First and foremost (and belatedly at that) please allow me to welcome you! Things were quite unsettled here before the turn of the year, and I wasn't able to pay as much attention to getting this community up and runnning the way that I should.
The music of the spheres then.
It was Pythagoras who said, "There is geometry in the humming of the strings... there is music in the spacing of the spheres." To be brief, and without putting to fine a point on it, Pythagoras mathemetized everything. Everything could be expressed in numbers, even music. And in so far as octaves can be expressed numerically, he was right. Again oversimplifying, every numberical expression could also become a musical expression; therefore, the "spaces between the spheres" resonated harmonically as well as mathematically.
From what I understand, according to the Pythagoreans, the distances between the planets ought to have the same ratios as those that would produce harmonious sounds when plucking a string. To them, the solar system consisted of ten spheres revolving in circles about a central fire. Each sphere gives off a sound, the way a projectile makes a sound as it swishes through the air. They posit that the closer spheres emit lower tones, while the more distant spheres move faster and, thus, give higher pitched sounds. All sounds combine into a beautiful harmony: the music of the spheres.
You are correct, in that this idea was picked up by Plato. In his Republic
he says of the cosmos: ". . . Upon each of its circles stood a siren who was carried round with its movements, uttering the concords of a single scale . . ." In his Timaeus
, he describes the circles of heaven subdivided according to musical ratios.
That's pretty much it for the heavy duty philosophy portion of our program.
The truth of the matter is that the philosophy is only part of why I listed "music of the spheres" as an interest for _a_muse
. The phrase has always been quite evocative for me. From the first that I heard it, when I was much too young to understand what Plato and Pythagoras were driving at, intellectually, it stirred something in me viscerally. Now, of course, I do "get it," but there's still something else going on for me. I'm a singer, a poet & lyricist, an artist, and I'm also an astrologer. The very concept of everything in heaven and earth resonating musically, and the harmony that would create, is enough to motivate at least a couplet or two. I've never been terribly mathematically inclined; my son is, however, and as he progresses in his studies of and fascination with numbers and equations, I may yet begin to see how these figure into the mix as well.
Well. . . I've certainly gone on a good pace, haven't I? Once again, welcome. And thank you for both your interest and your question.