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Page 35 - Otis Tomas: Making Instruments & Tunes

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1991/1/1 (282 reads)

Pythagoras took this idea of mathematical harmony and he saw this as a symbol of hid? den and underlying order throughout nature. It wasn't just music that operates this way. From the Pythagoreans came the idea that the heavens were ordered the same way. The plan? ets and stars all re? flected this order. It was kind of a divine order based on mathe? matics- -simple numbers that, on examination, can uncover this hidden structure in nature. And this harmony, this type of harmony, was what held all of nature and all the world together. Music came to mean, in this way, a lot more than just something you play on instruments. What we're hearing when we play music, and when we contemplate these harmonies--it's bring? ing us into this order in nature. When Plato wrote the Timaeus, he wrote a sort of cosmol? ogy of the origin of the world. And he de? scribes how the world was created according to these musical in? tervals. It was divided proportionally-- and the different parts would fit togeth? er, and the spheres would revolve accord? ing to these musical intervals. And the threads of this tradition and this sense of harmony permeated all of nature-- it came right down through the ages. I became really interested in this tradi? tion. One place where I first came into it was studying architecture of the Middle Ag? es. The great cathedrals--a lot of them were built (on these same) proportions.... By this time this musical tradition--the sense of classical harmony and aesthetics-- From a family of mandolins: in front, a mandolin; seen from behind, an octave mandolin; and a mando-cello. permeated throughout all branches of art, music, and--even their sense of science at that time. All of nature rang according to these harmonies, and art expressed it, ar? chitecture (expressed it). Like Gothic ca? thedrals , during the Middle Ages--one of the standard architec? tural canons was that proportions of these buildings were built according to musical proportions. The size of a room or shape of a room would be relat? ed in intervals--the proper intervals would be the simple musical ratios: three-to-four, two-to-three. It was always done with the sense that what they were doing was reflecting this harmony of God--you know, they would say in those days. Or the harmony of nature-- this order that ran through all of.... And so the same idea is here in these in? struments I've de? signed. Here we're talking music again. Just on the purely aesthetic idea of just the shape--visual? ly- -I'm using those same harmonies in the instrument. Geometrically taking the in? tervals of the musical scale--the conso? nant intervals--and putting them into the geometry of the body. (In the sketch on the next page,) you can see how it's made out of various arcs and circles that are in relationship to each other. So in the process of designing this, we're building all the consonant musical inter? vals into the instrument.... The location of the circles, the size of the circles. Funeral Home (In Business Since 1908) Three Generations of Service ;,'ichael Curry - Mgr. MO Main Street - Glace Bay Phone 849-7617 AMBULANCE SERVICE 849-2222
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