Archive for March, 2011

If you have not read my previous post, I suggest that you read it first as this idea builds on that one. As this idea was meant to be a part of the previous post but was not included because I felt the previous one had enough in it already, this will be a reasonably short entry.

I am a musician. I have been almost as long as I can remember, however I only began to learn my first instrument properly in Primary School. I learnt to play the drums and this was my instrument for many years. I always felt held back by the instrument however because it could not produce harmony or melody.

I was recently talking to my Electric guitar teacher after a class and we stumbled onto the complexity of music theory and its implications. We discussed how the Eastern system of music has double the notes that the western system has. Most guitars, pianos, and other orchestral instruments are based on the western system of 12 notes. A, A#, B, B# = C, C#, D, D#, E, E# = F, F#. The Eastern system however has notes between our semi-tones which could be called quater-tones.

I continued to play the drums in bands and with friends until one day when I visited a friend who played bass and electric guitar. He showed me his newest addition to his instrument collection. A black Cort M200 electric guitar:

He sold me that guitar for a bargain price and my journey into harmony and melody began. I taught myself to play out of books, internet sites and with many answers to many questions asked of my dad (who is an ingenious musician) and other friends.

As I discussed music and it’s eccentricities with my Electric guitar teacher, he shared with me the multi-layered complexity to something as simple as a major scale such as Gmaj which goes: G A B C D E F# G. If music is played in this key, scales can be played over it with the Gmaj scale but depending on which notes are emphasised in the scales, very different ‘moods’ can be invoked in the listener. Music theory names the modes that affect these moods as follows:

1. Ionian
2. Dorian
3. Phrygian
4. Lydian
5. Mixolydian
6. Aeolian
7. Lacrain

Dorian for example means “serious”, Phrygian means “mystic”, Lydian means “happy”, Mixolydian means “angelical”.

He went on to explain how different aspects of music have different effects on people. Rhythm moves people physically. Melody moves people mentally. Harmony moves people emotionally.

So with all of this amazing complexity that can be derived from just 12 notes, imagine the complexity that could further be derived from 24 notes! Now realise that just as everything else became less glorious than it was originally when God first created it and sin and the fallen nature of this world were not yet invasive and prominent as they are today, music has also lost much of its glory in “this present evil age”. I believe that one day when all things have been made new as the bible teaches will happen sooner or later, we will finally see all things in their original glory and beauty… Imagine the music…

I decided to take up electric guitar lessons this year so that I could advance my understanding of music. I am still very new to music theory and may have misrepresented certain concepts and ideas, however the concept of full and original beauty and glory awaiting us with God one day is complete and true despite my inexperience. Till then, let’s try to do the best with what we have.


Have you ever heard of the story of Pandora’s box? Well for your convenience:

(text taken from

In ancient Greece there were two brothers named Epimetheus and Prometheus. They upset the gods and annoyed the most powerful of all Gods, Zeus, in particular. This was not the first time humans had upset Zeus, and once before, as punishment, he had taken from humans the ability to make fire. This meant they could no longer cook their meat and could not keep themselves warm.

However, Prometheus was clever and he knew that, on the Isle of Lemnos, lived Hephaestos, the blacksmith. He had a fire burning to keep his forge hot. Prometheus travelled to Lemnos and stole fire from the blacksmith. Zeus was furious and decided that humans had to be punished once and for all for their lack of respect.
Zeus came up with a very cunning plan to punish the two brothers. With the help of Hephaestos, he created a woman from clay. The goddess Athene then breathed life into the clay, Aphrodite made her very beautiful and Hermes taught her how to be both charming and deceitful. Zeus called her Pandora and sent her as a gift to Epimetheus.


His brother Prometheus had warned him not to accept any gifts from the gods but Epimetheus was completely charmed by the woman and thought Pandora was so beautiful that she could never cause any harm, so he agreed to marry her.

(Lefebvre, Pandora 1882)

Zeus, pleased that his trap was working, gave Pandora a wedding gift of a beautiful box. There was one very, very important condition however, that she must never opened the box. Pandora was very curious about the contents of the box but she had promised that she would never open it.

All she could think about was; what could be in the box? She could not understand why someone would send her a box if she could not see what was in it. It seemed to make no sense at all to her and she could think of nothing else but of opening the box and unlocking its secrets. This was just what Zeus had planned.


Finally, Pandora could stand it no longer. When she knew Epimetheus was out of sight, she crept up to the box, took the huge key off the high shelf, fitted it carefully into the lock and turned it. But, at the last moment, she felt a pang of guilt, imagined how angry her husband would be and quickly locked the box again without opening the lid and put the key back where she had found it. Three more times she did this until, at last, she knew she had to look inside or she would go completely mad!

She took the key, slid it into the lock and turned it. She took a deep breath, closed her eyes and slowly lifted the lid of the box. She opened her eyes and looked into the box, expecting to see fine silks, gowns or gold bracelets and necklaces or even piles of gold coins.

But there was no gleam of gold or treasure. There were no shining bracelets and not one beautiful dress! The look of excitement on her face quickly turned to one of disappointment and then horror. For Zeus had packed the box full of all the terrible evils he could think of. Out of the box poured disease and poverty. Out came misery, out came death, out came sadness – all shaped like tiny buzzing moths.

The creatures stung Pandora over and over again and she slammed the lid shut. Epimetheus ran into the room to see why she was crying in pain. Pandora could still hear a voice calling to her from the box, pleading with her to be let out. Epimetheus agreed that nothing inside the box could be worse than the horrors that had already been released, so they opened the lid once more.

All that remained in the box was Hope. It fluttered from the box like a beautiful dragonfly, touching the wounds created by the evil creatures, and healing them. Even though Pandora had released pain and suffering upon the world, she had also allowed Hope to follow them.


This story has always struck a chord in me. I’ve always found the Greek myths to hold so many truths in the form of true reflections on the real nature of humankind. Remember my last post? Can you see why Zeus, Athena and all the rest are not truly God’s at all, but just children with super powers. People just like all of us, but with super natural ability. This makes them superior to us physically, but certainly not morally and not spiritually and not emotionally. Could you really devote an existence to worshiping such a being? One so seemingly irrelevantly more powerful? Someone who can fling lightning bolts at you but is less mature? Surely not.

Myths such as this point out to me the in stark contrast the dire state of humankind’s moral condition. The christian bible talks of the fallen nature of man. I have always thought of this condition when thinking of Pandora’s box. Adam and Eve fell to curiosity and pride in the garden of eden and unleashed evil upon the world. Just as Pandora did. God had a plan however and HOPE and love also suddenly had an opportunity to show their power. The key difference here is that God/Jehovah did not instigate this situation but was forthright with Adam and Eve from the beginning: “And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not, for in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die” unlike Zeus who tricked and lied to Pandora.

The hope and love in our story takes the form of Jesus and his sacrifice to alleviate humankind (or at least those of humankind who accept Jesus) from the evils of this world infested with famine, disease, poverty, pain, suffering and all things evil. As Paul puts it in Galatians: “This present evil age”.

I’m afraid I got sidetracked onto a bit of a tangent, and so Music has not yet shown itself in this post as the Title may have suggested it would. My next post will be part two, with music as the topic.

%d bloggers like this: