Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Musical Fifth

Phi and the Musical Fifth

To follow this discussion, we first need to know that the Golden Mean and the Pentagram are closely related. For the angles of the five sides of a Pentagram are at a ratio of exactly 1.618 — the Golden Mean ratio, known mathematically as phi.

The fifth is the interval found in most sacred music, and has a powerful harmonizing effect on the human energy system. It is the first harmonic sounded by a plucked string, and is what gives the note its depth and beauty. Its sacred sound is the hallmark of the Gregorian chant. In fact most divinely inspired music, including some New Age music and that of indigenous cultures, is built around the musical interval of the fifth.

This music-geometry connection is well stated by Goethe, who said, "Sacred architecture is frozen music." The same is true of the "architecture" of the human body.

It was Pythagoras who first described the fifth interval that has come to be universally recognized for its beauty. It is "an archetypal expression of harmony that demonstrates the 'fitting together' of microcosm and macrocosm in an inseparable whole. The fifth is a beautiful sound because it demonstrates how the universe works."[1]

And in building the phi proportions, along with those of the other musical intervals, into the designs of cathedrals and temples, the architects also are building in the effects of the musical intervals upon which the sacred proportions are based.

These effects, immediately experienced as harmonious, powerful, and centering, can be experienced first-hand when one enters a Gothic cathedral or an ancient Egyptian temple. Being inside such a space helps us to access other dimensions of consciousness. It is the same experience that is reached through listening to sacred music.

The Circle of Fifths and the Chakras

By applying the principles of progression to the harmonics of the fifth, we come to the Circle of Fifths: a musical sequence that prefigures the harmonic relationships of the human energy system. For the Circle of Fifths delineates the chakra system in the human body.

As we know, each chakra is a spinning wheel. Here, we will also note that each chakra comprises, in both sound and color, a literal mandala of geometries.

The musical tones and colors traditionally associated with the chakras are: C (root) red, G (throat) turquoise, D (belly) orange, A (brow) indigo, E (solar plexus) yellow, B (crown) magenta, and F# (heart) green.[2]

The interweaving of the chakras that we get by applying to them the Circle of Fifths represents a more complex system than the traditional, linear progression. And it is interesting to note that in sound healing, the connections between these "chakra harmonics" reflect a strong correspondence between our issues.

For example, in the Circle of Fifths progression, the root chakra (sexuality, survival, and money) is directly connected to the throat chakra (our expression; speaking our truth). And by working with these two chakras, we find that we can heal survival issues.

The Circle of Fifths and the Fibonacci Sequence

In the Circle of Fifths we see another way in which the musical scale is related to Sacred Geometry, for the musical progression is an exact parallel to the Fibonacci sequence.

As we know, the Fibonacci sequence starts with the number 1, and proceeds by adding the two previous numbers. So the second number in the sequence also is 1, then 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, and so on. And a graph of this sequence almost exactly matches the spiral graph of the Golden Mean sequence. One is finite, the other infinite. "As above, so below."

Fibonnaci realized that the natural branching, flowering, and spiraling forms in Nature followed the same uniform laws found in musical scales, for his sequence mathematically predicts all of the intervals that comprise the chords of music.

Intervalrootoctave4thaug. 5th5thminor 3rd5th3rd6th3rd4thaug. 4th
Fibonacci ratio1/12/12/32/53/23/53/85/25/35/88/38/5

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