Pythagoras and the Music of the Future

Harmonic Wave 2Pythagoras and the Music of the Future is a series of articles in which I discuss, in accessible terms, I hope, the central influence that the harmonic series has had on the development of western music since the Middle Ages. I look closely at the connection between the harmonic series and the conventions of the musical structures of timbre, melody and harmony and musical time i.e. rhythm meter and tempo.

 Ironically, or so it might seem, I also argue that whereas the development of functional harmony, and therefore tonality, was strongly influenced by our (probably subliminal) awareness of  the interplay of frequency ratios of the harmonic series, the ‘modern’ music that, quite fittingly, has nothing to do with functional harmony, tonality or indeed the notion of regular pulse and tempo  is, or should be, equally bound up with the very same underlying proportions.

The planned fourth article will make the case for a musical ‘language’ that utilises the gamut of proportions inherent in the naturally occurring overtone series first postulated by Pythagoras. I will further argue that the realisation, and indeed the performance, of such a music, is made possible only via the availability of manageable and affordable digital computers together with allied software for sound generation and organisation.

Although the earliest article was published over two years ago, the series as a whole maintains a steady flow of views, which seems to have gathered momentum recently. Why not take a look yourself;

2 thoughts on “Pythagoras and the Music of the Future”

  1. upper partial dissonance, in relation to our subliminal harmonic awareness,enters the realm of higher spiritualized awareness. Beethoven, Ornett Coleman, Indian Classical Music , African Quaoar; and much else.

    1. Hello Colin. I think there is a lot in what you say. Perhaps this a reason for inharmonic timbres such as bells, gongs etc. featuring so prominently in spiritual or religious rituals around the world. Have you looked at my notes on Songs of the Aristos (2014)?. Perhaps it will be of interest. There is a link to a realization of the piece at the foot of the note.

      Thanks for contributing.

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