Management of Measurement Constructs

Appreciating AstroChords!

This essay is partner to the current “Analytical Techniques” essay entitled How to Begin the Art. It deals with music theory for the most part, but don’t be frightened if you are not a musician … I will explain things carefully, and I think you will enjoy the experience!

The art of synthesis is the assembly of separate considerations into a meaningful whole. In astrological analysis, we take different symbols in relation to each other and relate these relationships creatively to form a significant whole-form, a Gestalt of importance. –In composing a chord musically, we are taking twelve different tones and combining them in different ways and in different positions to sound the way they should to fit into our expectation of the sound.

It is staggering to think of how this small collection of units –twelve tones—can be organized and integrated to create fresh, individualistic sounds continuously ad infinitum. But then again, we have 10 planets and two points (Ascendant and Midheaven) –twelve units—that fashion themselves throughout all time to speak individualistically.

Yes, Johannes Kepler and others [inspired by Aristotle and his “music of the spheres”] worked doggedly to fashion a parallel between astrology and musical tones. This is where the concept of “harmonic” comes from, the creation of aspects, which Kepler developed expansively from the ancient “basic” aspects.

But I want to guide us through just one arrangement of astro-sounds, one Chord, if you will, with an illustration of different points of departure, for us to appreciate how synthesis sounds in our astrology work, how analysis can be approached in order for the harmony of deduction to gel.

Orientation Find the C key around the middle of the piano keyboard (there are many Cs repeated throughout the whole keyboard, but take the one comfortably in the Middle): it is the white key just to the left of a unit of two black keys.

Play this C and then play an E, which is two white keys to the right. Play them together. A nice harmonious sound, like the Sun and Moon on a great day! This is called a “third”: C is 1, the next white key to the right is 2, and the E, the next successive white key is 3.

Now, go two more white keys to the right. This is a G (it is just to the right of the first black key in the 3-blackkey group). You are adding a G to the mix!

Now play the C, E, and G together. This is called a C-Chord, a C-triad, the tonic Chord in C-major, etc. A clean, stable sound. Hear it? It has a feel to it. –You have brought together three components from among the 12 and synthesized them into a ‘nice’ unit. We must allow the editorialization; we are reacting, we are living in reaction to that particular sound. It IS nice. It IS stable.

Development and Change After you have played the C-Chord several times and identified the sound, make this change: move the second note down the tiniest bit to the adjacent black key (E-flat). NOW: play the C, the E-flat, and the G. –Only the middle note has changed every so slightly. But listen to the change in sound, the mood of the chord, the feel of the synthesis!!!!! This is called the C-minor Chord or Triad.

Amazing, the change one little shift can make, isn’t it?

NOW: go back to the initial C-Chord, C-major: C-E-G, all white keys, one white key apart. Let’s add another note, another unit in our synthesis: let’s add a B, just two white keys up from, to the right of the G you have already played. Now you have C, E, G, B, each separated from the one before by one white key. –Play all of these together!

Now you have a sound with tension, not disagreeable, but wanting to go somewhere. This is called a C-major 7th chord.

More change: take the B you have just played and move IT down a tiny bit to the left, to the black key next to it. This is B-flat. [This is the same change adjustment you did above, moving from E to E-flat]

Play this Chord together (use two hands if you need to): C, E, G, B-flat!!!! A completely different color within the synthesis! The notes are basically the same, but tiny adjustments in relation to one another create entirely different “feels”. This C-diminished 7th Chord MUST go somewhere for “safety” for security.

Review: the C-E sound was lovely, harmonious. We added the G, and we had a clean, stable, settled sound. We added the B, and we heard a different sound, some tension, a bit unsettled. We added the B-flat, and we now MUST resolve the tension!!!!!!

More Advanced work We can lower the E (as we did earlier), E-flat, and keep the B-flat we just played in the very tense Chord (the diminished 7th). This is called a C-minor, diminished 7th chord.

We can go back to the C-Chord (C, E, G) and raise the G the tiniest bit up to the adjacent black key. This chord has now lost its stability. It is eager to go somewhere, with different motivation perhaps from the C-minor diminished 7th that we just heard. This chord (the C-augmented 5th) leads to the key of F: F, A, C is the tonic triad (play here: C, F,A, i.e., the “second inversion”).

Go back to the C-chord (C, E, G) and add another note, the next white key to the right, to A. Play the chord C-E-G-A. This is called a C-6th chord (and you know why). It too has a special sound.

And then you can go bonkers with chordal structures: play the C-diminished 7th Chord (C, E, G, B-flat) and add the D above: you see the new “C” there? Just below the two-blackkey group? The D is the next white key to the right. Play all those notes together (C-9th) an you begin to get a very special arrangement of the notes: the enormous leading (motivational) tension of the C-diminished 7th chord has been softened a bit, made more lush, fuller.

We can start taking the chord apart by playing its component notes in different octaves (different sets of twelve-note groupings; you see how the keys are patterned, seven white keys and five black keys in each group).

This is rudimentary beginning of music composition, of harmonic chord structure, and it can become very, very complex: that’s the different between Gregorian chant, with only one note sounding at a time, then the polyphony (many lines of melody, many tones) of the Renaissance, and the most modern jazz we have today, using tension dissonance for special ‘harmony.’. The notes are combined into different synthesis patterns, and each pattern has a “feel” about it in relation to the chords and patterns involved with it.

This is a very, very helpful frame of mind in approaching and achieving astrological synthesis from the components of planets, the inter-relationships of aspects, and the placement of these patterns in the different octaves of our life development and experiential record.

**Please think this procedure through. Enjoy it. See how your mind works in relation to what you are learning. Work for the harmony of the parts. Follow the discordant from where it started to where it needs to go.

Next Update: June 30, 2002


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