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This essay was written in 2010. The language is rather strong and my frustration is apparent. However, I still think that the general principles are valid. One new trend that I am increasingly seeing today that is not mentioned in this essay is a universal tendency towards spirituality without content.

As a professional violinist, I find music impossible to ignore. Wherever I go, I notice what music is playing, and I am bothered by music that I find distasteful. And yet, when I attempt to share my musical concerns with others, I invariably feel as if I am talking to a brick wall. After bashing my head repeatedly against this ‘brick wall,’ I have come to the conclusion that I live in a world of musical monsters, surrounded by acoustic sadists who are bent on tormenting me with their musical tastes.[1] Therefore, as a matter of personal self-defense, I would like to take a few pages to analyze music in the light of mental symmetry. As far as I can tell, modern music is one of the most significant roadblocks standing in the way of personal transformation.

Before we begin, I need to address a fundamental question. Am I overreacting to music? Does music actually have the significance that my professionally trained ear ascribes to it?[2] In answering this question, I suggest that we need to distinguish peoples’ words from their actions. Verbally, most will say that music plays a peripheral role in life and that musical taste is simply a matter of personal preference. But, if one probes deeper, one finds a different picture.

First, music is big business. About $12 Billion of recorded music is sold every year in the United States. While this may not be the largest industry around, it is still a lot of money to pay for something as insubstantial as sound. Second, music plays a critical role in shaping individuals. Which segment of society spends the most time filling their ears with music? The youth. In other words, music plays its greatest role precisely when an individual is attempting to work out his own worldview. Third, music has generally been center stage during critical transitions in modern society. It has come to symbolize change and it has become the mental vehicle which enables change. One thinks, for instance, of Woodstock, a concert which turned into an icon for rock-and-roll. And speaking of rock-and-roll, it is difficult to think of anything which has had more of an influence in shaping today’s society.

Thus, we see a contradiction. For some reason, we have permitted music to mold our modern psyche while at the same time claiming that its effect upon us is quite minor.[3] This hypocrisy seems to play an essential role in modern music. Time and again, whenever I attempt to discuss musical taste with others, they go out of their way to belittle this rational discussion and to present music as a harmless diversion unworthy of critical analysis. And yet, if one attempts to change the nature of this ‘harmless diversion,’ one finds that the inconsequential transforms itself into the ‘Rock of Gibraltar’—immovable and unalterable. If musical taste were simply a matter of ‘preferring peas over carrots,’ then surely it would not matter whether one ate ‘peas’ or ‘carrots.’ But, if someone insists upon a diet of ‘peas’ and gags at the very thought of ‘carrots,’ then something fundamental is involved and it needs to be analyzed.

Just a word of warning before we begin. This discussion will be rather thorough, and may be somewhat overwhelming for those who are not familiar with music. However, it is imperative that I establish, without a shadow of doubt, that Western music is rooted firmly in natural law.

Music and Physics

We begin with the musical note, the building block of music. When I hit a key on the piano, pluck a string on a guitar, blow through a trumpet, or sing a note with my voice, I produce a tone with a certain pitch or frequency. I have already mentioned that Mercy strategy is the mode of thought responsible for interpreting pitch, and neurology tells us that the part of the brain which we have associated with Mercy strategy[4] generates the non-verbal envelope of speech, the inflection of voice. Thus, a musical note is a specific Mercy element.

Every musical note has a certain tone color. It is this tone color which differentiates, for instance, a note played on a piano from the same note blown on a trumpet. What determines tone? The secondary frequencies or harmonics that accompany the primary frequency or fundamental. Some of these overtones last as long as the primary note, and others are transients which make a brief appearance during the initial attack of the note.

What do we do with these Mercy specifics? Do we continue playing the same musical note over and over again? No, not unless we are mowing the lawn or trimming the hedge. Instead, we string notes together to form a melody. So, is a melody just a random collection of notes? No. Composers, such as John Cage, who have experimented with random ‘melodies’ find that they lack audience appeal. Instead, every successful melody is based upon the concept of key. The key of a melody can be thought of as the home note of that song. The melody starts either at home or close to home, walks around, and then returns home at the end. It is this leaving and returning which adds the emotional intensity to a melody. Leaving the home note produces feelings of stress which are resolved by returning to this note.[5]

Notice that a melody is a perfect analogy to the ‘human walk.’ As a human, I possess two primary attributes. First, I occupy the specific Mercy object of a physical body. Second, I am able to move my body from one location to another and to use my body to perform a sequence of Server actions. Similarly, a melody is based upon the Mercy specific of a musical note. This note then follows a Server sequence as it moves from one pitch to another. In the same way that I walk, so a melody ‘walks.’ Just as my travels take me temporarily away from home, so the ‘travel’ of a melody causes it to move away and eventually return to the ‘home note’ of the key. And, just as Mercy experiences never occur in isolation, but acquire emotional color by being associated with other experiences, so every musical note acquires tonal color by being accompanied by other secondary notes.

Mentally speaking, there appears to be a fundamental mental relationship between pitch and emotion. In essence, higher pitch is associated with happiness, whereas lower pitch is connected with sadness. Thus, for instance, musical tuning has risen over the centuries, as symphonies raised their pitch in order to make music sound ‘brighter.’ This connection between emotion and pitch appears to be a secondary one, which operates within an overall context. Thus, happiness can be produced by raising notes relative to other notes. This explains why music which is in a minor key sounds sadder that music written in a major key. In a minor key, the third of the octave is lowered relative to its position in a major key.

That brings us to the concept of harmony. Why is Western music based upon a scale that is composed of twelve notes? What is the origin of chords? Are these concepts purely cultural or do these have any basis in natural law?

It turns out that harmony and physics are intimately related. In order to explain this, we need to know three facts about sound and the mind. First, I have already mentioned that a musical note is a wave that vibrates at a specific frequency. For example, the note that North American orchestras tune to is known as ‘A-440.’ This is because that pitch oscillates 440 times a second. It is a 440Hz tone to which music has given the label ‘A.’ A higher note vibrates faster, and a lower note oscillates slower.

Second, the ear interprets pitch logarithmically, rather than linearly. In plain English, this means that instead of counting 1,2,3,4,5,6 it counts 1,2,4,8,16,32. Thus, a jump in pitch from 100 Hz to 200 Hz sounds the same to the ear as a jump from 200 Hz to 400 Hz or from 1800 Hz to 3600 Hz.

Third, the mind finds it pleasing when notes that have similar frequencies are played together and it finds it discordant when notes with dissimilar frequencies are juxtaposed. What is a ‘similar’ frequency? One that is related by a simple fraction.[6] Thus, for instance, playing a 300 Hz tone together with a 400 Hz tone feels pleasant, because the two frequencies are related by the ratio ¾. In contrast, playing a 300 Hz tone alongside a 390 Hz tone feels bad. This is because the ratio between the two frequencies is now 13/10—a much higher set of numbers. In essence, the lower the numbers in the ratio, the better it feels. The higher the numbers, the worse.

Fourth, whenever frequency is either doubled or halved, the ear interprets the resulting note as essentially identical to the original. In musical terms this is called moving up or down an octave. Thus, musical theory only deals with ratios that are between 1 and 2. Any interval greater than this is divided by two until the ratio lies within the fundamental range of between 1 and 2. Music uses these larger intervals as ways of expanding the impact of the smaller, more basic intervals.

It appears that all of musical theory can be traced back to these four principles. We can demonstrate this by deriving the major and minor scales—the foundation of Western music. Start by choosing some note as a reference point. This will be our ‘home’ note. Because A-440 is a nice round number, we will begin with it. Now go up in frequency choosing pitches that are related to A-440 by the simple ratios possible. If we put these fractions in order from least to greatest, we get the ratios 6/5, 5/4, 4/3, 3/2, 8/5, 5/3, and 2/1. That gives us 528 Hz, 550 Hz, 587 Hz, 660 Hz, 704 Hz, 733 Hz, and 880 Hz. I suggest that we have just worked out half of the notes of the Western scale. These notes are notrandom,but are mathematically related to the home note.[7] To generate the other five, we simply fill in the gaps with similar ratios. Two notes fit between 440 Hz and 528 Hz, one note slips in between 587 and 660 Hz, and the gap between 733 Hz and 880 Hz also has room for two notes.


Minor 3rd

Major 3rd

Perfect 4th

Perfect 5th

Minor 6th

Major 6th


















That leaves us with one minor technical difficulty. None of these ratios end up being exactly the same. Instead, they differ by a few percent. That leaves us with two choices. First, we can accept these inequalities. This option sounds better but is less versatile. Second, we can equalize all of the intervals to the ratio of 1.059%. This sounds worse but is more versatile. The first choice is called true pitch, the second tempered pitch.[8]

Let us now examine the intervals in our scale. Notice that they fall into two different groups, which themselves can be further divided into two further subgroups. First, there are the seven natural intervals—the ones that are based in simple fractions. The three with the simplest ratios—4/3, 3/2, and 2/1—are called the ‘perfect’[9] intervals. This is because these ratios feel good. This leads to an expanded concept of the ‘home note’ as described a few lines previously, because any note related to the home note by a perfect interval will also feel like home. The remaining natural ratios—6/5, 5/4, 8/5, and 5/3—feel fairly good. Music divides them into major and minor intervals.

Second, there are the five artificial ratios. These also are divided into two groups. The first is composed of the three ratios that are closest to the perfect intervals. Because they are almost perfect, but not, they sound awful. When the mind hears one of these intervals, it wants it to be replaced by the closest perfect interval. For instance, the first interval above unison—1.059—feels as if it should fall a semi-tone[10] to a perfect unison—1/1. Similarly, the last interval before the octave—1.889[11]wants to rise a semi-tone to turn into a perfect 2/1 octave. Finally, there is the ‘devil’s interval’ of 1.414, lying midway between two perfect intervals. Because of its inherent discordant nature, early composers gave it this name, and actually used it to represent the devil in their music. It can either fall a semi-tone to 4/3, or else rise a semi-tone to 3/2. Both possibilities are used, but the second is more common because 3/2 is a simpler fraction than 4/3.

That leaves the two artificial ratios of 1.121 and 1.783. These feel bad, but because there are no perfect intervals nearby, they only feel moderately uncomfortable.[12]

I have suggested that Mercy strategy interprets musical tones. We have just analyzed the scientific basis for musical intervals—the relationship between one musical tone and another. But, we know that Perceiver strategy is responsible for building solid connections between Mercy experiences. Thus, I suggest that Perceiver thought deals with musical intervals. A musical interval will be felt most strongly if both notes are played at the same time. This leads to the concept of musical chords.

As far as I know, only Western music is rooted in chords. Other types of music use melody and rhythm, but not chords. It is interesting that musical chords, perspective in painting, scholasticism in research, and rule of law in government all developed at about the same time in Renaissance Western Christendom. This makes sense, because all share the common attribute of using Perceiver facts to analyze specific Mercy experiences.

In essence, a chord is a Perceiver defined expansion of a Mercy-based musical note. I have mentioned that Perceiver strategy creates imaginary images within Mercy thought by building connections between Mercy experiences. These imaginary Mercy memories acquire an emotional label that is the composite of the feelings associated with the individual Mercy experiences out of which they were created.

A musical chord, I suggest, operates in the same way. It begins with the fundamental tone. Then, Perceiver strategy adds the note which is most similar to this fundamental.[13] Which note is this? The one related by a 3/2 interval, in musical terms, a ‘perfect fifth’ above the fundamental. The emotional color is then acquired by adding an intermediate note halfway between these two.[14] Halfway between 1/1 and 3/2 is 1.225.[15] Unfortunately, there is no musical note here. The closest intervals are 6/5 and 5/4. Thus, if one wants to stick with the Western scale, one must choose between these two alternatives. If the lower note is chosen, the result is a minor chord, which feels sad. In contrast, picking the higher note produces a major chord, which feels happy.[16] All other musical chords are variations of these two basic forms.

But why is the bottom note of a chord the fundamental note? Because of the relationship between Perceiver and Mercy thought. Remember that when Perceiver facts organize Mercy experiences, then these Perceiver facts relink these Mercy experiences to create an imaginary image in Mercy thought which is acomposite of the original Mercy memories. The same process occurs musically with chords. Perceiver thought groups together notes that are musically related. This creates—in Mercy thought—a sort of composite musical note that is based upon the bottom note of the chord. Why? Because the higher notes can be viewed as harmonics of the lower note.[17] In mathematical terms, the lowest note is the lowest common denominator.[18]

We have seen that Perceiver facts can describe both spatial connections and temporal ones. Spatial connections link Mercy experiences that are spatially related, whereas temporal connections tie together Mercy experiences that are separated by time. Chords are spatial facts, linking musical notes that are separated by frequency but played at the same time. However, it is also possible to generate an interval by following one musical note with another. It is this temporal progression of notes that gives shape to a melody. Combining these two types of intervals leads to chord progressions, in which one chord—a set of intervals—is followed by another chord. Now we have reached harmony, the real ‘meat’ of music, the aspect of music that appears unique to Western music.

So how does music manipulate melodies, chords, and chord progressions? In a word, writing music is simply the art of moving through painful intervals and returning to pleasant ones. This is not as simple as it seems. That is because of the huge number of intervals that are present when single notes are expanded into complex chords. A good composer will play these intervals against each other, creating stress in one dimension as he resolves musical tension in another. The master of this sort of composition was Johann Sebastian Bach.

The chord progression gives us another method of defining musical ‘home,’ called the cadence. A cadence is a set of two or more chords which occurs at the end of a musical phrase. It announces that the destination has been reached and that the music has returned home. We will illustrate this by analyzing theperfect cadence, the most basic and most final form of cadence.

Logically speaking, how would you use chords to announce your arrival at home? Well, what happens when you come home? Your penultimate step is almost home, while your final step is home. This is precisely how a perfect cadence operates. What interval defines home? 1/1; unison; the home note. Which interval is closest to home? 3/2. Therefore, a perfect cadence is the chord based upon 3/2 followed by the chord based upon 1/1.[19]

Built into this chord arrival is another type of arriving. Musical chords are based in ratios. Therefore, closeness must be defined in terms of ratios. When working with ratios, 3/2 is closest to 1/1. But, a melody is a progression of single notes. Here, closeness is measured in terms of pitch. Thus, the note that is closest to home is a note that is one semi-tone away.[20] But one semi-tone in which direction? Do you return to the home note from just above or from just below? From below. Why? Because returning from above would be an emotional letdown. Returning home should be a joyous occasion, and joy is associated with going up in frequency, therefore one must return to the home note by going up.

The note that is one semi-tone below the home note plays a special role in music. It is called the ‘leading note’ because it leads to home. Play the leading note and your mind begs to hear the home note. Notice also that the leading note is an artificial ratio. This intensifies the desire to return home.

This movement from leading note back to home note is actually built in to a perfect cadence and adds to its emotional intensity. The first chord of this cadence is based upon the 3/2 ratio. Notice that its middle note[21] is the leading note. The second chord of this cadence is based upon the home tone. Obviously, this chord will also contain the home tone. When writing a perfect cadence, musical theory tells you that the leading note should always lead to the home note. 

If chords[22] are used to define home, it then becomes possible to define movement to and from home in a grander way. This is the basis for key and modulation. A key is defined as the set of notes and chords that are related to a certain home note. It is possible to move to another key by using the notes and chords that relate to that home note. In the same way that the chord based upon the 3/2 interval is close to the 1/1 interval, so the key rooted in the 3/2 note is close to the key of 1/1. If changing a note is like walking away from home, then changing key[23] is like visiting another home, and changing into a related key is like visiting a relative. Most songs contain at least one modulation, usually into the key based upon the 3/2 interval. If a composer really wants to create musical tension, then he will modulate several times. By moving through several related keys, it is possible to arrive at a musical location which is quite distant from home. Returning home musically then involves a journey.  

Before we continue, let us summarize. We began with musical notes—Mercy specifics. We then picked some note as our home note. The result was a Mercy identity. Then, we added Server movement to the specific Mercy notes and came up with melody. We then realized that notes do not occur at random, but rather are ruled by the physical laws of harmonic ratios. In other words, we saw that Mercy specifics were governed by Perceiver laws. Submitting to these Perceiver rules did not restrict music. Instead, it caused a new class of ‘imaginary’ Mercy notes called chords to emerge, which expanded the Mercy identity of the ‘home note.’ Adding a sense of time to chords gave us chord progressions and harmony. Finally, using Perceiver chords to define the Mercy home note gave us the concept of key. Accepting the restrictions of a home key made it possible to visit other keys, adding a whole new dimension to the emotional journey of music.

Notice that this process corresponds precisely to the path of personal transformation, in which Perceiver strategy is used to define me and then Server actions are used to change me. This leads us to the conclusion that music is an acoustic picture of me, and that Western music is an expression of personal transformation. This is consistent with history, which tells us that Western music emerged from the partial transformation taught by Christianity.

This has a profound implication. It means that music itself, and not just the words of a song, can be classified as compatible or incompatible with personal transformation. And, it also means that musical style can be categorized as ‘Christian’ or ‘non-Christian.’ That is a radical concept, for most modern church music leaders insist that musical style is a matter of private musical taste. We will return to this idea, but first we have more musical concepts to analyze.

Music and Server Thought

So far, we have looked at the Mercy aspect of music. I would now like to turn our attention to the Teacher component. We will begin by looking at melody.

I have suggested that a melody is like a stroll away from home. Walking, we know, involves the repetitive cycle of lifting one leg up, putting it forward, setting it down, and then repeating this with the other leg. This cycle is reflected in the musical ‘bar line.’ Western music is not written as a random sequence of notes. Instead, all music has a downbeat and an upbeat. The downbeat occurs at the beginning of the bar, the upbeat in the middle. Thus, the melody and the music step forward.[24]

That brings us to the next question. How does one walk? Smoothly. One does not abruptly change directions every few steps. Similarly, all trained muscle movement is smooth and fluid. Why? Physically speaking, moving smoothly takes less energy and puts less stress on the body. Mentally speaking, Teacher thought feels good when movement is smooth and graceful and it dislikes movement that is jerky.

 Thus we have the prime rule of melody writing: A melody should not jump around. Instead, it should move by steps. Think, for instance, of the melody, ‘London Bridge is Falling Down.’ Almost every note in the melody is followed by another note which is at most two semi-tones away. This ‘smoothness’ literally gives shape to a melody.

Adding Perceiver-based chords to the mixture changes this rule, because notes which are in the same chord are also considered close together. In the same way that Perceiver strategy can add to the generality of a Teacher theory by building bridges between Server sequences, so the Server sequence of a melody can be expanded by adding jumps that use intervals with low ratios. We see this, for instance, in the tune of ‘London Bridge.’ At the beginning of the melody, during the phrase ‘London Bridge is falling down,’ the melody only moves by steps. Then, it falls five semi-tones before ‘walking’ through the next phrase of ‘falling down, falling down.’ Why does this jump feel fine? Because the interval is 4/3, or in musical terms, a perfect fourth. Similarly, if you analyze ‘Mary had a Little Lamb,’ ‘Jingle Bells,’ or countless other melodies, you will find they contain only step changes or low-ratio leaps.

Composers often add tension to a melody by temporarily violating this rule. Suppose that a melody jumps an interval that is unnatural. This will feel bad. But, if this can unnatural interval be changed into a natural one by moving a semi-tone, then the tension will be resolved. We see this, for instance, in the melody ‘Romeo and Juliet’ by Tchaikovsky. It is full of almost-jumps to related notes which are resolved by moving the final semi-tone. This creates a sense of continual personal longing.

Just as Perceiver chords can expand the Server sequences of a melody, so a Server melody can expand the Perceiver definition of musical key. How would one use a melody to define key? Obviously, such a ‘melody’ would contain all the notes that are related to the home note by low ratios. That means 4/3, 3/2 and 2/1. Unfortunately, this leaves two gaps. The first is between 1/1 and 4/3, and the second is between 3/2 and 2/1.[25]

Why should these gaps be filled in? Because walking is done with equal sized steps. Physically speaking, it jars and taxes the body to alternate randomly between short steps and huge leaps. Similarly, Teacher strategy feels good when there is a pattern to movement and it appreciates movement that is smooth and graceful. It pains Teacher thought when the pattern is disrupted or the movement is jerky.

What defines the size of the step? The smallest gap—between 4/3 and 3/2. In musical terms, this distance is a whole tone, or two semi-tones. In contrast, the gap between 1/1 and 4/3, and the interval from 3/2 to 2/1 are both five semi-tones. So how many notes can be squeezed into five semi-tones, if the largest permissible step size is two semi-tones? Two notes, producing two ‘normal-sized’ steps of one whole tone and one ‘tiny’ step of a semi-tone.[26] (If you only fit one note in each of these two gaps, then you come up with the pentatonic scale.)

That brings us to the direction of movement. Should the musical walking go up in pitch or down? Well, does it feel good or bad to be home? It should feel good. And happiness is associated with a raise in pitch. Therefore, the scale is usually defining as going up.

Now that we know we are heading up and how big each step can be, we can pick our four additional notes. In particular, this means deciding where to place the semi-tone—where to take our ‘tiny’ step. Now, remember that the purpose of a scale is to define home. That means choosing notes that are related to the home note by a low ratio, which means picking either 6/5 or 5/4 for the first gap, and either 8/5 or 5/3 for the second gap.[27] Unfortunately, with each of these gaps we must choose one of these two ratios, for if we chose both, that would leave us with two single semi-tone intervals, and a ‘forbidden’ leap of three semi-tones.[28]

So which should we choose? I suggest that it depends upon whether the scale should be happy or sad. If the higher notes are chosen, the result is a major scale which sounds happy. In contrast, picking the lower two produces a minor scale which sounds sad.

For the remaining two notes of the scale, there are only unnatural intervals left. Now, remember that an unnatural interval that is right next to a perfect interval wants to resolve to that perfect interval.[29] Thus, when beginning the scale, there should be no pull back to the home note. That means choosing a whole tone for the first interval, rather than a semi-tone. In contrast, the penultimate note of the scale—just before arriving back home at the 2/1 octave[30]—should create a tension that drives the mind on to home. In musical terms, this second-last note should be the leading note, one semi-tone below the octave. Creating this desire to return home is so important that the ‘one whole tone maximum step size’ rule may be broken in order to produce this tension.[31]

In summary, a major scale contains the following intervals: whole tone, whole tone, semi-tone, whole tone, whole tone, whole tone, semi-tone. If you start with middle C (or any C) on a piano, and head to the right playing only the white keys, you will produce a major scale. In fact, it is the major scale beginning on C which defines the ‘white keys.’ Similarly, when writing music, the key of C has no sharps or no flats. In contrast, major scales which begin on different notes do involve one or more black keys and require the use of sharps and flats.

One more thing. If you begin on an A and play only white keys, you will produce a minor scale, with the exception of the leading note. In order to play the leading note, you must use a black key. That is why music talks about raising the leading note.[32]

Musically speaking, it is the scale which defines a key. Notes which belong to the scale of a certain note are said to be in the key of that note. For instance, all the white keys[33] on a piano belong to the musical key of C major. Musical analysis uses Roman numerals to label the notes of a scale. The home note is called I, the next note II, and so on until the second-last note, which is called VII. Because the final note is one octave up from the home note, it is again called I, and the counting begins again. The most important notes of the scale are I—the home note, IV—a 4/3 ratio above the home note, V—a 3/2 ratio above, and VII—the leading note.

One more point. Because both A minor and C major involve the same notes, they are musically related. In musical language, A minor is called the ‘relative minor’ of C major. Many major songs will contain a modulation to the relative minor, and vice-versa.

The relationship between chord, scale, and key goes one step further. We have seen how a scale expands a chord and leads to the concept of key. Going the other way, chords can build upon a scale, expanding the scope of a musical key. I have mentioned that the notes of a scale are labeled from I to VII. Suppose that each of these notes is used to build a chord. We now have seven possible chords, labeled I to VII. But what type of chords? Major or minor? It depends. That is because all of the notes of each of these chords must belong to the chosen scale.

This modifies our method of creating chords. Initially, a chord contained the home note, the 3/2 interval, and either the 5/4 or 6/5 interval. But, if all the notes of a chord have to belong to a scale, then this type of chord is not always possible. Thus, the chords of a scale are created by using a new rule: Start with the home note. Examine the tone that is three semi-tones higher along with the one that is four semi-tones higher. Pick the one that belongs to the scale. Repeat the process. For the key of C, it is easy to demonstrate this on a piano. Start with any white key. Move two white keys to the right. Add that note. Move another two white keys and add that note.[34] This process can be used for both major and minor keys.

In the major key, you will notice that one of the chords—VII—is neither major nor minor. This is because the 3/2 ratio has turned into the ‘devil’s interval’ of 1.414. This chord is used a lot because of the stress that this unnatural interval creates to return back to the home, or I, chord. On the one hand, the bottom note of the VII chord, as the leading note, wants to go up a semi-tone. On the other hand, if the top note of the VII chord falls a semi-tone, it becomes the middle note of the I chord, emphasizing the major, happy, aspect of home.

Earlier on, I mentioned the perfect cadence. In musical terms this cadence goes from V to I. You will notice that V has two notes in common with VII. Therefore, these two chords are usually combined to form a four note chord called the ‘dominant seventh.’ Adding the dissonance of the VII to the perfect cadence creates an even ‘more perfect’ cadence.

Before we continue, let us make some general observations. Notice the interplay between Server sequences and Perceiver facts, between melody and chord. Chord modified melody to produce the scale, and the scale modified chords to generate harmony. The end result is an integrated Perceiver-Server network filled with Mercy experiences and Mercy emotions. And which mental strategy is enabled by this combination? Contributor thought. Thus, it is no accident that most of the world’s famous composers had the cognitive style of Contributor.[35] 

Again, this shows the relationship between Western music and personal transformation. Both start with emotional Mercy experiences, use Perceiver facts to organize these experiences, and add Server sequences to these Perceiver facts. In both cases, this makes it possible for Contributor thought to develop.

Let us move on now to the next musical concept, that of a bass line. We began our look at music by talking about melody. As we know, a melody is a Server sequence of individual Mercy notes. We then saw that individual notes can be expanded into chords through the help of Perceiver thought, and that the combination of chords and melody leads to the development of key, scale, and harmony. So, how does one combine melody with all of these new, Perceiver-created elements? By going through a musical form of personal transformation. Just as personal transformation occurs when identity lives within a mental grid of Perceiver and Server confidence, so Western music takes the music meof melody and places it within the structure of key and harmony. This is done at two different levels. First, at the general level, a melody is constructed in such a way that all the important notes belong to the current key. Second, at the specific level, each chord determines which notes can be used for that part of the melody. According to musical theory, any melody note which violates these two rules must be a ‘passing note,’ on its way from one legitimate note to another.

Consider, for instance, the chord of C major. The bass of this chord is the note C. A melody embedded within this chord is restricted to the notes C, E, or G. If the melody contains any other notes, they must be transition notes, on their way to either C, E, or G. Almost every melody contains such transitional notes. A simple example is ‘London Bridge.’ 

Placing a melody within a sequence of chords creates a secondary type of ‘melody,’ called the bass. This is because each chord is an expansion of some root note. Thus, a sequence of chords implies the sequence of notes containing the home or root notes of each chord. This secondary line of notes is the bass line.

So what differentiates the melody from the bass? Two prime characteristics, one obvious, the other less so. First, the bass is almost always lower than the melody. This is because the bass is rooted in the bottom note of a chord, while the melody is embedded within this chord.

Second, a melody line is governed by different rules than a bass line. On the one hand, a melody walks, ‘stepping’ its way from one pitch to another. Only occasionally does it jump. Why? Because, a melody is governed by Server thought. We can understand this by looking at physical movement. It is not possible for my physical body to ‘hyper-jump’ instantly from one location to another. Instead, I must use either muscle or machine power to propel it from here to there. Mentally speaking, every physical movement involves a Server sequence of actions which gradually move physical matter from one location to another.

On the other hand, a bass line jumps. This is because chord transitions are governed by Perceiver rules. Let me explain this with the help of an example. Suppose that I am writing a song in the key of C. How do I convey the feeling of ‘C’-ness? First, I use only chords that belong to the scale of C[36]—chords that use the white keys of the piano. Second, I emphasize chords that are related to the chord of C by a simple ratio. In this case, that means using the chords of C, F, and G—the home chord, 4/3 chord, and 3/2 chord of the key of C.

Think, for instance, of ‘London Bridge’—played in the key of C. This melody contains a grand total of two different chords: C and G. Harmonically speaking, it is nothing more than an extended perfect cadence. This chord structure defines the bass line. And what is the bass line of ‘London Bridge’? Simply the sequence of notes: C, G, C, C, G, C.

This does not mean that a melody never jumps, or that a bass never walks. These ‘traits’ work well as secondary attributes. However, if a melody jumps too much, or a bass walks too much, it does not sound good.

It is also important for the melody and bass to remain independent. In musical theory, this is expressed as a prohibition against ‘parallel fourths and fifths.’[37] As before, let me explain with the help of an example, again in the key of C. Suppose that I play a G on top of a C followed by an A on top of a D. These two pairs of notes simultaneouslydefine both a harmony and a single melody. On the one hand, C and G are related by the ratio of 3/2 as are D and A. Thus, the first pair of notes defines the chord of C, while the second pair defines the chord of D. However, because both upper and lower notes move by the same interval, they also imply the same melody.[38] Thus, whenever two notes related by the perfect intervals of 3/2 or 4/3 move in parallel, the mind hears both harmony[39] and melody. To my ear, parallel fourths and fifths sound ‘slimy,’ as if the whole room shifts whenever I attempt to move.[40]

We can decipher this feeling by examining the mental relationship between melody and bass. In Western music, melody moves within harmony, just as transformed person identity lives within a structure of Perceiver facts. And, just as solid Perceiver facts create imaginary images within Mercy strategy, so a chord structure implies the Mercy notes of a bass line.

Now suppose that both melody and chords move in parallel. Mentally speaking, this means that Mercy me is equivalent to Perceiver truth. The result is mental ‘slime,’ for whenever I move, my truth moves along with me. Objective truth no longer exists. This identification of me with truth can be seen in both the music and the behavior of medieval monks. Their music consisted of Gregorian chants. If you listen to this style of music, you will notice that it is composed almost entirely of parallel fourths and fifths. This form of music sounds very ‘pure,’ because the ‘harmony’ is rooted entirely in the perfect intervals of 4/3 and 3/2. But, it also leaves no room for independent personal existence, for in their music, melody is harmony. We can verify this conclusion by examining the life of the monks. They had no independent personal existence. 'Truth' was their entire personal life, and their personal status and position defined this 'truth.' They denied me totally and identified completely with their source of revealed 'truth.'

That brings us to a related issue. I have mentioned that bass and harmony are intimately related. A chord implies a bass note, and a note can be expanded to become the bass note of a chord. So, what comes first, the bass note or the chord? In mental terms, do Perceiver facts create an image within Mercy thought, or does a Mercy experience define Perceiver truth. We know from personal transformation that this distinction is critical. The first option describes Perceiver confidence, whereas the second corresponds to revealed 'truth.'

I suggest that the answer depends upon the relative significance of the two. Suppose that the bass line is amplified to the extent that it drowns out the rest of the music.[41] In this case, bass defines harmony, and Mercy importance is revealing 'truth.' If the bass line is strong enough, this indicates that Perceiver is being mesmerized by Mercy importance. As we know, this is totally opposed to personal transformation.

On the other hand, if the bass line is an aspect of the music, then we know that Perceiver confidence is present and that it is being allowed to create experiences within Mercy thought.

Thus, when a car with a boom-box stereo drives down the road and you can hear the bass from a block away, that is a scary sign. It means that the occupants of this vehicle are mentally hypnotized. They have no truth of their own, but rather look to idols for their absolutes. And, if this music contains minimal harmony, we can also conclude that the path from Mercy source to Mercy individual is a direct one, with very little guidance from Perceiver content.

In addition, one can conclude that it is counterproductive to use music with a hyper-bass to convey a ‘Christian message.’ On the one hand, Christianity uses revealed truth to teach the principles of transformation, which are designed to wake up Perceiver thought and teach it how to think. On the other hand, an excessive bass line keeps Perceiver thought mesmerized, which short-circuits personal transformation. Thus, the verbal and non-verbal messages collide.

We have looked at the dangers of equating Mercy identity with Perceiver truth. There is also a danger in divorcing them from each other completely. This attitude creates a split between objective and subjective, and leads to the MBTI T/F division. In other words, truth and identity are not identical, but they definitely are related. It is interesting that this principle is also contained within Western music.

Let us describe it by returning to our look at harmony. I have mentioned that musical theory forbids the use of parallel fourth and fifths. In contrast, parallel thirds and sixths are both accepted and sound good. Why? Because these intervals are close, but not too close. Remember that the natural intervals can be divided into two groups. The first group consists of the fourth and fifth—the perfect intervals corresponding to the simplest ratios of 4/3 and 3/2. The second group contains intervals which are natural but not perfect. These are the minor third, the major third, the minor sixth and the major sixth, corresponding to the ratios 6/5, 5/4, 8/5, and 5/3.

We can use ‘London Bridge’ as an example. Play the piece on a piano in the key of C.[42] Now add to the melody a parallel melody a third lower. This means playing the white key that is two keys to the left of the melody. Sounds good, doesn’t it? Amateur musicians often sing or play harmony by going a third below the melody. It usually works. In this case, the strategy of ‘a third below the melody’ sounds fine until the last two words: ‘fair lady.’ Why does it break down there? Because the song ends with a perfect cadence. And what is the most important element of such a cadence? The transition from leading note to home note—in our example, a B followed by a C. Play this during the final phrase of ‘my fair lady,’ instead of a third below, and the result is a nice harmony.

Thus we conclude that musical harmony is not just a matter of ‘personal taste.’ Instead, there are logical rules that can be followed. Does this mean that music is totally predictable? In some cases, yes. Those who have a weak grasp of musical composition often write songs that are boring and predictable, just as a person who barely knows a city sticks to the few routes that he knows. Such composers seldom venture beyond the three major chords of I, IV, and V. But, someone who really knows harmony can write songs that are unique and interesting. Like the person who know his city like the ‘back of his hand,’ such an individual can take the side streets and back alleys without getting lost. This is the sign of a master composer.[43]

Music and Teacher Thought

We have reached the third and last section in our analysis of music. We began by looking at the fundamentals of music and saw that that they center upon on Mercy experiences and feelings. We then examined how Perceiver thought combines and modifies these basic elements. Next, we looked at the Server sequences that are contained in music. The end result was a Perceiver-Server grid of harmony in which the Mercy elements of music could move.

That brings us to the third aspect of music, which is Teacher thought. Whenever Perceiver facts and Server sequences combine to form an integrated network, this automatically produces a general Teacher theory. A student of music knows this, for he spends many hours analyzing the harmonic content of famous works. There are, however, twoother areas in which Teacher thought enters music, and we will discuss these in this section.

Let us begin with the most esoteric—musical form. Well written music is more than just a collection of notes. Instead, the composer was usually following a specific pattern or form. Often, this pattern is the plot of a story.

This type of musical form is illustrated by the piece Peter and the Wolf, written by Prokofiev. As anyone who has attended enough children’s concerts knows, the cat is represented by the clarinet, the duck by the oboe, the grandfather by the bassoon, Peter by the strings, and the big bad wolf by the French horns. Whenever each of these characters appears in the story, the ‘melody’ that represents him or it is played. Each time this melody is played, it is altered to reflect what that character is currently experiencing. In musical theory, this type of structure is called programme music.

I have mentioned that a melody is an acoustic picture of personal identity. In programme music, this relationship is made explicit. Each person is literally a melody, played by instruments whose timbre matches the emotional character of that individual. One sees this relationship, for instance, in the operas of Wagner, in which each character is associated musically with a specific leitmotiv, or melody fragment.

It is also possible for musical form to be determined by a more controlled form of human movement. Many of the forms used by classical composers, for example, began as marches and dances.

Finally, there is musical form that is entirely esoteric, unrelated to any specific event or action. We will look at one of the most common examples, and examine some of the ways in which it appears.

This pattern is known simply as ABA. It begins with a certain section—A, changes to another section—B, and then returns to the original one—A. Hence the label. Many modern songs follow a modified version of ABA, known as verse and chorus. The chorus corresponds to A, since it is repeated several times. The verse, in contrast, is B, because it is the change that occurs between the repetition. Sometimes, this change is purely verbal, because the composer changes the words but not the music of the verse.

Moving from the simple to the grandiose, the first movement of a symphony is also usually written in an expanded version of ABA, known as sonata form. It begins with the exposition, an ‘A’ section composed of two melodies, usually contrasting in style. Generally speaking, the first melody is written in the home key, whereas the second appears in a related key. After the exposition comes the development, a ‘B’ section in which the two melodies are expanded, altered, and mutated. Finally, the movement ends with the recapitulation, another ‘A’ section in which the two melodies are restated in their original form. Except, this time, both melodies appear in the homekey.

Note that again we see a connection between Western music and personal transformation. I have mentioned several times that personal change is an ‘ABA’ process. We have compared it, for instance, to taking off, flying, and landing. We have also used the analogy of lifting one foot, bringing it forward, and setting it down again.

The connection between sonata form and personal transformation is even stronger. I have mentioned that personal transformation involves an interaction between two me’s. Sonata form is built upon two melodies—two musical me’s. We know that personal transformation requires that identity be torn apart. Similarly, during the development, the two melodies are twisted, molded, and torn apart. Finally, the goal of personal transformation is not to destroy me, but rather to rebuild it in such a way that leads to internal integration. In a similar manner, Sonata form ends with a restatement of the two melodies, an indication that both me’s have survived the process of personal rebuilding. However, when these two melodies are repeated, they are both played in the same key, a musical picture of mental integration.

Does this mean that there is some ‘religious significance’ to Sonata form? Consciously, no. However, there is probably a subconscious relationship between Christianity and Sonata form. Those who were taught the principles of pseudo-transformation must have experienced personal change to some extent, and the music that they wrote reflected their personal odyssey. Whatever the origins of Sonata form, one can conclude that the average symphony is more ‘Christian’ than the majority of music currently being played and sung in ‘Christian’ churches.

Let us move on now to the final aspect of music, the part of music which has become dominant in today’s society—rhythm. It is interesting to observe the path which percussion has followed over the centuries. In tribal music, the drum is often the only instrument. Even today, native music in Canada consists solely of drumming and chanting. Move to the symphony orchestra, and you find the percussion at the edge of the stage, almost behind the curtain. In addition, the main percussive instrument is the timpani, drums which have a pitch and are able to be tuned. Move forward a few years to today, and you find the drum kit occupying center stage, both physically and acoustically.[44]

So what, mentally speaking, is rhythm? Let us analyze its various aspects in the light of mental symmetry. First, I suggest that a ‘beat’ is the simplest form of Teacher information. Remember that Teacher thought deals with acoustic transients—sounds that change. In speech, Teacher strategy analyzes consonants—short changes in verbal sound. What is the easiest way of producing a short change in sound? By banging: boom, sis, kssshh.

Second, rhythm comes from the external world. It is not a Teacher structure that is built out of mental bricks. Instead, rhythm is something that is heard, and sometimes felt.

Third, a strong beat is repetitive. As anyone who has been near a car with a boom-box stereo system knows, it goes “boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom…” The result is a general Teacher theory. Teacher thought notices that the noise reoccurs at regular intervals and concludes that this is a pattern. But howcomplex is this general theory? It isn’t. It is, in fact, a ‘country’ with only one ‘citizen’: “boom,” or should I rather say, “BOOM!!!”

Fourth, a hard beat is associated with Teacher pain.[45] Remember that Teacher strategy feels good when Teacher elements fit together smoothly. In contrast, Teacher thought feel bad when some Teacher specific ‘sticks out.’ And what exactly is a strong beat? A sound that ‘sticks out,’ the sort of noise that catches your attention, causes you to turn your head and yell, “What was that?”

Put these four points together and you conclude that a strong beat is the acoustic equivalent of a poke with a needle: It hurts, it gets your attention, it stops you from thinking, and it replaces thought with mindless fixation.[46]

Compare this with the sort of rhythm found in Latin music. First, the edge is usually missing; the ‘bangs’ are more rounded and less percussive. Thus, the Teacher pain is missing. Second, there is a complexity to the rhythm. This forces Teacher thought to think about the pattern and to develop a general understanding that goes beyond mere repetition. These two elements, I suggest, distinguish beat from rhythm. Beat is mindless pain; rhythm is not. Why would a person listen to mindless pain? Because beat is also exciting. It may lack deep Teacher content, but it provides energy for Exhorter strategy.

Actually, all music contains a ‘beat.’ This ‘clock’ tells a musician when to play each note and for how long. Without a beat, it would be almost impossible for musicians to play together. Similarly, physical life itself is governed by the ‘beat’ of time, the cosmic ‘clock’ that governs the pace of everything. How do we coordinate our efforts? With a clock: “Everyone be back here at three o’clock sharp.”

What varies in music is the source and stability of the ‘beat.’ In rock music, external noise imposes a beat upon the mind, making it essentially impossible for the mind to conceive of anything else. In addition, the speed or tempo of this beat seldom changes. Compare this with a classical work, in which the ‘beat’ is usually implied. The musician is then forced to provide internally what is externally lacking. In other words, the classical musician follows the ‘beat’ of an internally generated metronome.

But, doesn’t a conductor impose an external beat upon the musicians of an orchestra? At first glance, it may appear that way. However, I assure you, as a musician that has played for years in professional orchestras, that the only way to play in time and together is not to follow the conductor’s stick. Instead, you must obey your internalmetronome and use the external baton as a guide for synchronizing this internal clock.

Finally, unlike the typical rock drummer, a good conductor is much more than a clock. Instead, the speed and shape of his beat varies according to the mood of the music. It is this variety in tone and tempo which creates the excitement of live music.

Before we move on, I would like to mention one more curious fact regarding ‘beat.’ If you listen to American pop music, you will notice that the biggest bang usually occurs on the offbeat.[47] I suggest that there is a mental reason for this. I have mentioned that the timing of music is divided into bars, and that these represent walking.[48] If the loudest noise occurs on the downbeat, then the beat is emphasizing putting down the foot.[49] In contrast, banging on the upbeat emphasizes lifting up the foot. In American pop music, this correspondence between up and down is usually reinforced by the pitch of the beat. The downbeat is a low-pitched thud and the upbeat is a high-pitched crash: “boom, kssshh, boom, kssshh…”

So, what is the difference between emphasizing the downbeat or focusing upon the upbeat? One can answer this question by observing a crowd that is clapping along with the music. People—and groups—who clap on the upbeat are more progressive than those who clap on the downbeat. They are moving forward, they are lifting their feet and not setting them down, they are marching rather than standing still. More than once, I have seen a church music leader attempt to bring life to a passive crowd by telling them to stop clapping on the downbeat and start clapping on the upbeat.[50]

Now that we have examined ‘beat’ in detail, let us take a look at native drumming, the sort of music performed by the aboriginals of Canada—along with most other native groups. It consists entirely of two elements: beat and chant. The beat is not rhythm, but rather the repetitive banging of a drum. The chant is a primitive form of melody, one that is not constrained to any specific scale or key. Generally speaking, a chant starts at some home note, moves around, and then returns back to the home note at the end. Is there harmony? No. Is there rhythm? No. Is there a scale? No. Is there form? No. Are there chord progressions? No. Nothing except beat and chant.

But am I not ‘imposing’ Western standards upon native society? Yes. However, we have just seen that all of these so-called Western musical concepts are actually rooted in the natural laws of acoustical physics and mental maturity. Thus, politically incorrect though it may sound, especially in Canada, we are forced to conclude that native drumming is a primitive form of music.

So what are the mental results of combining beat and chant? I suggest that it leads to a form of Zen Buddhism. On the one hand, beat is the acoustical equivalent of the Buddhist theory of ‘Oneness.’ It is the simplest possible Teacher theory that can be imposed upon the mind through external influence. On the other hand, chant is an acoustic form of spontaneous action. In the same way that the Zen archer identifies with the flight of his arrow and the Samurai warrior with the swish of his blade, so a chant represents a me that is performing Server movement apart from Perceiver rules or Perceiver guidance.[51]

But why would someone want to combine Teacher simplicity with Mercy spontaneity? In order to trigger the direct path between Teacher and Mercy thought. Thus, by externally suppressing any content associated with either Teacher or Mercy strategy, the native drummer achieves an emotional result similar to the satori of the Zen Buddhist.

But what have we learned about this direct path between Teacher and Mercy thought? We have discovered that it is opposed to personal transformation, that it is an enemy of Christianity, and that it is a murderer of incarnation.

Does this mean that native people are ‘evil’? No. Unfortunately, native culture is caught in a trap imposed upon it by the ‘white man.’ That is because Western civilization has turned into a sort of ‘dog-in-the-manger.’ It possesses the content that is needed to build a solid bridge between Mercy feelings with Teacher emotions. But, it refuses toextend this content into regions of emotional intensity. On the one hand, the T/F split of objectivity separates Perceiver facts from Mercy feelings. On the other hand, the S/N division of specialization splits Server skills from Teacher generality.

Thus, those who do live within the direct connection between Teacher and Mercy emotions are forced to stay mentally alive by banging drums and singing out of tune. It is hard to say who is committing the greatest sin, the ‘heartless’ white-man, the ‘mindless’ native, or the ‘insane’ art lover who equates the music of the two.

Lest this discussion be seen as a ‘racial slur’ against natives, I suggest that exactly the same conclusions can be made about ‘rap music.’ In its raw form, it also is nothing more than beat and chant. It differs from native drumming in only one aspect—it is angrier, much angrier. Native beat has a soft edge, whereas the beat of rap is hard and driving. Native chant is almost harmonious, while rap strings together words of hate and venom.[52] Therefore, we conclude that there can be no such thing as Christian rap music, because Christianity requires the indirect path of incarnation, whereas rap proclaims the direct path of Buddhism; Christianity requires that I die to the childish ‘me’ with its arrogance while rap music is arrogance personified.

A Brief Analysis of Musical Style

Is modern music really that bad? We can now use logic to answer this question. We do not have to base our musical judgments upon emotional gut reactions. This is because our analysis of music has told us which mental modes are responsible for handling each aspect of music, and our look at personal transformation has shown us which ways of thinking are healthy, and which are not. Therefore, let us look at a few features of modern music.

We begin with the solo. I have suggested that a melody is associated with personal identity. When there is a solo, one instrument or voice is featured, and the other musicians play a supporting role. Almost always, the soloist has the melody.[53] What message does a solo convey? Individuality. This is because the aspect of music which represents the individual is being assigned to one person and that person is being highlighted.

Having established this connection, let us turn now to the details. I suggest that the relationship between the soloist and the other musicians shows the type of individual/group interaction that a song is attempting to portray.[54]

Consider, for instance, the typical orchestral concerto. Usually, the melody of the soloist is immersed within the harmony provided by the orchestra. This expresses the view that the individual operates within the guidelines established by his society and that he interacts with others on the basis of Perceiver law and order. While the concerto soloist usually performs the melody, he often plays harmony, allowing other instruments of the orchestra to play the melody. This indicates that the individual accepts the presence of other individuals and allows them to have individuality as well.

This attitude of ‘one among many’ can be seen especially clearly in the Brandenburg Concerti of Bach. Here, the melody line is continually passed from instrument to another, all within a rich tapestry of harmony. In this style of music, there is no individuality, only cooperation.[55]

Compare this with the typical modern vocal solo. The singer does not share the melody with anyone else, and his voice is always louder than the rest of the instruments.[56] This portrays a completely different type of individuality, which is not ‘one among many’ but rather one dominating the others. He who is the individual grabs the spotlight and never shares the mike with anyone else. As a musician, I can definitely confirm that there is a strong correlation between this type of solo and this type of attitude. Musicians, especially aspiring singers, compete viciously for the right to have the mike. He who has the solo hangs on to it until deposed by someone else.[57]

We have looked at the relationship between the soloist and the other musicians. Let us look now at the soloist himself. I suggest that the attitude and style of a soloist reveals the type of individuality that is being espoused. For instance, suppose that the melody is sung with great fervor and excitement. This corresponds, I suggest, to hero worship, for intense Exhorter excitement and strong emotion are being lavished upon a featured individual.[58] In contrast, a quiet and serene solo indicates peace and tranquility for the individual.

Let us move further. Suppose that the soloist takes a lot of freedom with the melody by adding notes and changing the rhythm, the sort of style often associated with black ‘gospel’ singers. This type of singing conveys two concepts. Adding notes all over the place tells the audience that individuality means ‘doing your own thing’ and ‘breaking out of the box.’ Dramatically altering the rhythm of the melody says that individuality means getting rid of a schedule. This type of individuality achieves its uniqueness by negating the Server restrictions placed on it by others. It is an individuality of rebellion.

As a more extreme example, consider the typical guitar solo of a rock-and-roll song. It wails, it rocks, it distorts, it blasts, it snarls.[59] It does not take much thinking to conclude that this type of solo conveys the message that individuality means acting like an animal. This implies that the ‘real’ me is composed of Freud’s Id, full of base desires struggling to get out. It is curious that almost all rock music is written in a minor key, indicating that the overall attitude is one of sadness and pain.

In general, I suggest that the tone of the melody corresponds to the attitude of the individual. If the tone is ugly, then so is the attitude. If the tone is nasty, then so is the individual. With many of today’s rock groups, one can be deaf and still come to this conclusion. All one has to do is observe the clothing and the fashion accessories. They are dark, ugly, metal, torn and nasty. And yet, these modern day barbarians will come to you with a straight face and insist that musical style is only a matter of personal taste. But, even personal taste makes value judgments. One does not eat excrement. So, why listen to it?

The Insanity of Modern Music

(The following paragraphs were written back in 2010. I know that the words are strong, and I would probably write more graciously now. I also know that this analysis does not apply to all modern music. However, even after making all of these disclaimers, one is still left with the following question: For some reason, most of the movies, television programs, and popular songs of today are much darker, uglier, and discordant than what was produced 50 years ago. Why?) How did modern Western music become this way? And why is it such a taboo to use logic to analyze this music? I am not suggesting that all modern Western music is ugly and nasty. But a lot of it is, and people actually choose to fill their ears with this ugly, nasty noise. Why?

Most of the hard edge in music comes from the United States, which then exports its musical rage to the rest of the globe. This, I suggest, gives us a clue about the motivation behind nasty music. What distinguishes the United States from other countries? First, America has the world’s largest economy. Second, it has the world’s weakest culture.

I suggest that this combination is responsible for producing modern irrational musical anger. Let me elaborate. We have seen that modern technological society has created a world that is inhuman. This inhumanity puts the average individual into a bind. In order to survive as a human, he must protect mental integrity with some sort of general Teacher theory that explains his role in society, some general understanding that makes sense of his personal surroundings. But what is the average individual today? He is nothing, a mere cog in the machine of economic progress, cannon-fodder in the war of marketing.

This puts modern man in a ‘damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t’ type of situation—and these words are not at all too strong. He dare not ignore the mass market that surrounds him, and he dare not accept it. This is especially true of the teenager, who lacks both the skills to participate in society and the means to escape from it.

Notice the struggle between the two types of emotion. At the fundamental level of integration/fragmentation, the teenager must protect his mind with a general Teacher theory that explains his specific Mercy experiences. However, at the lesser depth of pain and pleasure, the teenager cannot live with the answer that he finds. 

So what does the typical teenager do? He accepts his position as social ‘dung’ while pretending that he doesn’t. But how can such a massive lie be imposed upon the mind? By speaking this lie in a language that is furthest removed from the rational tongue of objective science. Science and technology deal with the material world. Thus, the lie must involve the immaterial. Science is objective, therefore the lie must build upon the subjective.

And how should this lie be imposed? Externally. There are two reasons for this. First, the average teenager is incapable of building an internal structure. Second, he dare not build an internal structure, for the process of mental building would face him with the contradiction of his ‘answer.’

I suggest that this combination leads to only one possible candidate. First, what part of our world is immaterial? Sound. As I have mentioned numerous times, we live in a concrete world of Mercy objects and experiences. In contrast, our external world contains no obvious Teacher content. Instead, the order is all hidden under the surface. Sound also satisfies the third requirement of being externally imposed, because it is both immaterial and external. In other words, we can sense it, but we cannot grab it or hold on to it. That leaves the second requirement. What type of sound affects our subjective feelings? Music. What else is immaterial, external, and subjective?

But can music support mental structure? Yes! We have just gone through several pages of musical theory showing that a melody corresponds mentally to me, and that the structure of a song illustrates the world in which me lives. Server sequences can be formed simply by following one musical note with another. Perceiver facts are built whenever notes are played simultaneously. Thus, a song creates instant mental structure. It is a set of acoustic scaffolding that can prop up any internal network.  

Now let us observe the typical American teenager. As he grows up, he realizes that his world is inhuman, that it has no place for him, and that those who participate in this world have all, to some extent, sold out their humanity. That is his worldview. But, he cannot accept this conclusion, for it condemns him to personal annihilation.

Then, he hears a song that expresses rage and inhumanity. Suddenly it all makes sense. The song explains his life and as he listens to it, he feels personally integrated; his humanity has been preserved. But once the song is over and the sound dies down, then the personal pain that the song triggered is over—for the sound has vanished. And because music is built upon the subjective Mercy elements of musical tone, no rational logic forces him to face this pain. He has now found the ideal ‘solution’: integration without lasting pain. Whenever he feels a sense of impending personal fragmentation, he only needs to play some music and the general theory of personal rage and inhumanity is back in its entirety.

Until some ‘unfeeling’ rational person, like myself, comes along and insists that music is also subject to rational, scientific analysis. Now he has no escape. Is it any wonder that he asserts with every fiber of his being that musical style is simply a matter of personal taste. He must, for his survival as an individual depends upon maintaining this lie.

So why do I expose the lie? For four reasons, two of them personal. First, as a professional musician, I cannot ignore music, and as a human, I lack the ‘earlids’ to block it out. Almost every public place fills my ears with music which is at best mediocre and at worst inhuman. Horrid music hurts, and I am tired of hurting. Second, I have lived with a schizophrenic brother and I know what it is like to have the lie of subjective irrationalism imposed upon me day and night. That also hurts, and I am tired of hurting.

Third, we need truth in the subjective. Only personal transformation on a massive scale will save our society from worldwide inhumanity. Fourth, mental symmetry contains a positive alternative to subjective insanity. I am not just ‘cursing the darkness.’ I am also ‘lighting a candle.’

This musical insanity is the most destructive in the Christian church. We have seen that Christianity is the only religion that teaches the principles of personal transformation—the process by which Perceiver truth is applied to the subjective. But how is this message of personal salvation being conveyed? In most American churches, it is grafted onto the junk music of secular society. In addition, most of the so-called Christians responsible for this travesty stubbornly assert that musical style is nothing more than personal taste. Thus, the very group that should be preaching truth in the subjective has embraced the lie of modern music. Those who claim to teach truth in the subjective suppress the very concept of subjective truth and spread the message of modern, secular music.

And what non-verbal message does modern Western music blast forth? It screams that man is condemned, that his very existence means nothing. How can this personal nihilism be juxtaposed with a message of personal salvation? It cannot. And yet, that is what we see today in most modern ‘Christian’ music.

Why has the Christian church embraced a non-verbal message which so opposes its verbal proclamation? Let me address this question in two stages. First, we will look at the progression of secular trash music. Then, we will see how this influenced the music of Protestant Christianity.

I suggest that the path to modern trash music began with American post-Second World War prosperity. Never before had such an integrated, high-tech economy existed. And for the first time, teenagers knew what it was like to grow up in an inhuman environment. This inhuman pressure reached its crescendo when ‘the establishment’ sent them to fight and die in Vietnam.

In response, teenagers chose music as a way of escaping from the prison of their structured society. Originally, their style of music was happy and carefree, and teenagers wanted to ‘make love not war.’ But, music was an inadequate tool for creating change. A song of joy and freedom can make someone feel free, and a collection of songs can provide the worldview needed to maintain a subculture, but it lacks the content to challenge ‘the establishment.’[61]

Thus, as the high-tech, ordered economy grew, each emerging crop of teenagers found itself increasingly trapped by inhumanity. In addition, most ex-teenagers who acquired wealth and skills ending up abandoning their idealism and becoming part of ‘the establishment.’

This is when the music turned nasty. Initially, the desire was to express individuality at any price, leading to the ‘me generation.’ But as the information revolution extended the tentacles of big business and big government into all areas of life, teenagers discovered that they had no me left. In addition, the spread of relative thinking meant that they lacked the Perceiver content required to construct personal identity.

Eventually, the typical teenager had no choice but to accept the conclusion that he was social dung. All that was left now was rage against ‘the system.’ No longer was his music rebellious, instead it became inhuman. The teenager felt like a caged animal, and he began to shout obscenities to his guards as he rattled the bars of his personal prison.[62] Having embraced the music of death, he dared not analyze it.

The result was a core of personal insanity, a region of Mercy intensity where Perceiver facts could not intrude. Once this core existed, it became possible to extend the range of this insanity. No longer does today’s teenager just listen to junk. He now dresses in trash and acts like garbage, all the while insisting that his brutality is just ‘a matter of personal taste.’ And as more and more people feel trapped by the inhumanity of the modern world, this brutish stupidity gains in market share. What was on the fringe has now become main stream. Thus, we are on our way to becoming twenty-first century savages. The only way out is for some individuals to reunite the spark of humanity through their personal example. But in order to break people out of their corporate despair, these individuals must shine brighter than the combined darkness of millions immersed in an inhuman worldwide economy.

Let us turn our attention now to the North American Christian church. Why has it, in general, embraced junk music? I suggest that the combination of incarnation and revealed 'truth' is to blame. What is the source for Christian doctrine? The specific words of the Holy Bible. As I have mentioned before, this attitude produces explicit Teacher idolatry supported by implicit Mercy idolatry. Specific Teacher words are being deified, and these words are supported by the emotional fervor of religious Mercy experiences. This idolatry creates an ‘Achilles heel’ which operates at several levels.

First, blind 'faith' turns the cycle of incarnation into the following mystical ‘recipe’:  The Christian ‘convert’ is instructed to say specific Teacher words acknowledging the person and plan of incarnation. If this ‘profession of faith’ produces an internal image of Mercy generality—an ‘indwelling Holy Spirit’—he is accepted as a bona-fide Christian. He is then given the promise that, when he dies, the Mercy specific of his personal identity will be able to live within the Teacher general order of ‘heaven.’

But why a ‘recipe’? Because that is what you get when you have specific Teacher words backed up by Mercy importance: “Say these specific words; they have the power to save you.” Thus, the primary goal of Protestant Christendom has become getting people to follow this ‘recipe’ so that they can ‘go to heaven when they die’ and avoid the fate of ‘hell.’

That brings us to the second point of endorsement. How can potential ‘Christians’ be encouraged to say the ‘magic words’ and become ‘consumers of incarnation’? Through endorsement—having some person associated with important Mercy experiences say specific Teacher words that endorse the specific Teacher words of the Holy Bible. For instance, just recently, a major Christian organization ran an advertising campaign in my area showing famous people publicly stating their support for Christianity.

This leads to a spread of Teacher idolatry. It began with the message; it now affects the marketing of this message. Do Christian marketing experts really believe that there is a God just because some Olympic athlete states publicly that He exists? No. Most Christian leaders would shrink back from publicly acknowledging such a crass conclusion. Instead, they will declare that ‘the end justifies the means’: “If it causes even one person to make a profession of faith and be saved from hell, then it is all worth it.”[63] In other words, the recipe of incarnation justifies the marketing of religious endorsement. But is this marketing really necessary? If applying the message of incarnation to the objective realm has transformed our world and turned our society upside-down, then maybe the message of incarnation is more than just a religious incantation. Maybe it is a doorway to something so incredible that it is literally ‘out of this world.’ But discovering this ‘more’ requires Perceiver logic and confidence, which contradicts the blind 'faith' of a mystical recipe.

Now place endorsement-supported blind 'faith' within today’s context, in which music plays such a major role. If modern music touches Mercy feelings so deeply, it makes sense that Christian marketing will use it to ‘endorse’ its message. How? By adding ‘Christian words’ to the music of society.

But how could ‘conservative Christians’ ever be convinced to accept ‘the rock-and-roll music of the devil.’[64] Through a back-door entrance made possible by blind 'faith.' I suggest that a loud bass line and a strong beat are the musical counterparts to the two fundamental weaknesses of Christianity. First, its Perceiver truths are ultimately rooted in the Mercy importance of a Holy Book. Similarly, a loud bass uses specific Mercy notes to impose the Perceiver facts of harmony. Second, it practices the Teacher idolatry of revering the specific Teacher words of an external book, just as a strong beat imposes a specific external Teacher pattern of sound upon the mind.

Thus, Christian 'believers' will find themselves subconsciously attracted to loud bass lines and strong beats. And, if anyone questions the marriage of ‘God’s word’ to ‘Satan’s music,’[65] then they will respond that it is being used to ‘attract the youth to Christianity.’ Thus, the music of blind 'faith' will be justified by the marketing of blind 'faith.' But, the actions of these 'believers' will demonstrate that this argument is just a smoke screen. That is because music with a loud bass and a strong beat will not be quarantined to youth meetings. Instead, it will gradually make its way onto the podium where it will become the accepted musical style for ‘worshipping God.’ (A church that does not appeal to popular musical style will no longer appeal to the next generation while a church that does pander to popular musical style will end up with a nonverbal message that contradicts its verbal message.)

Meanwhile, secular society continues on its ‘alien’ path of increasing inhumanity. A Christianity of personal transformation could stem the tide, but not a blind 'faith' of incantation, marketing, and pop music. How will 'believers' respond to this secular onslaught? By using Mercy importance to reinforce their specific Teacher words. This will lead to the approach known as ‘spiritual warfare,’ in which one ‘battles the enemy’ by speaking ‘words of faith’ backed up by Mercy experiences full of religious fervor. This change in attitude will be reflected in the music, which will become strident, angry, and adversarial.

Now there is essentially no difference between the 'believer' and the teenager: Both have been imprisoned by ‘the system,’ both have no way out, and both respond with similar music. The words of ‘Christian music’ may be less obscene, but nobody really listens to the words anymore. That is because the method of blind 'faith' has swallowed up thecontent of pseudo-transformation.

Before we leave the topic of music, I would like to look briefly at the path of modern classical music. In order to understand this progression, we need to review the relationship between music, Mercy feelings, and Teacher emotions.

Our discussion of music began with the Mercy element of musical tone, and we saw that a melody corresponds to personal identity. We then used Perceiver thought to build a framework of harmony within which melody could reside. Finally, we looked at music from the viewpoint of Teacher thought and realized that the musical structure we had created was full of Teacher order-within-complexity. Thus, music contains explicit Mercy feelings combined with implicit Teacher emotions. In other words, it is a structure rooted in Mercy feelings which also creates Teacher emotions.

But that is not the end of the story. We also saw that it is possible to add Teacher emotions directly to music, through the use of beat and rhythm. It is this distinction between internal and external Teacher structure, I suggest, which distinguishes classical music from popular music.

Classical music, on the one hand, is an acquired taste. This is because it contains internal Teacher order. Thus, a listener will only be able to sense these Teacher feelings if his mind contains the Perceiver and Server content that is needed to reproduce this Teacher order. For those without this mental content, classical music will be ‘over their heads,’ in the same way that a mathematical theory means nothing to those who do not understand mathematics.

So, what type of content is required to enjoy Western classical music?[66] Our analysis of music gives an answer to this question. If the structure of Western classical music corresponds to the mindset of personal transformation, then obviously those who have experienced personal transformation will appreciate Western classical music and those who have not will not.

This does not mean that a classical music lover has undergone complete personal transformation. The personal change may be limited to a small fragment of his personality. For instance, Josef Mengele, the Nazi concentration camp doctor, would often whistle a Wagnerian air as he chose the victims for the gas ovens. However, biographers tell us that while he was a monster, he was also a polite monster. His classical taste, I suggest, appealed to this politeness; it helped to keep alive the sliver of humanity that remained amidst the carnage of burning bodies, in the same way that his ‘medical office’ was a beacon of cleanliness amidst the filth of the concentration camp.[67]

On the other hand, popular music does not require a ‘trained ear.’ Unlike classical music, which emphasizes Teacher structure and downplays Teacher rhythm, popular music is usually much simpler, and invariably contains a ‘good beat.’ It may be the type of music to which you can ‘tap your foot,’ it may be ‘foot-stompin’ music, or in the extreme, the beat may reach out and grab you by the throat. In contrast, one of the ‘unspoken rules’ of orchestra playing is that you never, ever, tap your foot. Only amateur players commit such a crime. If you ever do allow your foot to move with the music, those who are around you will soon turn and glare at you.[68] Why? Because Western classical music contains internal Teacher order; its beat is internal.

In general, popular music contains far less Teacher structure than classical music. Popular music can also be categorized according to its depthof Mercy feelings. The ballad, for instance, places great emphasis upon melody and tone, and can contain great Mercy subtlety and sensitivity. This type of music usually avoids a strong beat, because it does not want Mercy feelings to be jarred by the intrusion of Teacher noise. Rock music, in contrast, seldom contains any Mercy sensitivity. That is because the strong Teacher beat disrupts Mercy processing in the same way that it is difficult to do any delicate movements when stomping around the room in heavy boots.

And then there is country music. I suggest that it is the musical equivalent of a children’s toy. Just as these toys are painted in garish colors and made for clumsy hands, so country music lacks musical subtlety and is written in tones that twang. It has beat, but not too heavy; it has melody, but not too complicated; it has harmony that is simple, and structure that is straightforward. In a word, it is crass.

This musical unsubtlety, I suggest, explains the words of the typical country music song. Country singers always seem to be losing things and people. As the joke goes: “What do you get when you play a country song backwards? You get your job back, your girlfriend back, your dog back, and your pickup truck back.”

Why this focus upon personal loss? I suggest that it is a natural consequence of the mental innocence to which country music appeals. Those who follow childish Mercy desires inevitably get hurt. As I have mentioned many times in the book Higher Thought and Lower Motives, building identity upon a foundation of emotional 'facts' leads always to personal pain and suffering.

In general, I suggest that musical taste is a barometer of personal development. A person does not choose to enjoy a certain type of music. Instead, he will instinctively find that he is attracted to music that resonates with his form of mental content and that he is repelled from musical styles that violate his mental structure. If he enjoys a certain type of music, that means that somewhere within his mind, a compatible mental structure exists. This may only be a fragment of his mental programming, but it is present.

For example, I used to travel to Kelowna, in the interior of British Columbia, to play violin in the Symphony there. In one of the downtown blocks, there is a law office right beside a beer and wine store and a popular pub. Every time I walk by the door to the law office at night, I hear the same CD of Bach solo cello suites being played. Why? I was told by someone who knows the owners of the office that the music of J. S. Bach, with its internal Teacher structure, is the most effective teenage repellant that they could find.

Using this idea of musical taste as a ‘barometer,’ let us now examine modern classical music. By this, I am referring to the type of music which ‘high-brow’ composers have been writing for the last century.[69] If anything is an ‘acquired taste,’ it is modern classical music. Let me explain why.

First, modern classical music lacks harmony. In other words, it does not follow Western rules of chord progressions. Instead, it revels in strange chord juxtapositions and feels no need to achieve harmonic resolution.

Second, chords themselves are missing. This is because the music does not build its note clusters upon natural intervals, but rather chooses to build its pieces around other intervals.

Third, it lacks key. In musical terms, it is polytonal. It does not stick to the notes of a certain scale, or build the piece around some home note, but feels free to choose any note that it pleases whenever it pleases.

Fourth, it has no melody. In other words, it is very difficult to go home ‘whistling the tune’ after you hear a modern piece. This is because it does not shape its notes into a smooth Server sequence, but rather leaps awkwardly from one note to another.

Fifth, the beat is usually absent. Percussive instruments usually play a major role in modern classical music. However, the time signature is continually changing, leading to disruptions of beat. In other words, it is impossible to dance or march to the music. In musical terms, it is polyrhythmic.

The end result is a very strange form of music. First, it emphasizes Teacher order, but lacks Teacher content. As a form of classical music, it demands a trained audience—listeners who have the mental tools that are needed to analyze and appreciate such music. But, by rejecting the traditional elements of Western classical music, it finds itself trying to build its Teacher castles without any Perceiver stones.

Thus, modern classical music has destroyed itself. It is structure without structure. Composing it is difficult. This is because when Teacher content is missing, then Exhorter excitement takes over. And, what attracts the attention of Exhorter thought? Novelty. Thus, each composer must somehow manage to write something that is completely new. In some way, he must be novel.

The same attitude can be seen in modern art in general. A modern painter may place three colored stripes on a canvas and then sell the painting for several million dollars to an art gallery.[70] Why? Because he was the first to come up with this idea; the first to have the audacity of pretending that there was deep intellectual order in the reproduction of a European flag.

Second, modern classical music attempts to affect Mercy identity without using Mercy emotions. We have seen that music begins with Mercy thought; it is a non-verbal expression of personal identity. By definition, music reflects me. But, modern classical music has removed all of the elements of music which relate to me. Without a key, me has no home. Without chords, me has no self-image. Without melody, identity goes nowhere, and without harmony, there is no personal progress or change. Finally, without a beat, me has no heart, no timekeeper to keep identity moving.

As a result, modern music has lost its audience. Music appeals to people because it touches their subjective feelings. But, what point is there in listening to music which does not touch you personally? It is meaningless, empty. The same transition has occurred in modern art. What is the personal element of visual art? Well, what defines the person? Perceiver self-image. Likewise, Perceiver object detection defines the objects which surround the person and with which he interacts using the object of his physical body. Thus, when modern art becomes abstract, it becomes impersonal; it loses its human dimension.

Why has modern music, along with modern art in general, become this way? I suggest that it is a barometer of a society that is turning inhuman.[71] First, we live in a society full of Teacher order. Everywhere we look there is organization, infrastructure, and integration. And yet, the Perceiver content used to build modern civilization has largely rotted away. Law, order, facts, personal integrity, knowledge, and conscience are all concepts of the past, known more in the present for how they are broken than how they are kept. Instead, what maintains this Teacher order is Server specialization. Each person acquires a skill and knows what he has to do in order to keep things running.

But why has the Perceiver content faded away? Because it was based upon revealed 'truth;' it was assumed to be 'true;' people were mesmerized in 'believing' it. Thus, as the rational logic of science and technology spread, these 'truths' were called into question. Similarly, the modern composer rejected the traditional rules of Western classical musical precisely because he viewed them as traditional rules. He did not accept that they were rooted in unchanging principles of natural law. Thus, all that remained was Server specialization—coming up with a sequence of notes that hadn’t been used before.

Second, we live in a world that focuses upon people while suppressing the individual. Like music, the major elements of our modern consumer society are rooted in Perceiver facts and personal integrity. Science demands that people approach the physical world with Perceiver confidence. Technology builds its devices out of parts whose Perceiver shape, integrity, and connections are extremely well defined. Capitalism assumes a world of Perceiver-defined individuals who follow Perceiver feelings of reasonableness and who interact on the basis of Perceiver rules of law and order. Finally, a consumer society builds devices that satisfy the emotional needs of individuals.

And yet, as big continues to swallow up small, the individual is getting squeezed out. Scientific thought coalesces into group oriented schools of thought. Technology is used to support big government and to suppress the individual. Capitalism turns into big business and big labor. Consumers turn from individuals into market groups that are demographics slices of the general population.[72]

So where is our society heading? I suggest that the history of modern classical music itself provides an indication of what will happen to society in general. In essence, this highbrow ‘unmusic’ has become supported by an elite few who impose it upon a general population that finds it increasingly distasteful.

For instance, most professional orchestras survive through government funding. In Canada, an orchestra must play a certain percentage of ‘Canadian works’ in order to qualify for this funding. In practice, this means that most concerts must contain at least one modern classical piece. Why does ‘Canadian content’ imply ‘modern classical music’? I asked this question of someone in the know and was told that playing a Canadian work which sounds too traditional is regarded with suspicion by the powers that be. In order to be regarded as truly ‘Canadian classical music,’ a piece must sound sufficiently modern. This can put an orchestra in a real bind. If it plays too much modern music, it loses its audience. But, if it plays too little, it loses government funding.

Government mandarins aren’t the only ones who promote modern classical music. I also find that professional musicians usually enjoy playing it far more than most audiences appreciate hearing it. Why? Because they also have turned partially inhuman. For them, playing music is ‘just a job;’ the Mercy enjoyment has often departed. Instead, all that remains is the Teacher pleasure that comes from performing novel and challenging works.[73]

Thus, we can draw the following lessons from modern classical music: Inhumanity is promoted by those who are in charge of big bureaucracy, and it is propagated by those who work within this bureaucracy. It is then imposed upon the general population, who then vote with their feet by looking for something that is more human. Do the escaping masses find humanity? Generally speaking, no. Instead, inhumanity discovers a new ‘market group’ and turns the masses’ place of refuge into another facet of ‘the system.’ What began as rage against the system becomes part of the system. Slowly but surely, this cycle turns the system itself into a system of rage, the basis for a fascist state.


[1] I am not exaggerating. This is really how I feel. I have also met other trained musicians who have similar reactions. I have often wished that my body were equipped with ‘earlids.’

[2] To compound matters, I have perfect pitch. Thus, for instance, I am not just being plagued by the drone of a lawnmower, I am being bombarded by an incessant F sharp that is slightly flat with a B natural overtone, which drops to a E flat with an A flat overtone when the lawnmower hits heavy grass. Try to ignore that.

[3] Speaking of ‘minor,’ have you ever noticed that almost all rock music is in a minor key?

[4] Right inferior cortex.

[5] These basic concepts can be found in harmony textbooks. I have simply translated the ideas into the language of mental symmetry.

[6] This is consistent with the general premise that Teacher and Mercy strategy feel good when items are related and feel bad when they are dissimilar.

[7] In this example, the home note is A-440. We could choose any other pitch as our home note.

[8] I should point out something which we will see repeated several times during our look at music. Our examination of the musical scale began by looking at Mercy and Perceiver thought. We started with musical tones—which are interpreted by Mercy thought—and then attempted to organize these tones into Perceiver categories. This gave us a partialanalysis of the musical scale. We then adjusted the size of the frequency steps between each of the notes in the scale so that they were all equal. This involves Server thought, for it is Server strategy which looks for similar sequences. Thus, we finished our analysis of the scale by using Teacher and Server thought.

[9] This is the technical musical term for these intervals. They are the perfect fourth, the perfect fifth and the octave.

[10] A semi-tone is the gap between one note and the next.

[11] Which is 2/1 divided by 1.059.

[12] I strongly suggest sitting down at a piano and playing these intervals in order to get a feeling for them.

[13] Remember that Perceiver strategy organizes Mercy memories based upon similarity and difference.

[14] If the third note is not halfway between the other two, the chord sounds off balance and feels like it should resolve into balance. In other words, Perceiver thought decides which notes are related and Server thought makes sure that the intervals between these notes are equal. Notice that, as with the scale, Server processing modifies the thinking of Perceiver thought.

[15] Remember that pitch operates logarithmically. Therefore, 1.225 x 1.225 = 1.5.

[16] By the way, it is interesting to note that Arabic music solves this problem by modifying its musical scale. In Arabic music, the interval of 1.225 does exist, a ratio which falls halfway between the minor and major thirds of the Western scale.

[17] This also explains how the mind perceives musical tone. The harmonics of a note do not change the note itself but rather affect the ‘color’ of this note.

[18] It is also possible for a chord to be ‘inverted.’ This happens when the fundamental note of the chord is played up an octave and another note of the chord is the lowest note. In this case, the mind will find the ‘lowest common denominator by mentally moving the fundamental note down an octave. If a fundamental is implied but not actually present, the mind will actually add it to the harmonics in order to complete the note.

[19] In musical terms, a perfect cadence is V – I. For instance, in the key of C major, the perfect cadence is the G chord followed by the C chord.

[20] So, B natural and D flat are the two notes that are closest to C.

[21] In musical terms, the third of the V chord.

[22] And as we shall see in a moment, scales.

[23] Musical theory calls this modulating.

[24] The type of walking may vary, and sometimes it feels as if one ‘leg’ is shorter than the other, however, the sense of walking is still present: downbeat, upbeat, downbeat, upbeat…

[25] Why not fill in the gap between 4/3 and 3/2. Because we want to restrict ourselves to the notes which define the home key, and the ‘devil’s interval’ of 1.414 does not define the key.

[26] If this logic sounds childish, then go to the piano and try playing a scale with larger intervals. It sounds ‘wrong’ and loses the continuity that defines ‘scaleness.’ 

[27] Just a reminder. When dealing with ratios, all musical intervals are not identical. Thus, for instance, the step from 6/5 to 5/4 is smaller than the jump from 5/4 to 4/3. Equal tempered pitch makes all semi-tones identical by moving the intervals slightly away from the exact fractions. However, it is still the fractions which define the musical relationships. Any professional musician will tell you that there is always a struggle between true and tempered pitch.

[28] Again, I suggest trying this on a piano and listening to the results.

[29] Yes, I know. This emotion is provided by Mercy strategy, and not by the note. But, it feels as if the unnatural interval wants to resolve. That is because a melody represents me and thus the mind ascribes to it attributes of identity.

[30] Remember that the mind treats the octave as essentially identical to the unison. In other words, twice the frequency of the home note is regarded as equivalent to the home note.

[31] In musical terms, this is called raising the leading note of the minor key. This produces the harmonic minor scale. The other solution is the melodic minor scale, which preserves the step size by raising both the leading note and the note before it—if the scale is heading in the upward direction. In contrast, both of these notes are left unraised when heading in a downward direction (because now the ‘leading note’ begins the journey away from home).

[32] The melodic minor of A can be played using only white keys—in the downward direction.

[33] Sorry. Here the word ‘key’ refers to the physical parts of a piano ‘keyboard.’

[34] Further chords, such as the seventh and the ninth, can be generated by continuing to jump ‘two white keys’ to the right.

[35] Some composers were Facilitator persons. This makes sense because Facilitator mode operates with Contributor information.

[36] If I use other chords, this is a musical cue that I am making a transition to another key.

[37] We have seen that the notes of a scale are labeled I, II, III, IV, etc. This same labeling is used to define musical intervals. Thus, an interval of a ‘fourth’ would be the fourth note on a scale beginning on the bottom note. In other words, a fourth corresponds to the ratio 4/3 and a fifth to the ratio 3/2. 5/4 is a major third, 6/5 is a minor third, 8/5 is a major sixth, and 5/3 a major sixth. These are the natural intervals.

[38] If the individual parts move in different directions, then they imply different melodies. This sounds fine.

[39] And bass, because harmony defines the bass.

[40] This describes accurately the behavior of slime. It is not solid, but sticks to my body, gives when I push against it, and moves along with me when I move.

[41] At precisely this moment, I am hearing an example of this blaring from a car radio outside my window.

[42] That means starting on a G.

[43] As a Perceiver person, I am extremely aware of chord transitions. Thus, playing music ‘by ear’ with a pianist literally feels to me like being driven through a town. Each musical chord is a ‘street,’ and the chord transitions are ‘intersections.’ At each ‘intersection,’ my sense of harmonic Perceiver reasonableness tells me which ‘directions’ we could turn. In my experience, there are three types of pianists. The predictable ones always choose the ‘main road.’ Playing with them is safe but boring. In contrast, an accomplished pianist will often head down some back ‘alley,’ introducing me to new musical terrain. Playing with such a musician is interesting but challenging. Finally, there are those who have skill but lack musical knowledge. Musically speaking, they are constantly driving across a field, or taking a shortcut across someone’s back yard. I try to avoid these, because they are frustrating and musically painful.

[44] This is literally true. Whenever I play a symphony ‘pops’ concert, the person playing the drum set is usually placed in the middle of the stage, right in front of the conductor.

[45] Sometimes the beat is so loud that it goes beyond mental Teacher pain to physical discomfort.

[46] But why would someone choose to get poked with a ‘sonic needle’? Good question. We will address it in the next section.

[47] Almost all American pop music contains a strong, repetitive ‘kick’ on the off-beat.

[48] For instance, we march to the beat of a march, and waltz to the beat of a waltz.

[49] In ethnic and folk dancing, one often sees the foot being put down on the downbeat.

[50] Thus, Christianity becomes reduced to the task of waiting a second before bringing my hands together.

[51] A musical note is the mental equivalent of me. A melody is a sequence of changing notes, just as physical movement occurs as my physical identity changes location. Spontaneous movement responds to the feelings of the moment, without using Perceiver facts or maps to guide movement. Similarly, chant sings a melody that is unrestricted by Perceiver facts of scale, harmony, or form.

[52] How can the chant of rap be spontaneous if it contains words? Do not words imply Perceiver meaning and Server grammar? Yes, they do. However, the words of rap are mainly emotional connotation words, and the speech is a pseudo-random recitation of words, free of grammar. Thus, the speech of rap is a verbal form of Zen.

[53] If the soloist is not playing or singing the melody, then he has to share the spotlight with the person who does have the melody. As a result, a melody will only be taken away from the soloist for short periods of time.

[54] This book has shown us that the relationship between the individual and the group is an extremely important topic.

[55] As a Mercy person, my mother has never really appreciated the music of Bach. Why? Because the melody is usually buried within the harmony.

[56] Over the years, I have been involved in a few recordings. More than once, I have discussed precisely this issue with others. I prefer a ‘richer’ mix, in which all of the instruments can be heard. This usually collides with a general consensus that the soloist should be front and center.

[57] The violist in our string quartet has written many of our arrangements. She makes a point of ensuring that the melody is shared between the four instruments.

[58] Is hero worship good or bad? It depends upon the hero and the results of worshipping him.

[59] In order to reach this conclusion, one only has to read the labels on the little boxes that the guitarist uses to modify the sound of his guitar.

[60] In the short term, such a church can still help individuals to grow mentally. In the long term, though, it will destroy itself.

[61] I know exactly how this feels. It is infuriating to express your deepest feelings musically and then have the audience smile and clap—and leave totally unchanged.

[62] Apparently, rap music began as taunts that prisoners shouted to their prison guards.

[63] We have seen that ‘the end’ involves the human realm of Mercy objects, whereas ‘the means’ is associated with the ‘other world’ of Teacher structure. Thus, if Christianity involves contact with the ‘other world,’ then the end never justifies the means.

[64] Why is it ‘of the devil’? Because it slanders both the order of society and the significance of humanity.

[65] Why is it ‘Satan’s music’? Because it is deeply adversarial.

[66] Other cultures also have a form of ‘classical’ music which generates feelings of general Teacher order.

[67] This mental combination is consistent with my suggestion that fascism is a decay from civilization.

[68] Seriously. I am not exaggerating.

[69] Classical composers are now slowly moving back to more traditional forms of music.

[70] This story made the Canadian newspapers a few years ago.

[71] During the early 20th Century, a number of composers wrote musical works that explicitly celebrated the ‘machine age.’

[72] Notice again the flipping of modes. Teacher generality turns into Server defined Teacher specifics, while Mercy specifics give way to Mercy generality.

[73] Many professional musicians consider it ‘beneath their dignity’ to play popular works.