Musick Moves Inanimate by Magick Numbers and Persuasive Sound
In 1697, William Congreve, a British playwright, wrote that: “ Musick hath Charms to sooth a savage Breast, To soften Rocks, or bend a knotted Oak. I've read, that things inanimate have mov'd, and, as with living Souls, have been inform'd, by Magick Numbers and persuasive Sound.” The study of the magical, mathematical properties in music goes all the way back to an ancient Greek mathematician named Pythagoras, the ‘father’ of modern geometry. He was the first to recognize the unique qualities of the musical intervals, or the space between notes on a musical scale, that he called the ‘perfect’ fourth and the ‘perfect’ fifth. His name for these intervals, ‘perfect’, stays with them to this day. Other intervals are designated either major or minor.
Two Native American flutes crafted from branches by Robert Willasch. (CC BY-SA 4.0)
The Perfect Intervals: The Pentatonic Scale
Even if one has never studied music theory, it's easy to understand what intervals are. Imagine a piano keyboard: A steady progression of white keys starts at the left and, one by one in an even row, proceeds all the way to the right. The black keys divide the white keys in a systematic pattern - first two, then three, then back to two, then three - and so on. Choose any five of these black keys, beginning with one of the groups of two, followed by a space, and then a group of three. This grouping of five notes, two black keys followed by three black keys, forms what is called a Pentatonic scale ( penta meaning five).
This scale may be the earliest musical scale ancient humans recognized. Whereas modern instruments are constructed to produce chromatic scales, in order to play all the notes found on a piano keyboard, American Indian flutes, in keeping with most ancient flutes discovered by archaeologists from around the world, produce pentatonic, five-note scales.
Why is this significant and why is it important to any study of ancient origins? Looking at the black keys, one will notice the consistent pattern of two black keys, followed by three black keys. It is all about mathematics. The two black keys are ‘base’ keys, or B1 and B2, for Base 1 and Base 2. Label the three black keys above them T1, T2, and T3, for Treble 1,Treble 2 and Treble 3.
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Jim Willis is author of nine books on religion and spirituality, he has been an ordained minister for over forty years while working part-time as a carpenter, the host of his own drive-time radio show, an arts council director and adjunct college professor in the fields of World Religions and Instrumental Music. He is author of Supernatural Gods: Spiritual Mysteries, Psychic Experiences, and Scientific Truths and Ancient Gods: Lost Histories, Hidden Truths, and the Conspiracy of Silence
Top Image: Pythagoreans Celebrate the Sunrise by Fyodor Bronnikov (1869) (Public Domain)
By Jim Willis