Music Of The Spheres (October 2001)

6.5 / 10

F.E.A.R. and Whispers are among the strongest tracks that Ian has released as a solo artist, and El Mundo Pequeno shows yet another facet to his character. Where inspiration is lacking, studio trickery and guitar pyrotechnics are relied upon a little too heavily, however (a second-rate Low imitation and cheesy Led Zeppelin pastiche are particular low points).

1. F.E.A.R.
2. Stardust
3. The Gravy Train
4. Bubbles
5. Hear No See No Speak No
6. Northern Lights
7. Whispers
8. El Mundo Pequeno
9. Forever And A Day
10. Shadow Of A Saint

Released 2001:
Music Of The Spheres (Polydor, SPHERE1, Promo CD)
Music Of The Spheres (Polydor, 3145891702, Canadian CD)

Released 5th September 2001:
Music Of The Spheres (Polydor, Promo CDR)

Released 6th September 2001:
Music Of The Spheres (Polydor, Sampler Promo CDR)

Released 27th September 2001:
Music Of The Spheres (Polydor, UICP 1021, Japanese CD)

Released 1st October 2001:
Music Of The Spheres (Polydor, 589 126-2, CD)
Music Of The Spheres (Polydor, 539 565-4, cassette)
Music Of The Spheres (Polydor, 589 126-1, LP)

Released 26th July 2005:
Music Of The Spheres (Koch, KOC-CD-9913, US CD Deluxe Edition)

UK chart position: #3



Top left: Music Of The Spheres cover artwork.
Top right: Music Of The Spheres poster. It seemed clear to the Pythagoreans that the distances between the planets would have the same ratios as produced harmonious sounds in a plucked string. To them, the solar system consisted of ten spheres revolving in circles about a central fire, each sphere giving off a sound the way a projectile makes a sound as it swished through the air: the closer spheres gave lower tones while the farther moved faster and gave higher pitched sounds. All combined into a beautiful harmony, the music of the spheres. Pythagoras once wrote, "There is geometry in the humming of the strings, there is music in the spacing of the spheres." This idea was picked up by Plato, who in his Republic says of the cosmos, "Upon each of its circles stood a siren who was carried round with its movements, uttering the concords of a single scale," and who, in his Timaeus, describes the circles of heaven subdivided according to the musical ratios.
Second row: Pythagoras is the figure with the book in the centre foreground, explaining musical ratios to a pupil, in Raphael's 'School of Athens'. The closeup of the tablet (bottom left) shows the words diatessaron, diapente and diapason, the only intervals considered harmonious by the Greeks. Also discernible are the roman numerals for 6, 8, 9, and 12, showing the ratio of the intervals, and the word for the tone, EPOGLOWN, at the top. Under the tablet is a triangular number 10 called the sacred tetractys, ten being the sum of the first four numbers. Quoting Aristotle, "[the Pythagoreans] saw that the ... ratios of musical scales were expressible in numbers [and that] ... all things seemed to be modeled on numbers, and numbers seemed to be the first things in the whole of nature, they supposed the elements of number to be the elements of all things, and the whole heaven to be a musical scale and a number."
Bottom right: Johannes Kepler's Platonic solid model of the Solar System from Mysterium Cosmographicum (1600). Kepler, 20 centuries later, wrote in his Harmonice Munde (1619) that he wishes "to erect the magnificent edifice of the harmonic system of the musical scale ... as God, the Creator Himself, has expressed it in harmonizing the heavenly motions." And later, "I grant you that no sounds are given forth, but I affirm ... that the movements of the planets are modulated according to harmonic proportions."

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