PYTHAGOREAN MELODY

Pythagoras was a man with a high level of being. Such persons live a life with only pure humanitarian intentions in all that they do.  The times in which he lived were suffering from a dip in the true understanding about matters spiritual. So he left his native land to seek spiritual wisdom further East. The outcome of his endeavours were highly successful. After he had attained the necessary wisdom for his task in the world, he was granted a deeply spiritual vision.  One of the products of that experience was a system of melody which subsequently formed the basis of most music systems in the world. (see Dr. Prosser quote 1) A by-product of the scientific and technological age in which we now live is that modifications to the intervals have masked and stifled his original system in the use which modern music makes of it. (see Danielou quote 5 )


The Pythagoreans were very clear about the connection between the nature of number and that of the universe itself.  This means that they viewed the human being as created and influenced by certain special combinations of numbers. Many of the Pythagorean discoveries have been verified by musicians and thinkers in all the 25 centuries since his time.  It is because the system he devised and used is so natural and valuable, that people who aspire to his concepts of “Know Thyself”, have made sure the melodic modes and the special rhythms have been preserved, albeit secretly in some situations.

The Pythagorean melodic system is built from naturally occurring intervals known as the just intonation or natural harmonic series.  These can easily be derived with the use of a long pipe or reed flute. The other way of obtaining them is with a long necked lute type instrument as shown on the Egyptian wall painting dating from around 1,400 BCE.  The oral tradition has kept the melodic system alive.

Egyptian wall painting
18th Dynasty
British Museum
The long necked lute is similar to the modern tanbur which is used today to play Pythagorean melodies.