Law of Ratios

The Art of Music, which is music on its spiritual and inspirational side, has been carried to a wonderful perfection of development; while the Science of Music, which is music on its intellectual and logical side, has been left far behind. Works on the Science of Music have been a failure, not because music has not a scientific basis, but, and for the most part, because Mathematicians have dealt only with the law of Ratios, ignorant of other laws which play an important part in music's scientific basis and build. They have carried the law of ratios beyond its legitimate sphere, and so their conclusions do not represent the method of Nature truthfully. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 33]

she is found to have produced the Chromatic scale of twelve semitones, derived from her own vital operations; so that there are no anomalies. It is a degradation of the mathematical primes to apply them to the getting of the semitones of the chromatic scale, as even Euler himself mistakenly does. The mathematical ratios lead the way in getting the notes of the diatonic scale, and that is all that is required of them. The true praise to the ratios is that they have constituted an organic structure with form and life-powers adapted for self-development. It would be little credit to the mother if the child required to be all its life-long pinned to her apron-strings. As the bird when developed so far leaves the shell, and is afterwards fully developed in new conditions; so the System of music when developed so far leaves the law of ratios, its mathematical shell, and is afterwards fully developed by other laws. Music has an inspirational as well as a mathematical basis, and when mathematicians do not recognize this they reckon without their host. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 35]

When the major scale has been generated, with its three chords, the subdominant, tonic, and dominant, by the primary mathematical ratios, it consists of forms and orders which in themselves are adapted to give outgrowth to other forms and orders by the law of duality and other laws. All the elements, orders, combinations, and progressions in music are the products of natural laws. The law of Ratio gives quantities, form, and organic structure. The law of Duality gives symmetry, producing the minor mode in response to the major in all that belongs to it. The laws of Permutations and Combinations give orders and rhythms to the elements. The law of Affinity gives continuity; continuity gives unity; and unity gives the sweetness of harmony. The law of Position gives the notes and chords their specific levities and gravities; and these two tendencies, the one upward and the other downward, constitute the vital principle of music. This is the spiritual constitution of music which the Peter Bell mathematicians have failed to discern: [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 37]

The sympathy of one thing with another, and of one part of a thing with another part of it, arises from the principle of unity. For example, a string requires to be uniform and homogenous to have harmonics producing a fine quality of tone by the sweet blendings of sympathy; if it be not so, the tone may be miserable ... You say you wish I were in touch with Mr. Keely; so do I myself ... I look upon numbers very much as being the language which tells out the doings of Nature. Mr. Keely begins with sounds, whose vibrations can be known and registered. I presume that the laws of ratio, position, duality, and continuity, all the laws which go to mould the plastic air by elastic bodies into the sweetness of music, as we find them operative in the low silence of oscillating pendulums, will also be found ruling and determining all in the high silence of interior vibrations which hold together or shake asunder the combinations which we call atoms and ultimate elements, but which may really be buildings of wondrous complexity occupying different ranges of place and purpose between the visible cosmos and Him who built and evermore buildeth all things. The same laws, though operating in different spheres, make the likenesses of things in motion greater than the differences. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 87]

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Created by Dale Pond. Last Modification: Friday December 4, 2020 05:59:40 MST by Dale Pond.