Musical Quaternity is Analogous to the Four Elements

Musical Quaternity with the Four Elements

Musical Quaternity is analogous to the Four Elements.  Here are the players:

  1. The musical quaternity for this blog includes melody, harmony, rhythm and counterpoint.
  2. The four elements are alchemical.  They comprise earth, air fire and water. On the wheel of the zodiac they each occur in rotation three times. This covers the 12 zodiac signs.
  3. Analogy (from Greek ἀναλογία, analogia, “proportion”[1][2]) is a cognitive process of transferring information or meaning from a particular subject – the analog or source, to another.  It has been argued that analogy is “the core of cognition”.[3]

Musical Quaternity with Alchemy: The Analogy

alchemist

Alchemist Heating a Pot, by David Teniers the Younger (1610 – 1690), oil on canvas.
Harmony is more like the combined, unified yet undifferentiated background. Harmony is the vertical aspect or sound of musical. It represents the combination of sounds at any given moment. Those qualities parallel water. Counterpoint is the horizontal direction of various lines the harmony holds. The two are  thus interconneted. horizontal axis.
Melody is tied to rhythm. You cannot have melody without rhythm. In alchemy, fire represents maximum molecular activity. Earth is minimum activity. It is grounded. With the vertical axis, fire rise. Rhythm gives melody shape and purpose. It provides the substance of melody. They are interconnected as the vertical axis.

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