Music of Another Present Era

Paul Dolden

Music of Another Present Era

  • Paul Dolden
  • Year of composition: 2013-16
  • Duration: 44:18
  • Instrumentation: stereo fixed medium
  • Commission: Réseaux des arts médiatiques, NAISA, Maison des arts sonores, with support from the CCA
  • ISWC: T9206371122

Music of Another Present Era plays freely with our ability to imagine another time and culture. At the same time, it recognizes that this historical imagining is necessarily conditioned by our own time and place.

We do not know exactly what ancient music sounded like, as we are left with only inaudible details such as the microtonal scales that were used. This work appropriates a number of these ancient tuning systems to create a sense of the past within our present era.

While the music of ancient times can at best only be approximated, stories and myths have been passed down for generations that can further illuminate the past while still speaking to us now. These stories stimulated my musical imagination, bridging past and present, a pilgrimage through musical time and place.

This is not a programmatic work, instead these stories appear in the music metaphorically.

This metaphoric use of myths is so that the musical content be recognized without it being diminished or reduced, as often occurs in programmatic music in which the musical content threatens to vanish behind an unequivocal verbal interpretation. In other words, as the group of late 20th century philosophers known as Guns N’ Roses said: “use your illusion.”


Music of Another Present Era was realized between 2013 and ’16 at the composer’s studio in Val-Morin (Québec) and premiered in its entirety on October 18, 2016 during the Maximalus échantillonné / Plunder Maximalus concert presented by Réseaux at the Amphithéâtre of Gesù in Montréal (Québec). The 5-movement piece was commissioned by Réseaux des arts médiatiques (Montréal), NAISA (Toronto), and Maison des arts sonores (Montpellier), with support from the CCA.


  • October 18, 2016, Premiere of the complete work: Akousma 13: Plunder Maximalus, Amphithéâtre — Le Gesù, Montréal (Québec)