The Paramount Project: Devotional Songs for Community Singing

Dr. Michael Knopf is a concert guitarist and composer, a dedicated teacher and a music researcher living in South-East Queensland. Michael has many, many compositions and projects to his name and we were recently delighted to learn about a 38 song collection of devotional music called The Paramount Project.

In Michael’s own words, “The Paramount Project is collection of new devotional songs presented in the tonic sol fa music reading system and supported by music notation and piano keyboard note learning. Its aim is to assist community and personal development in both social and devotional life by increasing the level of quality participation in communal singing within the Baha’i community.”

If you’ve been following Baha’i Blog for any amount of time, you know how excited we get about devotional music and about tools to help communities bring more and more singing into the rhythms and patterns of community life. The Paramount Project provides both. Michael goes on to the explain that, “It aims to achieve this by providing new music incorporating the Baha’i Sacred Writings suitable to a variety of occasions, and by presenting the Tonic Sol-fa and Cheve systems for learning music-reading skills so that its users can become increasingly musically literate. The implications of this itself will enhance the cultural and spiritual life of neighbourhoods, social groups and local, regional and national communities. The knowledge, skills and song content can also lead a higher engagement by all involved.”

Although the music shared is based on Western musical practice, Michael doesn’t wish to narrow the field of devotional music and so he hopes the music provided is varied and explores various styles. Furthermore, he explains that, “the music in The Paramount Project, though aimed at Baha’i community life, is also appropriate to any individual or group wanting to use music in devotional practice whether it be personal, in the family, or in a wider community.”

He elaborates that the project is based on several integral principles such as the pursuit of excellence, encouraging music literacy so that community life possesses deeper cultural roots and social cohesion, supplementing local music creativity with original music that is flexible and suitable to a variety of circumstances, and most importantly, providing music for private and communal devotions based on the Writings.

The Paramount Project isn’t Michael’s first foray into devotional music or Baha’i-inspired music. Over the years he has also composed a collection of 19 brief a capella devotional songs, 10 songs based on The Hidden Words, a children’s song called “Master, My Father”, “Most Great Spirit”, “Ballad of the King of Glory”, “Ballad of the Seven Martyrs of Tihran”, “Carmel: The Vineyard of God” and “The Healing Walk” — among others! He has a lot of professional level choral pieces that could be of interest to Baha’i choral conductors. You can find Michael’s music on his website, Soundcloud, Bandcamp and YouTube.

Michael has generously offered to share The Paramount Project with anyone who would like an electronic copy. Please comment below and one will be emailed to you.

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Sonjel Vreeland

In her innermost heart, Sonjel is a stay-at-home parent and a bookworm with a maxed out library card but professionally she is a museologist with a background in English Literature. She currently lives on Prince Edward Island, an isle in the shape of a smile on the eastern Canadian coast. Sonjel is a writer who loves to listen to jazz when she’s driving at night.

Sonjel Vreeland

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