Music and Masonry

Discussion in 'General Freemasonry Discussion' started by Jacob Johnson, Apr 15, 2011.

  1. Jacob Johnson

    Jacob Johnson Registered User

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    Most masons have a firm understanding of the basic principles of grammar, rhetoric, logic, arithmetic, geometry, and astronomy. But there is another discipline mentioned that it seems is often neglected, and it has much to teach the mason. That discipline is Music.

    There are really many things about music that should make this art & science interesting to the Mason seeking additional light.

    It is of peculiar interest to masons, that western art music and its theory were developed around concepts of mathematics that frequently appear, veiled in symbols, in our rituals.

    Today I want to talk about the (arguably) most common chord progression in western music, the I-IV-V-I chord progression. If this discussion is a little over your head, feel free to ask as many questions as you like, and I will do my best to explain things a little better.

    For simplicity, we will use the Major scale only today. There are 7 notes in the major scale (8 if you include the octave of the first note). A chord is named with a Roman numeral that corresponds to which scale degree is its root, so a I chord is a chord whose root is the 1st scale degree in the key. This is the "home" sound that usually starts and ends a song.

    An interval is the distance between two notes. The first intervals considered consonant (pretty) were the perfect unison (the same note), the perfect octave ("Some-where" in somewhere over the rainbow), the perfect 5th (power chords in rock usually are simply a P5), and the perfect 4th ("here comes the bride")

    the interesting thing is that the ratios that describe these intervals, and therefore these chord progression "I-IV-V-I" are (respectively) 1:1, 2:1, 3:2, and 4:3. these ratios form an AUDIO representation of the lesser tetractys of pythagoras. The SR mason might find the latter particularly interesting.

    unfortunately, I'm going to have to cut it short here. I can post more later if there is interest. But right now, there is dinner calling.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2011
  2. cemab4y

    cemab4y Premium Member

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    All Masons should see the Mozart opera "The Magic Flute" (German: "Die Zauberflote"). It is based on the principles of Freemasonry.
     
  3. Jacob Johnson

    Jacob Johnson Registered User

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    @cemab4y: Even more so than most people know. Sure, there's plenty of symbolism in the libretto and the staging, but Mozart was a particularly brilliant mind, and managed some very interesting symbolism within the score itself. Actually, the book I'm working on started out as a research paper on The Magic Flute, and grew from there. Currently I'm trying to lay hands on the rituals as they were in Austria during Mozart's life... Hopefully I can find some more insight by comparing those texts with scores and libretti from Mozart's various masonic compositions.
     
  4. jwhoff

    jwhoff Premium Member

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    Interesting. I am told members of Sam Houston's personal lodge just a week or two ago sat in on a production of The Magic Flute up at Sam Houston State University. One of my EA students wife performed in the event.

    I'm really curious as to your findings Brother Johnson. Keep up the good work!
     
  5. Benton

    Benton Premium Member

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    http://www.amazon.com/Mozart-Zauber...5RQF/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1302990024&sr=8-4

    A pretty good rendition of The Magic Flute, for those that like opera. When you watch it, particularly keep in mind traditions you see more of in European Concept Lodges or Traditional Observance Lodges, such as the Chamber of Reflection. If you know what to look for, you get slapped in the face with the allegory. If you don't, I imagine it's kind of bizarre.
     
  6. Michael Hatley

    Michael Hatley Premium Member

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    The man who sponsored me (I don't know the term, sorry, he was the man I asked and he took me to lodge) was the musician for Grand Lodge a few years back. He turns 90 in a couple of days, served in WWII, and is the sweetest man you could ever meet. He is in Houston, couple blocks from me. 33rd degree, past master, York Rite all the way, and a Shriner for years. Has been doing charity work for decades too. Plays beautifully.

    If I were researching music in masonry, I'd consider corresponding with him.

    I'm going to have to check out The Magic Flute for sure :)
     
  7. jwhoff

    jwhoff Premium Member

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    That's a very good tip too. Man, you're out of the shoot and RUNNING!
     
  8. Michael Hatley

    Michael Hatley Premium Member

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    Brother Wade is an inspiring man :)
     
  9. Jacob Johnson

    Jacob Johnson Registered User

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    ok guys... I just sent a draft of my paper for the SR newsletter in... I'll let you know when publication day comes, and I'll post a link to the article once it's published.

    it's a bit more in detail, with some (IMO) really exciting correlations, but I still couldn't get too much into the pieces themselves in the allotted word count!
     
  10. Jacob Johnson

    Jacob Johnson Registered User

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    I don't know if there's still interest in the topic or not, but if anyone IS interested, I just finished reading a GREAT book on this kind of stuff...

    http://www.amazon.com/Harmonies-Heaven-Earth-Mysticism-Avant-Garde/dp/0892815000

    It goes into some really interesting things like planet scales and how the zodiac relates the 12 notes of western music, as well as some really interesting history.

    HIGHLY recommended if you're musically literate.
     
  11. Jacob Johnson

    Jacob Johnson Registered User

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  12. Jacob Johnson

    Jacob Johnson Registered User

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    my article for the Dallas SR newsletter went up online today. We had to cut the article down significantly. If you're interested in seeing the full article, PM me or something!<br><br><a href="http://www.dallasscottishrite.org/downloads/Newsletters/DSR summer 2011.pdf">http://www.dallasscottishrite.org/downloads/Newsletters/DSR summer 2011.pdf<br><br>i</a>t's on Pg. 16.&nbsp;
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2011
  13. Mac

    Mac Moderator Premium Member

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