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The universe in the diatonic musical scale

I read this in “A Beginner’ Guide to Constructing the Universe” and found it fascinating. It is about how the number seven is tied to the seven-note diatonic musical scale as a representation of the universe.

“In ancient times it was traditional to arrange the strings to play the scale downward, as if it were descending from heaven. The modern names of the seven familiar notes in the descending order DO-SI-LA-SOL-FA-MI-RE-DO, were proposed by Guido d’Arezzo, inventor of the musical staff, around 1000 A.D. These popular names are only the first letters of Latin words whose translation reveals a cosmological structure derived from an earlier age:” (Beginners, 234)

DOminus: Lord – Absolute

SIder: Stars – All galaxies

LActea: Milk – Milky Way Galaxy

SOL: Sun – the Sun

FAta: Fate – Planets

MIcrocosmos: Small universe – Earth

REgina Coeli: Queen of the Heavens – Moon

DOminus: Lord – Absolute

You see “DO” repeated twice, it is meant to imply that everything begins and then returns to divinity in the macrocosmic scheme of things. It gets really interesting when you explore how this relates to music:

“Musical strings were considered imperfect representations of archetypal ideas and pure mathematical motions. When vibrating, these strings were thought to resonate with the archetypal tones, manifesting cosmic principles. Thus, music was seen as having great power for producing harmony on earth…It was well known throughout civilizations that music bypasses the intellect with the power to manipulate passions and emotions. In this way music was used to heal. As we find by being very quiet within and observing ourselves, sound has an effect on our inner substance. If we were more aware of the effects sounds have upon us we would be more careful about the frequencies we expose ourselves to.” (Emphasis added, Beginners, 235)

So now if you want to explain to people why they should be careful with the types of music they listen to, you know know the mechanics of why this is; well, to a degree. Music and its vibrations echo universal archetypal principles and ideas. It is symbolism in a different form, a language in itself. Just like visual symbols, these elements can be arranged to promote hidden messages and ideas.

Music DOES affect the mind!

The Tritone is one example of a particular chord that was even considered to be ‘evil’ because of its nature:

The tritone is a restless interval, classed as a dissonance in Western music from the early Middle Ages through to the end of the common practice period. This interval was frequently avoided in medieval ecclesiastical singing because of its dissonant quality…Because of that original symbolic association with the devil and its avoidance, this interval came to be heard in Western cultural convention as suggesting an “evil” connotative meaning in music. Today the interval continues to suggest an “oppressive”, “scary”, or “evil” sound. (via Wikipedia)

So sound can be a literal reflection of the realities that construct the universe around us. If you dig around a little, you will find “String Theory” which is an attempt to reconcile quantum mechanics and general relativity, into a single theory that explains everything. The theory can be summed up by considering the smallest parts of anything being made up of these tiny ‘strings’ which all vibrate in a particular way to give form to matter, etc. Basically, vibration = organization and creation of elements.

While the particulars of the theory (requiring the need for additional dimensions to make the math work) are still a little in the ‘out there’ phase. The idea that vibration is at the core of all creative force isn’t that far from the truth.

Think of how God creates. He speaks to intelligence and it responds because it honors him; this honor is God’s glory. Jesus Christ is also known as the “Word” (read the first verses of the Book of John). God creates through “the Word”. A word is generated as air passes over the vocal chords and vibrates them. The vibrations send out waves that pass the encoded message on to where it is intended to go. Speech is vibration and those vibrations carry the commands of creation.

And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. (Genesis 1:3)



Updated: Feb 28, 2011

  • lucas

    Amazing text! Nice choice.

  • G.D.

    All my life, even now, I constantly hear what sounds like tones that are thousands of tiny tingling chimes, and yes, it has a vibratory feel to it. I’ve tried to explain it to others but have since stopped when I get the “you’ve escaped from somewhere haven’t you?” look.

    • oneclimbs

      I believe you.