Greek Esoteric Music Theory

Long before Pythagoras came up with his “Music of the Spheres,” the Ancient Greeks based their music theory on mythology. Different tones represented different gods/goddesses, astrology, and the elements.

While the study of numerology and mathematics was used in constructing their music system, a great deal of the technical aspects revolved around theology. There are different categories of chord structures for deities, elements, planets, etc.

Here is a chart grouping different pitches by elements of the zodiac.

Seem confusing? It is. Here’s something that might be a little easier. Pythagoras based all of his musical philosophies around the four-stringed lyre of Hermes. This chart shows how the strings of the lyre were supposedly tuned, along with several associated attributes.

So what does this mean? As with many ancient cultures, spirituality permeated the lives of the ancient Greeks in a way that we don’t see in our modern Western culture. Philosophies of the ancient Greeks were often interwoven; music, mathematics, theology, astrology, and many others seemed to be governed by some unifying principle. A few thousand years later, we are still searching for that same Truth.

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7 responses to “Greek Esoteric Music Theory

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