Black Notes and White Notes

Dear All, I’ve been going down a line of enquiry recently and wasn’t sure how to share it, but I think I’ve today reached an interesting insight. This entry is going to be a little more technical than some of the others, but hopefully I won’t lose you. Meanwhile, here’s a recording of me playing my keyboard tuned as discussed below, which you can listen to while you read (sounds better loud).

And here’s the same track – in Equal Temperament. Sounds more like the kind of music we’re used to, but somehow the beneficial, therapeutic effect is missing. See what you think:

As you know, this website is based on my discovery of some odd, resonant audio behavior which I identified using an iPhone tone generator connected to Bluetooth headphones (video of this phenomenon is on the home-page, here). Here, I discovered that the frequencies 5.4 Hz (F), 7.2 Hz (B-flat) and 10.8 Hz (F again) are the point where a sub-audible “interference warble” on either side of these frequencies stops beating.

7.2 Hz is a B-flat. While 5.4 Hz and 10.8 Hz are both the F note, an octave apart (5.4 Hz x 2 = 10.8 Hz), both the 3rd harmonic of B-flat (7.2 x 3 /2 = 10.8 Hz) – as it turns out. (It’s the “so” in do-re-mi-fa-so-la-ti-do.)

When I say these are the F and Bb notes, I mean in a new tuning based on these frequencies – rather than the 440 Hz, equal temperament standard we’re lumped with – and this site is dedicated to putting together a harmonic scale based on these “found” frequencies. So, so my initial assumption was that the lowest of these notes, the B-flat, would be the fundamental frequency from which we could derive a harmonic musical scale – and I’ve done that analysis on the homepage: calculating the 9th, 3rd, 5th, and 7th harmonic of these notes; and in turn the 9th, 3rd, 5th, and 7th of those harmonics, etc. until we’d found harmonic frequencies for each of the 12 notes required for the the western scale.

Well, then I discovered here on the EarthPulse web-site that an E-flat (a 3rd harmonic below our B-flat frequency (7.2 Hz / 3 x 2 = 9.6 Hz)), is the frequency of the Earth’s magnetic field, as measured by Robert Becker (who wrote the book, The Body Electric) by driving poles into the ground and measuring the frequency.

(I have bought one of these EarthPulse devices to experiment with for sleep – and interestingly, the default setting is this 9.6 Hz frequency, which is how by Googling this frequency I found out about EarthPulse in the first place. But the best advice came from Sadhguru who advised sleeping East/West, rather than North/South!).

So, it turns out that the Earth itself happens to generate a frequency precisely a 3rd harmonic below my frequencies – indicating that it is the Earth itself which is responsible for that “interference” frequency which you can witness in the video – (or the Earth is following a universal frequency).

I have also previously reported in this blog entry about the ancient Hebrew and Babylonian measure of time known as the “Helek” – equal to 3.3333 recurring of today’s seconds. A Helek was determined in the ancient metrology as the time it takes the Earth to rotate 1/72nd of a degree as it turns on its axis! (There’s that number again, 72. Our Bb is 7.2 Hz, by the way.) If you banged a drum once every Helek, that’s 1 beat every 3.3333 seconds = 1 / 3.3333 secs = 0.3 Hz. So, 0.3 Hz can be though of as the vibration of the Helek. And 0.3 Hz is a sub-octave of 9.6 Hz Eb (0.3 Hz x 32 = 9.6 Hz), the earth’s magnetic resonance.

So the Earth’s rotation, and it’s magnetic field both happen to resonate at a very low E-flat, the 3rd harmonic below the B-flat which I experienced. So, there is a series of 3rd harmonics being propagated naturally here from the Earth: E-flat, to B-flat to F. (Interesting, isn’t it that the resonance of the Earth’s magnetic field and the Earth’s rotation are based on that same E-flat building block of 9.6 Hz. There must be a physics formula, and if there isn’t, we’ve just discovered something!)

(It’s also worth noting here that the “magical” number of 316.8 which John Michell documents in the The Dimensions of Paradise as appearing in Revelations, Plato’s Republic, Glastonbury Abbey and Stonehenge, and in the dimensions of the Earth and Moon, turns out to be the 11th harmonic of our 7.2 Hz B-flat tone (7.2 Hz x 11 x 4 = 316.8 Hz). And the “solfeggio tone” of 528 Hz turns out to be the 11th harmonic of the G note that is a major-3rd harmonic of this E-flat frequency (9.6 Hz x 11 x 5 = 528 Hz!).) Click on the links here to read my investigation of both of these.

And you can find out more about the miraculous power of the 11th harmonic for destroying cancer in this video. (I have suggested to them that if they’re going to use an 11th harmonic, they should base it off these particular frequencies, but they haven’t gotten back to me on that!)

So, to build a harmonic scale from these “found” frequencies we can keep going up in 3rd harmonics (multiplying the frequency by 3) until we’ve got all 12 notes of the western musical scale, or we could also try going down in 3rd harmonics (divide by 3) to see if there are other fundamental tones below the ones that presented themselves to me (the Bb and F frequencies).

Our E-flat is based on the rotation of the Earth (1 vibration per Helek) and gives us 0.3 Hz. Divide this by three to go down a fifth to an A-flat (0.3 Hz / 3 = 0.1 Hz). It’s interesting to me how we’ve now gone from 3 to 1, in an almost biblical, Trinity sort of way. Is this what the Trinity was referring to, “first there was the word, and the word was [a vibration of 0.1 Hz]?! From this came the Two (octave at 0.2 Hz), and the Three, the Trinity at 0.3 Hz, E-flat?

  • A-flat: 0.1 Hz
  • E-flat: 0.3 Hz
  • B-flat: 0.9 Hz
  • F: 2.7 Hz
  • C: 8.1 Hz

If 0.1 Hz is the A-flat building block from which all of the universe is constructed, then I think its interesting that however odd and discordant any frequency is that you might be playing, it’s going to be based upon that 0.1 Hz building-block. In terms of the “Aleph” at the beginning of Hebrew creation, it’s interesting that this note is an A (and an A-flat at that) as fundamental as you can get. In other words, the universe is fractal, built from this 0.1 Hz building block – and its harmonics.

Like the four fundamental musical tones of creation described by JRR Tolkien in the Silmarillion, (which I just started reading – funny how the poetic mind tends to be 100 years ahead of the scientific mind) even when over-reaching ambition makes us think we’re the centre of the universe and all reality emanates from our frequency, we cannot break the fabric of the universe, made up as it is in 0.1 Hz increments. The harmonic truth always rings through. Every evil plan is somehow botched by the goodness inherent in the system: Rockefeller also gave us mobility, Bill Gates also gave us computers. Anyway, enough of the realms of literature and tyrants 🙂

An additional interesting aspect of A-flat at 0.1 Hz as the fundamental frequency is that its octaves correspond to the doubling we’re familiar with from the binary scale (1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256, 512) except that because we’re starting with a decimal, the frequencies for the octaves of A-flat are 0.1, 0.2, 0.4, 0.8, 1.6, 3.2, 6.4, 12.8, 25.6, 51.2, 102.4, 204.8, 409.6 Hz, etc.

But keeping with the goal of delving ever downward to find that “fundamental of fundamental” (or holiest of holies – the quarks of sound, let’s say) I tried then going down a 3rd harmonic from our 0.1 Hz A-flat to C#. 0.1 Hz / 3 = 0.0333333333333333 recurring Hz. (Recurring numbers are always interesting, I think. And if as Nikola Tesla said, the universe is built of 3s, 6s, and 9s – this seems like a good sort of number to find at this point!) (The C# octave for this is 273.066666666666 recurring Hz, by the way)

And a 3rd harmonic below that C# is F#: 0.0333333333333333 Hz / 3 = 0.0111111111111111 recurring Hz. We’re back to “the one” again – (and this corresponds to an F# at 364.08888 recurring Hz.)

This is where the harmonic simplicity seems to stop, however: If we go one more 3rd harmonic down, from F# to a B, we get: 0.0111111111111111 / 3 = 0.0037037037037037 recurring Hz. We’re no longer dealing with simple 1s and 3s.

So, it’s possible that B, is the underlying frequency – the foundation of it all. “Darkness was upon the face of the deep” and all that. We know from the cycle-of-fifths, that we can go upwards or downwards to get to our destination. In this case, I think we’d go down – and it sounds better there, but I’ve positioned B in both places in the table below, if you’d like to experiment)

( Now, it did occur to me to look at this B frequency in terms of Heleks: I just mention this because I think it’s interesting. I Googled this number, 0.0037037037037037, to see if it’s significant. Interestingly, this “day calculator” tells us that (0.00370370370370 days happens to be 320 seconds. In Heleks, 320 seconds / 3.3333 seconds = 96 Heleks:

  • If one Helek is the time it takes the Earth to rotate 1/72 nd of a degree
  • Then, 96 Heleks = 96 – 72 = 1 degree and 24 Heleks
  • 24 / 72 = 0.3333 recurring
  • So, 96 Heleks = 1.3333 recurring; that’s 1 and-a-third 3 degrees of Earth’s rotation = 0.00370370370370 Hz = B, corresponding to 485.5 Hz )

So, then starting with B (or F#) as the fundamental frequency from which all of Earth’s vibrations emanate, then our harmonic table of 3rd harmonics (“cycle of 5ths” as it’s known in musical circles) looks like this:

Above, so that you could tune your keyboard or guitar to these frequencies, I’ve added the tuning “offsets” in cents from 432 Hz Equal Temperament as well as offsets from 440 Hz Equal Temperament, For example, to adjust to get an F# of 364.089 Hz, as above, if your reference pitch in your software is A=432 Hz then you adjust by +3.755 Hz. Or if your reference pitch is A=440 Hz you’d adjust by minus 27.834 Hz, as shown above.)

Regarding the title of this blog entry, about black notes and white notes, here’s the thing I wanted to share with you all: if we make F# the starting point of our cycle-of-fifths, as shown in the table above, you notice that all the sharps (and flats) happen in the first four ‘hops’ of this cycle-of-fifths: (F# => C#, C# => G#/Ab, G# => D#/Eb, and D# => A#/Bb. All black notes to start with. And then when we go from A#/Bb => F, we get the first white note.

Looking at the piano keyboard then, where we have the black notes and the white notes, isn’t it really interesting that the black notes are the fundamental building blocks from which our harmonic series (and perhaps the universe) is constructed; while the white notes are the later tones, more mundane, perhaps?

When constructing a piece of music, you could dip into the flats/sharps when you want to make those deeper connections to creation, and use the white notes when you’re dealing with things more in our every day experience. I’ll tell you, for me, playing these notes with my keyboard, using Apple Logic adjusted to these frequencies, I really feel it. And with the mind-set that when you’re playing the white notes your dealing with the more exoteric, day-to-day side of things, and when you’re playing the black notes your dipping into the more esoteric, fundamental side of things – it really gives a sort of quantum way of thinking about what each note stands for and corresponds to in the “sonic geometry” of creation.

Post-script:

Well, I learned today (on Reddit) where the white notes and the black notes come from: It turns out that the medieval church organ keyboards were designed with only 8 keys, to only play the key of C-major (AKA mixolydian G, AKA only today’s white notes). The black-notes were added in later. When I was growing up, we had an 18th century piano in the house (tuned down so it wouldn’t break), and the first piece of music in the piano book was “I am C, middle-C, left-hand, right-hand middle-C!” – and I always wondered why it was “middle-C” – why not middle-D, which looks more like it’s in the middle?!. But one thing in all this I’ve noticed is that when we do arrange the cycle-of-5ths in the sequence as I have in the table above (where F-sharp is the fundamental from which all harmonics generate), C is indeed the middle key of all of that (6 5ths below C to get back to our starting frequency at F-sharp, and 6 fifths above C to return us to F-sharp (cycle-of-fifths – the lemma is fractal!). Maybe that’s why the Church favored it. In my approach though, C is more a minor key than the “white-notes-only” C-major, .

Technical Note:

The astute will notice, hey your scale doesn’t have A = 432 Hz, or D = 288 Hz. We thought you were a hippie!

So, let’s just explore that for a moment. I have noticed when exploring the octaves of my “found” frequencies for Bb and F is that they reflect the magic numbers of 432 and 288 and 72 – but behind the veil of a decimal point! For example, the B-flat octaves are: 0.9, 1.8, 3.6, 7.2, 14.4, 28.8 Hz. The magic numbers of 72, 144 and 288 are there, but as decimals.

Similarly with the octaves of F: 2.7, 5.4, 10.8, 21.6, 43.2 Hz. The magic “432” is there, along with 54 and 108, but as decimals.

Now, it’s a fact that the major-third interval can be found harmonically by multiplying a frequency by 10. So, 43.2 Hz as an F corresponds, when multiplied by 10, with an A of 432 Hz which is the major-third of F. And if you look at my home-page, those are the frequencies I gave for A (432 Hz), D (288 Hz), G (384 Hz), C# (270 Hz) and F# (360 Hz) – but these are all derived as major-third harmonics (of F, Bb, Eb, A and D, respectively), and they can make the overall scale less cohesive than when the frequencies are generated from perfect-fifths – in my perception.

In fact, using these 3rds-based frequencies basically renders half of the harmonic series incompatible with the other half. And here’s why: When we’re dealing with 5ths, 4ths and 9th harmonics, these frequencies are all multiples of 3: for 5ths we multiply by 3, for 4ths we divide by 3, and for 9ths we multiply 9. 3 and 9 (and 6) are all multiples of 3, and therefore any frequencies generated by using this multiplier will overlap and intersect when we go around the cycle-of-fifths (see my exploration of the cycle of fifths) and the infamous gap or “lemma”.

But, in terms of constructing a harmonic, musical scale that aligns with a fundamental frequency and reflects the power of that fundamental fully, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s best to only use the perfect-5th (3rd harmonics). Because they are based on 3, and therefore the symmetry of the pattern is not complicated by deriving notes using major-thirds (based on 5 or 10 as the multiplier). (Frequencies multiplied by 5 and 3 only coincide as multipliers at multiples of 15. A bit like the Aztec calendar they don’t harmonise very often! – whereas 3s coincide often at 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, etc.)

I tend to think, like Nikola Tesla, that 3, 6 and 9 are the cosmic numbers. Actually, I believe the cosmic numbers are just 1, 2, and 3 because you can make 3, 6 and 9 from 1, 2 and 3, as well as every other number.

For example, let’s pick any old frequency. Let’s say 1.3 H. Harmonically, it would be 0.3 Hz (Eb) x 2 x 2 + 0.1 Hz (from the Ab). Meanwhile, in the Tarot, the number 5 is considered the human number – 5 senses, 5 limbs – it’s who we are, but as we know, we’re kind of out-of-kilter with the rest of creation – except at places where multiples of 5 and 3 coincide – such as 15, 45, 60, 90, 180, 360 (which might say something about geometry).

So, I’m thinking of harmonics derived from major-thirds as “satellite” frequencies – they compliment the music in a fractal sort of way, but cannot be used to generate other frequencies from. Therefore, I’ve released myself from the prejudice that my A has to be 432 Hz, and that my D has to be 288 Hz, etc. – even though harmonically those frequencies can be generated as major thirds from our “magic notes” of F at 10.8 Hz (10.8 Hz x 10 x 4 = 432 Hz), and Bb at 7.2 Hz (7.2 Hz x 10 x 4 = 288 Hz). With perfect-fifths, we still have the magical numbers of 432, 288, 72, 54 as decimals within the harmonic sequences or Bb and F (43.2, 28.8, 7.2, 5.4, as explained above) – plus, to my ears, it sounds better.

In fact, this is where I think most attempts like this go off the rails because they don’t understand about the decimal point, so you see scales where C is defined as 256 Hz (generated as the major-third of A-flat (0.1 Hz x 5 = 0.5 Hz), with octaves at 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32 … 256 Hz), instead of our C of 259.2 Hz generated as the perfect-fifth from our F of 10.8 Hz). But, we do have the number 25.6 Hz, disguised as a decimal, as one of the octaves of Ab.

Nature is subtle, it understands decimal points! In fact, it’s almost as if the subtle roots of life emerge from the other side of the decimal point at A-flat = 0.1 Hz; and before that the origins of the C# and F# are tiny decimals, “lost in the mists of time”. Ha ha – perhaps that’s what that phrase really means!

It would be possible to construct a musical scale which included the major-3rds as well as the 5ths and even the 7ths, but we’d end up with the 11 notes each with their 3 harmonic “flavours”, so that’s 11 x 3 notes in an octave = 33 notes, which is probably the truth, but it makes making music on a keyboard or guitar, very, very ergonomically challenging! I had a guitar neck with 24 frets per-octave for a while, and in the end, I had to pull half of them out – the music actually ends up being more discordant because half the time you’ve accidentally played the wrong variant of the harmonic. Too much choice!

The good news is that most of the fundamental frequencies I had woven into a musical scale on the home-page and on the page on instrument design have not changed (what has changed are the F#, C#, D, A, and E) – and I have both tuning files in my Apple Logic, so I can go back to the old one if I want to. (I’ll add a link to the other one here, soon.) There is a different flavour between those two scales – but right now, I’m really liking this one, just based on the perfect-fifths.

And yes, using this harmonic scale, we can only play in certain keys – but if we really are playing “in the key of Earth” – then why would you want to play in keys not compatible with that?! Frankly, that doesn’t seem to be relevant because when I’m playing these notes, they feel so resonant with the fabric of reality – that I know it’s the right key!

Here’s a link to the Apple Logic project file with these offsets already in it. Hopefully it will download for you – and assuming you have Apple Logic. The other thing I’ve done is transpose the keyboard on each track so it’s playing 3 semi-tones higher. In this way, when it looks like I’m playing an F I’m really playing an Ab, a G is really a Bb, an A-minor is really a C-minor, etc. This is because I’m kind of new to the keyboard, and by transposing in this way I can play all the most sonorous chords and modes on the white notes (e.g. Ab Lydian, Bb Mixolydian, C-minor, Eb major, F Dorian). Also, remember, this isn’t a temperament – I haven’t adjusted the frequencies from the cycle of fifths – so some keys will sound great, like the ones I mentioned above; other keys won’t sound so good. After I worked out this harmonic series, I spent a day questioning all this and went back to my original mixed tuning using some major thirds, but in the end, this 5ths-based series just sounds more awesome!

I would be interested to hear what you think.

The Cygnus Key

So, I’ve been reading Andrew Collins’ fascinating book, the Cygnus Key – which gets into the common astro-alignment of Gobekli Tepe and the pyramids of Giza, and the acoustic qualities of both. The author talks about how the inner sanctuary as these “temples” (or shall we call them studios?!) was 20 cubits by 30 cubits.

The ancient measure of a cubit has been determined from the pyramid at Giza to be 21 inches.  So, a room that is 30 cubits long (using the Royal Cubit of 21 inches) is 52.5 ft.  And the frequency for a wavelength that is 52.5 ft long is 21.5 Hz (use this tool to calculate: http://www.1728.org/freqwavf.htm using an air temperature of 20 degrees centigrade) – and in my world of magical frequencies, an F is 21.6 Hz!!  That’s just 0.1 Hz off!  So, the inner sanctuary that the author mentions on page 262 would be actually tuned almost exactly to an octave of the magical F frequency of 10.8 Hz (10.8 Hz x 2) which I discovered as a “still node” of vibrational consonance and have documented on this web-site!

The other dimension of that inner sanctuary, at 20 cubits, at 21 inches per cubit is 35.0 feet.  And the frequency corresponding to a wavelength of 35.0 ft is 32.2 Hz.  And, the frequency for a C, as a harmonic 5th of my F frequency, is 32.4 Hz!  So, just 0.2 Hz off!
So, the inner sanctum of these ancient temples, using dimensions first identified in 9,600 BC were more than for creating a fifth/fourth resonance – it was designed to produce resonance specifically to the “magical” frequencies that I discovered for F and C.
That is an incredibly strong piece of corroborating evidence for both of our theories.
For the later sanctuaries, where the long dimension was extended to 90 cubits (page 277): at 21 inches per cubit is 157.5 feet.  And the frequency corresponding to a wavelength of 157.5 feet is 7.15 Hz.  And my frequency for the fundamental, magical tone of B-flat is 7.2 Hz !!  B-flat is the lowest note from which the fifth is F, and the fifth of F is C.
So, allowing for temperature, these rooms are designed specifically to generate B-flat, F and C – and not the modern, 440 Hz version of these notes, but the specific frequencies of these notes which I was able to discover of 7.2 Hz for B-flat, and 10.8 Hz for F, and their Octaves and harmonics, as I have documented on my web-site.
Clearly, the ancient Egyptians, and the ancient Anatolians before them, knew what these frequencies were and knew they were fundamental, sacred resonances at the foundation of creation!
Once again, this theory of sacred resonance has been re-inforced, this time by the ancient geometry of Gobekli Tepe and the ancient Egyptian temples that came after it!

A video of the sonic “still-points” phenomena that I discovered with a tone generator

Best listened to with headphones: The phenomena I discovered in which very low frequencies emit a waving, purring oscillation sound which comes to a halt at precisely 10.8 Hz, 7.2 Hz and 5.4 Hz. These frequencies correspond to a very low F, B-flat and low lower octave of F, respectively. And they are exactly a musical fifth interval apart (7.2 x 3/2 = 10.8).

I interpret the cause of this phenomena to be a sonic “interference pattern” between the generated tone and some background vibration which is essential to reality but which we don’t hear. Interestingly, NASA has provided recordings of black holes emitting a very low B-flat note and I have found evidence of these frequencies from a range of ancient bells and flutes and other phenomena which I have documented at http://www.HarmonicsOfNature.com

Interestingly, the harmonic scale generated from these frequencies produces A = 432 Hz, thought by many to be the correct reference pitch instead of the current “standard” of A = 440 Hz.

The implications to music are profound, indicating that music should rightfully be played in scales based on these frequencies for B-flat and F in order to align with the fabric of the universe. The healing potential for these frequencies and their harmonics needs to be further explored for health, happiness and spiritual alignment.

Interestingly, 72, 54 and 108 are all ancient sacred numbers – which I didn’t realize when I first found this phenomena.

Ideas on an Aesthetics of Tonality

Here are highlights from Christian Schubart‘s Ideen zu einer Aesthetik der Tonkunst (1806) – describing the emotional qualities of different musical keys.

I had seen this before, and it seemed a bit random until I grouped the entries according to the mixolydian harmonic notes which they contain (instead of just listing them with the major and minor flavors of each key next to each other).  By doing this, we can contrast the passive, negative outlook for the Minor key against the robust, active expression of the same emotion in the Major key.

I also listed these major/minor groupings in order of musical fifths, starting with the keys related to our “magic” key of B-flat mixolydian, then its fifth – F, then its fifth – C, etc.  It’s interesting that Schubart’s findings closely match my own hypnotized synesthesia – with the emotional flavor of the keys getting steadily darker and less pleasant the more harmonically distant from B-flat they become – with the very last key in the cycle (A-flat major) actually described as “the key of the grave”!

Here we go:

Keys based on B-flat mixolydian mode:

  • Eb Major (Bb myx – F dor) – the key of love, of devotion, of intimate conversation with God.
  • C Minor (Bb myx – F dor) – declaration of love and at the same time the lament of unhappy love. All languishing, longing, sighing of the love-sick soul lies in this key

Keys based on F mixolydian mode:

  • Bb Major (F myx – C dor) – Cheerful love, clear conscience, hope aspiration for a better world
  • G Minor (F myx – C dor) – discontent, uneasiness, worry about a failed scheme; bad-tempered gnashing of teeth; in a word: resentment and dislike

Keys based on C mixolydian mode:

  • F Major (C myx – G dor) – Complaisance & Calm
  • D Minor (C myx – G dor) – Melancholy womanliness, the spleen and humours brood

Keys based on G mixolydian mode:

  • C Major (G myx – D dor) – Completely Pure. Its character is: innocence, simplicity, naĂŻvety, children’s talk
  • A minor (G myx – D dor) – Pious womanliness and tenderness of character

Keys based on D mixolydian mode:

  • G Major (D myx – A dor) – Everything rustic, idyllic and lyrical, every calm and satisfied passion, every tender gratitude for true friendship and faithful love,–in a word every gentle and peaceful emotion of the heart is correctly expressed by this key
  • E minor (D myx – A dor) – NaĂŻve, womanly innocent declaration of love, lament without grumbling; sighs accompanied by few tears; this key speaks of the imminent hope of resolving in the pure happiness of C major

Keys based on A mixolydian mode:

  • D Major (A myx – E dor) – The key of triumph, of Hallelujahs, of war-cries, of victory-rejoicing. Thus, the inviting symphonies, the marches, holiday songs and heaven-rejoicing choruses are set in this key
  • B Minor (A myx – E dor) – This is as it were the key of patience, of calm awaiting ones’s fate and of submission to divine dispensation

MY “BAD KEYS”:

Keys based on E mixolydian mode:

  • A-Major (E myx – B dor) – This key includes declarations of innocent love, satisfaction with one’s state of affairs; hope of seeing one’s beloved again when parting; youthful cheerfulness and trust in God.
  • F# Minor (E myx – B dor) – A gloomy key: it tugs at passion as a dog biting a dress. Resentment and discontent are its language

Keys based on B mixolydian mode:

  • E Major (B myx – F# dor) – Noisy shouts of joy, laughing pleasure and not yet complete, full delight lies in E Major
  • C# Minor (B myx – F# dor) – Penitential lamentation, intimate conversation with God, the friend and help-meet of life; sighs of disappointed friendship and love lie in its radius

Keys based on F# mixolydian mode:

  • B Major (F# myx – C# dor) – Strongly coloured, announcing wild passions, composed from the most glaring colours. Anger, rage, jealousy, fury, despair and every burden of the heart lies in its sphere
  • Ab Minor (F# myx – C# dor) – Grumbler, heart squeezed until it suffocates; wailing lament, difficult struggle; in a word, the color of this key is everything struggling with difficulty

Keys based on C# mixolydian mode:

  • F# Major (C# myx – G# dor) – Triumph over difficulty, free sigh of relief uttered when hurdles are surmounted; echo of a soul which has fiercely struggled and finally conquered lies in all uses of this key
  • D# Minor (C# myx – G# dor) – Feelings of the anxiety of the soul’s deepest distress, of brooding despair, of blackest depresssion, of the most gloomy condition of the soul. Every fear, every hesitation of the shuddering heart, breathes out of horrible D# minor. If ghosts could speak, their speech would approximate this key

Keys based on G# mixolydian mode:

  • Db Major (G# myx – D# dor) – A leering key, degenerating into grief and rapture. It cannot laugh, but it can smile; it cannot howl, but it can at least grimace its crying.–Consequently only unusual characters and feelings can be brought out in this key
  • Bb minor (G# myx – D# dor) – A quaint creature, often dressed in the garment of night. It is somewhat surly and very seldom takes on a pleasant countenance. Mocking God and the world; discontented with itself and with everything; preparation for suicide sounds in this key

Keys based on Eb mixolydian mode:

  • Ab Major (Eb myx – Bb dor) – Key of the grave. Death, grave, putrefaction, judgment, eternity lie in its radius.
  • F Minor (Eb myx – Bb dor) – Deep depression, funereal lament, groans of misery and longing for the grave.

Translated by Rita Steblin in A History of Key Characteristics in the 18th and Early 19th Centuries. UMI Research Press (1983). Plagiarised from various
(acknowledged) sources by Paul Guy

Of particular note, in relation to my own synesthesia:

  • B-flat mixolydian: I say “soul”/God – he says, “conversation with God”
  • F mixolydian: I say heart/body – he says, “aspiration for a better world
  • C-major: I say pure consciousness – he says, “children’s talk
  • G-major: I have always thought of as a key which embodies trees and nature, and he says “rustic”

We do disagree about E-major – but in his day, things were sometimes tuned down a little (A=515 Hz), so his E may be closer to my E-flat.  Also, he describes B-minor as “patient”.

But Schubart’s description of B major matches my personal experience with band break-ups catalyzed by songs played in the key of B – “Anger, rage, jealousy, fury, despair and every burden of the heart”.  That seems to sum up what I’ve seen when we’ve played songs in that key!

It has been suggested that Schubart’s attribution of emotion to certain keys was due to the slight variances in the intervals between the notes in the temperaments used in his day.  The confluence of his findings with mine – based on harmonic, just intonation – and not a “temperament” at all, to me, reinforces the notion that the vibrations themselves carry a certain emotional weight, based on their harmonic association with our magic vibrations of 7.2 Hz for B-flat, and 5.4 Hz for F.

These emotional annotations give us a palette of colour and emotion for pure musical expression according to the vibrations of nature.  Although, I’ll stick with my own!