Originally a kids comic book, the Batman has grow up and embraced the advances of cinema. 
ALEXANDER KRZYSTON . ALEXANDER J KRZYSTON . ALEX JAMES KRZYSTON
The Batman movies are PG-13, darker, and more disturbing than the childhood comic books of yesterday.  Batman is the same Bruce Wayne dressed up as a bat and running around saving Gotham from the Joker, but he has changed.  Warner Brothers is appealing to adult audiences, the company has taken Batman out of the title, renaming him the Dark Knight.  However, audiences can still identify the Dark Knight as the Batman from the comic books.  This alone begins to take the viewer down into the uncanny valley, but as audiences watch The Dark Knight, the persona of the Joker dominates and takes them deeper as the comedic crosses over to the horrific.
Clowns are supposed to be funny and making people laugh.  An iconic clown prank is a whipped cream pie to the face.  However,  the funny becomes frightening when that whipped cream pie to the face becomes a pencil driven through one’s skull.  This clown prank is that of the Joker’s.  He represents a crisis of the proper and natural.  His face is scared into an eternal “smile,” and he paints his face to look like a clown, but the makeup makes him appear more zombie-like than clown.   It is smeared and does not fully conceal his skin.  According to Masahiro Mori’s poll, zombies are at the bottom of the valley of the uncanny.  The idea of the Joker as some sort of zombie-clown hybrid is further enhanced by the fact that he seems almost unable to die because Batman, being the moral hero, will not kill him.
Clowns are supposed to bring joy, but the Joker finds joy in bringing others pain.   Freud attributes the source of the uncanny in the Sandman to “the fear of damaging or losing one’s eyes” and goes further to claim that “anxiety about one’s eyes, the fear of going blind, is often enough a substitute for the dread of being castrated” (Freud 231).  This claim is partly true, for one can liken the fear of losing one’s eyes to the fear of castration; however, the over arcing fear does not end at castration.  It is the fear of being maimed in some way.  The Joker plays upon this fear, threatening to carve people’s faces to match his.  Even more disturbing and frightful is that he takes pleasure from arousing this fear.  In the movie, the Joker repeatedly carves someone’s face, paints it to match his own, and then kills him, laughing all the way.  He is creating dead doubles of himself.   The doubles of the Joker become “the uncanny harbinger of death” for the people of Gotham (Freud 235).  After inspiring such fear is when he asks, “Why so serious?”  Appropriate for a clown to ask a frowning child, not proper to ask someone with a knife in their face.
The Joker falls deeper into the uncanny value for there are clearly traces of humanity in him, but he is also lacking some key human qualities. The Joker takes pleasure in pain  and laughs at the fear he inspires in his victims.  Plato believes characters in proper stories, “mustn’t be lovers of laughter” (Plato 64). By Plato’s standards, the Joker is not proper for a successful republic.  Normal human emotion is supposed to have some sort of empathy or sympathy for one in pain, but the Joker seems to have lost all sense of compassion.  Sontag believes that “after repeated exposure to” gruesome or horrific “images it becomes less real” (20).  This idea seems to possible give explanation to the Joker’s disturbing pleasure in torture.  The repetition of killing has numbed him of finding any remorse in it. The Joker’s unknown past has stripped him of human emotion and reduced him to some lesser creature.
The fears that the Joker in the movie played upon, extends beyond the theater.  The Dark Knight, was so dark and disturbing that it actually gave audiences clown nightmares.  According to Plato, any movie that inspires such fear is not proper or suitable to show.  Stories which depict “unjust people [as] happy” also are not proper (Plato 68).  But, the movie crosses further into reality affecting the actors as well.  In his essay The “Uncanny,” Freud relates a story of the uncanny in which a man in annoyance proclaimed, “I wish he may be struck dead for it,” and a fortnight later, the man had a stroke.  He relates this to coincidence. The relation of coincidence and the uncanny is seen too in The Dark Knight.  Near the end of the movie, the Joker tells Batman, “You and me are gonna be at this for a long time.”  Before the movie was released into theaters, Heath Ledger, the actor who played the Joker died.  Much like the origins of his character, there is still uncertainty surrounding his death.   It is partially attributed to Heath Ledger being stuck in character and finding the line between the movie and reality blurred.  The fact the Joker resembles a clown-zombie hybrid seems even more eerie after watching the movie postmortem.

Works Cited:
Nolan, Christopher. The Dark Knight, 2008. Warner Brothers.
Freud, The ‘Uncanny’ 1919.
Masahiro Mori, Energy, Bukimi no Tani (The Uncanny Valley) 1970.
Sontag, In Plato’s Cave.
Grube G.M.A. Plato Republic, 1992, Hackett Publishing Company.

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Build a House

posted by Alexander James Krzyston

posted by Alexander James Krzyston

“Please join in the opening hymn, Word and Song 294, Word and Song page 294, We are Walking by Faith…”

We are walking by faith,
we are walking by faith,
we are walking by faith to the kingdom.
In prayer we will listen in your wisdom we will grow,
we will walk by faith till we come to the promise land…
some praying and reading from the Bible, a homily by the praise, the Apostles’ Creed, general intention, some more praying, turning bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ, more praying…

“Please join in the closing hymn, Word and Song 301, Word and Song page 301, Canticle of the Sun…”

Charm by Alexander James Krzyston

The heavens are telling the glory of God,
And all creation is shouting for joy!
Come, dance in the forest, come, play in the field,
And sing, sing to the glory of the Lord!

And this is how every mass I have ever been to at my alma mater St. John of the Cross goes.  Of course the songs are different every mass, but the general format does not deviate.  The question is why?  Why does mass both begin and end with singing?  My music teacher at St. John of the Cross, Mrs. Bolten, once said, “Singing is like praying twice.”  Okay Mrs. Bolten, as a third grader, I blindly accepted that fact.  But, after my years of higher education, I now wish to pose the question: why?  What power lies within the singing of our humble church that elevates it to the same level as prayer?
Often times the quality of a song is determined by the voice.  Barthes devotes an entire essay to the concept of the “grain of the voice,” a property intrinsic in some voices, but lacking in others. According to Barthes, “something is there, manifest and stubborn beyond the meaning of the words” (181). He asserts that this quality, this “something,” is derived from the voice; however, in terms of religious music, the “grain” so to speak comes not from the voice, but from the singing of the song by the parish.  This singing in turn is what solidifies the institution of the church.
There is something paradoxical about church songs.  It does not always sound pretty, but there is something beautiful and powerful about it. Singing is an integral part of mass in the Catholic Church.  It is the main way in which people can participate, even those who were not baptized in the Catholic Church.  But, the thing is the singing is by no means good.  In my opinion it is quite the contrary.  It is no choir of angles by any stretch of the imagination.  It is dull, boring, lacks harmony, or any type of personality.  Yet, my church continues to sing every Sunday.  No matter how bad, no matter how off key, the song lives on.   If anything, the singing in church can be classified as eclectic.  Anyone who has ever been to church knows what I am talking about.  There is that person behind you that is trying way too hard, and you really want to turn around to figure out who it is, but you do not because that would be rude.  There is the old man beside you singing way off key.  There are the little kids in front of you just pretending to sing, but are really just moving their lips because they are too embarrassed to actually sing. However, in time those kids will learn to forget to be embarrassed by their singing because they will come to realize that everyone else sounds just as bad (or they can be forced to take music class at the parish for eight years and learn to live with embarrassment). Clearly, the beauty and power of religious songs cannot be justified nor gain any power by the voice which sings them.  There is not even a grain of “grain” in Barthes sense of the concept.  What then is the driving force, that special something, the “grain” as Barthes would call it, behind these songs?  Does it lie with the words?
In deriving meaning form a song, or anything spoken, the voice carries no weight nor does it contribute in any way towards meaning.  At least this is Dolar’s argument.  He defines the voice as that which “does not contribute to making sense,” (15).  The voice is “mediator to the true Word,” and it is from the word that meaning is derived.  He parallels his concept of the voice with John the Baptist, who is described as “the voice crying out in the desert,” as the one preparing the way of the Lord (16).  It makes sense that the power of song in this context would be derived from the word.  After all, the mission of the church is to spread the Word of God.  However, the word is spread through other means and does not need song to do so.
The Bible is the Word of God and it became known to man through Christ and through the Prophets.  In church, both passages from the Bible and songs can be found in Word and Song.  Thus, the two are separate and distinct.  Each has its own place and time during mass. The word is read and heard during the first and second readings and the Gospel.  Words already have their time in mass; therefore, singing is in place for some other reason.  During the time the word occupies, the rest of the church listens.  In contrast, song is one of the few times during mass where everyone collectively participates as a whole.  Singing not only opens and closes the mass, it takes place in between the readings (responsorial song), before the Gospel (Alleluia), during collection (collection hymn), and during communion (communion hymn).  Singing is the uniting force in mass.  It is what brings the parish together as one “body” in Christ.
This concept of one body in Christ does not pertain to a physical body, but rather a spiritual one, for Christ came to save not the body, but the soul.  The spiritual body of the church is a consequence of singing.  While Barthes assumes song derives its power from the voice, Dolar discredits the voice in favor of the song.  Thus far, it has been proven that they are both mistaken in determining where the song gets its power.  However, from their theories a new possibility can be taken under consideration, the relation of song to the body.  “Grain”, according to Barthes,  is described as “the materiality of the body speaking its mother tongue,” (182).  Since Barthes’ theory has already been discarded, one can assume that the merit of a song lies not with the body.  Dolar touches on this idea; he speaks of a “fleshless and boneless entity […] beyond the voice,” (17).  “Grain” lies beyond the voice, embedded within the song, not through the words, but through the collective singing of a group of believers.
Songs of faith are what unite and give strength to lost or sorrowful souls.  In The Souls of Black Folk, W.E.B. Du Bois speaks of the struggle of black folk, of their “spiritual striving, and of their “Sorrow Songs.”  It is through these sorrow songs that black folk kept their faith while enslaved.  It was their only outlet and the only thing of beauty they had to cling on to during dark times.  Through singing they communicated, kept an identity, and built a community.   “Through all the sorrow of the “Sorrow Songs” there breathes a […] faith” and a beauty that is derived from the collective identity they have created (213). One such song is Wade in the Water, which is sung today in church, right now in fact, when the church renews its baptismal vows and the priest re-baptizes everyone.  The uniting force of the “Sorrow Songs” is so strong that it has been adopted by the church and is still used today.
The parish is united not only through singing together, but through the emotions evoked by the song.  The “Sorrow Songs” gave a voice to the souls of black folk.  The songs were inspired by pain and passion, two emotions felt by all mankind.  Within the church, the epitome of the driving force behind the sorrow song is heard on Good Friday with the singing of the Passion of the Lord Jesus Christ.  The cornerstone of Catholic faith, the death of our savior Jesus Christ, told in song.  There is no greater song, so full of emotion as this.  It is a song of pain and suffering, of death, but also of love.  The singing of the Passion is a song of mourning , but on a deeper level it is a song of love.  Although the Passion is not sung collectively by the parish, it is still uniting as a cornerstone of Catholic faith, Christ’s unwavering love for us and our unwavering love for Christ.
Is the “grain” of church hymns powerful enough to transcend from the realm of the church? Literally, the Passion had made Jesus Christ a Superstar.  The 1970’s Broadway musical, Jesus Christ Superstar, pushed the boundaries of religious music and brought the story of Jesus Christ to the masses. There are a number of musicals that have done the same such as Godspell and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat. Although music from religious musicals cannot evoke the same emotions as singing in church, they do retain a sort of religious power.  They have their own “grain”, but it comes from a different source.  Their “grain” is in the message, not the emotion.  It that sense, religious musicals function more like words than songs, which is fitting since their stories and lyrics are derived from the Bible.  These musicals try to unit religious church music with modern music, but they ultimately fail because they lack that emotion.  The musical that comes the closest to uniting these two realms of music is Sister Act, starring Whoopi Goldberg.  While this movie, now also on Broadway, is a comedy, what it does aesthetically with the music is a serious matter to consider.  Essentially, Whoopi Goldberg, a singer in a casino in Reno, rewrites  and remixes old church song into modern day songs, while in hiding as a nun.  Both modern songs are writing into religious songs; the song “My Guy” is transformed into “nothing in the world can keep me away from my God,” and religious songs are given a modern twist; “Oh Maria” gets a total up beat remix. What is key in Sister Act, that the other musicals lack, is the institution of the church.  The songs are song in a church, not on a stage, thus there is not the sense that songs are performed for an audience, rather there is the feeling of a choir singing for the church.  The church is where beleivers gather every week to celebrate their faith together.  It provides a space for the unity creating by singing to exist.  In addition, the message of the movie is the same as religious songs that of community building and growing in faith, which is another reason why it is so successful. By updating the church songs, the church becomes more popular.  More people begin to come to church to hear the music and the church starts to reach out more to improve the community around it.
If the church is so key in creating the sense of community, is it possible for the “grain” of religious songs to exist without the church?  It depends on one defines church.  If the church is defined as a structural entity, then yes it is possible for the “grain” to persist without it.  However, this is a very ignorant definition of a church.  The church, as defined in the Bible, is synonymous with the body of Christ.  The church is made up of faithful believers.  Thus it exists wherever there are people with faith.  Thus, the church is created by the community, not the other way around, and the community is solidified by the singing.

Bibliography:
Barthes, Ronald. Image Music Text. “The Grain of the Voice.”  Hill and Wang. New York
Dolar, Maden. Of the Voice and Nothing More. “Linguistics of the Voice.” The MIT Press. Cambridge Massachusetts.
W.E.B Du Bois. The Souls of Black Folk. Penguin Books. New York, 1996.

Alexander Krzyston | Alexander J Krzyston | Alex James Krzyston

Alex Krzyston | Alex J Krzyston | Alexander James Krzyston

NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY | EVANSTON | BURR RIDGE

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