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A S E A R C H FOR AWAKENED

LISTENING

DAVIDHYKES

111 the beginning WCLS ci sound-or the Logos, fi you prefer

T
HIS remark by G. I. Gurdjieff, as well as other telling observations
on sacred chant, was remembered by Sir Paul Dukes, who as a young
music conservatory student knew Gurdjieff in Moscow in the early
IWk. He describes the practical demonstration that followed: Curdjieff
placed the student’s hand against his own chest and proceeded to chant the
I mrd’s Prayer in a special way, intoning the entire text in one long breath, on
;I single note. The young man reported feeling something like an electric ciir-

ixsnt. Apparently the art of chanting was yet another sacred sciencr of wliicli
(hrdjieff had a practical mastery.
Curdjieff said the Logos was

a souid. The first sound. ‘I’he tlcc,pest souiid. What you might call t l w
world’s tonic note. . . . Tile point is that whcn there wasn’t yct ally l a i i -
guagr there can’t Iiave beeri aiiy words and there can’t have bccii any
names in the ordinary sense. . . . By trainiiig you can prodii
ble echo of the soiind because cvcry octave is a replica at
levcl of cveiy other octav

Like light, musical sound energy is a blended spectrum of p i r e frecpeii-


cies, which in music are called liarrnonics or overtones. This prirnordial scale
governs the structure of every rnusical sound. Every note, whether chantrd,
sung, or played, is a blend of these pure tones.
Within any such fundamental note, or “1,”a particnlar series of these
other notes appears, like light refracted through a prism. These highcr
sou& are from the harmonic series, which corresponds to the infinite series
of whole numbers starting from 1.
Besides being universal to musical sound, the harmonic series is an innate
part of the entire crcation, a s much so as light, relativity, gravity, and heat. All
Lvave-like energies take the form of the harmonic series in responsivr bodies
an(] space, and the inatrrial universe is formed froin the infinite iirteniul rela-
tionships of this series. A study of these seemingly simple vibratoiy relation-
ships can lead, in iniisic and elsewhere, t o fruitful conteinplation of the ori-
gin and nature of things.
Physicist David Hohm has even siiggested that this creation was brought
into being through energies coming together in the relationships of the har-
monic series. In this vicw, such a harmonizing of disparate energies mad(,
possible a unified wave of “sinnmation” which, in cresting, crratetl the uni-
verse.2 Thus the beginning of the universe, and therefore of life, may not
have been the random accident that science generally speaks of, but thcb
i-esiilt of the coming together of hai-monious forces on an infinitely vast seal(-.
The echoes of that first moment still resound. Astrophysicists measure thow
harmonic echoes resonating everywhere in the creation, from every dircv
tion. It is no coincidence that astronomers and physicists like Dominiqiic-
Proust and Basarab Nicolescu have found such terms a s the “Great Sound” ;I
better evocation of that initial vibration than the “Hig Bang.”
Perhaps not only is there a music of the spheres; perhaps musical laws
helped serve their very coming into being. In this broader sense, inusic coiilcl
be understood as the linmiwiiic wwvcrrwcnt ($energy, and musical laws-beyotic I
their everyday uses in life on earth-as the carrier waves of the creation.
In music, through its interaction with what Gurdjieff called the “law 01’
octaves”-by which what is “above” and what is “below” can be related ;ultl
attuned-the harmonic scries is revealed as the source of melody, liar-inoi~y,
and rhythm.
in the beginning of my work on harmonic chant with the Harmonic ( ~ l i o i i
iii the 1970s, I was inspired musically by the ancient sacred chanting of 111c-

Gvrito and Gyurne Tibetan Buddhist monks; by the Iiooirii singers 01


Mongolia; and by the overtone singers of Tuva, the Russian central Asiiiii
iqxiblic adjoining Mongolia. Interest in harmonics, in what is calletl ~’ii I \ \
intonation” (nontempered tuning systems), was widespread i n cont(~inl)oi :it y

music, but this music from central Asia seemed t o go fiii-tlier.


I felt that the universality of l r a r i r i o n i c soiind Yliowv(1 c~striior(Iii1~ii-v1)ow
Iiilities, wlrich go beyond t h r iisiial x*stlic+c cliic.stioiis 01’ (.iiItiii-(*, I:kiigii:t~;c*,
;LII(] styl(,. I t srerncd to IIK’ that t I i ( % (I( I( ’1) III( It ( )I‘II i(’s( 1)( )ssiI )iI i Iic.5 )I I11 I
h i I (,(

I(,;i(I~ow:ii~(I ;I II(W gloI):il s : i ( m ~ Iiiiii\i(,, ill III(. ~III(Y~IIOII 01’ \VII:II ( ;III(I~I,.II
, ,111~Y1 ‘ol,pY~ll\~
1 1 (1 1~1 ~ 1 ( ’ ’ ’
Gurdjieff‘s finely tuned teaching makes very significant use of iniisic. M iisic,
and musical laws were for him a perfect symbol of the structure and fiinctioniirg
of the entire creation and of the inner life of man. The music Giirdjieff‘< I ~ Y Y -
oped with his dmiple, the Russian composer Thomas de Hartmann, ein1)otlic.s
magnificently Gurdjieff‘s teaching of what he called “the laws of vibration.”
The Gurdjieff/de Hartmann music has a very special quality, which can h
felt depending upon the state we are in as we listen. It is unmistaka1)ly irirrsic
of‘ a certain time and place. But if one listens very attentively within :mtl
beyond the music’s inevitable and natural relationship to cultiiral circiiiri-
stances, there are the harmonic vibrations of another kind of time, anothc,r
kind of place-that of sacred listening, of inner work.
Krishnamurti said, near the end of his long and extraordinary life, that he
felt he’d mostly been singing to the deaf. One positive way to interpret this
comment, directed toward us, is to barn to 1i.sten. I feel work on listening to
be the main opportunity that music provides. Work on listening seems to ine
t o be an absolute key to the awakening we need to bring to life in oiirselves
and on this planet. Attunement, or work toward harmony, depends first of all
on a transformed listening.
Harmonics correspond, I think, to what Gurdjieff called “inner octaves,”
referring both to miisical sound and to the vaster resonance of the cosmos.
They are the genetic inaterial of all miisical sounds, and in their infinite com-
I inations in the realins of scale, melody, harinony, and rhythm, are the under-
lying basis of all music. The series is potentially infinite. But in any musical
sound only a certain number of harmonics are present and only up to a cer-
tain point in the series, depending on the quality and loudliess of the souiitl
and on the characteristics of the vibrating body producing it.
Very often, we do not really hear what harmonics there may be, becaiise
of oilr coiiditioned, habitual listening. The effect of this conditioned listening
is that we vary, as individuals, and even iis whole civilizations, in oiir sensitiv-
ity to harmonics, and to harmony. Perhaps the range i n n d inagnitiide of h a -
iiiony obtaining in any particular sphere of activity is directly related to the
cliiality of listening or attunement. In any case, what music or lift c m eqiia-
ly help 11s measure is the presence i n 11s of a /writionic listciiirig, sensitive to
tlifferent levels of harmony.
Ilarmony comes from above. Any two notes which are in 1i;irinony shin-e ;I
Iiigher liarinonic. In f i i c t , all the notes ~ 7 tend e to sing or play 21s hnririony can
I N , sc-en rjiiite literitll?.;IS projections tlownwarcl from a common higher liar-
iiioiiic “ I ” t l i r ? . all s11xe.I I a r i t i o i i y :iiiioiig cliffrrcwt i i o t c s or vitxations can lie
i i i : i ( l ( * f‘iii(-i.t 1 1 r o i 1 ~ 1i1~ \ ~ ~ ~ i i -01’~ ~t lii ii s( ~“ Is ’’s ; i l ) o \ ( , , ;I liigli(Lr I i ~ i r i i ~ o i soiircc ii~~

1 1 0 k t - (‘0111111011 I 0 ( Y N . 1 1 lllll(-l N ~ l ( l \ \ , , A \ ( . I \ ’ t 1 , Y . l ’ 11;11 l 1 l 0 l l \ ’ (‘:Ill I N , l;)1111(1 :1lso

\\,,,II l U ~ I , l \ \ , t I I ( . ; N . t l l . l l i 1 0 t t 3 , \ \ I l ( ~ l I . \ I N . \ \ll.I,l. < I\ 1 1 1 1 l 1 . 1 1 1 1 1 0 1 1 1 ( ’ 1 1 1 o l


In bringing the harmonics more strongly to life through harmonic chant,
the voice acts as a kind of sonic prism and lens, “refracting” and focusing thr
harmonic notes, otherwise masked in the overall timbre.
A chosen starting note, or do, is called d s o “the first harmonic,” the “fun-
damental” (note), or the “1”.It is the tuning reference for the harmonics
above ancl the subharmonics below. As whole number iniiltiples of the fre-
qiiency of the 1,these harmonics can all be expressed as fractions or musical
intervals in relation to the 1,a s for example 2/1, 31, 41. In other words, they
appear at frequencies twice as high, three times as high, four times, and so
on. . . . The hnrmonics of, say, a middle C tiined to 264 cycles per second art‘
numbered and named by the whole numbers, beginning with 1 (for C itself),
then 2, 3, 4 and so on. . . . The first harmonic in the example given is the (:
itself at 264 cycles per second (cps); the second harmonic, or “2”,is twice th(.
frequency, 528 cps, and therefore an octave higher, i.e., again C; the thirtl
harmonic, or “3”,is C: at 792 cps, and s o on.
In many instruments, such as gongs and bells, the inass or tension o f the*
vibrating medium actually pulls the harmonics sharp or flat relative to tlic.
pure proportions of the series. “Harmonicity” is the balance of three factors
in vibrating bodies: sounding length or mass, tension, and diameter. The tell-
sion is too high, for example, in the strings of the piano, pillling the lrar-
monics sharply out of tune; lowering the overall tuning even a half-tone &:I-
matically improves the harmonicity. The harmonics of the voice, on the o t l w
hand, are absolutely in tune.
Mysteriously, there are no harmonics along the vertical axis between ‘’ I ‘’
and “2”, measuring a perfect octave distance, a void. “1”and “2” are like, tll,*
Below and the Above, like earth and Heaven. The ancient Egyptians h t l il
saying: “All the Creation can be found between 1 and 2.”
This observation can be studied musically in a practical way. All harriioii-
ics, even veiy high ones, can be transposed by ear and/or nnmber downw;ii.,I
into this basic “prime” octave space between 1 and 2 and come to life as I1111
damental notes, thanks to what Gurdjieff called “the law of octaves.” G i v t . 1 1 ;I
“1”to be tiined to, every vibration has a place. This provides an extraorcli-
narily rich language of musical expression in terms of modes, s ( d ~ ~ s ,
melodies, harmonies, and rhythins. It is an essential key to appreciating I 11,’
diversity of musical expression around the world. Its importance for IIIIISI(,
parullels that of the periodic table of elements for chemists, or that of’ 111,.
pure color spectrum for those who work with light.
One inay think of the infinite varic,tv of I i m n o n i c , s ;is flilliiig iiito S ( V ~ I I
i r i a i t i intrnd f;uriilic.s, do, rc, i t i i , /i/. ,so/,In, ; i i t c I .si. ‘ I h , c w ) t ( . r i c . oi-igiii

t l i ~ ~ sstc.1)~
c~ 1ti:iy I)(. t l i o i i f i l i t 01’ ;is l i ) i - i i i i i t ~ : i~ ( l i Ii I(~t-I),*i
c ~ ~ ~ o i 11) i~ I \ V I i o t 1 1 ~ , ,I
I I( ,\I .I 11I II:;I
,( ;I t I1 I ;IS(‘( ,III I I I I;: ( ‘ I ) \ I II I( ( J( .I I \ I ’ , I )I,EIII III IIg ;I II( I , .II( I i Iig III t /, ,, I1 )I
I
Do?~iinus-God, the Absolute. He is reginii coeli, queen of the heaven-the
moo11. hli is nricrocosiiios-earth and the human being. Fa is fatus-destiny,
the planets. Sol is tlie sun. La is lacten-the Milky Way. Si is .sidem, all tlie
starry heavens. A n d again
In some traditions, for example in the raga singing of North India, pat-
terns of melodic movement between 1 and 2 are understood as codes 01-
inaps for the relationship of energies moving throiigh different scales and
states in a human being. Of course, all this can only be real when every
important aspect of how we listen, of how we receive sound in the body, the
different centers of resonance and so on, all interact . . . harmoniously.
The first ascending harmonic after the mysterioiis octave leap between 1
;rnd 2 is 3, which sounds as .sol; 4 is do; 5 is rni; 6, being twice 3 , is therefore
;in octave of 3 and also sol; 7 a s i b ; 8, again do; 9 re; 10 again mi;11, a note
I)etsveen$i andfa#; 12, again .sol; 13, a Zd;14, the same as 7; 15, si; and 16,
again do; 17 a rd ; 18 again 1%; 19, r d ; 20, again mi;21, an approximatefu;
32, same as 11;23, fu##; and 24, again sol.
There are ascending and descending harmonic series. The harmonics in
tiirisical sound are ascending, in the sense that as they increase in fi-equency,
~lrepitch "goes tip" above the fundamental note, bnt notes and inverse scales
(~mespondingto the proportions of descending harmonic series (subhar-
iiionics) can also be generated and sung. For example, the musical distances
01' 211, 3/1, 4/1, and the like., in the ascending series are mirrored perfectly
1~ a descending harmonic series from the same note: 1/2, U 3 , 1/4. The musi-
V'IIdistances are identical, and of course the intervals are inverted (3/1 gives
VJ/ above rlo, while 1/3, its inverse, gives f a below d o ) . The two sets of har-
I i I( mics are complementary, and the multiplication of any harmonic interval

I w the corresponding subharmonic intervals always gives 1/1 (3/2 x 2/3 = 3/3
i/1, for example).
Even-numbered harmonics are repetitions of preceding harmonics, since
11ic.y are divisible by 2, and therefore sound as octaves. The octaves of 1, for
cwtriple, are 2, 4,8, 16, 32, 64, and so forth. They are the same note higher
1 1 1 ) . or, divided by powers of 2, lower down, as for example 1/2, 1/4, 1/8. Odd-

iiiiiiil)ered harmonics are new notes, appearing for the first time.
' l l i c harmonics are the pure, nontempered, truly in-tune versions of the

ttili(di-recluced and mistmed set of notes that, since Bach's time, has been
1.111 Iii-on(din 12-tone e ( p 1 teiriperanient. Already, in the 24 harmonics men-
I 11 liic~l,we find notes I d i cotisi(1miI)Iytlifferrnt from their tempered ver-
'.I( I I I S (5. 7 ) an(I/or iI\ikiio\vi\ i i r oiir i i s i i a I s c d c ~ s( 7 , I I , 13, 14).

'I'lic-tiiiijoi- seal(. ( Y ) I I I ( ~ S l ' t . o i i i III(.li;it.tiioiii(,s(hi-i(,s.//o ( I ), (!I), r t r i (ri),.Y(J/


I (, / r / ( 2 7 ) ;III(I .si (15) ( ' o i i i t ' I ' t o i i i 1 1 1 t * ;is(,,*ii(liitx Ii:iiiiiotii(.< ( ' I i t ' s , :iii(I/;/ (,I/:{)
~ioiii {I\(. ~ l t - s ( ~ ( * t i (w
l il i ti.~
t t ~1111. ''1'' I\ , l I , o \ , t ,
As one ascends into the harmonics (transposing/i-elating to 1 as one goes),
after the harmonic void of‘the first octave, there are more and more harmon-
ics per octave. In a next-higher octave of harmonics, there is always a new har-
monic between eveiy two adjoining harmonics from the preccding octave. For
example, 3 falls between 1 and 2; S between 2 and 3; 7 between 3 and 4. Finer
and finer gradations of the basic notes are found, and the steps are closer and
closer together. The musical difference between one harmonic and the next is
more and more in the realm of extremely subtle microtonality.
The idea of intervals in music, of hearing o n e note with another and per-
ceiving a specific harmony, can be seen as coming from the relationships of
the harmonic series. Any given note can be understood as being a harmonic,
and any given musical interval as the relationship between two harmonics.
Their basic relationship can be transposed and expressed as a simple whole
number ratio in the prime octave of 1 to 2.
All musical intends, a higher note with a lower note, come about in one
of the following three ways:

1. As the relationship between an ascending harmonic and the nearest 1


below as the lower note. Examples are 211 (the octave), 3/2 (the fifth),
5/4 (the perfect third). Mathematically, this can br expressed simply as
ldl, where h is any positive whole number, and where the denominator
is 1 or any of its octaves-2, 4,8 , and so forth.

2. As the relationship between a higher note corresponding to 1 or one of


its octaves and a descending harmonic of this 1 above. Mathematically,
this can be expressed as Uh, where a note corresponding to 1 is the
higher note, and the lower note corresponds to a harmonic projected
downward from this 1. An exaniple is 4/3, which defines the interval
called the fourth, do+. 1/3 is the third subharinonic of a series pro-
jected downward from the 1. Since 3 is an odd number, it is the 1 that
is transposed by two octaves, to 4.

3 . The third source of musical intervals, “when there is no 1,”is the har-
mony between two notes, neither of which is a 1 or an octave of 1. This
can be expressed as h,/h,. Examples would be the musical intervals 13/51,
7/5, and 9/7.
Without transposing, the first group of intervals hA, where 11 is any I X J S I -
tive whole nnmber, tends toward infinity as the Irmnoiiic. niiin1)er goes i i ~ )I I.I
infinity, one Irarmonic is iis Irigli ;IS t I i ( . i i ( ~ t. . . ;I sort ol’silciit i i i r i t y iii IIIV
A1)soliitc.. I I I t 1 1 ~s(w)nd . c‘;rs(~.iri(c.rv;rls ( ~ o ~ r ( ~ s ~ ) ot ioi ~1/11, l i i til~i o c ~ s ~ ~ r ~ ~ s
~ t . i i , l s~ o w r i ~ o
( I ;ipiii. ; I s01.1 01’ s i l ( . i i c ~ * .III 11i(. ( l i i i - c l l)ossiliility, I i i i i i i i g iioii I

l1.11111~1111(’\ I0 ,*XdI OllI,~l (111/11,,), 111,. l ~ ~ l l ~ l ~I ~~ Ul l l ~ ~~I ~lll l lI~IJIII


~ ~l ~ sl l 1 1 ~ Y ~ I l 0 1 1 \
With transposition, one can study all three “where one is,” in the middle, in
the prime octave between 1 and 2.
This possibility of attuning the harmonics to I, to any other note, or to one
another, means that the range of possible i n t e n d s and harmonies is as infi-
nite as the harmonics themselves, encompassing any whole number ratio.
The harmonics are thus the source of many intervals we do not know or use,
or have forgotten, of great musical interest.
T h e harinoriic series is, of colme, the source of the very limited number
of notes and intervals generally employed i n our scales, but they have been
de-tuned for the purposes of 12-tone equal temperament, in which no inter-
val besides the octave is really in tnne. In Fact, snch intervals are exclusively
based on the irrational number roots of 2 .
Melodic harmonics at least as high as sol 24 can be sung from the normal
register; in subharmonic chant, the harmonics can be in the 40s, some six
octaves above the fundamental. There are other audible accompanyng har-
monics virtually to the limit of hearing. In subharmonic chant, one can
cxtend down to just about 0. It could be said therefore that the voice can
cxtend from 0 upward a s high as one can hear. One may hear as inany as
seven sounds in the voice at any one time.
Harmonics too high to sing (in their original octave), but which represent
Iictorable numbers, such as 25, 49. 63, and 77, can be found by first singing
111efundamental note corresponding to a factor; the second factor, sung as a
Iim-monic of the first factor, gives the harmonic in question.
In Mongolia, I was told a “different” story about harmonics than that pro-
\,icled by science: a sacred waterfall in the mountains of western Mongolia
\\’;issaid to “sing” harmonics. Coming to that sacred place, people learned to
\iiig harmonics from Nature herself. The river below was called the Ruyan
( :iiI-Deer River-because whole herds of deer were also attracted by the
I~xritifulsounds and came to bathe in the waters. Singers of laoonai, the
hlongolian form of harmonic chant, were formerly said to be in contact,
IIi1.ough the songs, with “supernatural forces.” And so, in Mongolia, as in
‘1.1 I K I , the Russian republic across the Yenisey River, there are historical con-
iiix.tions between the chant and shamanism. For ourselves, we moderns, for
I I I ( . Iriost part so out of touch with Nature within and without, could under-
, ) I . I I I ( ~ that statement of contact as simply being in touch with natural forces-

I I i Ii)rces~ ~ of Nature.
IJiitki-stoodin this way, the harinonics heard and felt, beyond words, are
I I I ~I I(I ~ V p i r e inoiirrt;iitr s o i i t - c wlirrr ~ thc Mongolians say t h r y first appe;irrd.
1.1 I( ,\, ; i i . ( L I I I Y (li ~ ( Y . I (’xi)I (xsi() I I (11‘ 11;iti I 1x1I;Iw-;I sti-cxl1 1 of’ I ) i i i - ( b , ( Y )in i r i i I -
I i I i .,It I \ , ( , \,i1 I K I I i( )I I . ’1’1 I(. I I,I I I I I( I I I I ( ’ \ ( 11 III( I s( Y . I I IS s() I t I( .Ii i i I( .?; t ( ) C Y )I It ;Ii I I I I I ( , s(-( ,( I

Ill +Ill1111111(’, ;I I)lIl‘’ 1 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 . 1 1 1 1 ~ ~ t l l ~ ;l ll ol ll ll l ~ l s l l l l ;lI ~l l Ill(.\ ~ d I ( l~ N ~\l ~ O \\f ,


There is a direct reference in Gurdjieff‘s magnum opus, Beebebub’s Tales
to Hi.s Grandson, to a site, near “Chb,” now covered by the Gobi Desert of
Mongolia, where the arising of special sounds in the atmosphere inspired
construction of an astronomical obsei-~ator)~.~
There are two stories about the origins of the Tibetan form of chanting
very low notes with harmonics, which we call the siibharmonic chant. The
story I was told in Mongolia is that the Tibetan (and Mongolian) Buddhists
adapted the more ancient shamanistic Mongolian hooriii singing. Hooini
singing is wordless, sung solo in a baritone or tenor register with melodic har-
monics, whereas in the Buddhist liturgical chant, sacred texts are recited on
extremely low (sublmmonic) pitches by choirs of monks chanting generally
in unison, arid emphasizing generally one specific harmonic (sol 01- 7 n i ) . A
Tuvan form of secular harmonic singing, the kargiraa, a sort of subharmonic
hoorrii, also may have been an influence on the Buddhist development. The
other story is that the founder of the Gelugpa sect, Tsonkhapa, was taught
that special chanting by a rlakini (angel), while meditating.
Formerly, in the two leading monasteries of the Gelugpa sect, Gyuto and
Gyume, where a form of subharmonic chant is practiced, lamas were only
accepted after twenty years of preliminary training. Since the Chinese mas-
sacres and takeover of 1959, both iiionasteries exist, with difficulty, in India.
Many of the monks are now quite young.
My colleagues and I have brought a number of our own discoveries
together with work with the sources of harmonic chant in Tibet, Mongolia,
and Tuva. In order to serve the possibility of a unified, global field of‘
research, we have brought together this work along the following lines, whicli
we call the twelve levels of harmonic chant.
The first seven concern specifically the basic acoustical f‘xt of the har-
monic chant, the possible co-presence in the human voice of a fundamental
note and one or more harmonics; and the latter five, the extension of thesv
in musical practice.

1. The singer produces a held note \vith one or several harnionics.

2. The singer inoves the note and the harmonic together irielodically in
parallel harmony.

3. The singer produces soaring melodies and Iiarmonirs froin tlio I i w

monic series al,ove ;I fiinc1:itiiciitd notc, wliicli is the, “1 ” t ) ( y l o \ v 101-

tlrc. notc:s d ~ o v o T. l i i s \WLS iiisl)irc.tl I)y Moiigoli;ui / / o o t t L i siiigitig.

/I. ‘Ili<,sitigc.1- Iioltls ;I sl)(s(,il’ic, li:itiiioii1(, ;I> :I (II.oII(,, ;ill t l i c . \ v l i i l ( , siiigiiig


iii(,lo(li(,s III t 1 1 ( . i(~!;iiI:ii\,iii(,(, ‘I’IIIv~ iiii,lo(li(,\\\,ill I ) ( * I i i i I I I ( Y I ; I I I I ~ I I ~
1 .I 1 1 1 1 1 l 1 . 1 1 1 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 ’ \I’l 11’8 l l ( ~ l ( l \ \ , 1111. Ill.ltl 11;11 1 1 1 ~ 1 1 1 1 ~ ’\\~lll~.ll
1 1 1 , . l l ( l l ( ~( 11 . I\

Oil. I ” .lllll\,~
’ I O I 1 1 1 1 ~lllllll.lllll~llllll l l o l l ~ IlI.III\\.
~l
5. The singer inoves inelodically both the note and the harmonic, in
converging or diverpig directions. That is, the fundainental note
inay go down as tlie haririonic goes up, or the fundamental note may
go up as the liarmonic goes down.

6. The singer holds ;I low fundamental note (C below middle C, for


exairiple) ; i d “refracts” the notc downward by an octave, or (rarely)
by another suliharinotiic iiiultiple. ‘Hiis is subharinonic chant,
inspired by the Tibetan nionasterics of Gyuto and Gyume.
lkmnatetl suhharirionics, or undei-tones, rcplace the fundamental.
This low note (approx. 45-80112) is now the acoustic fundamental,
and six octaves of liaririonics above this sribliarinonic are available.
Subharinonic access is possible to Levels 1-5 and 7.

7. Vibration in the voice in addition to harmonics abovc tlie voice-


eveiything we otherwise call vibrato, trerndo, and ornameritatiori.

8. Harmonic modes-the generation and rise of scales and modes gen-


erated by transposition froin the Iiaririonic series.

9. I-Iarmonic polyrhythn-The study and usc of meters and rhythms


froin tlic harmonic series.

10. Harmonic chant in relation to clianted, intoned, or sung text.

11. Melody.

12. Harmony.

In many cultures it has been the role of music to help express a sense of
(lie harmony of the universe in which we live, the sense of a hummnic order
wliich one can aspire to in oneself, in spite of-in light of!--all shocks and
i Iaily contradictions. Could the fact of listening differently change one’s abil-

i t y to be open to the traditions, or to the inner search?


l‘lie traditional idea of music as a real link to the sacred is in modern times
iiiostly “hearsay.” The measure of a music is in how it can help transform the
\t;ite of our listening, focus it on essential coinmunication, and make the idea
()I’Iiarmony real.
I lere Gurdjieff‘s indications as to the level of perception of truth obtain-
. i I )I(\ throiigh sincere study of music are quite striking. He einbodiecl this

1 ) 1 iiic+c even in the naine of his center in France, the “Institute for the
1 I;iririonic 1 ) c v e l o l ) i i i r i i t o f Main.”“ 1 Iis writings are fill1 of indications c o w
( . ( . I iiiiig t11(* sc.ic.iic.cs of’ \ i l ) t ; i t i o i i , I~;iritiony,;urtl ( ~ ( ’ I I soii11(1, I ) i i t , ;is witli all
III(.I)III(.I.; i s l ) c ~ tol’liis
s l(,;i(,liiiiK, III(.I.(* IS 1 1 0 “III;IIIII;I~,”IIO “IiowIo ”I I ( . I<II(.\V
lll.11 clllcY,( ~ ~ 0 1 l t , l\\,Ill1 Ill(.
~ ~ 1 ,I l , ~ , l ~ ~ lI ,\ l l l ~ ,Ollh \\‘;I\’ I 0 (1111\. “ll(~;ll”11s I ( ’ \ ( )
1 l . 1 1 1 ~ ’ Ill
~ ~ 111,. \\dllbl,~I I I l I l l l ~ ~ 4 .~1 1l 1l l 1 o l l l ~ ’ -I >
ll(. 111: \ l , l l ~ ~ l l l l l~ l\\,ll(~ll
’ \l’ l ’ll~ ~ llll~\
resound in the moment, guard symbolic meanings which only actual experi-
ence can illuminate.
In Beebebub’s Tule.r, Curdjieff disciisses at length the possible ways one
can I-esearch the fundamental laws of the universe and of the human being.
I Ie emphasizes jiist how far certain kinds of miisic, the science of “the laws
of vihi-ation,”can help. A n d he widely eniploys miisical inetapliors to explain
the action of these cosmic laws on every scale. He stresses that the real aim
of research is the nttnirirrient of nriotlrer letid of hcirig.”
Gircijijieff praises the benefits of certain kinds of chanting, which lie says
bring to life a state of “echo” and “ceIitralization” in one’s beingi He describes
a sacred, cosmic law of the universe, given by the soiinds “AlEIOIUOA’:

There proceeds within ewiy ai-ising, large ; n i d small, \vhen in direct


touch with the eiiianations either of the Suti Absolute itself or of any
othclr S I I I I , what is cnlled “Remorse,” that is, a process, when cveiy part
that lias arisen froiii the results of any one IIoly Soiirce of the Sacred
Ti-iairrazik,iiiirio [law of tlircc], as it were, “rcvoks,” and “criticizes” the
former unlieconiing perceptions mcl the Innnifestations at the moment,
of another part (9Cits whole.8

Such remorse for one’s habitual way of being, a principal incentive in tlic.
seeker’s striving to be at some moments othenvise, is said elsewhere to be tlrc-
result of a special kind of listening sensitivity, called “Vibroechonitanko.”“
The art of‘ chanting, when it is correctly transmitted, seems particularly
siiitetl to helpjng a11 inner listening, an inner attention, a state of greater prcss-
ence to oneself, to appear.
Until 1 can listen better there is no hope that I can hear a teaching. S o
many enlightened beings, so many sacred tests! But until I can hear what I S
being said, and can hear it working within, it is as Gurdjieff said-like hc;ii.-
ing a bell “without knowing where the sound came from.”1°
Our listening is often so conditioned, so filled up with tlroughts and t(*ii-
sions, that it is as though we were deaf. The vibrations from subtler levels 01
our being, which Gurdjieff says are calling to us from within, go m o s t l y
unheard. However, these harmonics of the fundamental notes of our lives ; I I 1 ’
necessary; they give quite another meaning to the deep tunings and mistiiii
ings which come and go, day after day, in ourselves and with others . . . (
to our coming and going itself.
What is harmony? What is listc-iiing? What do I neetl t o liviir? W ~ I ; I I
shoiil(l I listen to? \Vhich (Iiwc+ioii i s t l i c . riglit O I K , ? Will a list(%iiiiig 1 ~ 4 1 )i i 1 1 8
s t c ~ Will ~ r ~I ~cx,lro w l i ( 8 i i I iiiii t l ( l ; i t l ’ * I ,ist(*iiiiigi s ;ilw;i\,s iii I ) I - C . S C . I I :iii,I
t I i ( 8 I.

l i ( , i i i g o i i ( ’ ol’ 0 1 1 1 . ( li t i III~.
i i i o s t \.it;il c,iic.tgii.s, IiLi. lii,,;iIli 11 15 i i ~ l ) l ( ~ i i i s l i (I ’~t o

~ , l l l‘ ,lO~ ( ’ ~ ’ ,I5 111,.


I l t~ Ill(. l ~ l , l , l11\,.11,
~ \\,Ill1 \ \ ~ 1 1 1 ~ ~ 1I11 I \ 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 . 1 t ( ~ 1 \ . ll~l<ll,Yl
An inspiring teaching is presented in Giirdjieffs written works regarding
this universe, life and our role, fiite, and place ;is human beings here on earth.
‘The basic language of this teaching, from top to bottom and from start to fin-
ish, is that of harmony, music, and vibration--and this on every scale, from
the most vast cosmic processes, to their most silent and secret echo in the
inner life of man. Gurdjieffs vision of the cosmos, and of man, was that of a
resounding scale or symphony of vibrations, which along an ayis mundi, like
a musical string, manifests every sort of transformation of the basic energy,
from finer to coarser and coarser to finer. The finest, most harmonic and
most complete primordial energy, the original Sound or Word of the uni-
verse, Chd saying HE!, in radiating oittward in what Gurdjieff calls the “ray
of creation,” through a series of “descending” octaves, brings galaxies, stars,
planets, and beings to life. In his \7iew, this same primordial energy passing
through everything finally rejoins its source, mounting through “ascending
(xtaves” through finer and finer states of vibration
In relation to the cosmos as a living, infinite system of circling, circulating,
and cyclic harmony, Gurdjieff saw man a s both a small unfortunate disso-
nance, as regards his ego, his “little I”, and as a microcosm of cosmic being,
which h e called “real I.” In helping us understand-that is, harmonize-
these two poles of our being, so tragically separated and fragmented,
(hrdjieff brought to life a teaching with a very complete vibration, or as lie
said, a “wholly-manifested intonation,” with many, many harmonics . . . that
is, many levels
When a new listening appears, everything can change

NOTES

Sir Paul Dukes, The Unerirlirzg Quest (Lotidon: Cassell & Co., 19,50), 107.
Although tlie identification of the mysterious oriental “princc” a s Gurtljieff in
this work is technically unofficial, I iiin coirvincetl of its validity, iis are, more
importantly, several of Curdjieff4 closest successors, who arc rigorous, to say the
least, in their staiidards of authenticity regarding oral accounts of Gurcljieff‘s
teachings, p;urticul;irly during tlie earlicst years after his reappearance in
Moscow.
Dmid Bohni, l V ! d w ~ w arid the Iiriplicnte Order (Loiidon:Houtledgc & Kegan
P d > 1980), 190-92.
I I(.rbert M%oirc.. ’/’/w IIitlrlcri Fmc: of Music. (Loiidon: Victor C;ollaricz I,td..
1984).
/)t//):s 7i/l(,s( o llis (;ruw/.wti (N<wYork: Hnrconrt, Brace,

I !)50),Mix.
I I I III(, i i i ~ i ~ i i i ~~ ~i l ‘ I I ~ I I“~‘III\I~IIII I~~I. 1 1 o i i i . I(, ~ I ~ ~ ~ ~ i ~/ t u It , t ti t o t~i i f /~t t ( ~, (I(- ~ ~ ~ ~ i t ~ ~

1’11l11111111~ ( : 1 1 1 ~ 1 ~ 1 1 . l 1 ‘ 1 1 1 1 ’ ( I l l 1 .Ill\ I I I O ~ d .(Ill\ ~ l I l l . l \ l l 1 ! : . 1 1 1 l 1 1 1 l I l ~ ~ l ’ l l l ~ ~1)OlIl


’’ l l l l l l 11.
d&eloppement hnrnioriiectx dc I’homme.” I IIUVC licard this distinction pointed
out 011 separate occasions by two of GiirdjieWs direct siteccssors a s significant,
even though until now the English translation has habituully been “Iristitutcx for
the Harmonious Development of Man.” I will add that I leariicd of this soiilc fif-
teen years after creating the term “harmonic chant” arid the iiaiiic “Harmonic
Choir” for my group.
6 . Gurcljieff’f;Beelzebubi Tolt,.s, 823.
7 . Ibid., 865.
8. Ibid., 141.
9. Ibid., 488-90.
10. G. I. Gurdjieff, Meetings with Uemnrknble Men (New York: E. P. Dutton, 1974),
186.