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.