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Musica universalis (lit. universal music, or music of the spheres) is an ancient philosophical concept that regards proportions in the movements of celestial bodies—the Sun, Moon, and planets—as a form of musica (the Medieval Latin name for music). This 'music' is not literally audible, but a harmonic and/or mathematical and/or religious concept.

Contents

History

The Greek mathematician and astronomer Pythagoras is frequently credited with originating the concept, which stemmed from his semi-mystical, semi-mathematical philosophy and its associated system of numerology of Pythagoreanism. According to Johannes Kepler, the connection between geometry (and sacred geometry), cosmology, astrology, harmonics, and music is through musica universalis [1].

At the time, the Sun, Moon, and planets were thought to revolve around Earth in their proper spheres. The most thorough and imaginative description of the concept can be found in Dante's Divine Comedy. The spheres were thought to be related by the whole-number ratios of pure musical intervals, creating musical harmony. Johannes Kepler used the concept of the music of the spheres in his Harmonice Mundi in 1619, relating astrology (especially the astrological aspects) and harmonics.

The three branches of the Medieval concept of musica were presented by Boethius in his book De Musica:

  • musica universalis (sometimes referred to as musica mundana)
  • musica humana (the internal music of the human body)
  • musica instrumentalis (sounds made by singers and instrumentalists)

Hinduism

Some Surat Shabda Yoga Satgurus considered the music of the spheres to be a term synonymous with the Shabda (also known as the Audible Life Stream) in that tradition, because they considered Pythagoras to be a Satguru as well.

Esoteric Christianity

According to Max Heindel's Rosicrucian writings, the heavenly "music of the spheres" is heard in the Region of Concrete Thought, the lower region of the World of Thought, which is an ocean of harmony.

It is also referred in Esoteric Christianity that this is the place where it occurs the state of consciousness called the "Second heaven."

Use in Music

In 2006, an experiment conducted by Greg Fox divided the orbital periods of the planets in half again and again until they were literally audible. The resultant piece was "Carmen of the Spheres". The principle of octaves in music states that, whenever a sound-wave is doubled or halved in frequency, it yields a super-octave or sub-octave pitch that is always perfectly consonant with the original one. This can be applied (through very large octave shifts) to any periodic cycle, such as the orbits of celestial bodies, to render an audible analogue.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Kepler & the Music of the Spheres

External links

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