By David Eaton
From time to time, I’ve been asked if I believe in the concept of a “cosmic chord” or a universal “chord of nature”; Klang, as it’s referred to according to Schenkerian music theory. Is there some Aeolian harmony of the spheres that evokes a secret, metaphysical understanding of the laws that govern physics and music? Imagining that cosmic vibrations exist in the universe has been a part of the mythology surrounding music for eons.
When the late singer-songwriter, Leonard Cohen, wrote his iconic song, “Hallelujah,” he referenced a “secret chord”:
“Now I’ve heard there was a secret chord.
That David played, and it pleased the Lord.”
Could a single chord actually please the Almighty? St. Paul in Romans 1:20 asserts:
“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities — his eternal power and divine nature — have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”
We understand from Divine Principle that the natural world possesses various dual characteristics that maintain their existence and develop by way of harmonious relationships: male/female, stamen/pistil, cation/anion, positive valence/negative valence, for example. Ontologically, the created world reflects the nature of God’s being and essence, and this comports with Paul’s assertion. We can extrapolate that within the Godhead there exists the harmonious union of original masculinity and original femininity, and an original positivity and an original negativity. When examining the theoretical basis of tonal music we find several prominent polar paradigms:
- Consonant intervals/Dissonant intervals
- Major modes/Minor modes,
- Major chords/Minor chords
- Tonic chord/Dominant chord
- Primary dominant chords/Secondary dominant chords
- High pitches/Low pitches