The Great Enclosure and the Greek Diatonic Scale The parallel of musical tones and measure is a theme I’ve been developing in these blogs. When prominent sites worldwide have key measurements in common, that relate to the vibrations per second of the tones of the ancient Greek diatonic scale; only one conclusion can be drawn: At one time mankind co-operated in an harmonious fashion. Hesoid, the Greek philosopher alluded to this around 700 BC when he stated that architecture was “frozen music.” Also the ancient Chinese allude to a time when yin, being the softer female qualities of love and peace, ruled the Earth. Riane Eisler in her book, The Chalice and the Blade, discusses the more peaceful times when the principle yin was dominant in the Neolithic Age. She cites ample evidence from numerous archaeological digs including Lepenski Vir and Jericho. Artifacts were dug up with little evidence of weaponry. This hints at the possibility of a former Golden Age, as Hesoid wrote about, characterized by peace and plenty.
HOW MUSICAL TONES ONCE GUIDED ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN
How does this relate to our theme: The Great Enclosure and the Greek Diatonic Scale? Its circumference is given by many sources as 830 feet. John Michell, in his writings, documents the antiquity of the 12 inch foot. There are examples of the cubic inch of gold (standard of weight) from many ancient cultures at the British Museum. Any cube has 12 edges as 1″ x 12″ = 1 foot. That makes the Great Enclosure’s average diameter (it is not perfectly round) 264 feet. In vibrations per second this duplicates the Greek diatonic tone “C”. This measure is also used at an older structure-Stonehenge. The distance from its center to the center of the heel stone, outside the rings, is 264 feet. I thoroughly believe we are about to enter a new Golden Age of peace and plenty, as everything runs in cycles. Music and harmony will lead the way to this coming dream of mankind. Musical study by piano lessons, violin, tuba, anything- also can lead to harmony in your personal life. on a daily basis.
The First Phrase: The Key to Composing. The phrase in music parallels the division of a sentence into clause in prose. This tiny-like opening gives birth, in the hands of a competent composer, to the entire song or even symphony, as in the case of Mozart. Once he had the initial idea, he was able to write the music down as quickly as he could. Here are the various terms with the measure bar lengths of phrases.
The initial phrase is four bars of music.
A half phrase equals its 1st two bars.
A double phrase, also called a period, is eight measures.
The double period is sixteen bars in length.
The Form to Use to Write a Popular Hit
In a three part song form of AABA, the double period of 16 bars with its repeat, completes the first “AA” section. The “B” part can be 8 or 16 bars of music. It is called “the break” since its music diverts from the repeated “A” section. It is like a counter balance and ofte quite different from the “A” section. Sometimes it is written with less musical import. It thus makes the listening wanting to hear the more beautiful “A” section once again. Sometimes the songwriter, as well as symphony writer, will add either a coda or a codetta. The coda is a nice closing section while the codetta is a smaller closing section, sometimes the 4 bar length of the phrase with a slightly different twist. Of course, once the music for the song is down, you need a competent lyricist, thank you Sharon, my wife. Also, a good singer adds to the interest of your song with little ornaments and variations when the music is repeated to make a full length pop song. Oh yes, over the years I have encouraged several of piano students who have successfully written jingles for television. No where near Mozart, but then who is?
Portrait of a boy, said to be the young Mozart
Oil painting by Jean-Baptiste Greuze (1725–1805)Paris,
1763-64 (Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven)Source: Wikimedia
The Musical Octave and the Periodic Chart. Be it chemistry or music, numbers are the key to unlocking an almost incredible parallel Universe. Most obviously, as the octave is considered not only the first fundamental overtone, but it is also the first perfect musical interval. The perfect fifth and perfect fourth come next. Because of this we could say the octave is the most stable and “happy” interval.
Now look at the color coded periodic chart. Each of the eight colored groups of elements are the vertical rows that have the same colors. The basic, stable and most “happy” of the groups is the purple- the kingly (or queenly) number, if you will, each “purple” has 8 electrons in the outside shell (except for purple helium at the top-to be explained). Harry Potter fans, elements and music come from the same wave of the magical wand.
By the way, the elements in the white boxes are called transition elements. Again, appropriate to musical content. A transition in music takes you from one section to the next just as the white boxes are the go-between the colors. Here’s how transitions work in music:
In a sonata we have a transition from the exposition to the development section
Then from development section to the repeat of the exposition
In an (ABA) song form, a transition takes us from the A section to the B section
Then transition sometimes occurs from the B section back to the A
If we really wanted to get fancy, the bottom two white horizontal rows can become the coda!
Now let’s place one more filter on the periodic chart concerning the principle of the center and the two types of centers that are found in all number squares:
All odd number squares have one boxed number at the center, like the single, lonely red hydrogen on the left side. Its atomic number is one.
All even number squares have four boxed numbers at the center as the helium atom has an atomic weight of four. This parallels the top purple box of helium on the right side. Number squares develop the principle of the center in the same way that hydrogen and helium develop into the elements on periodic chart; as the are being fused into heavier elements on a star.
As everything is ultimately related, mankind is one family. Guy Murchie tells this story in his treatise, the Seven Mysteries of Life: He called up every leading geneticist around the world and they all agreed on one point: If you multiply out the possibilities, everyone is related to everyone no further than a fiftieth cousin. Studying music, composing, music theory, taking piano lessons helps to open the doors of understanding; for, to know music is to know the sciences; and inversely: no music means no science. My favorite story is about Andrew Llyod Webber to illustrate this point. In this Sunday’s New York Times (11/22), in Theater, Webber talks about how he would have become an architect had it not been for music. He loves architecture so much that he almost bought the Tower House in London. His then wife put the nix on the purchase. Jimmy Page, legendary guitarist of the Led Zepplin band, bought it instead.
The Nutcracker Suite Opus 71a by Tchaikovsky is a fairy tale in two acts. It was written as a commission under Ivan Vsevolozhsky in 1891 and premiered one week before Christmas in 1892. The story is based on a young girl’s Christmas Eve as she awakes to a larger world and romance that goes with it. Like all great and worthy music, it took its time making its rounds. The first performance out of Russia was in England in 1934. In American the San Francisco Ballet performed it in 1944. It finally became a hit when George Ballanchine staged it in 1954 in New York City.
MY FAVORITE NUTCRACKER STORY
My favorite Nutcracker story, I must humbly add, involves my wife, Sharon, and a slight parallel with my compositions. Sharon is my lyricist and orchestral arranger. She is always complaining about how the melodies I write have such a large range. Often she has to transpose and sometimes, kindly asking for my approval, rework entire whole phrases down one octave in order to meet the needs of singers. Similarly, a friend of Tschaikovsky dared him to write a melody within the confines of one octave. He took the dare. It is the Grande Adage of the Grand Pas de Deux in the 2nd act of the Nutcracker Suite. At that point, Marsa/Clara dances with the Nutcracker prince who is her magical Christmas present.
GUESTS CAN HEAR ME PLAY THE NUTCRACKER SUITE IN BOCA GRANDE
The Oquaga Spirit Speaks About Her North American Indian Tribe Where Women Ruled. They were part of the Algonquin Indian nation. Could this spirit speak! My poem on the Oquaga Spirit states the situation:
What a communicator was she
This sprite both blithe and free.
So much she needed an ear,
She ignored my tranquility
But I was more than willing
To listen to her story
About her lake and hills
And all their beauty and glory.
The Oquaga Spirit is a spiritual essence around Oquaga Lake located on top of a mountain in Deposit, New York. The mountain range is called the Catskills; a once famous place for New York vacationers trying to escape the heat of summer. On Oquaga Lake you literally can forget about the rest on the world. Only the skies, crystal clear water and lush forests are there. The town is called Deposit after the logs that lumberjacks deposited to be shipped down the Delaware River. We have spent over a dozen summers on the lake since 1983. I sensed that the spirit is an old female American Indian guide from the Lenni Lenope tribe. All the enlightenment, which I received by Oquaga Lake on the 3 x 3 magic square of numbers, came from this lady spirit guide.
Oquaga Lake Where Lenni Lenape Tribe was Matrilineal
The Lenape kinship system is matrilineal. Children belonged to their mother’s clan who gave them their social status and identity. Hereditary leadership was from the mother’s clan. Women had the power to remove anyone that they disliked. They not only managed the agriculture, but decided allotments of land by the needs of extended families. Married couples lived with the bride’s family and were able to receive help in raising their own children from the matriarch and her daughters.
Secrets of Genesis: Genesis uses the 1st two number squares; being 3 x 3 and 4 x 4. The number squares are pictured below as a point of reference. They have been extensively described by author John Michell whose books have been my constant companions for decades. Whereas our civilization tends to look for differences, older civilizations stressed similarities. In a nutshell, looking only at differences leads to war while looking for similarities leads to peace. These two opposite tendencies label the two pillars on the Hebraic Tree of Life.
In ancient times the 3 x 3 number square was assigned to a planet, Saturn. The square represented limits, boundaries and the law. The 4 x 4 number square was assigned to Jupiter and represented expansion, business growth and success. In my blogs I have already discussed the Greek word, gematria. It is the use of the same symbol to represent both a letter and a number. Letters and numbers in Middle Eastern languages enjoyed a grand unity so that every letter, word or even phrase had an assigned numerical value.
In Genesis, as God created the Earth, the Torah states about His creation, “and God saw that it was good.” “Good” has a Hebraic gematria of 17 (pronounced “Tov”). On the 4 x 4 number square associated with Jupiter and creation and expansion pictured below, any two opposite numbers total 17: as 4 and 13; or 7 and 10; or 8 and 9 etc. When creation was finished God said it was “very good.”. In Hebrew this is pronounced Tov meh-ode. The word Meh-ode ( very) has a gematria of 45, which totals the numbers from 1 to 9 on the 3 x 3 number square of Saturn. To invoke the sum total of the numbers on the smallest number square, of the limiting planet of Saturn, says work is done, enough is enough. It’s time to rest.
File: Albrecht Dürer – Melencolia I (detail).jpg
From Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository The number square of Jupiter and success in action
A Date With Debussy: As I Record His Music at Glenridge Performing Arts Center- My family put together an incredible birthday present for me. Abe, my oldest son, wanted me to play and record one hour of the piano music of Claude Debussy. That got the ball rolling. I immediately agreed. Preview YouTube video Ohrenstein plays Debussy Arabesque No. 2
SAMPLE THE VIDEO MADE AT THE GLENRDIGE PERFORMING ARTS CENTER ON YOUTUBE
MY DEBUSSY PARIS MUSIC CONNECTION
My own piano instructor, Mischa Kottler, asked me when he was 94 years of age to give a concert of French music. That I should show people how I play. Kottler studied on the 1920’s with Alfred Cortot. In turn, Cortot was a contemporary of Debussy. He personally knew him in Paris. Debussy was born August 22, 1862. Cortot, September 26, 1877. I learned Debussy’s craft from Mischa. It uses included the plethora of two note phrases. Also Debussy developed a hidden notation to specify which notes he wanted to emphasize.
PARTICULARS OF THE RECORDING
That got me started on a 4 hour/day regimen of practice. On my birthday, October 24, my daughter Kathryn and her wonderful husband, Jonathan, bought me the session. It was videoed by Mark Palmer.
AT THE GLENRIDGE PERFORMING ARTS CENTER
My wife, Sharon-Lesley coached me on some tricky rhythms. She the agreed to be the page turner.
My youngest son had a day off. He was the lighting technician and stage assistant. That was after a 4 minute tutorial.
My oldest son, Abe, was the first to insist on one hour of Debussy. He is a marvelous computer technician.
Conclusion: As proud as I am of A Date With Debussy-, I am even prouder of my family coming together to give me the best birthday present of my life. Date of release to be announced. And yes, I am working on piano music for an all French concert. It will include works Ravel and Faure.
Our Musical Circle of Fifths and Plato- Is this connection crazy? After all, Plato was born about 428 BC. Our Circle of Fifths, which most of our present day music is based on, came into being in France and Germany in the later 1700’s and then spread to England in the 1800’s. Plato wrote extensively about the five regular polyhedrons; the dodecahedron, pictured above, being the most complex of the five. He speculated on their nature in Timaeus c.360BC.
PLACING THE 12 KEY SIGNATURES ON THE DODECAHEDRON
Here is the parallel:
The 5th tone in the C major scale (which has no sharps or flats) is “G” as C,D,E,F,G. The last tone, “G” defines the home tone of the next major scale in the circle, G major.
The 5th tone of the G major scale (which has an F sharp in the key signature) is “D” as G.A.B.C.D. The last tone “D” defines the home tone of the next major scale, D major.
The 5th tone of the D major scale (which has F and C sharps) is A as D,E,F,G,A. The last tone A, defines the home tone of the next major scale, A major.
This sequence keeps on going through all 12 key signatures of our circle of fifths. In the picture above, C#,Gb, and Cb are called enharmonic and are attached as doubles called by different letter names written out at the bottom of the illustration: C# and Db major are played on the same piano keys; as are F# and Gb major; and B and Cb major. Thought they are 15 by name, they are 12 by actual number.
WHY MUSIC IS PARADISE IN SOUND
So where is Plato in all of this? The geometry of the dodecahredon parallels our circle of fifths as follows: If the defining 5 tones of the key are each set in the vertex of a pentagon, then the 12 scales perfectly outline the figure of the dodecahedron. As the Platonic solids considered perfect and totally symmetrical, and symbolized the totality of the universe; then we can say the same of our Circle of Fifths . It too is perfect, totally balanced and places us in this state of mind when we listen to it. Our Musical Circle of Fifths and Plato- translates to a new definition of music: Music is paradise in sound. The art offers no less.
The Trouble-makers: Igor Stravinsky (right side) with choreographer DiaghilevPhoto: Hulton Archive
How Stravinsky Caused a Riot in Paris . Paris has always been thought of as an avant guard city. New and fresh ideas have had a chance to take hold be it in fashion, culture, entertainment or the arts. However, even Paris has its limits. Enter Igor Stravinsky on May 29, 1913 at the Theatre des Champs-Elysees with his ballet, “Sacre du Printemps” (The Rite of Spring) choreography by Nijinsky. The work represents an ancient pagan rite in two parts.
The Adoration of the Earth
WHAT CAUSED THE RIOT?
Sacre du Printemps” just broke too many rules, musically speaking. It uses wild rhythms, harsh sounds issue forth from the instruments, polytonality (more the one key at the time), – all combined together to cause the audience to break out in pro and con factions along with fist fights, swearing other and the like. Stravinsky had asserted himself through dissonances. I must share a story of how the Rite of Spring impacted me at my high school, Cass Tech High in Detroit. The year was 1963. I was in the chorus. Our choral director, Italo Taranta, would play the Rite of Spring on a phonograph every single day while the class was settling down. Most of us hated the music; but after a couple of weeks everyone loved it as we would bounce and move to its seemingly crazy rhythms. I was never able to let go of this controversial piece of music. When I did my Master’s thesis at Wayne State University, for my music history class; I did a more complete story of of The Rite of Spring, while speculating on what could have been the actual trigger in the original riot. If you have taken the time to read this blog, please listen to “Sacre du Printemps” and e-mail me about your impressions. I would appreciate it. I think that even today the music is startling.
Beethoven Enlarged Everything. He almost single-handed crossed the threshold in music from the Classical era to the Romantic era while clearing the path for the rest of the world to follow. For example, in his 5th Symphony his feelings of jubilation were so great in the 4th movement, that he added a piccolo, contrabassoon, and three trombones to the standard orchestra. It was the first time that trombones took their place in the orchestral family. Also, the extreme registers were pushed further than ever before by the piccolo and contrabassoon.
In the 9th Symphony, the limits are pushed even further. Not only does he use the piccolo, contrabassoon and three trombones again, but he adds the triangle, cymbals, timpani and bass drums for special effects. But still Beethoven was not happy with the limited sound. He added four solo voices and a four part choir. The reinforced musicians and chorus joined forces to point to Beethoven’s vision of a better world: Beethoven used his text from Schiller’s “Ode to Joy”. As a result, he is credited with bringing in the modern orchestra with its large tonal capabilities. Also his symphonies and concertos were on a greater scale than any of his predecessors. He vastly increased the use of the orchestra in his last three piano concertos,Concerto for Violin, Cello and Piano and for his Violin Concerto. The orchestra was elevated to the status of a symphonic partner.
Beethoven was always looking for a more massive sound. He would move from one concert hall to the next in Vienna for this quest. He premiered his 9th symphony at Vienna’s Karthnertor Theater because it was somewhat larger than the Esterhazy chapel he was using. Instruments were often pushed to their acoustic limits in order to create the sound he wanted. He was also notorious for breaking strings on pianos, which required that better pianos be built. By the way, Beethoven invented the technique of the prepared thumb; which my teacher, Mischa Kottler, learned from a linage of teachers going back to Beethoven. I teach this technique to my own piano students. As I will be posting a youtube video of Debussy’s piano music; you will be able to observe this technique. Release date to be announced.