Archive for the ‘Essay’s.’ Category


Dissertation Literature Review



The literature in this review covers various themes and the analysis is aimed at furthering our understanding of how the number system constructs the universe, organic matter and their simultaneous relations to music harmony. Exploring connections between Numbers, harmony and Organic Life from the micro to the macrocosms of the universe. Identifying how tuning methods have developed and changed from ancient Pythagorean discoveries and how harmonies give physical/ emotional connections to music, using some examples from 21st Century music and holistic therapeutic approaches. These topics can be studied through the following breakdown in categories to identify the importance of harmony in life and music.

  • Mathematical Construct of the Universe
  • Micro to the Macrocosm
  • Importance of Harmony (528hz)
  • Tuning Methods
  • Holistic practitioner and the 21st century musician

The five main texts in this review are,

  1. Quadrivium (2010) – Various Authors
  1. The World is Sound: Nada Brahma, Joachim-Ernst Berendt (1983)
  1. The Book of 528hz, Prosperity Key of love: Leonard G. Horrowitz (kindle fire edition)
  1. A Beginners Guide to Constructing the Universe: Michael S. Schneider
  1. The Golden Section Natures Greatest Secret: Scott Olsen (2006)


Mathematical Construct of the Universe

Centuries of scientific study show that in all efforts to explain the wonders of the universe, Numbers and Geometric Shapes have been the tools and language in which such sanctified questions can be addressed. The numerical system is that of a universal resonance beyond all cultures and language and the Images of the numbers that we humans relate to are only cultural representations of the same system.

By looking at the qualities of each number in these tests we can see a clear illustration of how tangible matter is formed and how harmony is created, playing vital role in matter being manifested.

Sacred Number is the first text within the book Quadrivium, it talks about the attributes and power of each number. The One is described as ‘a mysterious conundrum’ (Lundy, M., P12, 2010) to explain it would lead to misrepresentation. The One is referred to by many names such as; unity, The One and God, (Lundy, P12, 2005) it is beyond all apprehension, unexplainable because to try and explain it is to be separate from it.

‘’The One is the limit of all, first before the beginning and last after the end, alpha and omega… …the origin from which the universe emerges, the universe itself and the center to which it returns. It is point, seed and destination.’’

(Lundy, M., P12, 2010)

Lundy states that the one exists in all equally, without one there is nothing but on the other hand there is no-thing within it (Lundy, P12, 2005), it’s a unique number as it remains one when multiplied and divided by itself. The One is unique, the seed and Omni-present, a pure tone in regards to music. Educator and Writer, Michael S. Schneider, author of A Beginners Guide to Constructing the Universe, agrees with Lundy stating,

…Oneness, expressed as a point and a circle, the foundation for our geometric construction of the universe.”

(Schneider, M. S., chapter 1, 1995)

Two is then described as duality or the dyad; it represents the opposites having equal force. Authors Lundy, Schneider and Berendt are in agreement about the principles of number two.

‘’..positive and negative charge in electromagnetism, the in-and-out of our breathing.’’

(Lundy, M., P14, 2010)

The balance created in the two bind the two opposites to create a harmonious one. 

‘’…that essence being to bind many together into one, to equate plurality and unity.’’

(Schneider, M. S., chapter 2, 1995)

In musical terms the dyad is represented as the ratio 2:1 being the octave above or below any chosen note. It is said to be,

‘’…the most ‘’harmonious,’’ namely the octave, the proportion 1:2, which has always been used to signify the polarity of the world: yang and yin.’’

(Berendt, J., P61, 1983)

Three is the first-born number out of the parental properties 1 and 2. Unifying the duality, three brings balance and harmony to the equally opposing forces. Past, present and future, the saying ‘’hip, hip, hooray’’, and the abbreviation of the alphabet, ABC’s are all rhythmically sound, rolling off the tongue with ease giving a sense of unification or completeness however, a sort of cliff-hanger dissonance if pronounced in any other way. On a two-dimensional plane the triad is the first drawn surface and a stable structural polygon. (Lundy, P16, 2010) Demonstrated through the process of birth, life and death,

‘’The triad appears in nature, in principle and in form… …In music the ratios 3:2 and 3:1 define the intervals of the fifth and its octave, the most beautiful harmonies other than the octave itself and the key to ancient tunings.’’

(Lundy, M., P16, 2010)

Schneider’s book identifies the same findings by stating,

‘’A triangle is a statement about relationships and balance. As the centers of the two circles repel and pull at each other, a reconciling t

hird point occurs naturally above the place where the circles cross and agree.’’

(Schneider, M. S., chapter 3, 1995)

Four becomes the first tangible manifestation in numbered geometry as the two-pairs make the first 3rd dimensional shape. The four-faced tetrahedron is just as fundamental as the sphere and triangle for the construct of all matter (Lundy, P18, 2005).

‘’Four is the first-born thing, the first product of pro-creation, two-twos. …the basis of three dimensional space…

…All everyday matter is appropriately made of just four particles: protons, neutrons, electrons, and electron neutrinos.’’

(Lundy, M., P18, 2010)

 Used often in figure of speech such as

“a square meal, of square living, being fair and square.’’

(Schneider, M. S., chapter 3, 1995)

 We associate the structure of reliable strength to this shape subconsciously (Schneider. chapter 3, 1995). Schneider also relates to this by calling it ‘the mother substance’ referring to the four elements as Air, fire, water and Earth as the symbolic tetrad for the natural earth (Schneider, chapter 4, 1995).

‘’Solid ground, terra firma, is the supreme symbol for substance, mass, volume, strength and stability’’

(Schneider, M. S., chapter 4, 1995)

Schneider and Lundy share similar views about the number Five. Claiming it to have a magical quality and directly linking it to life itself many times. The torso owns five extensions, we own five senses, and more obviously five fingers and toes. The straight edged outlining shape of most leaves are mainly pentagon, there are 5 petals on many flowers including the daisy (Schneider, Chapter 5, 1995). Country flags or company brandings also frequently use the five-pointed star as a psychological icon brandishing Excellence or Energetic Power. (Schneider, Chapter 5, 1995) Venus is the goddess of love, orbiting around earth leaving a five-pointed star in the geometric orbit path and in music the pentatonic scale is the most universal harmony created in intervals of fifths.

‘’The Renaissance demand for intervals involving the number five, like the major third, which uses the ratio 5:4, produced the modern scale.’’

(Lundy, M., P18, 2010)

 Comparing the perspectives, Schneider and Lundy’s comments about different dimensions of space, and space within space lean toward the argument that numbers, or the counting system really is integral to development of tangible matter. The geometry becomes more intricate with more sides or faces as the system grows. Take the number 12 for instance, 12 houses the 1, the monad. The 2, Duality, the 3, first born number, the 4, tangible shape and the 6. It is the first abundant number with all of the sub-sets adding up to more than the starting number. The western chromatic scale is simultaneously mapped out using 12 steps. Each note placed a semi-tone apart, the scale is measured that of equal temperament.

‘’12 enjoys the third dimension and is the number of edges of both the cube and octahedron. The icosahedron has 12 vertices, and its dual; the dodecahedron (literally ‘twelve facer’) has 12 faces of regular pentagons. Twelve spheres fit perfectly around one to define a cub octahedron.’’

(Lundy, M., p.34, 2010)

From the discussions about numbers we can see that integral to the development of tangible matter is a step-by-step process that inherits more qualities each time, having undergone a transformation in space-time. Reaching beyond all cultures and language the number system is encoded into everything we know from the micro sub-atomic levels to the macrocosmic constructions of the universe, numbers make shapes, which are the fundamental building blocks of life.

Micro to the Macrocosm


A Beginners Guide to Constructing the Universe has outlined what some have reviewed as suppressed or forgotten but sanctified information (Schneider,1995). Educator and writer Michael Schneider argues that having always existed simultaneously with the patterns of nature,

‘’Geometry is the bridge between the one and the many’’

(Schneider, M. S., chapter 1, 1995)

Whether counted in notched bones, rope knots, pottery markings, (Schneider, 1995) a tally system or roman numerals they are all simply means to communicate the same process of development of space in time. Every shape, pattern and network of patterns that we see in the beauty of natures creations, are replicated in the structure of numbers.

‘’By studying the recurring harmonious patterns inherent in mathematics, music, and nature, ancient mathematical philosophers recognized that consistent correspondences occur throughout the universe’’

(Schneider, M. S., 1995)

 Maria Lundy correlates with Schneider in her book titled Sacred Geometry by giving example to the One, as the single point on a piece of paper, the oneness, the infinite wholeness. Two, being the duality or horizontal line away from the central point and then Three, being the plane joining the one and two, thus creating a 2D shape or plane of existence. If 2D shape is rotated, it takes on a 3rd dimension thus becoming the architectural blueprint to the platonic shapes.

‘’Sacred Geometry charts the unfolding of number in space and differs from mundane geometry in the sense that it moves, concepts and products are regarded as having symbolic value and meaning.’’

(Lundy, M., P63, 2010)


 The Golden Ratio, also known as the geometry of everything is a sequence of numbers are concluded from adding the previous two together for example,

0+1=1, 1+1=2, 1+2=3, 3+2=5, 3+5=8 and so on.

These harmonious intervals duplicate just under double the size difference, 1.61803398875 to be precise.

Professor of Philosophy & Comparative Religion at the College of Central Florida, Scott Olsen decodes the geometric mysteries in his book the golden Section, Natures Greatest Secret running parallel to the views of Schneider, Lundy and Brahma about the Fibonacci code.

‘’Nature widely expresses the golden section through a very simple series of whole numbers. The astounding Fibonacci number series: 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, 233, 377…is both additive, as each number is the sum of the previous two, and multiplicative, as each number approximates the previous number multiplied by the golden section. ‘’

(Olsen. S., The golden section nature’s greatest secret, P10, 2006)

Most plants replicate the harmonic fifth interval by spreading their leaves exactly half or a third of the distance away from the first leaf to ensure enough surface area feeds from the sunlight. The golden ratio is found in all living things.

‘’Fibonacci numbers occur in the family trees of bees, stock market patterns, hurricane clouds, and self-organizing DNA nucleotides… … A turtle has 13 horn plates on its shell, 5 centered and 8 on the edges, 5 paw pins, and 34 backbone segments.’’

(Olsen. S., The golden section nature’s greatest secret, P10, 2006)

The institute for the Science of Harmonics in Vienna studied the dimensions and proportions of the female to the male human body. In conclusions they reported that,

“in women, the minor proportions, minor thirds and 6th’s, are dominant, whereas in males it is the corresponding major intervals.’’

(Berendt, J., P83, 1983)

Olsen concurs by saying,

‘’The structure of both rhythm and harmony is based upon ratio.’’

(Olsen. S., P10, 2006)

 He goes on to say that musical harmony is a means to lift the soul out of the realm of mere opinion, allowing it to pass through intelligible realms of knowledge structured on mathematical reasoning. (Olsen. S., P38, 2006)

In relation to the research study of this literature, it is clear to see that the harmonious intervals of the golden ratio are apparent in all living things from plants to humans, As we grow and develop these harmonious intervals should we not live in harmony with the natural order of creation?

Importance Of Harmony


Dr. Leonard G. Horrowitz is a master of public health working in the Research

Facility at Harvard University. At the for-front of the re-emerging ‘knowledge of the ancients’ and advantages of vibrational harmony, his book 528, The prosperity of Love compiles intense studies on the subjects matters; energy, frequency and vibration. We can measure frequencies of energy and matter giving us further insight to the benefits of harmonious vibrations on organic matter. Although referencing his work from previously relevant sources like Platonic and Pythagorean beliefs, Horrowitz is often concurring with Schneider and Lundy’s ideas about the constructs of the universe, explaining in detail how the alphanumeric system is totally responsible for the creation of cymatics, which is the study of ‘sound on matter’. He explains how Peter Petterson’s extensive studies of cymatics are,

“ the primordial musical-mathematics of existence and sustenance.’’

(Horrowitz, L. P24, 2011)

‘’…creative connection between sound vibrations and physical reality. His work laid the foundation for scientifically comprehending creationism…

(Horrowitz, L. P24, 2011)

Horrowitz also identifies that human DNA and Chlorophyll resonates at 528hz, with this being said, in relation to the earlier mentioned studies of the golden ratio relating to the the male/ female body proportions in Vienna, (Brahma, P83, 1983) are we beginning to see a structured symphony of life emerging within harmonic intervals of organic growth through frequency and vibrational manifestation? Schneider’s book agrees by saying,

‘’Look at the forms your most familiar with, like plants, a flower, pineapple, or pinecone, and practice seeing them as not as ‘’things’’ that simply pop in into view but as the result of gradual process of manifestation.’’

(Schneider, M. S., 1995)

Understanding that organic growth is a gradual process Brahma states:

‘’There is nothing harmonic in germs, seeds, or sprouts. The plant has first to develop before its harmonic beauty reveals itself to our eyes, in the leaf shapes and in the blossoms. The growing process of a plant from germ to fruition is a constant reminder that harmony is a goal to be reached.’’

(Berendt, J., P122, 1983)

Vital for organic growth, chlorophyll is responsible for carrying the charged energy electrons from the sunlight into your bloodstream, and is also responsible for sun energy being absorbed through leaves to plants. If we take a closer look at the molecular structure of chlorophyll compared to the hemoglobin (oxygen carrying molecule) in your blood we see the geometry is almost identical.


Referring to it as the superconductor and optimum energy transducer this spiritual transformation of energy exists universally, eternally and hydro-sonically vibrating reality into existence through electron resonance.

‘’You are a digital bio-holographic, precipitation, crystallization, miraculous manifestation coming out of water!’’

(Horrowitz, L., P24, 2011)

Referred to as the ‘Frequency of Love’ Horrowitz discusses how we can map out the frequencies of feelings and emotions to seven points of the chakra in the human body. Love is a harmonious 528hz e-motion. E being the electrical impulse sent through the nervous system in motion vibrating harmoniously with another source or stimulant.

‘’Based on substantial evidence compiled in this book, that warm fuzzy feeling you have in your heart when you are in love – the vibration of heart-felt adoration is 528. It is a key, a musical note like no other, fundamental to creation.’’

(Horrowitz, L., Preface XVII, 2011)

 He proves there were 9 original core tones of the universe known as the solfeggio tones. Horrowitz discusses that 528hz is the central triad frequency of these original solfeggio tones and is the harmony of love.


Berendt appears to relate to Horrowitz harmony theory by identifying in various cultures the Great Tone:

“Hsüeh-tou Ch’ung-hsien, a chinese Zen Master of the tenth century, once said: ……The Great Tone is the tone that goes beyond all usual imagination.”

(Berendt, J., P171, 1983) 

“The great tone is the tone of being or, as the Indians put it, the tone of the self, of the Atma. The Great Tone is Nada Brahma, the tone from which God made the world, which continues to sound at the bottom of creation, and which sounds through everything.’’

(Berendt, J., P171, 1983)

“In Latin the term meaning “to sound through something” is personare. Thus, at the basis of the concept of the person (the concept of that which really makes a human being an unmistakable, singular per-sonality) stands a concept of sound: “through the tone.” If nothing sounds through from the bottom of the being, a human being is human biologically, at best, but is not a per-son, because he does not live through the son (the tone, the sound). He does not live the sound which is the world.”

(Berendt, J., P171, 1983)

Horrowitz also talks about how John Lennon’s,

‘’…research probably indicated that diatonic scale tunings produced more “ecstatic listening,” as he sought superior, more spiritual, resonance with longer sustains.”

(Horrowitz. L., P36, 2011)

Is it possible John Lennon had an understanding of the meta-physics of music given the anti-war and peace loving nature of his work? Horrowitz discusses how tuning methods have changed over time and by using John Lennon’s, Paul McCartney and Elvis Presley’s sound works as examples, he expresses the impact different tuning methods have had on the music industry in the past. It was common knowledge that the piano that recorded Imagine was tuned to the Solfeggio harmony of 528hz (A-432hz).

“…Christopher Louis… An avid investigator of the solfeggio frequencies… posted on youtube comparisons of 528hz and some Lennon and McCartney classics, including Imagine, Hey Jude, Let it be… concluded, McCartney “has been tuning himself and his band to 528 since at least 1999”.”

(Horrowitz. L., P37, 2011)

 Horrowitz gives us great insight to the importance of 528hz harmony and Ancient Solfeggio Tunings. Although the standard tuning may have been imposed and institutionalized, Cymatics are a visual representation for all to see the geometric harmony in the original Solfeggio note of A, as compared to the ‘standard’ 440hz tuning. Should all musicians be tuned the original Solfeggio Frequencies?


 Tuning Methods

 There are varying but similar views between Ashton, Berendt and Horrowitz on the subject of tuning methods. Taking the more holistic approach Berendt disserts the ear to be an accurate mathematical measuring device, similar in that to Olsen’s views about the eyes, the ear is also

“a gateway to the soul”

(Berendt, J., P136, 1983)

…Including that,

“Most musicians have discovered that a highly trained ear can beat the tuning fork,”

(Berendt, J., P136, 1983)

The underground health reporter published some familiar views with Berendt online. Conversations with Dr. Mitchell Gaynor, Director of medical oncology in New York reveal how the medical industry is only recently beginning to seriously consider the ancient knowledge of harmonic vibrations. Recent scientific studies show,

“Sound can actually change our immune system,” explains Dr. Gaynor. “Our Interluken-1 level, which is an index of our immune system, goes up between 12 ½ and 15% after Gregorian chanting or listening to certain forms of music. And after listening to this music for 20 minutes, our immunoglobin levels in our blood are significantly increased.”

(Read more:


 Since the Pythagorean days of tuning it is known that space was divided by ratio and frequencies assigned to them. The study of whole tone ratio’s such as the harmonic fifth were considered ‘perfect’ however the ancients already knew there as a slight imperfection in that after every 53 ‘perfect fifths’, the difference in ratio or space is 1.013643, commonly known as the Pythagorean comma,

“Is this why a near miss is so often more beautiful than perfection?”

(Ashton, A., P226, 2010)

 Berendt appears to agree with the Pythagorean Comma by stating,

 “Harmonic correspondences are correspondences in two senses: they are quantitative, since they can be computed, and qualitative since they can be heard. Yet the fact that a differentiation exists between “qualities” and “quantitative” implies that “deviations” must exist.

(Berendt, J., P86, 1983)

528 the prosperity of love talks about how elite banking families have played part in the changing of tuning methods and investments into Sonic Warfare studies are responsible for ‘standard tuning’.

“The monopolization of the music industry by banking families representing the illuminati, features this imposed 440hz frequency that is “herding” populations into greater aggression, psychosocial agitation, and emotional stress.”

(Horrowitz. L., P85, 2011)

Introduced and institutionalized to the western world in 1930’s and naming it cult control over the music industry ‘standard’ 440hz is interestingly opposing the nature of John Lennon’s works particularly the track Imagine that was recorded on a white piano being tuned to the original Solfeggio Tuning, A at 432hz. For the purposes of changing key easily the western chromatic scale has proven to be integral however the amount of intervals does not change when changing tuning.

Only the frequency or pitch of the sound is changed in turn having massive affect on the physical properties of matter. Therefore; it is true to understand that shifting instrumental tuning up from the original Solfeggio Frequencies, being note A at 432hz to the ‘standard’ A at 440hz, not only vibrates in dissonance to natural harmony but also causes physical distortions on molecular level, this is also proven visually through cymatics studies.

“…he was alarmed at his discovery that bioenergetics research in acoustic science funded by the Rockefeller Foundation focused on producing the social impacts of emotional arousal and even mass hysteria.”

(Horrowitz. L., P95, 2011)

 Holistic practitioner and the 21st century musician

Horrowitz explains that popular music and tuning methods were experimented with, resulting with the mid 1950’s seeing the first case of music “mass hysteria” during an Elvis Presley concert. The musicians playing for the king of pop were all playing in the newly ‘standardized tuning’ as opposed to a more relaxed crowd he previously played to using the original Solfeggio frequencies.

“These revelations best account for the mass hysteria demonstrated by audiences responding to “rock-n-rollers”, initially Elvis Presley and the “British Invaders” The Beatles. It was recently revealed that The Beatles were barred from playing in Israel following an investigation that promoted the education ministry to conclude The Beatles performances caused: Hysteria and Disorder… “There is no musical or artistic experience here, but a sensual display that arouses feelings of aggression replete with sexual stimuli.””

(Horrowitz. L., P96, 2011)


 Considered ancient healing knowledge, Buddhist monks for centuries have made singing bowls that are singing the same resonance as the 7-chakra points earlier mentioned in Horrowitz feelings and e-motions studies.


The literature in this review has shown similar and different themes throughout. Some books within the Quadrivium series, The Golden Ratio and The worlds is sound: Nada Braham have strong correlating findings of the importance of numbers and geometry in relation to harmony in life and music. The book 528 gives an in-depth look at the solfeggio frequencies and the importance of harmony and its effects on biological matter.

The objective of this review was to determine correlating themes between literature in order to establish the importance of harmony in life and music, accomplished by identifying a list of themes to research. From the literature reviewed it is clear that this subject is vast and complex. In order to research further in this particular subject area other possible literature to review could be;

  • Sonic Warfare By Steve Goodman
  • Music and the Making of Modern Science by Peter Pesic (which looks at music from ancient Greece to how it has shaped modern day science.)

Researching additional literature would enable further themes to be explained such as

  • Sound as weaponry
  • Music development of science through history


  1. LUNDY, M et al. (2010). Quadrivium: Number, Geometry, Music, Heaven. Glastonbury, UK: Wooden Books.
  2. SCHNEIDER, M. S. (1995) A beginner’s guide to constructing the universe: the mathematical archetypes of nature, art, and science. New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers.
  3. BERENDT, J. (1983), The World is Sound: Nada Brahma. Vermont, USA: Destiny
  4. OLSEN, S. (2006), The Golden Section Natures Greatest Secret, Glastonbury, UK: Wooden Books.
  5. HOROWITZ, L.G., (2011), The Book of 528: Prosperity Key of LOVE, USA: Tetrahedron Publishing Group.


  1. GOODMAN, S. (2010), SONIC WARFARE Sound, Affect, and the Ecology of Fear. USA: Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
  2. PESIC, P. (2014), Music and the Making of Modern Science. USA: Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Related Topics Research


This paper will explore some of the early works of David Bowie on his road to stardom, using philosophical theories studied to answer whether he is a music philosopher or beyond recognition?


Riding The Rhizome…


In 1980 French philosophers and psychoanalyst Deleuze & Guattari wrote A Thousand Plateaus. Relaying conversation over theoretical concepts and critical analysis, the concept of Tree Thinking was introduced. Tree thinking suggests a right and wrong way of doing things, ‘As if we had a tree growing in our heads’, we think from a logical point of view, coming from an authentic standpoint reaching out to a final destination. This is quite an autonomous concept, setting a standard suggesting that anything that doesn’t coincide with it is said to be an

imitation or trace of the real thing.


‘’It is our view that genetic axis and profound structure are above all infinitely reproducible principles of tracing. All tree logic is a logic of tracing and reproduction.’’

(Deleuze 1980, p13.)


Tree thinking or tracing also relates to standardization of mass production, this is when a product has its qualities standardized for the financial or useable conveniences for the general public.


Theodor Adorno talks about how the standardization of works loses the artistic integrity and the loss of freedom to fully express by creating boundaries. (


On the other hand Guattari explained the brain is more like a grass than a tree because thought is not arborescent. To elaborate there is nothing new under the sun, everything that is develops from a past expression. Ideas evolve from past expressions and experiences by absorbing and processing these experiences or concepts along the rhizomatic journey of development. The definition of a rhizome is


“a root like subterranean stem, commonly horizontal in position, that usually produces roots below and sends up shoots progressively from the upper surface.”


In its lifetime it will go through multiple processes of transformation and metamorphosis. At any given point a rhizome can be severed, however similar to bacteria it will find a way to independently thrive whatever its circumstance. Each junction or part of the rhizome holds the essential DNA or genetic blueprint for growth but is not subsequently a trace of the first. There is neither a specific start nor end to the rhizome and it creates a structure of functional multiplicities, rather like the music industry itself. The industry could be described as rhizomatic in regards to its multiplicity of smaller well connected companies such as; film companies, publishing/recording companies, labels, touring managers, performance and venue managers all networking coherently toward the success of the artist and rhizomatic growth of the industry. Geoffrey West a British Theoretical Physicist from the Santa Fe Institute stated,


(‘our cities are like organisms, streets are like capillaries, and manmade systems are looking more like natural systems everyday.)


He also hosted a Ted talk titled ‘The Surprising Math Of Cities And Corporations’ and claimed that,


(‘’All of life is controlled by networks, from the intra-cellular, to the multi-cellular to the eco system level.’’)

( – t-158226)


Meet David…


Originally named David Robert Jones the future super star was born in Brixton, South London in 1947. At sixteen he began his self-motivated career as a becoming musician as he took on the saxophone. The term becoming musician refers to the philosophy from A thousand Plateaus implying that imitation is accepted in the eyes of ‘becoming animal’, in other words, aspiring to be like with an individual spin instead of exact copying. Their philosophy goes on to say,


‘’Ideas are there to be reused, they do not die…

‘’This is because nature is conceived as an enormous mimesis: either in the form of a chain of beings perpetually imitating each other toward a divine term… p235


…and should there be nothing left to imitate, then,

“..itself becomes a model everything else imitates, this time by ordered difference”



Changing his name from Jones to Bowie in 1965 gave him a chance to make his own territory. According to Deleuze we build territories in our lives everyday in the world, at work and at home,


(..But home does not pre-exist: it was necessary to draw a circle around that uncertain and fragile center, to organize a limited space.)

(Deleuze, P311, 1980).


The new alias was necessary to prevent public confusion with the recent launch to fame of another musician also named Davey Jones, a member of pop band The Monkee’s. In an interview with William Burroughs and The Guardian Bowie stated,


’The name Bowie just appealed to me when I was younger. I was into a kind of heavy philosophy thing when I was 16 years old, and I wanted a truism about cutting through the lies and all that.’’



In 1965 at the age of 18 Bowie was expressing more of his creativity taking interest in mime theatre. He was inspired by the work of Anthony Newley a famous writer, singer, dancer, entertainer and comedy film director. In 1967 David Bowie demonstrated his individual creativity again. The quirky children’s novelty record, ‘The Laughing Gnome’, didn’t manage to take off it was indicative to his inspirations of the works of Newley. Still searching for stardom in 1969 his whimsical pop video ‘love you till Tuesday’ showed him dressed in a flared Austin Powers style trouser suit, quite typical of the era, the aesthetics of the fashion and video production were standardized of 1960’s popular culture. The ‘Love you till Tuesday’ record had about the same success as ‘The Laughing Gnome’. It started to become apparent that although changing his name may have gave him a new identity, and a chance at a new territory, the standardized pop approach just didn’t seem to work for Bowie. Around this time is when he found his success for a couple of years as a touring mime artist and only taking the stage once in a while for a vocal performance. Looking at the variety of his early projects and recordings, it is obvious Bowie’s creativity expands over a wide spectrum of arts. Was he intentionally trying to have a go at anything to get a jump-start in the creative industry? Switching through various mediums on a journey of self-discovery, it could be said he was riding the rhizome.


‘’I would try and get involved in anything that I felt that would be useful at all as artistic medium, I was trying to be a one man revolution’’

Bowie. 5.30seconds in


These early creative years of Bowie and attempts to gain traction in the industry fell short however, was this through Tree Thinking? Approaching the delivery of his music with standardized aesthetics shows he was trying to follow the existing standard methods where other pop acts had before been successful.



Refrain! Ziggy Is Born…

 ‘’The self is an intermittent and complex process but not a thing’’

 German philosopher Thomas Metzinger believes that ‘the self’ does not exist and the pre-conception of the self is a reflection of all we have seen or experienced in the world. Is this a rhizomatic reflection given the constant process of developing ones self, a persons consciousness and life experiences. Was the birth of Ziggy nothing more than a creative plea to be as far away as possible from the norm or did Bowie approach the turn in his career.


Bowie was yet to give up on a music career. In 1969 he took the world by storm with his original fashion trends, territories, hyper-reality and newly spawned alter ego, Ziggy Stardust! By taking inspiration from the works of novelist William Burroughs and Stanley Kubricks ‘Clockwork Orange’ released in 1971, Bowie clearly demonstrates he can put his own spin on experiences of art he found interesting or useful.


‘’..the shape and the look of what Ziggy and the Spiders were going to become’’ from the wild boys and from Stanley Kubrick’s 1971 film version of A Clockwork Orange (1962): “They were both powerful pieces of work, especially the marauding boy gangs of Burroughs’ Wild Boys with their bowie knives. I got straight on to that. I read everything into everything. Everything had to be infinitely symbolic.”

(Bowie, The Guardian)



Bowie consciously or unconsciously must have undergone the process of the refrain in order to create Ziggy Stardust and his mesmerizing nature. The refrain is another concept from Deleuze and Guattari’s book A Thousand Plateaus, explaining how discovering new things or idea’s is a 3-step process. The process is as follows;

  1. Identifying your self or your actions, the self can be also interpreted as the individual active components in any multiplicity.
  2. Identifying your surroundings or territory, this can be interpreted as the rhythm or regular patterns of behaviour.
  3. The conscious decision to move out of the pre-habited territory into the void or allow another to merge with yours.

This process is not always consecutive and can happen in any order


(A mistake in speed, rhythm, or harmony would be catastrophic because it would bring back the forces of chaos, destroying both creator and creation….

…One launches forth, hazards an improvisation. But to improvise is to join the world, or meld with it.)

(Deleuze, P311. 1980.)

 (From chaos, milieus and rhythms are born)

(Deleuze, P313. 1980)

 In order to create something new out of pre-existing territories or ideas, according to Deleuze & Guattari we should shut off our senses, let go of every kind of labeling we already know of. This is to equip any subject to be able to break out of existing conditions or venture out to the new.


(The Body without Organs is what remains when you take everything away. What you take away is precisely the phantasy, and signifies and subjectifications as a whole.)

(Deleuze, P151. 1980)


Is it actually possible to eliminate all sensory input? Joe Rogan an American actor and stand up comedian has recently contributed to the rising information of sensory deprivation by reviewing the tanks with great enthusiasm, he claims that


(‘I start thinking all kinds of crazy stuff, without the body in the way

Everyone should be doing it’).


Did Bowie knowingly shut down his senses using his own body without organs to create Ziggy Stardust? Is he really an extra-terrestrial rock star come to save planet earth? A fully immersive experience was created along with the hit ‘Starman’ performed on Top Of The Pops 1972 climbing to number five in the charts, his greatest success to date. The character Ziggy was always ahead of his time by de-territorializing his audience with his futuristic sound, enigmatic performances and provocative nature. According to Deleuze fakery, forging, copying, imitating goods, ideas and realities all have strong grounds to be considered a reality in their own right. The simulation isn’t as equal as the original but has a genuine experience attached to its generational audience.


Hyper reality is a concept to explain the grey areas between the true and the false. The fact that every copy is only a rhizomatic trace of the original, it gains its originality by being a separate entity. Did his audience understand his bowie-knife cut-through the standardized lies’ intentions or was he politically, spiritually and culturally beyond recognition. In the BBC documentary ‘ The story of Ziggy Stardust’ Bowie say’s


‘’I just couldn’t stand the premise of going on in jeans and being real, I mean its not normal.’’


When art or music is presenting itself as hyper-real it detaches the audience from everyday reality, consequently highlighting the everyday ‘real’ and equally the ever-fading line between the virtual and the actual. Was this the secret to Ziggy’s success? According to Thomas Metzinger a German Philosopher he claims that,


Developing a consciousness culture has nothing to do with establishing a religion or a particular political agenda. On the contrary, a true consciousness culture will always be subversive, by encouraging individuals to take responsibility for their own lives.”

Thomas Metzinger


Disney Land is another perfect example of a hyper reality. Making business from the experience of meeting life size fictional characters knowing they are only puppets is precisely simulacrum in the industry, an imitation giving a genuine experience of its own. Social theorist Jean Baudrillard claims that


simulacrum is not a copy of the real but becomes truth in its own light.’’



With technology rapidly evolving our reality and hyper-reality is becoming a thriving industry the line between the virtual and the actual is becoming more transparent. So how do we define a genuine experience and more to the point, how do we define ourselves?


In the book Sonic Warfare Steve Goodman explores the affect of sound on the body and its use for weaponry.


‘’Sound has a seductive power to caress the skin, to immerse, to sooth, beckon, and heal, to modulate the brainwaves and massage the release of certain hormones within the body.’’ P10


 How was it that Bowie as Ziggy was able to captivate an audience the way he did? Whitheads philosophy on ‘throbs of experience’ explains the more visual and audible stimuli given at once the more the brain is entertained. ‘’Throbs of experience’ states it takes approximately .2 seconds for our brains to register the sensory input of the ‘now’, our conception of now is always theoretically the past.


As modern-day neuroscience tells us, we are never in touch with the present, because neural information-processing itself takes time. Signals take time to travel from your sensory organs along the multiple neuronal pathways in your body to your brain, and they take time to be processed and transformed into objects, scenes, and complex situations. So, strictly speaking, what you are experiencing as the present moment is actually the past.”

(Thomas Metzinger, The Ego Tunnel: The Science of the Mind and the Myth of the Self)

 Bowie’s theatrical costume, his futuristic sound and his provocative manner gave the audience a wealth of things to process and absorb resulting in him breaking the standardized pop culture aesthetic and being the most controversial artist of his time. The multiple elements of his performance of Ziggy in this hyper reality that the character had created entertained the audience’s brains to high levels.


’Through difference and repetition the process it undergoes is that of actualization.’’

(Gilles Deleuze, Difference and Repetition. 2004: 263)


Investigating Bowie’s early career up to the creation of Ziggy Stardust has shown that his music career has been rhizomatic in nature according to philosophical theories. Findings have shown that he had the ability to use the process of the refrain reviewing the three-step process at each rhizomatic junction/project, each time nearing closer to success. Bowie seemed to show desensitization of himself to create a body without organs allowing him to envisage the charismatic character of the future that was Ziggy Stardust and the creation of the captivating hyper reality of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. David Bowie’s ability to constantly explore new territories and reinvent himself has given him continuous success up until the present day. Through my research I believe that David Bowie was himself a music philosopher he often talked about being a deep thinker in to meanings of things and meanings of meanings, everything having a symbolic explanation.




Deleuze and Guattarri (1988). Thousand Plateaus. 2nd ed. London: Continnuum. p13. – t-158226)

Deleuze and Guattarri (1988). Thousand Plateaus. 2nd ed. London: Continnuum. p311

Deleuze and Guattarri (1988). Thousand Plateaus. 2nd ed. London: Continnuum. p313, p151.

Deleuze. G, (2004). Difference and Repetition. 2nd Ed. London: Continnuum. p263.





Political Economy & Music

Posted: May 11, 2014 in Essay's.



This essay will analyze what political economy, pseudo-individualization and style over substance is. How vital a role they play in the structure of society and also industry, cross-referencing some examples of popular music artists, it will also discuss ideas of the future of music entertainment.


What is political economy?


According to juliannedcy the eighteenth century saw the birth of political economy because of scarcity. In her document she discusses how economics influence life in general and says..


’If there were no scarcity, you could have everything you want right now.’’

(juliannedcy, Link below)

In the 1800s government and traders were monitoring buying, and selling, laws and relations to general trade very closely. This monitoring took place because the demand for products in areas of the developing world was very quickly out weighing the means of production. Before the industrial revolution Art, Machines, masonry, joinery and all skills/crafts were given value, determined by how many years experience you had, how easy it was to acquire such goods and or how good a reputation you had built from your previous work. Your means of production would have been your hands, tools and or your artistic way of expressing your views, thoughts, ideas and feelings of the world past, present and future. After the industrial revolution the developed world became industrialized and means of production was greatly increased due to being able to generate products daily by the masses instead of the time, emotion and human skill gone into the craft before hand. Since the industrialization, artistic integrity, the uniqueness and originality have all been minimalized in favor of the mass production of a copy of a copy.


Means of production (m.o.p) is one of the members of a structure along side relations of production (r.o.p), side by side these are the bases holding up the superstructure we call the political economy. Culture, Art and Government are the three bodies being held up by these two bases in this economic system.

Government officials and traders found during the early studies that any changes occurring in any nations trade would witness a causal sequence of change in popular culture, then art, and then onto politics to help facilitate and bring order to culture. Overall this process is causing a push-pull effect on all ideologies of all parties, creating a self-sufficient and sustaining system. This system is still a vital player in the shaping of the western world today and through out generations to the present day, we see how post modernism has brought on a search for perfect form. The search for perfect form is standardization in its entirety, for as long as we live in a capitalistic society, the self-sufficient system we know as ‘political economy’ will probably transpire for generations.


Popular culture has shown to be determined by supply and demand… So if the demand is far greater than the means of production does this mean that true quality and or artistic credit is being undermined by standardization?


’The prosperity of popular culture is determined by consumer demand, while demand and supply of cultural commodities are also determined by the cultural confinement of the consumers’’

                                       (Handbook of Chinese Popular Culture)

                                        edited by Dingbo Wu, Patrick D. Murph   page 6



Pseudo-Individualization and Standardization


Popular culture, Art, Industry and Music are all standardized according to a study that came from Theodore Adorno. He was a leading member of the Frankfurt School set up in Germany in the 1920’s. The school, most famous for the analyzing of the culture industry concluded that…


’…The culture industry reflects the consolidation of commodity fetishism… It shapes the tastes and preferences of the masses, thereby molding their consciousness by inculcating the desire for false needs.’’

(Strinati, D (1995) p61


Adorno argues that capitalistic societies are blinded by the ‘free choice’ of which consumer brand to go with, their social and economic status and the desire to feel independent from the masses are the constant distractions orchestrated by elitists to keep the masses in line. The standardization in popular music is considered to be the general structures, tonalities and content. He makes it quite clear that there is an establishing difference between ‘serious music’ and popular music, generalizing the audience of popular music as ‘’childish’’ (Strinati, D (1995. P67) and subconsciously demanding the ‘’same meal’’ (Strinati, D (1995. P67.) simple melodies, structures and novelistic hook-lines.


Looking at popular music of the present day it’s not hard to distinguish the difference between categories known as ‘genres’ such as Rock, Pop, Indie, Hiphop and Dance are just a few examples . These are all mini industries within themselves generating millions every year in currency yet Adorno’s critical analysis portrays them all as ‘pseudo individualization’. Pseudo Individualization is only one concept under the umbrella of standardization alongside a predictable structure, infantile melodies and catchy repeated lyrics. Adorno makes reference to it all being a cover up to the masses to make-believe that the some what, standardized music has originality and an integral aesthetic to facilitate its sales and relation to the listener.


‘’Pseudo Individualization, for its part, keeps them inline by making them forget what they listened to is already listened to for them or ‘’pre-digested.’’

Adorno, T (1995 p308)




Ultimately this is a false sense of belonging seeing as the theories of standardization and ‘free choice’ suggest that only false needs are ever satisfied, as everything in regards to the product is the same in theory yet striving to have individuality through an aesthetic. Even aesthetics are used over and over, for instance the jazzy look of the hair pulled over one eye most recognizable being Gabrielle, but not forgetting Marylyn Monroe and Rhianna of more recent times. Lets also take the newly released track by Pitbull & Kesha named ‘Timber’. Here we have a ‘classic’ pop song derived of a 32bar chorus, 4 main chords, catchy infantile lyrics and a simple yet memorable melody line. The aesthetic is that of country and western setting, a saloon bar, daisy duke styled half naked ladies and a dance floor pace that’s bound to hypnotize the viewer even for just a short while. Sections of the melody line sounds familiar maybe nostalgic to the older listener, whilst at the same time satisfying the general conditioned cravings of the younger generation in popular culture with the pacey rhythm and sexual references through out the video. We see this is a repeated aesthetic used by a pop band called Steps, over a decade ago with their number one hit single 5, 6, 7, 8.


Style over Substance


The music industry is flooded with artists exploiting and being exploited by pseudo-individualization. On one hand we have the super commercial pop artists like Jessie J, Katy Perry, Justin Beiber, Mylie Cyrus and One Direction all under pressure to fit a specific aesthetic in relation to their target audience, which in turn creates culture, fashion statements and millions in revenue annually. Major record labels may apply pressure on the content, as they ‘know what sells’. The public or press may brand these artist’s sell-outs or puppets of ‘occult lead’ businesses as we only see the symbolic and sexually glamourized music videos, and lavish lifestyles that the media constantly promote. Some artists will dispute this claiming that their originality and integrity is theirs to own fully for example Metallica and Oasis, yet their very aesthetic is what we know them by such as the rebellious rock-star attitude with John Lennon style sunglasses and a lazy sounding voice. Or on the other hand the energetic heavy metal, power chords, angry style voice dressed in all black with hand gestures of a ‘Hell Yeah’ attitude.


‘’We increasingly consume images and signs for their own sake rather than for their usefulness or for the deeper values they may symbolize.’’

Strinati, D (1995 p225)


Some artists in the past have exploited this to their own advantage by confidently creating and stepping into alter-ego aesthetics for example Lady Ga-ga’s range of outstanding and sometimes political statements through her visual art, Slim Shady and Ziggy Stardust also. The aesthetical impact these examples have on the general public gives them the illusion of individualization (Strinati, D) and originality however, all of the above are classic examples of style over substance. Where the content or depth of the music doesn’t necessarily   need catch on to the infantile listener looking to be distracted from general life, but only satisfy the ‘false need’ to belong to something, repeat a catchy hook-line or melody and or demonstrate a particular view on the world. On the other hand however, bands like Bastille, Cold Play, Keane, and Rage Against The Machine who don’t have much of a produced aesthetic as such, but come across as having a story to tell with depth and artistic understanding, soulful or standing for in particular political views. In turn creating a stronger sometimes ‘dangerous’ ( bond between the consumer and the artist and desirably creating a following. Which in its self is culture that will have impact in the ever-turning wheels of political economy. Either way Adorno’s theories imply that it’s all the same standardized, structured content throughout.



’’Its not about the money, money, money!

(Jessie J.)



Another great example of Pseudo-individualization and style over substance in one is Jessie J and her track ‘Price tag’. Again a simple chord structure and a 32 bar chorus with repeated infantile melody line and lyrics. How can a track or artist claim to be authentic, original and having true meaning when it states ‘Its not about the money? Surely if this was truly the case then every penny made from that particularly and cleverly engineered track should go to good charitable causes? This track went straight in at number 1 and put Jessie J in the limelight of the UK pop industry. Now her flamboyant and determined character has set yet another cultural ‘standardized’ following.



So we begin to see that ineffective of what the artists are representing or what’s being said in the music, the concept of how you take on your aesthetic ‘knowing its a commodity that relies solely on the distractions of free choice for sales,’ will determine your success in the public eye. Exploiting that which is secret to the general public but not to the industry, is true form of artistic measure and credibility.


Catching and sustaining the attention of the listener has declined over the years, Jonathan Mosen explains how much the purchasing music has changed in his lifetime alone and says because of today’s media accessibility through the Internet. Online playlists are becoming more predominant in the age of information and idea of a flat rate fee for all media is just about rising over the horizons of the future with websites like Spotify and Netflix.


‘’In 5 years I think people who want to actually own a music file will be the minority.’’

Mosen, J.


It’s fair to say that the music industry has been shaped and orchestrated to satisfy ‘false needs’, keep distractions at the for front of popular culture’s mind set and allow pseudo-individualization to be the cover up for the purpose of profiting on commodities. Music in the future will most probably be determined on a digital platform and generate revenue by ‘flat fees subscriptions’ or ‘rental lines’. For anyone wanting to make it in the industry should take careful time to measure how his or her artistic substance, message or aesthetic would apply to the general public, and then stepping into that role with confidence as that is exactly what’s going to sell your work.

Having the choice between being exploited like Justin Beiber or Exploiting the standardization like Lady Ga-ga, or even the laid back casually dressed ‘too cool for school’ look are all key elements of example being played by today’s entertainment industry ‘role models’. With media being accessible to all now self-producing and publishing to the best of your ability will give you a head start in the rat race were nothing appears to be original any more.


Anthony Fitzgerald.




——————————————————————————————————– 7th April 7, 2014



Strinati, D. An introduction to theories of popular culture. Routledge (2000)


Adorno, T Popular music (1941)


Handbook of Chinese Popular Culture Greenwood press. 1994

edited by Dingbo Wu, Patrick D. Murph   page 6





What Is Music?

Posted: May 11, 2014 in Essay's.

Presentation1 What is music?

What Is Music?


A brief insight to the history of sound, its journey of evolution and understanding of its vital corrolations to reality as a science, a remedy? Also how it’s understanding has become a vital part in understanding laws of the universe.

Music as we know it today has evolved from southern Germany as far back as 40,000 years ago where the ‘’oldest bone-flute to date’’ was discovered in 2008. (Owen, J. 2009, p1) Around 590bc laws of music were to become understood as more of a science and with due credit to Pythagoras it took a revolutionary turn of understanding during the era of the Ancient Greeks.

Pythagoras was known as a thinker, a radicle modernist of his time, he was born around 580bc and died around 500bc. Modernism is a term broadly used as it can describe thought processes, a person’s character or a particular group of cultural ways that evolve and change with the movement or period of time itself. We tend to divide time over this concept and name them pre/post modernism. It’s a little difficult to give this pre-modernist a specific title, as his studies were a variation of the most contemporary subject matters of his day. Astrology, Music and Mathematics were of the highest interest within human society at that time, He was also exploring by asking questions like what is mankind? & What is the universe?’ Pythagoras’s revolutionary philosophy (although personal hardcopies have never been found) had provided substantial evidence that has been adopted and used to pioneer what we know to be western music of today. All of his studies were preserved through the cult brotherhood he had formed before he died. He was very inquisitive to the idea that music has a strong connection with the soul; he titled this study Musica Humana. He also liked to believe that the planets in our galaxy have a particular resonant frequency and that everything has its rightful place in the universe, this study was called Musica Mundana, and the study of live play with stringed and reeded instruments was collectively called ‘Musica Instrumentalis’.


”Overall he liked to consider himself as a healer and believed that music can have a remedy for every illness.”

(James, J. 1995 p31)


Alongside his concept of dualism, one of Pythagoras’ most profound discoveries with in music theory was the relationship that harmonic intervals have with mathematics. (James, J. 1995 p32) It is said that Pythagoras was walking past a blacksmiths where he heard the sound of three different sized hammers striking the steel anvils making different pitched sounds. He then went inside to

investigate and found that the hammers were weighted 12lb 6lb then 3lb, which encouraged him to understand that some how, laws of mathematics must be responsible for the variation in sound. He went on to investigate further and built the infamous monochord, an instrument of one string and by changing the length of the strings bridge, a little like frets on a guitar of today, his study became responsible for theorizing what we know as an octave and  the harmonic 4th and harmonic 5th. Luigi Russolo, a post-modernist say’s that Pythagoras literally systematized music mathematically. (Russolo, L. 1913, p2)

Later on the church explored this tuning method in depth as writing music was reserved for the upper class or those under the authority of the newly formed religion. In the 7th, 8th, and 9th century when the Gregorian chants were said to be performances for God, musical chords and scales were still being discovered and perfected around this time and the church had forbid a certain collection of these notes inside the octave called the Tristan Chord, this was said to be the chord of the devil because of its deterring & unholy sound.


On the turning of the 19th century Luigi Russolo a famous futurist composer and innovative ‘ post-modern thinker’ of the late 1800’s ran with the baton of music evolution and explored what he called ‘The Art of Noises.’ In this text he studied and brought to attention the general noises of daily life. He starts by exploring the idea that the early earth was almost silent apart from the organic sounds of Mother Nature, like the wind blowing through the trees, waterfalls and the sound of the animal kingdom. He then moves on to say that man caused an influx of sounds as a result of the industrial revolution. This included the sound of industry, vehicles, nature and machinery all sounds that were new to the ear then.


In conclusion to The Art of Noises’ Russolo was highlighting the overlooked ‘music’ of Mother Nature and further from his studies he decided to build an orchestra of sounds that are strictly natural and grouping them as follows;


1.     Roars, Thunderings, Explosions, Hissing roars, Bangs, Booms

  1. Whistling, Hissing, Puffing
  2. Whispers, Murmurs, Mumbling, Muttering, Gurgling
  3. ECT…


Although Russolo’s attempt to entertain a crowd with his ‘Noise Orchestra’ went down in history as a dramatic failure resulting in an outburst of violence from his audience, In a round about way his futuristic improvisations were attempting to bring the word ‘music’ to everyday ‘noise’ that is around us all of the time. “As every manifestation of life, is accompanied by noise”. (Russolo, L. 1913, p4) It seems that Russolo’s forward thinking hopes to contribute to the evolution of how we see music or want it to be. This is in essence modernism of his time and contributing the ever-changing answer to the question ‘what is music?’


In 1857 the very first sound recording instrument was patented, invented by a Frenchman called Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville he named it the Phonautograph. It worked by etching sound wave vibrations onto a smoke blackened paper. Later in 1898 Thomas Edison had updated the device to become less of just a lab instrument. Hearing recorded sound for the first time in history drew a line and defined what we know today as ‘Live Music’ as before hearing back these phonograms, society wouldn’t have known anything different than the music that was played ‘live’ in front of them by musicians and their instruments.


The Itonarumori is a ‘natural sound’ machine invented by Luigi Russolo in 1913, his invention complimented the study of music and sound by initiating technology and working parts as equal members of the musical instrumental family. You could say that the invention of these natural sound machines were the birth of musical technology although the show he performed consisting of roars, whistles and thunder cracks from his Itonarumori wasn’t quite a ‘smash hit’ with the public.

After the groundbreaking invention of electricity, current was quickly combined with ideas of making sound and in 1919 a Russian modernist named Leon Theremin created a device known as the Theramin. See it here in action (

1928 saw the birth of sound synthesis as the Theramin contributed to the development of musical technology. Over the course of the 20th century ‘music’ as we knew had rapidly evolved so to define what was very quickly widening in depth of understanding, the study of what music actually was or meant to people became of high interest to scholars across the world. To be a modernist scholar you would be thinking radicle and outside of the box to try and find new ways or meanings behind what we know as ‘the present’ or as ‘common practices’. This involves a great degree of optimism, genius or a sense of ‘looking through rose tinted glasses’ as you would be looking for other possible answers or outcomes in what would generally appear as not there, or not worth the thought of common man or present cultures.

Post-modernist pioneer, John Cage was asking them very questions in his early studies on the turn of the 21st century. Not only did he introduce electro synthesis to the world of ‘music’ he composed and theorized music and invented a new approach to harmonies. Cage’s work has profoundly widened our understanding of what music is by exploring improvisation. Modernist’s are living and constructing their lives on thought processes that involve improvisation at the very outset.

Improvisation in musical terminology is to create ‘off the cuff’ composition or freestyle play, This practice sometimes referred to as ‘free music’, can be used to inspire new material to record, or the ‘freestyle jam’ itself can be performed or recorded and published as artistic expression. Bailey say’s ”Mankind’s first musical performance couldn’t have been anything other than a free improvisation.” (Bailey, 1992, p83).

Like most of the freethinking modernists we’ve had throughout history, on a quest for the new, John Cage identified the very initial thought in the process of improvisation by highlighting what would normally be overlooked as part of the musical art… This was silence.

During his study of ‘Silence’ Cage spent time in an Anechoic Chamber, a room sound proofed so much that you can almost you’re your own thoughts. Whilst talking with the sound engineer at the facility after his experience inside the chamber, he explained that even in the most silent of surroundings he could still hear two tones running inside his head. One high pitched and one low. The reply from the engineer correlated interestingly as he says ‘the high tone is the sound of your neuro-electro circuit and the low tone is the sound of your blood circulating your body. This whole experience had allowed Cage to conclude,


“There is no such thing as an empty space or and empty time. There is always something to hear, Something to see.

In fact, try as we may to make silence, we can not.”

(Cage, 1957, Experimental Music)


Does Cage’s conclusion mean that silence is also music? As music is being determined by a collection of organized pitched sounds travelling across vibrating airwaves, even in the most still and ‘silent’ of environment, sound can still be heard. This also correlates with earlier mentioned Pythagoras’ studies of ‘Musica Humana’. Life as we see it in essence is starting to be seen as wave vibrations and frequencies due to the new discoveries of the atom being 99% space held together by a certain vibration frequency. (

As the good book say’s..

In the beginning was the word, and the word was with god’’

(John, 1:1)

 Is word not sound? Given the studies and brief encounter of the musical expressions explored in this text you wouldn’t be too far from a translation like this, ‘the big bang, or the beginning of existence in time and space as we understand it, is a result of sound clash or vibration.’’ Who or what initiated that first ‘word’ or ‘sound’ is an entirely different topic of conversation and boils down to spiritual or religious beliefs however, one thing we can agree on is that the study of what ‘music’ is, is ever changing and over the last century alone has rocketed in variation of understanding, As the universe keeps expanding surely so will our studies and understanding of sound vibrations.

So what is music? Is it defined by a gathering of mathematically structured notes sequenced in an arrangement played by an instrument and artist? Or is it the general sound of daily life, both natural and manmade being disregarded as music as it is being played all around us everyday?

Or is music the very essence of what’s inside of you and everything we know to be real, seeing as we live by the law and order of A Creator’s Symphony of vibration? Over the course of history, ‘music’ and the industry has faced a lot of scrutiny yet flourished from the concepts, discoveries, experiments and studies of great philosopher’s scientist’s and musicians. Never the less, music is still embarking the journey to this day with artists being the challenge of being radicle as they nurture their modernist minds and improvise with new musical technology. It seems music’s past track record has shown to suggest that it will keep on growing


It seems this debate is to be left for you decide as each day, life is still growing and our understanding of our surroundings and even the universe are growing too. So ‘What is music to you?’


Anthony Jon-Paul Fitzgerald.




Bailey, D. 1992 Improvisation, Its Nature and Practice in Music. London: The

British Library National Sound Archive.


Russolo, L 1913. The Art of Noises: Futurist Manifesto. Continuum International Publishing Group.


Cage, J.   1957 Experimental Music.