Johannes Kepler and The Music of the Spheres

Another great musical luminary in the constellation of history’s musically enlightened was astronomer Johannes Kepler.  Let’s head our ship in the direction of the light that he shed on the music of the spheres. 

Kepler seen the solar system as a grand orchestra. Picture if you will an astounding music hall as big as the entire solar system itself with awesome acoustics. This is how Kepler viewed our solar system. 

On a great podium at the height of the stage of the solar system, is our sun. Kepler viewed the sun as the conductor and director of the planetary symphony. 

In the cosmic orchestra, two of the planets were bigger and slower, Jupiter and Saturn. He viewed these two planets as singing bass in the celestial choir. He seen Mars as a tenor, Venus and Earth as altos, and Mercury as a soprano. 

Since Kepler was an astronomer and a brilliant mathematician as well, he could study the movement of the planets. While he was calculating the mathematics of their movements through space, he realized that they were orbiting around the sun and were exhibiting the same mathematical ratios as what music does. 

For example, each planet has a time in its orbit when it  is closest to the sun (called perihelion) and a time when it is farthest away from the sun (called aphelion) when it is closest to the sun, it makes  a 38 minute arc across the sun’s sky. When it is farthest away, it makes a 26 minute arc across the sky. The ratio between these two numbers is  close to 2 to 3. 

When a vibrating string is divided into thirds, and two thirds of it is plucked, it produces a note that is called a perfect fifth in musical terms. In short, Kepler discovered that the planets were exhibiting all of the ratios found in music, including octaves. They were, by their movements, mathematically expressing both major and minor musical scales. 

Visualize a music staff of lines and spaces, with notes on the lines and in the spaces, like as on sheet music such as we have all seen. Those who know how to read music, can look at where the notes are, on certain lines, and in certain spaces, and know exactly how the tune goes. 

Kepler could do the same thing. However, he expanded this ability. To him the the various levels of lines and spaces written on paper, became various levels of outer space and the round notes within the spaces became planets that each represented a note on the musical scale. He even charted out the orbital movements of planets and placed them on actual sheet music. As notes ascend up the musical scale, to Kepler they represented the notes of specific musical planets which ascend in different levels of space. 

There are others who have held to this idea. For instance, the notes of the music scale we are all accustomed to since childhood, do, Ray, me, all come from Latin words that describe different levels of the heavens. 

Do - Dominus- meaning Lord, God 

Si - meaning- sider- Star, all galaxies 

La - meaning lactae, milk, the Milky Way 

So - meaning-sol, sun 

Fa - Meaning, Fate, (planets) fate is ruled by the planets 

Mi - meaning-microcosmos, the small universe, Earth 

Re - meaning-Regina Coeli, queen of the heavens (the moon) 

Do - Dominus  ( this would be the new Octave the Alpha and Omega of the whole scale. The beginning and the ending are one and the same) 

Kepler believed that the planets sang in perfect concord at the beginning of time and could do it again some day.

Kepler and the music of the spheres

Kepler and the music of the spheres

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