The phenomenon of music is given to us with the sole purpose of establishing an order in things, including, and particularly, the co-ordination between man and time. -Igor Stravinsky

1. First Symphony: Harmony

When I presented an early draft of these lessons to people who work in fields that are far from those which are currently define as “artistic,” those people expressed surprise that I would ask for their perspective on the current text or (that I would take such a perspective seriously). Before the book is read until the end, these questions are understandable. I will sum up the reaction in the following terms: “What does art have to do with me and what involvement do I have in the arts? That’s your field.”

In this book I will offer ideas through explanation. I will only share findings that I have been able to ascertain through my testing of these findings. I will share my process of verification with the reader in all instances and will accomplish this through demonstration. The word explanation is derived from the Latin word “Explicare” which means “to unfold; to develop.”  The reader can be assured that I will put forward only that which I have verified and which the reader can verify with ease. The explanations contained within these lessons are the result of my own personal observations as well as those of a great many artists. The artists in question are quoted at length. This will allow the reader to read their thoughts from the source. Having said this, it is now incumbent upon me to address the question: “what criteria must be met in order for someone to be considered an “artist?”

The definition what it means to be an “artist” has been corrupted. The reader will be shown the ways in which many definitions have been corrupted into their exact opposite with devastating consequences. The reader will also appreciate that definitions which have been corrupted can lead to misunderstandings and misperceptions. When someone corrupts the definition of a word, that person is, wittingly or unwittingly, engaged in an assault on objective truth. What is more, the person who would seek to corrupt definitions (or do nothing to remedy the corruption) are also engaged in an assault on common subjects. Understanding that which is objective is vital to common sense among human beings. People also need to possess a common understanding of the subjective lessons that are taught in schools (such as history or civics). This is not to say that everyone must have a common subjective idea of the world. That would be impossible and also tyrannical to the development of individual sensibilities. It is simply to suggest that students who learns about, say, The Gettysburg Address or the context of Martin Luther King’s I have a Dream Speech within the context of the Civil Rights Movement must arrive at a common understanding based on being in the same ball-park as their fellow citizens or classmates. The loss of the objective means the loss of our grip on reality; the liar attempts to obscure common sense. The loss of  common subjects means the deterioration of a coherence that societies rely on in order to have an identity and also in order to cohere in that identity (this coherence can also be thought of as “the definition of identity”). The reader will now appreciate the seriousness of the task at hand. An artist must create something true and show it to be true by giving the work in question definition. When lies or superstition are applied to definitions, it misleads those who are subjected to the lie. The result is the misperception of that which should be defined. When definitions are abandoned (or when they are not understood to have a common meaning) the result is disastrous to maintaining common sense (objective reality) or common identity (subjective understanding). The reader will appreciate that the attack of the objective and subjective is an attack on everyone. The profession of the reader is of no consequence. The reader will understand that the forms, experiences and definitions that are being corrupted belong to a shared space in a certain world. The subjects and objects that are being perverted do not belong to those who pervert them. They belong to all of a society   and, in many cases, are the universal property of the human race. (replacing it with chaos) as well as the corruption of definition (replacing that which is defined with ill-defined lies). If only for this reason alone, the reader should care about the subject at hand and care deeply.

When I presented an early draft of these lessons to people who work in fields that are far from those which are currently define as “artistic,” those people expressed surprise that I would ask for their perspective on the current text or (that I would take such a perspective seriously). Before the book is read until the end, these questions are understandable. I will sum up the reaction in the following terms: “What does art have to do with me and what involvement do I have in the arts? That’s your field.”

In this book I will offer ideas through explanation. I will only share findings that I have been able to ascertain through my testing of these findings. I will share my process of verification with the reader in all instances and will accomplish this through demonstration. The word explanation is derived from the Latin word “Explicare” which means “to unfold; to develop.”  The reader can be assured that I will put forward only that which I have verified and which the reader can verify with ease. The explanations contained within these lessons are the result of my own personal observations as well as those of a great many artists. The artists in question are quoted at length. This will allow the reader to read their thoughts from the source. Having said this, it is now incumbent upon me to address the question: “what criteria must be met in order for someone to be considered an “artist?”

The definition what it means to be an “artist” has been corrupted. The reader will be shown the ways in which many definitions have been corrupted into their exact opposite with devastating consequences. The reader will also appreciate that definitions which have been corrupted can lead to misunderstandings and misperceptions. When someone corrupts the definition of a word, that person is, wittingly or unwittingly, engaged in an assault on objective truth. What is more, the person who would seek to corrupt definitions (or do nothing to remedy the corruption) are also engaged in an assault on common subjects. Understanding that which is objective is vital to common sense among human beings. People also need to possess a common understanding of the subjective lessons that are taught in schools (such as history or civics). This is not to say that everyone must have a common subjective idea of the world. That would be impossible and also tyrannical to the development of individual sensibilities. It is simply to suggest that students who learns about, say, The Gettysburg Address or the context of Martin Luther King’s I have a Dream Speech within the context of the Civil Rights Movement must arrive at a common understanding based on being in the same ball-park as their fellow citizens or classmates. The loss of the objective means the loss of our grip on reality; the liar attempts to obscure common sense. The loss of  common subjects means the deterioration of a coherence that societies rely on in order to have an identity and also in order to cohere in that identity (this coherence can also be thought of as “the definition of identity”). The reader will now appreciate the seriousness of the task at hand. An artist must create something true and show it to be true by giving the work in question definition. When lies or superstition are applied to definitions, it misleads those who are subjected to the lie. The result is the misperception of that which should be defined. When definitions are abandoned (or when they are not understood to have a common meaning) the result is disastrous to maintaining common sense (objective reality) or common identity (subjective understanding). The reader will appreciate that the attack on the objective and subjective is an attack on everyone. The profession of the reader is of no consequence. The reader will understand that the forms, experiences and definitions that are being corrupted belong to a shared space in a certain world. The subjects and objects that are being perverted do not belong to those who pervert them. They belong to all of a society   and, in many cases, are the universal property of the human race. (replacing it with chaos) as well as the corruption of definition (replacing that which is defined with ill-defined lies). If for this reason alone, the reader should care about the subject at hand and care deeply.

The word artist, which, as it is most generally understood today, bestows on its bearer the highest intellectual prestige, the privilege of being accepted as a pure mind this pretentious term is in my view entirely incompatible with the role of the homo faber.

Of the many correct definitions of art that I have read, Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary of the English Language (1755) is the most succinct and accurate:

ART  (ART)   n.s.[arte, Fr. ars, Lat.]1. The power of doing something not taught by nature and instinct; as, to walk is natural, to dance is an art.

Plant begets plant and tree begets tree but bed does not beget bed. The wood of the tree would need to be appropriated by an artist in order to fashion a bed by design and not of it’s own kind. The making of the bed is an example of artistic rather than natural creation.

“At this point” says Stravinsky, “it should be remembered that, what-ever field of endeavor has fallen to our lot, if it is true that we are intellectuals, we are called upon not to cogitate but to perform.”

Art in the true definition is a way of fashioning works according to certain methods acquired either by apprenticeship or by inventiveness. And methods are the straight and predetermined channels that insure the or by inventiveness. And methods are the straight and predetermined channels that insure the rightness of our operation.

Fact

  1. A thing done; an effect produced; something not barely supposed or suspected, but really done.
  2. Reality; not supposition; not speculation.
  3. Action; deed.

When it comes to music, Stravinsky offers a lucid example. “I shall take” he says, “the most banal example: that of the pleasure we experience on hearing the murmur of the breeze in the trees, the rippling of the brook, the song of a bird. All this pleases us, diverts us, delights us. We may even say: What lovely music! Naturally, we are speaking only in terms of comparison. But then, comparison is not reason.”

“These natural sounds” he explains, “suggest music to us, but are not yet themselves music. If we take pleasure in these sounds by imagining that on being exposed to them we become musicians and even, momentarily, creative musicians, we must admit that we are fooling ourselves.” This is an important distinction between the happenstance of being inspired by sounds of nature on the one hand and creating art on the other. The two are not equivalent since art requires a process of creation.

Speaking of nature’s offerings, Stravinsky observes that these sounds “are promises of music; it takes a human being to keep them: a human being who is sensitive to nature’s many voices, of course, but who in addition feels the need of putting them in order and who is gifted for that task with a very special aptitude. In his or her hands all that I have considered as not being music will become music. From this I conclude that tonal elements become music only by virtue of their being organized, and that such organization presupposes a conscious human act.”

It is no secret to any of you that the exact meaning of poetics is the study of work to be done. The verb poiem from which the word is derived means nothing else but to do or make. The poetics of the classical philosophers did not consist of lyrical dissertations about natural talent and about the essence of beauty. For them the single word techne embraced both the fine arts and the useful arts and was applied to the knowledge and study of the certain and inevitable rules of the craft. That is why Aristotle’s Poetics constantly suggest ideas regarding personal work, arrangement of materials, and structure.

This conscious human act is a poetic act: one of making. I’d like to start by describing elements of construction in my own art-form, music. I choose this as a point of departure because of music’s proximity to universal forms. Music is one of two art forms that is bound to time (the other art form being film). The construction of music is inseparable from music’s interaction of matter, energy, time, and space.

In his Poetics, Aristotle defined the two methods by which we can cause musical instruments to make sound. He describes a process where “by conscious art or mere habit,” people “imitate and represent various objects through the medium of color and form, or again by the voice; so in the arts above mentioned, taken as a whole, the imitation is produced by rhythm, language, or ‘harmony,’ either singly or combined.”

“Thus,” continues Aristotle, “in the music of the flute and of the lyre, ‘harmony’ and rhythm alone are employed; also in other arts, such as that of the shepherd’s pipe, which are essentially similar to these. In dancing, rhythm alone is used without ‘harmony’; for even dancing imitates character, emotion, and action, by rhythmical movement.”

Aristotle’s use of the words “flute and lyre” should be understood to encompass all instruments that are activated either by breath (“flute” meaning all aerophones or wind instruments) on the one hand or all instruments activated by being struck (“lyre” meaning string instruments, percussion instruments and anything else that is struck with the hand,  bow, plectrum, mallet or any other object in order to produce sound). This is a simple basis that encompasses all the musical instruments known to humanity. This is how musicians cause their instruments to produce “energy in vibratory motion” by effect of those instruments being beaten, blown, plucked, struck, or frictionized with a bow.

One of the universal elements of musical construction is what we call “harmony.” Here is one of the most common chords; one that any listener of  any music whether traditional or synthetic, will find to be familiar:

But how did people arrive at this chord and why does it sound so familiar and universal?

The acoustical phenomenon behind the musical elements such as the chord above is called the harmonic series; also known as the overtone series. It is not hard to understand this phenomenon if you remember the basic high school physics lesson in which we learned that all sounds are produced by vibrating bodies. These bodies send out waves. If such a vibrating body is irregularly constituted, (like fire)… it will when struck emit waves which are irregular, and our ears will perceive them as noise. But if the source of vibration is of a consistent structure, like any one of the strings in a piano, it will emit regular waves, and we hear them as a musical tone. Of course, the source doesn’t have to be a string:can be a column of air, as in a clarinet, or a column of steel, as in a tubular bell, or a stretched animal hide, as in a kettle drum.

Let’s play the following note (C) on the keyboard of a piano and cause the hammer to strike this particular piano string:

The string outlined above is of a particular length, tension, thickness, and density. When struck by its hammer, it produces sound waves at a frequency of 64 vibrations per second, and is known to the world as the note C:

Now comes the interesting part. If I sit at the piano and play that low C, you may think you’re hearing only that one tone—a dark, rich bass note—but you’re not; you are simultaneously hearing a whole series of higher tones that are sounding at the same time:

These are arranged in an order preordained in nature and ruled by universal physical laws. If this is news to you, I hope it’s good news.

All these upper notes of which you may be unaware result from a phenomenon of nature whereby any “pitch-producing source,” such as that piano string, vibrates not only as the whole string sounding that low C:

The string also vibrates in fractional segments of itself— with each fractional segment vibrating separately:

It’s as though the string were infinitely divisible, into two halves, into three thirds, four quarters, and so on. And the smaller those segments are, the faster they vibrate, producing higher and higher frequencies and therefore higher and higher tones—OVERtones.

These overtones, or harmonics, as they’re also called, are all sounding together with the fundamental sound of the full string. This is the basic principle by which the entire harmonic series is generated, starting on any fundamental tone.

The higher overtones are naturally less apparent to the ear than the fundamental, which is in this case low C:

The overtones continue to sound more and more faintly as they go higher.

Any note I strike will contain its own series of overtones, but the lower the note I strike, the more abundantly audible will be its harmonic series, which accounts in part for the comparative richness of that low C.

Now remember, I spoke of a preordained sequence in which the overtones appear. Let’s see if I can make you actually hear some of those overtones in that order.

Here is the first overtone of the series:

According to the laws of physics, this first overtone must be exactly an octave higher than the fundamental C we have been hearing. Here is the fundamental C:

And here is the first overtone (the C one octave higher than the fundamental):

Demonstrating the proximity that the higher C has to the fundamental on the harmonic series is simple. Silently press down the key of this higher C on the piano and hold it down (so that the string is free to vibrate) and then abruptly strike the fundamental C an octave lower:

You should clearly hear the first overtone vibrating sympathetically an octave above its fundamental:

This upper C is an integral part of the C an octave below. It’s a built-in harmonic, sounded by the two halves of the lower string vibrating independently. The reader will find the proportions illustrated below:

A fact that I find to be fascinating and beautiful is evident here: each single note that we hear only appears to be one single note. In reality, when you play the “C” fundamental, you’re hearing all it’s harmonics contained within it by virtue of the simple fact that the “C” (or any other note) also sounds it’s sympathetic vibrations. These harmonically sympathetic vibrations are not simply relatives of a note. They are part and parcel of what gives every note it’s individual sound. They are part of any note being struck or played

Each note, therefore, is a harmony; a naturally preordained “chord”.

The next overtone of this preordained sequence results from that same fundamental string vibrating in three parts:  and this one will be the first different overtone—that is, the first one you’ll hear other than a C. It’s going to be a G (as follows):

The first different overtone is always a perfect 5th away from it’s fundamental.

And now, we may repeat the experiment. Press this new note (G) down silently. Now, again, strike the fundamental (C) as illustrated:

The reader should now hear the G sounding clearly. This is a new tone (G) which should sound clearly in sympathetic vibration with the note which is struck (C). And with that we have arrived at a significant point.

The fundamental tone and its first overtone are really the same note, C, but an octave apart. This new overtone, G is a fifth away from C . So we now have two different tones; and once they are established in our ears, we are in a position to understand the invisible workings behind all pitches and tones found in every music on the planet. The C an octave above the fundamental is always proximate to the fundamental.

The harmonic series is the natural explanation for universal instincts among musicians all over the world. It provides tonal infrastracutre of all “keys,” “modes,” “ragas,” “maquamat,” etc. The function of the fifth (G) in tonal music has been felt as a force which has drawn and continues to draw all musicians to a “home-tone” when making a musical work. Owing to it’s proximity to the fundamental (in the sequence called the harmonic series,”  the 5th provides us with a naturally occurring device that we can utilize in order to begin and end a musical work with a sense of “departure”from a tone and end the work with a “return” to that tone. The vibrations inherent in harmonic motion provide the composer, songwriter or bard with the natural resource needed to design a musical work which is oriented and centered. While the octave characteristically offers a finality, the fifth offers a sense of inevitability which draws the listener to the final tone or harmony (which is related to it by virtue of it’s being the first discreet not in the celestial sequence):

On to the next overtone, which is again a C, a fourth higher than the G we just heard. But the next one is again a new pitch, this time a third higher than its predecessor—(notice that the intervals are getting progressively “smaller” as we ascend the harmonic series—which began with an octave, then a fifth, a fourth, and now a third), and this new overtone will be this note E. It’s a bit fainter, but it’s there for all to hear.

We have the first four overtones of the series:  the fundamental, plus one, two, three and four:

Three of these pitches (highlighted above in red, green and blue) are actually different pitches. Let us now isolate those pitches as follows:

Now we will arrange the three notes above so as to cause them to correspond to the order in which they would appear in a scale:

They constitute the chord we were looking for (this constellation is known as a major triad in this context):

This is the chord with which my Fifth Symphony begins as can be seen clearly in the trombone part. I have highlighted the part in question in yellow. Here is the first page of the score:

2. Second Symphony:  Making Harmony

Before getting into the form of my Symphony, I would like to clarify some definitions about music in general and, specifically, about the way in which human beings have utilized the harmonic motions of the planet (which all human beings are aware of either implicitly or explicitly) in order to make music.

There are two types of music. All other descriptions and categories that one might know or hear about describe one or another (or both) of these basic types. They are as follows:

  1. Traditional Music
  2. Technical Music

technic (adj.)

1610s, “technical,” from Latin technicus, from Greek tekhnikos “of or pertaining to art, made by art,” from tekhne “art, skill, craft” (see techno-).

As a noun, “performance method of an art,” 1855, a nativization of technique.

We can now turn to my Symphony. The “Symphony” is said to “intimidate” people but there is certainly no need to be intimidated by the familiar. My first four symphonies have been among my most well-received works. The way that the “symphonic form” is taught by “academics” who, from my long experience with them in my conservatory years and beyond, have evidently never contemplated the undertaking of settling down to compose a symphony (in even an amateur capacity), perform in a symphony or, failing any of those viable options, simply making allowances of time and convenience for those of us who were engaging in the business of composing our own symphonies (to say nothing of arranging performances of said works in conjunction with our instrumentalist colleagues whom, it must said, would have also appreciated their “allowance” so that they could get on with the task of playing symphonies)without being subjected to their unhelpful intrusions and misinformation. Their motive bewilders and confounds me. Suffice it to say, Mozart, Haydn, Takemitsu, El Dhab, Bernstein, Beethoven, Mahler, Schubert, Tchaikovsky, William Grant Still, Bartok, Stravinsky and many, many other composers who have written symphonies do not have a “mold” or utilize retrospectively applied theories such as “the circle of fifths,” “sonata form,” “expositions,” or any other such definition which implies a “common practice.” The diversity of the named group alone should testify to the lack of existence of any inherited cookie-cutters or other such baking utensils (I say “inherited” because there were also those who invented their own jargon and taught it as gospel.) Pozzi Escot/Zuritsky

Of course, “academics” are not academics (there were several good teachers to speak of) and “critics” are not critics (the insight and sympathetic advice of true critics is one of the most stimulating, touching, and alas, all too rare experiences I have known). Since I have informed the reader that systemic approaches to understanding “symphonies” are not productive, I would now like to offer the reader a different approach to the parsing of a symphony. Let us begin by putting the present author under the “microscope” (at my own hands of course) by which I mean that I will show you how my 5th Symphony is constructed utilizing a method which is poetically-oriented (concerned with the demonstration of craft). I am embarking upon a demonstrative technique which is new and certain. Rather than appreciate the “whole” after it is finished, I will start at the “atomic” level and proceed cyclically outward from the “center.” This process will manifest and reveal itself more and more clearly as we progress in parsing the Symphony.

I will now proceed keeping the following sequence:

  1. The symphony in the elemental (Form and Movement)
  2. The symphony in the structural (Form and Movement)
  3. The symphony in the phrase (Form and Movement)
  4. The symphony in the phrases (Form and Movement)
  5. The symphony in the symphonic (Form and Movement)
  6. The symphony in the duality (Form and Movement)

A Chorale is a hymn or psalm which is sung by the human voice (as opposed to played on instruments). Chorales can be secular or sacred and they can be based on traditional melodies as well as on composed melodies. Chorales can also be newly composed altogether. The one thing that all “standard” chorales have in common is that they are sung in parts (usually four parts which come together to make up a chorus).

From the Alhambra to Istanbul’s Blue Mosque, India’s Taj Mahal and the Mosques at Medina and Mecca, sacred art made by Muslims tends to express attic shapes. This is not due to any “tradition” or “edict” (Islam has neither a tradition nor does it allow for a theological authority to issue edicts). Muslim artists have worked in various traditions on all five continents and have rendered the world in a variety of ways. All of these renditions are, in fact, figurative and (contrary to popular belief) the Quran contains no “Islamic edict” prohibiting figurative renditions of the figures described in the Old Testament, New Testament or the Quran itself. The majority of artists, however, have preferred eternal and abstract forms such as words and their calligraphic representations, poems (Yusuf and Zuleikha or the Conference of Birds come immediately to mind), architecture and many other purely figurative art forms to the representation of man.

These cold and attic shapes of unending time flourished and the divine infinity of representing geometric forms gained favor over the placement of the explicit representation of mankind and our own likeness at the center of the universes.

This is especially true of the art created for places of worship and meditation (such as mosques). The first words revealed in the Quran consist of a command: “Read!” This is followed by the following four lines:

Read! Read in the name of thy Lord and Cherisher, Who created-

Created man, out of a clot of congealed blood:

Read! And thy Lord is Most Bountiful,-

He Who taught through the use of a pen,-

Taught man that which he previously knew not and perceived not

This should explain why many Muslim artists have chosen to render higher things through  the realization of forms which express the recursive spheres of heavens and earth in a way that was formerly abstract.

This art is expressive of pure form in which all is form and all is content. Form and content are one.

These arches, for example, are certainly not metaphysical. They have been made into fact. While we could not previously perceive these shapes, we can now sense them in the most immediate way: they are physical shapes.

And so, what was once metaphysical has now been made physical.

This is why I have chosen to express higher things through the use of music without the addition of words (or any other art-form). It is the art of pure form in which all is form and all is content which compels me.

The first section of the Symphony is called Chorale of Columns. It is inspired by the way in which harmonic motion is actualized in the columns above. An understanding of how I am constructing my Symphony in relation to the columns which are recorded in the picture above is best attained through demonstration.

Let us, first, visualize the fundamental note of our chord, “C” as one of the three sections which can see in the picture of the columns above. This column (highlighted below) represents the first “note in our triad”:

Now, it is important to understand that all of the columns which follow into the distance are not identical to the column highlighted above even though they are structurally the same. The columns are the same and yet they take on a different form to the observer because of the way that they are arranged according to where we are standing.

Relativity dictates that objects which are further away from us will look smaller than those which are closest to us. But this is not all that will happen as we stand at this vantage point in the Zayed Mosque. From where we are standing, a column will not only be perceived to be more and more distant if it is further away from our vantage point. It will also form a shape in relation to the other columns and in relation to the structure as a whole.

These columns are similar to one another but must be perceived as an expression of harmonic motion because of the artistic construction of the Mosque itself. This expression renders the columns above akin to harmonics as we saw within that single piano string “C”:

It does not matter how a musician happens to tune, where he happens to play (or sing) the note or what he happens to call the note. Nor does it matter whether the musician is playing a sitar or a timpano or an Ud or any other instrument. It doesn’t matter what the musician happens to call the note in question, as long as he plays a note, the relationship between the note and it’s overs will always be the same as will the sequence of harmonic motion (meaning the harmonics will retain the same constellation in relation to one another. What and how we see is determined by the vantage point (relativity of series) as far as our own sensory relationship with the objects in question are concerned.

This all means that what we “see” in our mind’s eye is determined by the angle from which we sense the object(s) which we are observing.

If this note happens to be “C,” then C will be our Fundamental (as follows)And, after that, the harmonic constellation presents itself in relationship to the note itself. Everything begins with, and is contained within, that single note.

Here is how the constellation of overtones would appear and how it relates to the pillars which follow our “fundamental”  (C an octave above, G, C, E, G etc):

This fundamental “C” happens to vibrate at 64 vibrations per second. This means that the “C” an octave above it will vibrate at 128 vibrations per second (twice as fast) and the G above that would continue as we have represented in the outline below. One can insert any number (in terms of vibrations per second) into the graph-outline below and it will follow harmonically in terms of the fractions outlined here (starting with the insertion of our 64 HRZ “C” as the Fundamental “1”:

But our “Fundamental 1” is not really “1” at all. Al, Kindi, who gave us the word “Music” by composing his “Grand Book of Music” expresses the instant multiplicity of everything that we can see or perceive, make or study in the following terms:

The true One possesses no matter, form, quantity, quality, or relation. And is not described by any of the other terms: it has no genus, no specific difference, no individual, no proper accident, and no common accident. It does not move, and is not described through anything that is denied to be one in truth. It is therefore only pure unity, I mean nothing other than unity. And every one other than it is multiple.

And so, the very first note of my Symphony or any symphony or song is (like this “C”) already a Symphony.  The word “Symphony” is a combination of syn- (“together”) + phone (”voice, sound,”). The single note “C” contains within it all of the relationships above and more which I will explain.

The first note of my Symphony, what is often described as a “single” note contains a binary-based multiplicity which is expressed so beautifully in the physical structure of these Columns in the Zayed Mosque. Here is an image which shows the fundamental as well as the first three harmonics:

That single note contains within it, a universe of notes which vibrates as a part of that note itself. Just as the “harmonic series” which is presented in the columns above is based  on our perception of the columns (relativity-based perception) depending on where we are standing, so is our ability to perceive the note “C.”

When I write the note “C”, I am asking for a specific pitch. A pianist who sees the following note in one of my scores will play this note on the piano:

And we will hear the note which I have written “C.” But, in order to hear this “single” note, we actually hear a symphony which is visualized as follows:

The first note “alone”, then, is the first “symphony” in my Fifth Symphony. Every note which follows will contain within it a Symphony of harmonic movements that inform every intention that every composer makes when sifting through the materials of the universe in order to arrange the music of a symphony. This “listening” to the invisible but sense-able sound of the planet (and all other celestial bodies) is also an influence to everyone who has ever heard or sung a song or made a musical sound. Musicians imitate   these movements on many levels which are conscious and many more which are intuitive (we will see examples of these imitations throughout the book).

All music is, built from two elements:

  1. Pitch
  2. Rhythm

Every pitch is naturally beholden to the Harmonic Series and to Harmonic motion. There are no such things as “monophonic music,” “Polyphonic music,” “Harmony” (in the sense of “chords”), “hetero-phony,” and the many other terms which one will find presented and defended in order to justify one musical “tradition” (or similarly ill-described thing) or another.

This is not to say that these terms are useless. Quite the contrary. They are useful if one knows their meaning and proper application (in terms of what they refer to). Suffice it to say, these terms are used to describe the musical practice of human beings who make music rather than the natural elements of music  on which that practice is based. By this I mean all music which is made by human musicians universally and without exception adheres to a “common practice.” There is an astonishing and complimentary diversity to be found (and loved) within that “common practice” but the elements remain the same.

The realization of the Symphony contained within a single note allowed Al-Kindi to map an inward spiral and outward spiral of pitches as follows:

I will show direct uses that composers have found in this “braiding” phenomenon that span centuries and continents. By the later 1200s, Safi al-Din ‘Abd al-Mu’min mapped out the Pitch alignments of the twelve shudud modes, as follows in his Kitab al-adwar (the Book of Cycles):

And here are the Khafíf al-thaqīl (rhythmic cycles) as represented in the same text:

These cyclical forms are the first form of my Symphony and are to be found in every single note. I will later show how these cyclical forms actually operate in a powerfully artistic way by showing an example from the body of symphonic works which were composed by Ludwig Van Beethoven. These works were preserved for us to enjoy and also for musical youth to learn from their playful mastery find inspiration in their sublime humanity. This is why I hope that the reader will not mind if I share music in which I find great joy so that I may share that joy with the reader and others.

These cycles express the elemental art and inspiration which is present in my Fifth Symphony as well as the rest of my works and the works of my fellow composers and musicians.

We have just discussed the two factors of movement and form in the most elemental way: by visualizeing the first note of my present work. We have illustrated movement in harmonic motion. We have illustrated form in spherical cycles. This is the meaning of the word symphony when used to describe a great but minute sounding together which is all contained within the starting note of my symphony: “C.”

And so we have concluded with the first “symphony” in my Fifth Symphony.

Let us now move “outward” traveling along the same circular path which describe movement on the one hand and form on the other. I would now like to consider the opening of the work which, the reader will recall, opens with not a single note but a chord. In particular, we are referring to this triad:

Having demonstrated how humanity arrived at this form, I would now like to explain it’s construction and purpose in such a way that will expand the microscopic circle with which we have just begun exploring my Symphony. This step of examination reveals a fact that

This next step in my explanation of the form of my Symphony involves the demonstration of a fact that demands an explanatory aside before we launch into an examination of the form and craft proper. While the harmonic series and harmonic motion are naturally occurring physical phenomena, the chord above (sometimes called a “harmony”) is not naturally occurring but rather it is synthesized by human beings.

The chord above is made by art. The harmonic series occurs in nature. To put it another way, the Mona Lisa was painted by Da Vinci. The oil which forms the base of the paint was attained from nature. We cannot say that Mozart, for example, “created” the harmonic series any more than we can claim that Rodin created bronze.

This is a crucial difference because knowing this fact means that one also knows that the study of music as a study of that which is naturally occurring is a science (called “music”). The making of music is an art (also called “music”).  Al Kindi and Aristotle study music as a science and, in their poetics, they comment on the practice of artists as far as this practice pertains to the construction of music. Musicians (and artists in general) have also written about their practice. These writings which involve poetics (making) are not rumination on pleasant facies and imaginative stories but they are very pleasant indeed in that poetical works can inform artists and others of illuminating discourse having to do with the construction of an art-work or art-works in general. Poetics is not “Theory” nor is it “Philosophy” or “Aesthetics.” Moreover, poetics (and criticism) should not to be confused with those things which, more often than not, are the genres of persons who will offer their personal (and often very private) feelings and not much else. I must also discard of the notion that artists do not read the works of those scientists who study art from a scientific perspective. This would imply that artists do not comprehend the basic building blocks with which they construct objects which, if made by a good artist, are held to be the standards of human technical accomplishment in those particular areas with which they engage.

The myth of a great series of divisions (and competitive one’s at that) that is proposed or supposed to exist in a conflicted “war” between broad branches of knowledge is a lie. It is also damaging in addition to being repulsive to every true lover of knowledge; it is especially sad that the destructive persons who promote such division also proclaim themselves to be “lovers of knowledge.” We will look at examples of this phenomenon and, in examining such examples, we will understand that they may also believe themselves to be that which they falsely advertise themselves to be,

With this explanation behind us, let us look at the chord (or “triad”) with which my Fifth Symphony begins. I have magnified the chord (which is played (by three trombones) in the first page of the score:

Let us now assign each of the three “rows” created by the columns with a pitch (note) which corresponds to a note in this chord. Knowing that we need the notes C, E and G, and that these notes are intended to form a harmony (chord), let us proceed in accordance to the sequence of the notes as they appear in the harmonic series.  Here, for reference, are notes as they appear in the harmonic series (on the left). On the right is the C Major chord, fully labeled, as it would appear if we derived the chord from the harmonic series:

This means that the first note (which I have marked red in both the harmonic series and in the chord) is “C” and this would be followed by G (marked in green in the series and in the chord above). Let us now assign the “C” to one row of columns and then assign the “G” to another row of columns.

As we can see, there is a gap in our “triad” which needs to be filled. This “gap” results from the fact that the notes (in order to form our c major chord) need to appear in a certain order. We read the order of chords from “bottom” to “top” because of the fact that the harmonic series proceeds from a fundamental tone in an “upward” direction (with regards to harmonic motion and sympathetic vibrations).

This means that we need to derive the notes “C” “E” and “G” from the natural harmonic sequence in the  following order: The C which occurs first in the series is also the first part (bottom to top) of our chord. The G which occurs second in the series is the third portion of our chord (at the top of our chord). The E which occurs fourth in the series becomes the second part of our chord.

Simply put, “1, 2, 4” is rearranged into “1, 2, 3” in order to form our chord. This is easy to understand and I have illustrated the process here:

Now that we have synthesized a “C Major Chord,” let us attach each note to a “row” of columns in the Zayed Mosque:

The reader will recall the fact that the harmonic series is natural but the C Major chord is made by art. This is the case with all manmade music and it’s arrangement. Therefore, the only symphony which is naturally occurring in my work is the symphony of notes contained within each individual note. All other constellations and arrangements from here on out are synthetically made.

Each of the notes of our C Major Chord will contain a “symphony” of harmonics within itself and each series will correspond to the same relationship between the fundamental and it’s harmonics. The reader can attain all the harmonics by following the same sequence for any given note or harmonic frequency.  Take the “E” as 1 (in the example below) and chart out the same sequence of notes from that E. The only thing that changes is the note. The relations and proportions between the notes stay the same.

The columns of the Zayed Mosque prove a perfect way to understand this relativity.

The only thing that changes is the one object that is variable: you. The relations and proportions between the columns stay the same. When one substitutes “E” for “C” the harmonics derived from the E will be the same. The individual note (“E,” “G,” “441 HZ” or anything else) is the only variable. The only thing we can “change” as far as which notes of the harmonic series we hear more clearly, is the note (or notes) which we play and the way in which we play them. In other words, the series remains the same; it is only our perception which changes based on our fundamental (vantage point).

The columns of the Zayed Mosque are a marvelous representation of the harmonic series (and harmonic motion more generally). They are a manmade representation of the objects which we perceive as well as what we subjectively perceive (in our mind).

When visiting the mosque, one will appreciate that the columns, though immovable, are “moving” in the perception of our mind. The only object which physically moves is you (the person viewing the columns and the mosque).

The two individual pillars which I have highlighted below are objects. They exist and are clear to the senses as manmade objects:

These physical shapes are complimented by shapes which are formed by looking at areas such as the one which I have roughly highlighted here:

The shape which I have highlighted is not really “there.” It is outlined by the objects which are there. This shape is formed and perceived by our mind.  This is true of other perceived shapes as well as their “harmonics” which follow in the “series” as the columns progress. These mental “shapes” affect the way we perceive the physically “real” shapes as well as the way we “see” them as they will change based on our position.

The columns also provide the best representation of the structure which exists in the “triad.” The needed constellation is instantly clearer if reader keeps in mind the following image in which I have applied the notes of the triad to the three rows of the vestibule in the Zayed Mosque.

The two adjacent pillars (marked C and E above) are vital to the structural cohesion of the three columns above. They join one column to the next in order to form the whole. The first row of columns in the “pillar of C” is joined to the second row of columns (“pillar of E”) as follows:

The E is then joined to G as follows:

But, in order to build our whole triad “from the bottom upward” we must stack “E” on top of “C” and “G” on top of “E.” If we prefer to be clearer, we can read the chord from the top and move downwards (G, E, C). In this case, we simply put “G” on top of “E” and put “E” on top of “C.”

Either way you cut it, the very semantics which describe the construction of the triad contains two mentions of the note “E”:

      1. Place “E” on top of “C” and place “G” on top of “E.”
      1. Place “G” on top of “E” and place “E” on top of “C.”

We can read the c major chord in two ways (bottom to top or top to bottom). I prefer the second description as it even allows us to understand how we have arrived at our “home note” (“C”).

Either way (up or down) is fine as long as we are reading from top to bottom or from bottom to top. This is a cycle after all but it is a cycle which proceeds vertically. We cannot read (or hear) chords horizontally.  They must be heard as a simultaneous group of notes which are all played together. These component notes of a chord can be singled out and described in the following two ways:

1) from bottom to top (C, E, G)

2)  from top to bottom:

Music in general, however, must be read from left to right (as is the case with the mathematical system of notion used by most composers around the world) or from right to left (as many other notional systems used in all parts of the world). This is because music progresses through time.  Take the following work of mine (called Domination of Darkness) which is written for two performers: one flute player and one singer. In it, the singer would read the music from left to right as it progresses in time:

The flute player will similarly read the music from left to right. Together, they will perform their parts simultaneously as follows:

If I “drop the pin” on any simultenaous sounding of two or more notes in my work, we have a “chord” which is produced by freezing the moment and parcing the notes in question. For example, the coincidence of the notes “E” and “C” in the highlighted section of music which follows is an example of a chord:

The motion of music (moving through time as above) does not yield a chord. The frozen “moment” of music I’ve just quoted actually lasts for less than a second since we are metrically progressing through time at 72-76 beats per minute (which can also be seen if one looks at my indication of the speed of the pulse in the excerpt). If we view the columns of the Zayed Mosque vertically (as music progresses through time), the relation of notes in our triad would look like this.

The movement of notes in this image would correctly translate into the following:

Since this does not correspond to anything which is objectively present in the picture, how does the harmonic motion which is represented in the picture correspond to the triad of my symphony. To answer this we must fist connect that which is objective to that which we perceive. The “C” corresponds to the column (“C”) as follows:

If one was moving through time (as music does), the next step on our journey to “G” would  involve this:

This movement would mean that “E” and “E” would repeat on the same column and therefore at the same pitch (not the octave) but the very same pitch played once:

This motion is not possible when dealing with any “harmony” or chord which is manmade.

To form the triad, we must first connect the notes together with reference to the objects that I am representing and which are concrete in the Mosque:

We have now connected “C” to “E” and “E” to “G.”

Having done this, we are ready to make the connection between the three notes of the C Major triad as a triad. The final step in forming a true triad which corresponds to the harmonic motion seen in the columns at the Zayed Mosque is to connect the three notes using the two-note “dyads” which connect them. This results in the following connection of “C” “E” and “G”:

That the “triad” which we have brought forth reveals a triangle should be of no surprise to anyone as an illustrative point. The TRIad as well as the TRIangle are structures which contain three constituent points. In order to form a single unit these points must be connected. The “E” is the central point which connects the triangle that can be drawn if a common point is sought between the two columns which connect “C” and “E” (which I have pointed out using a black arrow) on the left and the other two columns which connect “E” and “G”  (pointed out using the orange arrow) on the right:

And so we have discovered the second “symphony” in my work. This “symphony” is a human creation called a chord (or “triad”), the very first simultaneous combination of notes in my symphony:

We are now ready to move forward through time together with the music of the Symphony. Before we conclude our discussion of this second “symphony within a Symphony,” I would like to offer two crucial observations.

I observed earlier that the objects such as the two individual pillars (highlighted below) are physical objects. They exist and are clear to the senses. They are manmade objects:

I also noted that these physical shapes are complimented by shapes which are formed by looking at areas such as the one (highlighted) here. This “shape” is made in the mind of the viewer; not by the creator of the columns.

Similarly, all the things which are not linked to actual physical objects which human beings can perceive are not imperceptible. They are perceptions that belong to our minds. This is why the Columns at the Zayed Mosque are a physical representation of harmonic motion. These columns are not harmonic motion itself (something which cannot be seen but must be made visible by man). This is also the case with the triangle which illustrates our triad. It is seen in the mind’s eye but is not seen as a physical form. This does not mean that the triad is not there. The triad is there and there for all to see.

The Mosque itself represents harmonic motion and the harmonic series. The triad derives from harmonic motion and the harmonic series. This is an explicit and intentional representation of the harmonic Series on the part of the builders of the Mosque. It is the harmonic series itself that makes the motion of the mosque sensible as well as sense-able to the observer. I am simply saying that the stuff of metaphysics is not the stuff of physics. We make the metaphysical clear to the senses through  the rational and logical demonstration of it’s presence. The triad which I heard in my “mind’s ear” was as palpable to me as the derived shape which I have highlighted and placed beside it.

That which was once part of my speculative volition is now here for all to hear in my symphony and it is also here for all to see how I have arrived at the realization of what was previously inspiration and thought:

There are many useless studies of music that are as confusing to the musician and listener of music as they seem to be confounding to those who impart them. The vast majority of individuals who define themselves as “music theorists” (by this they mean that they study the musical works produced by composers; this is not the study of “music” in the scientific sense) are confused about harmony. There are many “theories” of “tonal harmony” which exist and can be perused online. The study of “Harmony” is the study of chords which are frozen in time and analyzed in too many ways to describe here. These studies do not take the work of any specific composer as an example but elect to, instead, derive a “common practice” that is theorized to have existed and spanned the work countless human beings over the centuries. One of the texts still used by these theorists in professing their theories begins as follows:

Melody existed before Harmony (using both words in their modern sense); the sounds, therefore, which were first used for the purpose of harmonization must have been taken from the component parts of the melody, that is to say, from the Scale.

A Chord, therefore, is defined as “a combination of notes taken from a scale, or sometimes (but rarely) from two closely-allied scales.

I have shown the reader how the triad which we have been discussing is derived and how naturally it follows from the harmonic series. The statement “Melody existed before Harmony” is spurious. The theorist has no way of ascertaining that humanly-constructed harmonies preceded humanly constructed melodies while there are countless instances and physical proof that demonstrates the facts: melody and harmony existed together from the very beginning. He tells us, however, that his use of the word (presumably to mean the study of human beings’ harmonies attained by freezing the music contained within the scores created by human beings) is “modern” and, we are to assume that this grants the author the viability required to command continued reading of his text. The idea that people sang together or played together and then removed harmonies which are “taken from the component parts of the melody” depicts human beings who do not hear the harmonic series in their minds. These people just tried whatever they could and then proceeded to take harmony “from the component parts” of their communal music-making when they happened upon something reasonable. That is an insult to the amount of richness contained in the harmonies which we hear in nature and the world from the earth’s motion to the songs of birds. It is also an insult to the rational capacities of human beings to hear and sift what they hear.

The author continues. Here is another sample:

As all chords are made up of thirds, inversions are reckoned and named from the distance of the bass note from the root, in thirds: thus the bass of the first inversion is one third from the root; that of the second inversion, two thirds ( = a fifth) from the root, and so on.

It is evident that every chord has one inversion fewer than the number of notes required to form that chord.

Why would anyone depend on the need to “reckon” when one can hear? The next step which the author takes is at the beginning of a new chapter. “Having defined a chord as a combination of thirds taken from a scale,” he says, “it is necessary to exhibit a scale in thirds…” He then goes on to demonstrate some of the most cyclopian forms laid down by man and which I (and many other talented musicians) have been subjected to as part of a conservatory education:

The first key to understanding the harm that this understanding demonstrates is to realize that such a mind is having trouble telling the difference between that which is created and that which is simply in his mind. The two divinations below are made fact because they are rational and constructible in the first place:

There reader will find no instances of the use of the chords above in the entire canon of musical scores composed by any composer anywhere. The reader will find even less that no example (if such a thing is possible) of the above theory being put into practice by a composer (because it cannot be).

The second problem is one which the Zayed Mosque can help us to navigate. The study of “Harmony,” as defined by these “theorists” is involved in taking  a beautiful work of musical art, such as the following Sonata by Beethoven, and identifying moments in which more than one note happens to be sounding at the same time. They freeze the music at a given moment (I have selected one such moment at random below) and proceed to “analyze the work by freezing moment after moment:

That is the entire movement which Beethoven has composed, a movement of great beauty, masterful rationality and, above all, human heart. It is reduced to nonsense in the hands of these theorists. The nonsense, of course, is not performable (thus useless to performers of the works) and will teach one nothing about the art of constructing such a thing (thus useless to composers who are studying the works of the master with the intention of applying what they have learned).

There are three problems which I would like to address.

The first is regarding understanding.

One must understand that the harmonies which humans create are imitative of the Harmonic Series. The configuration itself, though must be a combination of more than one element. We must combine two or more notes in order to form harmonies of our own. The triad is a three-part combination:

The person moving through the Mosque has not created anything in the Mosque when he divines the shapes which are implied and not explicitly made into physical objects. It is an insult to the labor of the maker as well as to the sixth sense (that of rational speculative volition) of the viewer to suggest such a thing. It is the person who moves and not the Mosque.

To the theorists, on the other hand, the relationship of the theorist to the maker is one between them and me (or Beethoven) but it is not only between them and me (or Beethoven).  The insult to the composer is simply the first insult. When musicians make (and use) the elements of their style, those elements must be coherent if a symphony (or any musical composition) is made.

To use our current terminology, every single element must be coherent in my Fifth Symphony; from the “first symphony” to the “last symphony” in order for the symphony to cohere let alone be beautiful and true.

And we must understand, and understand very well, the difference between this (a melody; scale; anything horizontal):

And this (harmony; chord; anything vertically derived):

The comprehensible way to construct the triad above must be as follows:

The commonalities which theorists see (or think that they see) are materially inconsequential. The implications which theorists see (or think that they see) are just as inconsequential. If the composer (as human imitator sifting through the music of nature) failed to make this conceptual connection, then humanity would not simply end up with a gap like this:

Composers would have a basic result of our attempt to mirror the naturally symphonic harmonic series  found in every note with a human-made harmony in which the center cannot hold:

How, then, are we composers to attempt our hands at a symphony when the basic elements of harmonic construction do not simply imitate the natural series poorly but actually fail to imitate the creation of the Supreme Being in any coherent fashion?

As I said, it is the person moving through the Mosque, who has not created any part of the Mosque who divines the shapes which are implied and not explicitly made into the physical objects which inspire him. In our harmony, we imitate harmony through the use of multiple parts which can be frozen but never captured. This relationship which the composer has to time is the closest thing which I know to unity. Unity is in the present which always is and never is. This is not as mystical a concept as it might seem.  There is a point in time where the past (that which has just passed) and the future (that which is about to pass) coincide for an infinitesimally ephemeral point. It is at this indefinably ephemeral point that the past (everything we have known) and the future (everything which we will know) blur into one another but can never be captured.

In my “second symphony” within my Symphony, I have shown how human beings combine notes to form   chords. Now we must depart from the start of the Symphony and start moving through time.

Each part of the orchestra will “move” in this way; akin to a human being moving among the immovable columns of the Mosque which inspired it. We will all move through time together (another “symphony”):

There is only one way of moving through time. The flutes must move with the basses and the trombones with the harp… the whole orchestra must move in one direction; but they will move together, symphonically.

The vertical coincidences (those things which make up harmony) are meant to be “frozen” only one; by the hand of the composer who is composing the score as he attempts to capture this “slow time” of the attic shapes which we are given as our gift and companion. I have shown all the coincidences of harmony which I have composed, with the utmost care and precision, in the first page of my Symphony. This exact formation should be my business and mine alone; it is not to be found in the work of any other composer nor is their touch to be found in my work. This is the work of my own hand. This is the product of my  own reason. This is the harmony of my spirit. My hope is that anyone who looks at this page closely can see how much are I have put into the harmony alone in the first 45 seconds of music.

There is no place for the arbitrary in that which is purely form.

I take a particular pride in the layers of “symphonies” which I am revealing to you. As a composer, the underpinnings of my art is sublime. If we work our way inward (rather than outward as we are currently doing) from the whole symphony as symphony, to the form and movement of the individual notes, we chart a path as follows:

6) The whole Symphony

5) The movement of the Symphony

4) The parts of the movement of the Symphony

3) The phrases of the Symphony

2) The harmony of the Symphony

This artificial harmony, what I have called the “Harmony of the Symphony” joins me to my fellow composers (those who worked with this synthetic constellation of chords as well as those who worked with other tonalities and those who invented systems of their own are all alike and alive.

But beyond this point (2), I cannot claim any authorship in my Symphony nor can I enter.  This is a place of each individual note which I arrange. Here, there is only the individual note within which is infinity.

There is only one sort of harmony which results from one note and is, at the same time, contained within that note. This is something which we can understand as unity as infinite variety as unity as infinite variety as unity.  The harmony is that note.

The Symphony is indivisible. The work of the composer and musician is indivisible. Every note with which I work is a harmony crafted by God. I honor this harmony though my attention to ensuring that the unity of the whole honors the particle which we have been given as the basis of our craft. The cycle of the symphony (in all of it’s constituent “symphonies”) is never ending. Once it is closed, it begins anew just as the celestial bodies and heavenly spheres start their course anew; just as the respiration and circulation which gave us the breath of life and the gift of our living soul begins and ends in eternal renewal.

“For the unity of the work,” said Igor Stravinsky, “has a resonance all its own. Its echo, caught by our soul, sounds nearer and nearer. Thus the consummated work spreads abroad to be communicated and finally flows back towards Its source, The cycle, then/is closed. And that is how music comes to reveal itself as a form of communion with our fellow man and with the Supreme Being.”

3. Third Symphony:  Making Music

The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque’s minarets are the first subject of my Symphony’s First Movement. The minaret is the most distinctive feature of a mosque as far as that which can seen from great distances away. Each minaret of the Zayed Mosque is made-up of three different “towers”; each “tower” is the physical expression of a geometric shape as well as a new application of an historically distinct architectural style.

Here is a view of one of the minarets:

Here is the first theme of my Symphony. In this theme, I represent the minaret. The theme is played by the brass section of the orchestra. Here is the theme as played by two trumpets and three trombones:

The theme itself is made up of three distinct sections. These sections can be heard as distinct because of the rhythms which I use in order to build each section. Here is the first section (A):

Here is the second section (B):

Here is the third section C:

I have constructed these three sections into one theme. The three building blocks come together to form this:

Each portion of this theme is unified by a rhythmic motive. The first part is bound by this rhythm (three notes which take up two beats):

This rhythm can be heard throughout this section of the theme. By applying it to any part of “a,” we can see (as well as hear) that it is present throughout:

The following rhythm is the defining attribute of (b):

This two-note rhythm occupies one beat. It is to be found in all 6 beats of this section:

As our search for “1” progresses from “A” (three notes expressed in two beats) to “B” (two notes expressed in one beat), the listener may be surprised to find a rhythm that appears to be more complicated as the basis of “C”:

Let us take this rhythm together with the melody to which I have attached it:

We can see that the search for ONE. The two beats of “A” (made up of three notes):

Is followed by the one beat (of two notes):

And the phrase structure of “C” is just as much of a search for “1”:

To understand how this three-part theme relates to the formal structure of the minaret, let us observe the minaret’s construction in the same way as we have just outlined the construction of my phrase. Here is the minaret

The parts of the minaret from bottom to top are on the left. The parts of the minaret (from top to bottom) are on the right. Let us view them simultaneously.

The first (a) “tower” is a square. This forms the minaret’s base. It is built according to the Arabic Maghrebi architectural style, as well as the Andalusian and the Mameluke styles:

The second (b) “tower” has an octagonal shape. This form is characteristic of Mameluke era architecture.

The third (c) “tower” holds a cylindrical shape, which emerged during the Ottoman era:

So far, the three discreet sections of the minaret combine to give us the following combination of musical sections (“a” “b” and “c”) which I combine to form the first theme of my Symphony:

This three-part minaret (or “three-minarets as a single minaret”) is crowned with a radiant “lantern.” This shape is sun-drenched by virtue of it’s gold-glass mosaic veneer, a characteristic of Fatimid architecture:

To understand how the Symphony comes to incorporate this beacon as a structure, we must look at how the first theme is presented in it’s entirety. The Zayed Mosque has four of these minarets They frame the main courtyard (as highlighted below):

This is why the theme is presented in a four-part unfolding.

Each presentation of the theme (representing each minaret) is played by one of the four choirs of the orchestra (in an additive fashion). The brass instruments play the theme first.

Here is the first presentation of my first theme played by the brass instruments (trumpets and trombones):

The theme in the brass instruments is then joined as the strings (violins, violas, cellos and double basses as well as harp) begin to play with the brass. The strings (marked 2 above) join the brass. The strings continue to play (as below) together with the brass:

The brass (1) and the strings (2) are now joined by the woodwinds (3). The entrance of the woodwinds is marked by the arrow below and the winds continue to play together with the brass and strings. The orchestra is becoming symphonic before our very ears:

All that is left is the percussion section. With the entrance of the piano (marked above), the percussion  section finally enters. They join the rest of the orchestra in the final statement of my first theme:

The “three minarets” that form each minaret are crowned by a lantern. They combine into a single luminous minaret:

We can now understand the luminescent minarets in relationship to one another. The final image (far right) shows the result: a shimmering minaret which reflects the sun’s radiance and  broadcasts the resultant reflective light with brilliance. The word “Minaret” derives from the Arabic word “Manarah,” which means “lighthouse.” This Minaret is where the Azan is issued as a call to human beings lost at sea or in the wilderness.

Those lost in the deserts of the heart are invited to a healing fountain of light and solace. Like the bells that ring from a bell-tower of a great cathedral, the light and voice has denoted “sanctuary” across the centuries and, now, across the millennia.

By presenting my theme in four parts, I invoke the figure of the crescent moon combining into a brilliant light.

This figure is placed at the tip of each minaret:

At the outset, the crescent moon itself is a figure which represents two things:

  1. The Moon as it appears early in its first quarter.
  2. The Moon as it appears late in its last quarter.

By combining one “minaret” to another, I am presenting the crescent moon in the “additive” portion of it’s cycle. By “additive,” I mean the cycle of the moon as it reveals more and more to human eyes.

And so a brilliant frame of celestial light is formed. The four minarets frame the great square of the Zayed Mosque. It is this courtyard which hosts the human beings who gather within it. The four minarets also form a heavenly canopy which mirrors the grand square of the courtyard. The canopy is one of heavenly light. We can see the “square of earth” above, we can now sense the “square of heaven” as follows:

This is the “form” that inspires the brightest measure of music that we have yet heard in my Symphony (highlighted in yellow below). The four “choirs” of the orchestra join this grand statement of the C Major triad which opened the work. The triad is formed and set into motion:

This brilliance is stated and then it is heard as an extension of itself:

The first theme of my Symphony has ended.

And thus, the four minarets are presented symphonically. Just as the four objects, taken together, represent the shape of light; the heavens that shelter the earth:

The first theme (and large statement of “C Major”) ends and is followed by a brief transition in which the double basses are used to establish our movement to a new theme:

This is the opening of the second theme; a theme which evokes “Organic Shape” and soars accordingly:

This theme contains three tempo changes and also is expressed in 9 measures (more expansive than the slightly less than 8 measure first theme). It is inspired by the organic shapes which are formed within the “earth” of the grand square:

The two part first theme will combine into a “first section” (which we call the “exposition”) of the Symphony. Sections will combine into three sections which will form the first movement and then movements will be formed (this Symphony itself is in four movements) to follow movements. This endless expansion of “Symphony within Symphony within Symphony within…” will continue outward and circle back to where it began only to continue outward again from it’s source.

I will end my discussion of the Fifth Symphony here and will now present the reader with a recording of the entire first section of the work (from the opening chord to the end of the second theme).

… So it is the originator of all things that are brought-to-be, and since there is no being that is not caused by unity, and its being-made-one is its being-brought-to-be, it is thus through unity that all things subsist. If unity were taken away, they would depart and disappear, as soon as it was taken away, in no time.

These words are echoed in the following poem. I would like to close this lesson with it since poem was the basis of my very first musical setting (which I completed as a small boy). And so another circle is closed.

Here, to close the current thought properly, is The True Knowledge by Oscar Wilde:

… ἀναyκαίως δ’ ἔχει
βίον θερίζειν ὥστε κάρπιμον στάχυν,
καὶ τὸν yὲν εἶναι τὸν δὲ yή.

Thou knowest all; I seek in vain
What lands to till or sow with seed—
The land is black with briar and weed,
Nor cares for falling tears or rain.

Thou knowest all; I sit and wait
With blinded eyes and hands that fail,
Till the last lifting of the veil
And the first opening of the gate.

Thou knowest all; I cannot see.
I trust I shall not live in vain,
I know that we shall meet again
In some divine eternity.

4. Fourth Symphony:  Elements and Applications of Style

Musical form is, at any rate, far closer to mathematics than to literature— not perhaps to mathematics itself, but certainly to something like mathematical thinking and mathematical relationships. (How misleading are all literary descriptions of musical form! ) I am not say- ing that composers think in equations or charts of numbers, nor are those things more able to symbolize music. But the way composers think— the way I think —•is, it seems to me, not very different from mathematical thinking. I was aware of the similarity of these two modes while I was still a student; and, incidentally, mathematics was the subject that most interested me in school. Musical form is mathematical because it is ideal, and form is always ideal, whether it is, as Ortega y Gasset wrote, “an image of memory or a construction of ours.” But though it may be mathematical, the composer must not seek mathematical formulae.

—Igor Stravinsky, Conversations with Igor Stravinsky

As we have seen, there are two basic elements in music. They are: 

    1. Pitch
      and 
    2. Rhythm.

Any reference to “harmony” that the reader may find are, in fact, simply referring to pitch (for example, when Aristotle speaks of “harmony” in his Poetics, he is referring to all pitch from a single note that contains the harmonics within it to any combination of notes either sounding together or consecutively or both). 

One cannot name the first composer but composition can be traced as a “new art” or “ars nova” to the writings of Claudio Monteverdi. 

Our system for notating technical music is designated onto staffs which consist of five lines: 

The pitches available to human beings are grouped into a five-note scale (commonly called the “pentatonic scale”). These five notes are the only combination of pitches that can be arranged in scalar order without breaking the unity of any individual pitch. 

There are five and only five pitches that have ever been known to (or utilized by) humanity. To illustrate this point, let us consider the note middle C which, on an 88-key piano, is attained by pressing down the following note: 

Let’s now zoom in to the general section of the piano and:

In the figure below, I have highlighted the note (which is marked “C4” above) in green: 

This note resonates at a frequency of 261.63 vibrations per second.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In order to attain the same pitch (C) an octave higher, one must simply divide the string at the halfway point as follows:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By dividing the string one obviously decreases the length of the string (into half of it’s original length) but one also increases the vibrations per second of the second string (resulting in double the vibrations per second of the lower string). In other words, we get twice as many vibrations per second by diving the string into half of it’s size. 

This is an equation for the process which I have just described: (½  of the string on a given note) = (vibrations per second of the note × 2). Let us use it to attain the vibrations per second of the higher C. 

Our lower note (C) sounds at 261.63 vibrations per second, and so it follows naturally that the C above it will sound at 523.26 vibrations per second as follows:  (C4 ÷ 2) = (261.63 × 2). Here is a visualization of the interval between the lower C and the higher C: 

One can attain this interval from any starting note by multiplying the vibrations of the starting note by 2 (doubling the number of vibrations per second). This fact holds true for every single note there is whether or not that note is found on the piano or found on any other instrument and regardless if the synthetic scale built around that note is a five, six, seven, twelve or 324 note scale.

This interval frames the octave in question in the absolute terms outlined by the ratio below (1:0.5):

Starting on this C, let us now chart the five notes which are available to us; they are C,D,E, G and A as follows: 

If we play the next note after that A, the sequence will bring us back to the note C (this time an octave higher) and we can repeat the series again:

When a musician reads a sharp symbol, they will understand it to raise the tone to which it is attached by a half step And so C raised by a half step becomes C sharp or C♯ as follows:

Let us now continue in this direction; step-by-step moving upward.

If we play every note between the low C and the higher C in a scale moving upward one note at a time, the result is the following scale:  

When a musician reads a flat symbol, they will understand it to indicate a lowering in pitch of the tone to which it is attached; lowering the tone by a half step.

 And so, the note “D” is lowered by a half step to become D flat (or D♭) as follows:

The same chromatic scale moving downward is “spelled” like this: Higher C, B, B♭, A, A♭, G, G♭,F, E, E♭,D,D♭, Lower C

It should now be clear that I have described two ways to “spell” one note and that the decision is made depending on where the note leads in terms of the note which follows it (as the music progresses in time).

This is called “voice-leading” and it makes perfect sense. Notes which proceed upward will generally be raised (using the sharp symbol) in order to lead to the destination note if that note is higher than the note of origin. Similarly notes in a melody which proceed downward will generally be lowered in order to lead to the following note if the note of destination is lower than the note of origin. 

It should be clear now that the five notes which we have are the ones which do not derive from other notes: C, D, E, G and A:

Here are the five notes with each of their derivative “notes” marked on the piano keyboard:

An online image search for the notes of a scale marked on the piano keyboard will reveal that most sources neglect to mark the equivalence of the note “E sharp” with the note “F” and they also neglect to mark the equivalence of the note “C Flat” with the note “B.” This fact is also neglected in most books on “Music Theory” which propose to discuss the harmonic practice of many composers:

The notes of our scale would, therefore, properly need to include the two “adjustment-notes” which result from raising the “E” and lowering the “C” by half-steps. Here is the keyboard complete with the raising of the E by a semi-tone to result in an E# (circled in red) as well as the the lowering of the C by a semi-tone to result in a C♭ (circled in blue):

These two distinctions are inconspicuously missing from most texts written by “theorists” and taught to musicians in training (from the earliest levels printed in texts by, for example, the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music to the “advanced theory” taught in conservatories). 

Even Leonard Bernstein, a great composer who understands the five-note scale perfectly-well blunders in representing “two forms” of the five note scale:

Indeed, as we ascend further in our harmonic series, more and more fascinating and incontrovertible universals keep appearing. For, instance, this next new overtone is D. And so, we now have five different tones to play with, which we again put into scalar order, and presto, a new universal is given us-the five-note, or pentatonic scale. Now because of that dubious last note, the scale can take either of two forms, one culminating in B flat and the other in A. Let’s opt for the second of these, the lower one, which is by far the more common of the two. This is humanity’s favorite pentatonic scale, and by the way, this is the scale you can find so easily on your own piano by playing only the black notes. In fact, the universality of this scale is so well known that I’m sure you could give me examples of it, from all corners of the earth, as from Scotland, or from China, or from Africa, and from American Indian cultures, from East Indian cultures, from Central and South America, Australia, Finland . .. now, that is a true musico-linguistic universal.

“Now because of that dubious last note, the scale can take either of two forms, one culminating in B flat” writes Bernstein. The “B flat” he speaks of is simply a raised A. There’s nothing “dubious” about that last note; it is just an A sharp. 

How did this complication of the simple and concrete become so pervasive?

 We will address that phenomenon at the end fo the present section; for the time being, it is enough to remember that there are five tones available to humanity. Sun Tzu expressed the relationship between these basic elements on the one hand and the infinite variety of human creativity on the other very movingly in the following passage from The Art of War: 

There are not more than five musical notes, yet the combinations of these five give rise to more melodies than can ever be heard.
8. There are not more than five primary colors (blue, yellow, red, white, and black), yet in combination they produce more hues than can ever been seen.
9 There are not more than five cardinal tastes (sour, acrid, salt, sweet, bitter), yet combinations of them yield more flavors than can ever be tasted.
10. In battle, there are not more than two methods of attack – the direct and the indirect; yet these two in combination give rise to an endless series of maneuvers.

The second element of music, rhythm, is dependent upon the Arabic numeral system as far as the practice of composition is concerned. It was in the 840s that numbers became numbers as we know them today; in a work by Al Khawarizmi which is titled, The Book of Addition and Subtraction According to the Hindu Calculation.

The system of music notation using what we call whole notes, half notes, quarter notes (and so on), is possible because of this Arabic numeric system. These note-values relate in terms of fractions (e.g. a whole note divided into two half notes, or a half note divided into two quarter notes; a quarter note divided into two eighth notes, or a quarter note divided into four sixteenth notes). These values are subdivisions and multiplications.

As far as time is concerned, the composer works with two basic elements. The elements of rhythm are noteduration and meter. The duration of a note is simply defined to be the “length” (in time) that the note is held. The note marked in blue below (pastedGraphic.png) is divisible into two of the notes marked in red ( pastedGraphic_1.png ) and, in turn, four of the notes marked in green (pastedGraphic_2.png):

The quarter is the lowest common denomination in any metrical fraction in which “4” is the denominator (such as the following):

Beyond the quarter notes, the composer may subdivide the single beat further into fractions. This includes fractions of [1/2] (half of a single beat) as follows:

Subdivisions of these subdivisions follow such as those of the [1/4] (quarter) division of the beat:

And so, to the fraction of the beat into halves (1/2 of a beat) and other such fractions, further subdivisions may be similarly derived such as those subdivisions which denote fractions of “sixteenths.” By “sixteenths”, we are referring to the fraction of a quarter beat (1/4) in a measure of music in which the metered pulse is notated as 4/4. This would look like the following:

The lowest denominator of subdivision (the “sixteenths” above) are as follows: 

They are sixteenths of the whole.

Since musical notation relies on a mathematical (and therefore relative) system, the names which are commonly  taught to musicians and, therefore, assigned to note durations by musicians in the English Language are misguided and misguiding. Here, for example, is a table of note durations from a textbook called Music In Theory and Practice (now in it’s eighth edition):

This list labels the American names for note durations: Whole Note, Half Note, Quarter Note, Eighth Note, Sixteenth Note, Thirty Second Note, Sixty-fourth Note, One Hundred Twenty-eighth Note and so on. The list confusingly places the British name for the “Double Whole Note” (the Breve) at the top of their list. This illuminates a basic error which I will explain simply.  

This is a whole note: 

 

 

 

That whole note can be divided into two notes which are half of it’s duration (half notes):

 

 

 

The whole note can also be divided into four equally long notes which relate to the whole note as quarters of the whole note (quarter notes):

 

 

 

Yet these “quarter notes” above are often called quarter notes in general. If the music happens to be written in ¾, for example, then the upper number designates three notes to be the whole measure (basic meter) rather than four notes:

 

 

 

And so, this note (which designates three beats) is a whole note in a ¾ time signature:

 

 

 

 

It follows that the half note is to be the following:

 

 

 

Which can be evenly divided into one half (highlighted in green) and another half (highlighted in blue) as follows (half notes):

 

 

 

A quarter of the above would arithmetically follow to be notated like this:

 

 

 

The quarters above would give us true quarters which appear in genuinely quarterly fashion (four parts) as follows:

 

 

 

Naturally, this also relates to the half notes by giving us a representation of the symmetry as it pertains to a measure of music that is notated in a meter of  ¾: 

 

 

 

How could the authors of Music In Theory and Practice (and the very many like them) label these divisions correctly? Recall that their listing of note durations made no mention of the meters to which these note durations relate. I ask that the reader take a moment to appreciate the density of this situation. The authors provide a list of durations removed from the meter in which they operate! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And even worse than this alone, they provide a series of composites (which they call “equivalents”) to boot. It is like being presented with a series of divisions which are absolute and held to be absolutely correct without ever mentioning the number that we are dividing: 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The British labels which are used for note durations are quite different from the American labels. They consist of names such as Breve (which is equated to a Whole Note), Semibreve (half note), Crotchet (quarter note), Quaver (eighth note), semi-quaver (16th note), demi-semi-quaver (32nd note), demi-semi-hemi-quaver (64th note) and so on. Where do these names come from? 

Music in Theory and Practice includes the following on the “history of notation”:

We can see now that the authors equate the brevis with the Breve and the Semibrevis (as it would follow) equates with the semibreve and so on: 

And yet where, in all of “Figure 1.16” is any mention of the denominator? The authors make no mention of meter at all. Two Sixty-fourths make a Thirty-second, we are told. The authors never ask themselves the basic question: “a thirty-second of what?”;“a quarter of what?”;“a half of what?”

In another textbook, titled Music in Western Civilization, (note the impossible ambiguity which renders the subject unmeasurable) the authors reveal the extent of their own illiteracy as well as that of their fellow text-book writing theorists: 

But Franco is not only among the first to discuss symbols that indicate the duration of sound; he posits symbols for the absence of sound as well. In thirteenth century Paris the existence, or lack thereof, of the rest became a matter of philosophical debate: how does one, and should one, measure the absence of a quantity (remember, there is no zero in the Roman numerals then in use).

In my introduction to rhythm, I said the following: 

The second element of music, rhythm, is dependent upon the Arabic numeral system as far as the practice of composition is concerned. It was in the 840s that numbers became numbers as we know them today; in a work by Al Khawarizmi which is titled, The Book of Addition and Subtraction According to the Hindu Calculation.

The system of music notation using what we call whole notes, half notes, quarter notes (and so on), is possible because of the Arabic numeric system. These note-values relate in terms of fractions (e.g. a whole note divided into two half notes, or a whole notes divided into two quarter notes; a quarter note divided into two eighth notes, or a quarter note divided into four sixteenth notes). These values are subdivisions and multiplications.

The author of Music in Western Civilization tells us that “In thirteenth century Paris the existence, or lack thereof, of the rest became a matter of philosophical debate: how does one, and should one, measure the absence of a quantity (remember, there is no zero in the Roman numerals then in use)”

Al Khawarizmi’s system of calculation relies on the zero in order to provide a relative and conceptual way of calculating which uses only ten digits as follows:

It is, of course, silly to suppose that the numeral “zero” indicates the “absence of a quantity”; after all, the “larger” numbers (starting with 10) as well as the “smaller” decimals (0.5 or a half for example) rely on the numeral 0. Beyond this, how does one speak of thirty-second notes and sixty-fourth notes let alone indicate divisions and multiplications without the concept of the zero and the system of calculating numerals according to Al Khawarizmi’s text?

In the absence of any meter to designate arithmetic meaning to these names, the labels in Music in Theory and Practice are mere forms which are not simply harmless in their meaninglessness and misguided in their presentation. These are forms:  

We have the notes in the figure above and we are given, it seems, their relations to one another. But in truth, there is nothing being offered; the figure is an act of division. Ask a musician to play the figures above or to tap the rhythms on a desk. They will not be able to do so because there are no time signatures to be found. Figure 1.16 divides the notes from the time signatures which they appear in tandem with and are inseparable from; time signatures like this:

 

 

 

…or this:

 

 

 

…or others like them (including works by some composers in which they do not indicate a time signature but make it understood how the progress of music through time is to proceed in other ways; without this progress of music through time there is no music). 

It is these time signatures (and other such indications) which allow the forms above (the notes) to be seen by a musician in such a way that would allow them to understand what they see and thus realize the notes and enable them to move through time; this is because the notes come to mean something to the musician based on the meter or time indication which is established. 

Without the meter, the forms in Figure 1.16 are not simply meaningless, they are a representation of immobilization and paralysis that have been disfigured as forms because they are rendered unrecognizable to the musicians who would need to recognize them in order to bring them to life (in re-creating the phenomenon of music from the composer’s score); these forms are unrecognizable faces. 

They are vacuous in the true sense because they operate as vacuums which misguide musicians and prevent them from experiencing time and it’s subdivisions correctly. 

The authors of Music in Western Civilization also betray a lack of historical capability in telling us to “remember, there is no zero in the Roman numerals then in use” since the rules for manipulation of the Hindu-Arabic numerals 1, 2, 3, . . . and 0, otherwise known as algorism, became widely used in Europe through Latin translations of Arabic from the 12th century (a full century earlier than the “13th Century Paris” that the authors invoke. As if all this is not enough, they go on, in the very next paragraph, to speak of meter and subdivisions: 

In Music in Theory and Practice, the authors tell us that from “about 650 to 1200, music notation consisted of a set of symbols called neumes” and proceed to chart an (imaginary and unlikely) “evolution” of musical notation.  They tell us that “nuemes (pronounced “newms”). These symbols took their name from the Greek word forgesture. Written above the Latin texts associated with the liturgy of the Christian church, neumes could not convey pitch or duration, but rather served as a memory aid in recalling previously learned melodic lines.”

These examples demonstrate an ignorance which transcends lack of attention or lack of intellectual power. These authors (and the editors and institutions which support them) are missing things which are simple; they are not lacking in comprehension regarding complex issues. They are, in fact, complicated the very simple and obvious. 

What, then, is going on here? 

Pitch and duration (pitch and rhythm) are the two elements of music without which there is no music. How, then, the authors suggest that something can qualify as “music notation” when it “could not convey pitch or duration” defies reason entirely. That the authors state, in the same breath, that their given example of music notation “served as a memory aid in recalling previously learned melodic lines” is astonishing. Where and how would people have “previously learned” the music? By listening to others teach it to them and repeating what is taught to them. Why would people engage in this style of rote learning if they had musical notation and could simply read the music and learn the music from the printed page? 

The display which we have examined is not limited to the basic lack of knowledge regarding pitch and rhythm (the fundamental elements of music) among people who profess to “educate” others (including musicians). The examples transcend simple ignorance of the given subject which one is professing or “composing a textbook” in order to “teach” that subject. They betray a lack of ability to comprehend numbers and arithmetic (including the way in which basic division and multiplication work). These examples are formed by the sort of people who think of numbers in terms of forms (big things and small things) and who fall into the category of individuals whom Auden said should simply “stick to faces” (or forms). We are in the realm of flat-earthers and, if any theory is to be invoked here, conspiracy theorists. 

These texts, like those of other anti-poets, are written by individuals who cannot seem to think conceptually or understand the notion of relativity even when it comes to fractions. 

These are halves:

 

 

 

These are also halves:

 

 

 

In order to understand this, the authors would have to possess critical faculties which are taken for granted as being in the possession of any adult person; any person who is capable of understanding that one thing can be correct and another thing can also be correct even though the two things are not the same as one another. It takes an ability to think additively (not in terms of “evolution”) and an ability to understand that all things cannot be reduced to black and white. 

“The Kingdom of Number,” writes Auden, “may be beautiful and must be true” in a poem called Numbers and Faces. Those who think of numbers as formal figures (things they can touch and see) should “stick to faces” (that which they recognize). I will end the current section with Auden’s poem before proceeding to the final part of our discussion in which I will explain symphonies and cycles as forms which bring us closer to that “divine eternity” that Oscar Wilde wrote about in The True Knowledge and closer to the infinity which Auden speaks of in Numbers and Faces: 

The Kingdom of Number is all boundaries
Which may be beautiful and must be true;
To ask if it is big or small proclaims one
The sort of lover who should stick to faces.

Lovers of small numbers go benignly potty,
Believe all tales are thirteen chapters long,
Have animal doubles, carry pentagrams,
Are Millerites, Baconians, Flat-Earth-Men.

Lovers of big numbers go horridly mad,
Would have the Swiss abolished, all of us
Well purged, somatotyped, baptised, taught baseball:
They empty bars, spoil parties, run for Congress.

True, between faces almost any number
Might come in handy, and One is always real;
But which could any face call good, for calling
Infinity a number does not make it one.

 

5. Fifth Symphony: The Applications of Style

The image which faces me as I start to compose is a stark one. 

I am speaking of the same image; that of a page containing a series of lines and nothing else. In the case of most of my works, this page is where I start. It doesn’t matter whether we are talking about the largest-scale works (operas for hundreds of instruments and voices together with stage and scene directions) or the most intimate ones (miniatures for one instrument which last for a few seconds at most). All of my works did not exist at one point. I start like this:

The opening measures of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony are now familiar to millions (if not billions) of people throughout the world. I have found that this musical phrase is recognized by people whether or not they are aware of it’s composer (and the the work from which it is derived). 

Others do not know the phrase at all. 

In either case, humanity as a whole cannot “remember” a world in which Beethoven’s 5th Symphony did not exist. By that I mean that nobody’s grandparents, great-grandparents, or even great-great-grandparents has memory of the world as it existed in a “pre-Beethoven’s Fifth” era. 

But indeed there was a time when people did not know the 5th Symphony or how it sounded and could not know it. Beethoven himself had to create the Symphony. This is obvious but it is easy to underestimate how much our perceptions are altered by the fact of a creation (whether large or small; well known or little known) being made into fact by it’s creator. 

After this fact, one might think, “of course, this is how the music goes, it doesn’t take any effort to realize that.” But the music of Beethoven’s symphony only sounds effortless—there was a time in the world in which the music did not exist and Beethoven had to will it into existence. He also had to work it into existence. The act of creation (of a symphony or a song; a cabinet or a carpet; a poem or a motion picture film or any other creation) is a laborious process.

If the listener is inspired when listening to Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, the listener should know that the composer (and every other artist) cannot force the function of art from inspiration. I imagine that many artists are gratified by the fact that an audience would be inspired by their work. As Salvador Dalí put it, “:

Now let us put ourselves in Beethoven’s shoes and commence with “writing a symphony.” 

We have the blank page with the staff lines before us. Let us decide which sort of ensemble we want—one would say, “an orchestra, of course.” But the orchestra as a group has no standardized or specified number or type of instruments and instead, the make-up of the orchestra is dependent upon what the composer chooses to do for the specific piece he or she is composing. In the instance of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony, his choice of instruments for the orchestra are as follows:  piccolo, two flutes, two oboes, two clarinets, two bassoons, contrabassoon, two horns, two trumpets, three trombones, timpani, and strings.

The orchestra is then arranged (according to the four choirs of instruments) as follows: Woodwinds, Brass, Percussion and Strings:

And a time signature must be selected; in Beethoven’s case, the initial time signature in his 5th symphony is: pastedGraphic.png. This gives us an indication of 2 individual beats per measure with the denominator of the beat being a quarter note. 

Now we must arrive at the theme. We will take the following two pitches (G and E Flat):

Let us begin by writing the theme in the violins. The first and second violins play together at the opening of the symphony and so here is the theme as played by the first and second violin parts of the orchestra (this can be a chorus of any number of violins from a small handful of players to tens of violins per part): 

We will now add the violas to the violins. 

The violas, as Beethoven writes them, are playing the same notes as the first and second violins at the same pitch (in unison). But listen to the subtle difference in tone and in harmonics; to the richening of sound as it were, once we add the violas to the mix: 

Now let us complete Beethoven’s orchestration of these notes at this particular pitch by adding the Clarinets. Beethoven adds the clarinets as a way of defining these notes:

Two final steps remain before us in order to arrive at Beethoven’s opening as he arrived at it. First we must write the notes, as Beethoven does, in the cello part. Beethoven writes this part an octave below the viola, clarinet, first and second violin parts as follows. Listen to the richness which is added through this singular move:

Listen, alternatively, to the sound which would have resulted had Beethoven written the viola parts an octave lower than the violins and clarinets (as he wrote the cello part); the violas are capable of playing the same pitches as the cellos but the effect would be relatively anaemic as compared to the richest which they add in Beethoven’s version and which serve to simply enhance the richness which the cellos bring to the table. Here, for the heck of it, is an example of something which (rightly) didn’t make the cut: 

Oh how the very same notes in the very same register with only a slightly altered distribution in terms of orchestration makes such a difference in richness! Now, for the final touch of richness, let us now revert to Beethoven’s distribution of his orchestra and add, as Beethoven does, the double basses which play an octave lower than the cellos (and two octaves lower than everyone else).

And we have arrived, additively and yet through the application of only that which is needed, at the opening of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony:

“What is fascinating about the opening motto in terms of harmonic implications is that it is actually harmonically ambiguous. There are in the first five bars no unequivocally clear, explicitly stated harmonic specifications—to put it another way, no clarifying chords. We see simply unison octaves which theoretically could have any number of harmonic associations. The first pitches, G and E, could for example be heard in the key of E, and indeed are apt to be heard that way, since, again, there is no previous clear-cut harmonic reference point. I can well imagine that someone hearing those first two measures for the very first time could very likely think and hear the key of E. But we know, of course, that Beethoven’s Fifth is in C minor; and after having heard the piece dozens or hundreds of times, we tend to hear those opening measures in that “those opening measures in that key, simply by prior association, by previous reference and memory. The next two pitches, F and D, are also harmonically ambiguous because they could be heard, for example, as belonging to the key of B, especially if one has heard the first two pitches (G and E) in E major. If Beethoven had on the other hand written F and that would have confirmed for us the E-ness of the first two bars. The F and D, however, strongly imply by prior association a dominant (G), with F its seventh, D its fifth, and thus set things up for the real beginning of the body of the movement in mm.6 and 7 in a very clear, unmistakable C minor.”

There are two types of music:  traditional and synthetic. Here again are the definitions for the two:

1) Traditional Music

2) Technical Music 

technic (adj.)

1610s, “technical,” from Latin technicus, from Greek tekhnikos “of or pertaining to art, made by art,” from tekhne “art, skill, craft” (see techno-). 

Those works of art which are properly defined to be traditional should not be confused with works of art which are technical (the result of being constructed by an artist technically and put together through the application of the elements of style which are appropriate and functional to an artistic discipline by that artist). 

This means that the work of a single artist or a defined group of artists can only be ascribed to that artist (or those artists) and should not be credited to anybody other than the creators of the work. It should be added here that the practice of crediting others for the work done by an artist (or artists) when one is aware of the individual(s) who has/have actually made the work in question is not only incorrect and inaccurate in terms of definition. 

The practice is also ethically detestable and should be considered for what it is in uncertain terms; it is an attack on the active mind and the labor of the human being as a creative (rather than destructive) creature. 

The conflation of those works of art which are properly defined to be traditional with those works of art which are created by individual artists is also an assault on traditions and the identities of collective nations and localities. It is, in other words, an assault on culture. 

Instead of talking about that as a matter of abstract speculation, let us look at concrete examples of traditional and technical music and examine examples of how damaging the anti-practice of confounding the two can be. 

The artist cannot make executive decisions on what is or is not considered to be “traditional”. Issues of culture have to be collective issues and cannot be defined by an individual artist or his or her patrons. 

All music which is traditional must be passed down orally and aurally; it must come to be known and learned beyond the realm of its author or authors and without reference to it’s author or authors. In other words, that’s which is traditional has to become the accepted domain of the collective nation, tribe, locality, village, or any other such defined collection of human beings. 

The authorship of such art must transcend the individual. It must be considered to be collectively authored by a group of people if that art is to be defined as a traditional part of those people’s culture. They must all “own” it and agree that it is commonplace cultural “property.” It belongs to them. 

They are types of music that are evocative of (and unique to) certain localities without properly being defined to be traditional.We shall come to those in a moment. First, let us define that which is traditional by looking at illustrative examples.

The following song, called Greensleeves, is an example of traditional English music.

 

The following work, titled Fantasia on Greensleeves, is a composition that was written in 1934 by Ralph Vaughn Williams: 

 

The difference is key. The word composition is derived directly from the Latin word “compositionem (nominative compositio)” which means “a putting together, connecting, arranging,” and is the noun of action from past participle stem of the word “componere”

That word, which best describes the practice of the composer means  “to put together, to collect a whole from several parts,” from com “with, together.”

The work (Fantasia on Greensleeves) is, when performed as quoted above, actually taken from Ralph Vaughn Williams’ opera which is titled Sir John in Love. 

I will now relate an incident which I find to be amusing but which also demonstrates how pervasive this problem of definition is. In 1962,  a New Yorker named Louis Brecker wrote to then-president of the United States John F Kennedy to inquire about Kennedy’s “favorite song.” The President, receiving the request and understanding that Mr. Brecker meant “song” and not “composition” asked his secretary to respond to the citizen informing him that the president’s favorite song was Greensleeves. One understands that Kennedy distinguished between “song” and “composition” because his favorite composition is also known (and is different from his favorite “song”). 

The President’s Secretary responded on his behalf and, missing the nuance, wrote the following:

His favorite song is “Green Sleeves”

One is able to hear the “silence” or absence of a note when it is played for a second time but we are not conscious of it the first time it is played (highlighted in blue below). This is because the motion of the music (as note durations moving through time in a certain meter) is established by the time that we arrive at the second quarter rest (highlighted in green below):