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Tags music , rosslyn chapel

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Old 30th April 2007, 02:38 AM   #1
Big Les
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Secret music code at Rosslyn Chapel.

Anyone hear about these two numpties?

They think (or at least are claiming) that they've found a secret musical score hidden in the carvings at noted woo-magnet, Rosslyn Chapel in Midlothian, Scotland. As shamelessly exploited in the Da Vinci Code, amongst other works of fiction and/or pseudohistory.

I saw a (local?) BBC news report about them this morning - reported credulously, as absolute fact, by the silly woman sent to cover it. Thomas Mitchell was claiming that the dragons and angels with musical instruments (including "bagpipes") carved on the so-called "apprentice" pillar were intended to represent notes; he pointed out a "stave angel". None of this shown in closeup of course. Something about there being "215 cubes"? And asked why such music would be encoded in a building, he claimed that knowledge of such things would have been "dangerous" in the 15th century... What? Music?! Yeesh.

I strongly suspect that this is yet another case of seeing what one wants to see, with heavy confirmation bias - just like the "maize" carvings and "matrices" that others have claimed are present in the chapel's carvings, just like pareidolia, just like the Bible Bloody Code.

Oh dear, I've gone off on one again. I might just have to write a "Dear BBC, Why oh why..." letter...
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Old 30th April 2007, 03:20 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Big Les View Post
with musical instruments (including "bagpipes")
I take exception to their claim that bagpipes are musical instruments.
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Old 30th April 2007, 04:11 AM   #3
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This story first appeared in 2005. As reported then, it doesn't sound too unlikely:
Quote:
The codes were hidden in 213 cubes in the ceiling of the chapel, where parts of the film of Dan Brown's best-seller The Da Vinci Code were shot this week.

Each cube contained different patterns to form an unusual 6½-minute piece of music for 13 medieval players. The unusual sound is thought to have been of great spiritual significance to those who built the chapel.

The melody was unravelled after Mr Mitchell discovered the stones at the bottom of each of 12 pillars inside the Midlothian chapel formed a cadence (three chords at the end of a piece of music) of which there were only three types in the 15th century.

Mr Mitchell, 40, who has been nominated for the British Composer Awards 2005, said the music sounded like a nursery rhyme. "Everyone wants to hear something miraculous but William Sinclair, who designed the chapel, was an architect, not a musician," he said. "It is evident from the nursery rhyme style of the music that he could not play very well.

"It is in triple time, sounds childlike and is based on plain chant which was the common form of rhythm of the time. In the 1400s, there wasn't a great deal of guidance for tempo so I have chosen to make it run for six and a half minutes but it could be stretched to eight minutes if a different tempo was used.
The Chapel is chock-full of symbolisms and symbolic codes, so why not music as well?
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Old 30th April 2007, 04:26 AM   #4
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I'm sceptical. The whole thing just seems rather like the people that find patterns in cloud formations, pages of books, or grilled cheese sandwiches. Look hard enough, with enough bias, and you'll see what you're looking for. Sometimes a carving is just a carving. How many other repeating patterns in sculpture or decorative art could be interpreted in this way, with no basis for doing so beyond the musical bent of the interpreter? Are there any parallels elsewhere (or elsewhen) for the recording of music in masonry?

At the very least this should be being presented for peer review as an hypothesis, not just broken to the media and presented as immutable fact. As for the idea that musical knowledge had to be hidden in this way; what's the evidence for this?

More here, and on the Fortean Times site, plus Mitchell's own site, where the phrase "sacred geometry" rears its ugly woo-like head.

These pearls of wisdom from the FT article also make my sceptey-sense tingle:

Quote:
Mitchell sees Rosslyn’s link with the Knights Templar as the likely explanation for the encrypted music, and believes that they may have learned some of the secrets of sound a long time before Ernst Chladni: "What it points towards is the Church system denying people certain knowledge because knowledge is awareness. People who knew too much were burnt as witches."
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Old 30th April 2007, 05:45 AM   #5
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I must admit my scepticism detectors were twitching when I heard this story, and they haven't stopped yet.

It would be one thing to decode music from the sculpture if it was known to be an encoding, but I don't see any evidence that this was the case. Even then, I'd expect some hesitancy as to whether they'd got it right, in the absence of corroborative evidence, but no.

Where is the evidence that music was suppressed? What was the purpose in hiding it in stone? Would they have stopped performing the music?

How do these guys know they have the correct decoding? Did they try different decodings until they found one that was musical? I presume they will stop now, rather than seeing if there are other ones that might also produce a tune (because that might just show them up, of course).

Last edited by zooterkin; 30th April 2007 at 06:14 AM. Reason: Fixing typos
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Old 30th April 2007, 05:49 AM   #6
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I'd like for this music to be decoded, then turn out to be Agadoo.
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Old 30th April 2007, 06:16 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Mashuna View Post
I'd like for this music to be decoded, then turn out to be Agadoo.
Sadly, not the case (the article linked to in the OP has a link to the radio piece, which includes the piece of music in question). But it would be interesting to see if you could decode the symbols to be Agadoo...
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Old 30th April 2007, 06:56 AM   #8
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The theme to the Muppets would be my vote

The various sources say that Mitchell believes the curvilinear patterns on the faces of the Rosslyn cubes (an example appears in this article) represent Chladni patterns - lines made on a metal plate using sand and applied vibrations. The suggestion is that the vibrations in question are portions of a musical score. The problem is that the earliest evidence we have for the use of this phenomenon is from the 1780s, when by all accounts Ernst Chladni invented it.

Mitchell’s entire argument hinges upon his subjective assessment that the cube patterns are the result of an acoustic technique not invented until three hundred years after they were carved. Assuming this is feasible, the metal plates would either have to be bowed using a (very) early violin-type bow, or be made to resonate by a “powerful sound wave which is tuned to the frequency of the desired mode”. I'm not convinced that the patterns even look like Chladni patterns, let alone that it's feasible for medieval musicians to create them or for modern musicians to reconstruct them without any idea of the composition, instruments, and tuning involved.

We need to know his methods. I would want to know whether there is an in situe order to the cubes that’s been adhered to, whether they have all been used in Mitchell’s “score”, and whether the finished product (and it is a product, make no mistake) appears or sounds anything like what is known about high medieval or renaissance music.

Best I can do pending finding a copy of his book (in my library, natch!), is to compare the patterns for myself, and show you guys:

Here are some Chladni patterns...

And here is a stonking big photo of a Rosslyn chapel pillar-top showing several of the different "cube" designs...

I see bugger-all similarity. Note that the designs actually cover two faces of the “cubes”, and so the superficial similarity of some (with the four “scoop” quadrants”) to some of the Chladni shapes is misleading. They are clearly intended to be stylised vegetation; mostly leaves of different types. Look at the other leaves to the right of the pillar. Note the scalloped edges to the major lines – these appear on many other naturalistic carvings in the chapel, including the infamous “maize-before-1492” examples - I would suggest that the cubes with the quarter-circle quadrants/corners are intended to represent the same long, round-ended, scalloped-edge leaves that appear elsewhere, but “wrapped” around the corners of the geometric stonework. Even if the general patterns can be matched to Chladni patterns, where does this scalloping fit in? It does not occur on all the cubes, even on some that are otherwise identical to that quadrant pattern.

Mitchell doesn't help his credibility by making superfluous and speculative claims of heretical secrecy, sacred geometry, and even that the score might have been intended to somehow open a hidden compartment or vault in the chapel. To me, this is just another in a long line of woo cash-ins on the Rosslyn/grail phenomenon. Note in the linked article Mitchell’s claim of copyright to the musical score he did not, according to his own claims, actually create. Not to mention the CD, book and media appearances. He's not even the originator of the theory - the whole idea of music being encoded in this way seems to be an established part of the woo-lore surrounding the chapel - there's another example here, from which this hilarious quote originates:

Quote:
Crucially, this method of producing sound patterns was available to William Sinclair
What? Metal plates, sand, and violin bows - yes. The technology to do so. But the knowledge? No evidence for this whatsoever. By that logic, the ability to construct a working machinegun was available to William Sinclair – it doesn’t mean that he built one!
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Old 30th April 2007, 07:04 AM   #9
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You haven't read about the Roslyn Mass Graves then?

I once encountered two dudes in the glen below the chapel, playing didgeridoos.
It was quite atmospheric.
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Old 30th April 2007, 07:08 AM   #10
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For this I installed RealPlayer?


What an annoying piece!

The only thing that really sounded like anything--beyond a rudimentary tune-- was probably the work of a 21st-century composer--who filled in such minor details as instrumentation, counterpoint, harmony, tempo, and dynamics.

I thought the "motet" sounded pretty good.

If the counterpoint heard in the vocal music was derived in some methodical fashion directly from the stone, then this is a remarkable story. If not, then this is just another fluff piece.

So disappointing that they couldn't have spent 15 seconds describing where the music came from. It's not rocket science!

Otherwise, try this: Pick a scale. (Here A harmonic minor.)

Pick a random series of numbers, and reduce to mod 7.

Apply the numbers to the scale.

Force some periodic rhythm onto the pitch-content. Lather, repeat.

Perform on old instruments in a reverberent (sp?) space. Instant Haunting Beauty™.
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Old 30th April 2007, 07:43 AM   #11
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Very interesting calebprime - I was hoping somebody musical would stop by. Is it really that easy to whip up a "choon" from a series of numbers?

Let me see if I have this right;

1) Note (subjective) similarity of carvings to Chladni patterns.
2) Compare carvings with patterns
3) Select nearest matches (by what criteria I know not).
4) Note down the numerical frequency of each matching pattern (in hz)

Then your muso bit kicks in;

6) Pick a scale. (Here A harmonic minor.) [out of thin air]
7) Reduce to mod 7. [for no particular reason than it sounds best I presume?]
8) Apply the numbers to the scale.
9) Force some periodic rhythm onto the pitch-content. Lather, repeat.

Is that a fair assessment of how one might achieve something halfway listenable without there being any intent by the chapel designer to lay down a "score" of any kind?

Is this actually any different from making music based on any other repeating pattern? Looks like musicians have even made music based on stock-market patterns - I doubt they would suggest any hidden significance to that!
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Old 30th April 2007, 07:47 AM   #12
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These are professional musicians, composers, who think that 15th century music could have these harmonic progressions?

They think that the musical staff of the "stave angel" should be interpreted as having a treble clef (G clef)?

As for the correspondence of the Chladni shapes with the patterns on the stone blocks, they match the patterns of my old wallpaper just as well. Maybe there's a symphony in my wallpaper?
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Old 30th April 2007, 07:59 AM   #13
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mod 7 because you're fitting the numbers into some traditional Western scale, all of which have 7 notes. Heck, you could choose mod 5 and a pentatonic scale and say that the Rosslyn music was "strangely Asian" in flavor.

"A harmonic minor" because that's what the music I heard in the BBC piece consisted of. Clearly the key and functional leading-tone (the "harmonic" G#) are invented by the (contemporary) composer.

Whoever wrote the vocal music I heard has a good feel for that style; it doesn't sound like Andrew Lloyd Webber or whatever. But except for the counterpoint, yes. It's that easy.

Algorithmic composition (stockmarket graphs, topography maps, computer improv) usually sounds horrible unless there's some humunculous composer
forcing the patterns into something meaningful.

Here there is some talent and some nice composition that would have gone unnoticed, except for the woo factor.

Edited to add: And yes, Michael C is right, music from this period wouldn't have harmonic progressions like this.

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Old 30th April 2007, 09:12 AM   #14
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Thanks to all for your input - especially the musical expertise; for a minute there sophia8 had me thinking I was being a grouchy old cynic.

Originally Posted by calebprime View Post
forcing the patterns into something meaningful.
^bingo, that's the quote, right there. I wonder if these guys genuinely think they're playing secret magic music from the past. Or whether they're just out for a fast buck.
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Old 30th April 2007, 09:27 AM   #15
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One more point, which I thought of earlier, but which crystallised on my cycle ride home. Even if we were to accept that Chladni patterns were known of at the time, is it a two-way encoding? Does one pattern map to just one note, or can multiple sheets of metal of different size and thickness combinations (and therefore notes) give the same pattern? In which case, a) it's not a very good way of encoding music, and b) the 'decoders' should give more detals of how they chose which mappings to use.
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Old 30th April 2007, 11:24 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Cuddles View Post
I take exception to their claim that bagpipes are musical instruments.
They _are_

I've played scottish reels and strathspeys with a colleague in Birmingham, and it was really fun (he was _good_ on his instrument)

Summary: Music can be beautyful or ugly, it may be happy, sad or funny, exciting, knocking you down or make you thoughtful.

But it may _never_be boring.
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Old 30th April 2007, 12:56 PM   #17
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All true Scotsmen smile at the skirling of the pipes.

Like the scent of skunk, it's better if it's not too close, though.


Were bagpipes originally used in war, or associated with martial music?
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Old 30th April 2007, 01:09 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by zooterkin View Post
One more point, which I thought of earlier, but which crystallised on my cycle ride home. Even if we were to accept that Chladni patterns were known of at the time, is it a two-way encoding? Does one pattern map to just one note, or can multiple sheets of metal of different size and thickness combinations (and therefore notes) give the same pattern? In which case, a) it's not a very good way of encoding music, and b) the 'decoders' should give more detals of how they chose which mappings to use.
Good point. How constant is the process? What variables are there? How meaningful is a carving of such a pattern in stone? How do the thickness and size of plate, plus the nature of the acoustic stimulus affect the resulting pattern? I don't know enough about physics to be able to answer these.
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Old 30th April 2007, 01:11 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by calebprime View Post


All true Scotsmen smile at the skirling of the pipes.

Like the scent of skunk, it's better if it's not too close, though.


Were bagpipes originally used in war, or associated with martial music?
A form of them, supposedly. The Scottish pipes were in traditional use in the highlands by the 18th century, being adopted, formalised and encouraged by the Scottish regiments before being returned to civilian life in the later 19th century.

They are now used in the never-ending war between buskers and tourists I nearly had my left ear destroyed by one on the way home.
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Old 30th April 2007, 01:48 PM   #20
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Here's another link, with more nuttiness.

http://www.crystalinks.com/stuart407.html

They have decided that, at ancient tunings, A = 423Hz. How they got this value, I have no idea (there was no standard for pitch until the twentieth century). They do some adding up of Hertz values and come up with 1432, which is somehow a significant date, although they don't explain why. Then they do the same sums using the modern standard of A = 440Hz and come up with 1456, which they say is the death year of Sir William Haye (one of the builders of Rosslyn Chapel) although elsewhere on the page, in the biography of Haye (copied from Wikipedia), it is stated that the date of his death is unknown.
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Old 30th April 2007, 02:40 PM   #21
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woo upon woo upon woo upon woo upon woo


Wow. Good find. The tuning stuff never once touches down into anything resembling reality.

It's reasonable to suppose that equal temperament didn't exist in practice, but all these sites appear to ignore this as well...

Frequencies in hertz linked to dates!

Once again, though, I'd love to hear from the composer--I assume it's Dad.

Why couldn't he just say, "It's a beautiful big church, and some of the decorations reminded me of Chladni patterns, so I felt inspired to write this piece. I even derived some of my contours from some of the sculptures."

Fair enough. If it's a good piece, people might want to hear it again. But no, they've got to puff it up. Too bad.
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Old 30th April 2007, 04:56 PM   #22
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Agreed - but with all the money made from Rosslyn by others maxing out the woo, you can understand (if not approve of) the urge to maximise earnings and kudos.

And there's a good visual "hook" here, just like the myriad 9/11 videos - you can see that at least one Chladni pattern is vaguely reminiscent of at least one of the cubes. The Youtube video linked from Michael C's find illustrates their premise better than my comparison images - runs through the "cube" patterns and then morphs a Chladni pattern into one of them. Needless to say, it doesn't look that much alike, but you get the idea. Then they show another pattern, and another cube (no morphing). This time they look bugger all alike

The video seems to be uploaded by Stuart Mitchell himself. Can I be arsed to leave comments, I ask myself...
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Old 1st May 2007, 03:44 PM   #23
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Hmm. One of the videos has disappeared. Did anyone think to download them both? I'd like to make sure there were no cockups or particularly daft claims in the "Rosslyn Motet" video (the "stave angel" one is still up).

The video still there pretty much debunks itself, at least I don't think the "cubes" they show look anything like the Chladni patterns they compare them to. The morphing sequence shows a simple pattern with two concentric quarter circles on each corner, plus a circle in the middle of the plate, turning into... a carving with quite complex foliate designs on each corner. It doesn't even have a central circle. Any one of the other carvings shown would actually be a better "match".

There's seeing what you want to see... and there's seeing what you need to see in order to milk a woo-woo cash-cow.
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Old 1st May 2007, 04:13 PM   #24
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I'm still curious how the composer actually did it.

There was a sound-bite in the video--I think.

He said something like "This is a masterpiece".

It sounded sincere enough that it seems he really thinks he didn't write the piece, he just figured it out.

Again, if that is in any way true, it would be really interesting.
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Old 2nd May 2007, 12:43 AM   #25
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What, that he's self-deluded? Or that there was any intent by the chapel designer? Because I find the former not so much interesting as tragic, and the latter entirely lacking in evidence.

Either way, he's still making money off the back of pseudoscience.
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Old 2nd May 2007, 12:44 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by Michael C View Post
Here's another link, with more nuttiness.

http://www.crystalinks.com/stuart407.html

They have decided that, at ancient tunings, A = 423Hz.
Actually, it says 432 Hz, which is apparently significant to woos since DJJ is rabbitting on about that number being proof of god or something in a different thread.

Agreed on the nuttiness; when were sounds first recognised to be vibrations, and when's the earliest that 432 Hz could have been accurately measured?
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Old 3rd May 2007, 12:19 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by Big Les View Post
Thanks to all for your input - especially the musical expertise; for a minute there sophia8 had me thinking I was being a grouchy old cynic.
Heck, I'm supposed to be the grouchy old skeptic - on other forums, that is. Some of the regular posters on those forums would scream and run just from reading a few posts here ("Oh no! Negativity!! Horrid!!").
But anyway, I want to add my thanks to the musical experts here for explaining this so well.
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Old 3rd May 2007, 02:30 PM   #28
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I'm just very conscious not to start dismissing things out of hand just because they match the woo MO. I've come across a fair few examples of pseudohistorical/archaeological stuff, as that's where my amateur interest in woo crosses over with my academic and professional background. But this had aspects so far out of my expertise, that in good conscience I couldn't be sure I had pegged it accurately as BS.

It doesn't help that I've been labelled a "pathological sceptic" over on the Youtube video comments section
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Old 4th May 2007, 12:43 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by zooterkin View Post
Agreed on the nuttiness; when were sounds first recognised to be vibrations, and when's the earliest that 432 Hz could have been accurately measured?
I don't know when sounds were first recognized to be vibrations. As to the accurate measurement of Hz, I've found two references:

1] "Modern science began to measure pitch accuracy in cps or cycles per second around 1834 when a group of distinguished German physicists using a mechanical stroboscopic device found that the pitch of the tuning fork that they were testing was at A440 cps. It was only later that the frequency was expressed in Hz."

see http://www.uk-piano.org/history/pitch.html

2] "The first explicit reference to the tuning of middle C at 256 oscillations per second was probably made by a contemporary of J.S. Bach. It was at that time that precise technical methods developed making it possible to determine the exact pitch of a given note in cycles per second. The first person said to have accomplished this was Joseph Sauveur (1653-1716), called the father of musical acoustics. He measured the pitches of organ pipes and vibrating strings, and defined the "ut'' (nowadays known as "do'') of the musical scale at 256 cycles per second."

(Jonathan Tennenbaum, Fidelio Magazine Volume I, No. 1, Winter 1991-92)

I can't vouch for the accuracy of either of these references. Regarding the second one, I should mention that its writer, Jonathan Tennenbaum (who is also keen on cold fusion) has a theory that C=256Hz, corresponding to A=432Hz, is the only "acceptable tuning". So it would seem that A=432 is indeed some sort of "Woo Standard" for pitch. Look at Tennenbaum's article, The Foundations of Scientific Musical Tuning, to see the whole mess of pseudo-science he uses to support his claim, including the golden section, relations between the planets and "the synthetic geometry of conical spiral action". The article ends thus:

"if the tuning is arbitrarily raised [...] This divides the octave in the wrong place, destroys the geometry of the musical system, destroys the agreement between music and the laws of the universe, and finally destroys the human voice itself. If we arbitrarily changed the "tuning" of the solar system in a similar way, it would explode and disintegrate! God does not make mistakes: Our solar system functions very well with its proper tuning, which is uniquely coherent with C=256. This, therefore, is the only scientific tuning."

Oh dear: at the Mannheim opera, where I work, we play at A=443Hz. We must all be very ill.
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Old 4th May 2007, 12:52 AM   #30
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lol. excellent.

"divides the octave in the wrong place" --what nonsense


they could argue, reasonably, that an overall lower tuning is a little relaxing, and has some consequences for singers and string players that they have to get used to, but that's about it...

Edit to add: Or they could say, something like Lamonte Young, http://musicmavericks.publicradio.or...iew_young.html, that in America we ought to tune to a 60 hertz standard (60 cycles is between a B and a Bb if A=440) because the 60-cycle hum is everywhere. That, at least, makes some kind of sense.
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Old 4th May 2007, 01:58 AM   #31
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I can't remember if this book (The Rosslyn Hoax by Robert Cooper) covers the musical hypotheses about Rosslyn (not being aware of that when I leafed through it), but otherwise it seems to be an excellent (if rather dry) rebuttal to the mounds of BS that have been accrued over the years by the woo-woos.

But then it's written by a mason, in an academic style. So your average punter with the attention span of a newt, is never going to so much as crack the spine.

Also, here's the link to the BBC Radio 4 interview with Mitchell about this rubbish.
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Old 4th May 2007, 02:59 AM   #32
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Of course, the really fun thing about mathematically analysing music is that it doesn't work. Although the standard scale is close to a harmonic series, it is not exact. If you tune a piano by only measuring the frequency of the notes it will sound absolutely horrible, you actually need to tune just one note to an exact frequency and then tune the rest by ear. This is why a frequency is only given for concert A and not other notes, once you have defined one note there is no absolutely reliable way of defining the others, it is simply a matter of subjective sound.
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Old 4th May 2007, 03:09 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by Big Les View Post
I'm just very conscious not to start dismissing things out of hand just because they match the woo MO. I've come across a fair few examples of pseudohistorical/archaeological stuff, as that's where my amateur interest in woo crosses over with my academic and professional background. But this had aspects so far out of my expertise, that in good conscience I couldn't be sure I had pegged it accurately as BS.
Same here - the original news report didn't go into much detail, and I'm totally unmusical and had never even heard of Chladni patterns. So it all sounded fairly sensible to me.
This shows how even intelligent sceptically-minded people can be misled when they're confronted with claims that concern subjects outside their area of knowledge. This is why I like this board!
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Old 4th May 2007, 04:02 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by Cuddles View Post
Of course, the really fun thing about mathematically analysing music is that it doesn't work. Although the standard scale is close to a harmonic series, it is not exact. If you tune a piano by only measuring the frequency of the notes it will sound absolutely horrible, you actually need to tune just one note to an exact frequency and then tune the rest by ear. This is why a frequency is only given for concert A and not other notes, once you have defined one note there is no absolutely reliable way of defining the others, it is simply a matter of subjective sound.
This is basically right...any educational value in me quibbling?
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Old 4th May 2007, 05:19 AM   #35
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Just listening to the wholly uncritical reporting of this by BBC national radio in the link above, and one of the two guys claims that if there wasn't a piece of music hidden in the carvings, they would have got something random that wouldn't have sounded like music. They play a brief piece of the "tune" without vocals, and I realised just how dependent upon the duration of the note (as well as all the other factors more learned colleagues here have pointed out) affects whether it sounds like "music" or not. With equal duration, and equal spacing between them, they would sound like nothing at all.

I'd like to get my hands on their book, but I don't think I could do justice to a proper critique other than spotting logical fallacies and historical errors/anachronisms. Plus I begrudge paying for it.
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Old 4th May 2007, 11:29 AM   #36
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The truly curious part about all this, is that when you play the tune backwards, you can clearly hear, "Leo is dead."
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Old 4th May 2007, 12:30 PM   #37
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All I can hear is the ker-ching of the cash registers
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Old 5th May 2007, 05:16 AM   #38
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Credit where it's due, Stuart Mitchell has responded to some of the comments on his Youtube video. Sadly, it's 90% fluff;

from http://rosslynmotet.com/
Quote:
I thought I should explain a few things that I never added to the video that can explain (at least from my father and my point of view) some of the questions asked in the comments as I we only get 500 characters to type so here we are in one big go.
Quote:
My father and I put this video together to give some visual idea of our 'under one roof' scenario because each cube contains a pattern of which there are 6 basic designs and a number of variations based on 3 of them. The symbols are all geometric in their shape and design, there are diamonds, and hexagons, flower shapes, crosses and squares turned on their sides with circles in the middle.
That explains why I haven't been able to find more than a few visibly different patterns either in his video or in photos of the chapel. The variations he describes must be bloody subtle. But then that's secret musical codes hidden from the church for you...

Quote:
To me the real challenge was to find these symbols collectively ‘under one roof’ and began a 10 year mission to find their counterparts somewhere in the world, in a book, in images, symbolic text or paintings. I even looked into Cuneiform text (which btw is very very close symbolically and makes you think, were there phonetics born out of Cymatic patterns, words and music/pitch together? It’s a cool concept! :-) Unfortunately we couldn’t find them 'collectively' together within one system or library. I did find them sometimes individually in the symbolism of Alchemy and Gnosticism but never really giving us any leads nor any more than a couple of the symbols to go on.
Look long and hard enough, with enough confirmation bias (and these two have admitted that this is "more an obsession than anything else" and you'll find something that's similar enough to pass muster with anyone not paying attention or who wants to believe.

Quote:
After many years of research with no real connection having been made there was one avenue that we had not fully investigated. The unusual and highly undervalued science penned Cymatics in 1924 by Dr Hans Jenny but which was first discovered and experimented with in 1725 by Ernst Chladni. (This date is one of the reasons that I left this subject to last since this science was (apparently) discovered at least 300 years after the design of Rosslyn. So it seemed highly unlikely to me that knowledge of this science would have been held by the designer of the Rosslyn cube music)
Chladni's work seems to have been legitimate and valuable science, and to some extent, Jenny's also. But he does appear to have taken the whole thing a little too far (the basic discovery being about all there was to discover), and today "cymatics" is both a dubious alt-med treatment and namechecked regularly by the New Age/woo-woo crowd for all sorts of other things. See here for example. It's often related to the sacred geometry claptrap I related earlier, and ties into how Mitchell et al think playing the right interpretation of the music will trigger some "event" or open a hidden part of the chapel. He's treading a line between pseudoscience and outright woo here; he seems to realise this as he's been tinkering with the Cymatics page on Wikipedia. One of the more shameless archived versions is little more than an ad.

Quote:
But extensive study and research into this sound-wave phenomenon proved to be the ‘under one roof’ scenario that I had been looking for. Every pattern that I found produced by these ‘pure notes’ mirrored in detail the 13 geometric patterns on the Rosslyn cubes.
So he says. The examples that are compared on the video look very little like the Chladni figures he claims they "are". In fact they look more like some of the others to me! I'm guessing I'll need to buy the book to see which he's matched up with which.

Quote:
That’s why we look on the sequence as the fist kind of CD or even MIDI file. If your going to 'freeze' music into a score with a lifetime of knowledge a developed spiritual appreciation of nature and the universe, what better way than these patterns? They can then pass on this knowledge to future generations. Its not the actual music that is the prize here, its the knowledge. Why go to so much trouble. And the fact that matching these patterns and associated pitch produces such a haunting melody seems to me to be more than coincidence.
Having made his theory fit the evidence, he's now off into cloud-cuckoo speculation land. Leaving aside the total lack of evidence for such knowledge (ah, but it's seekrit!) this is perhaps the worst way conceivable to pass on either that knowledge, or this specific tune. What, they hoped that someone in future would discover the science behind this, document it, and that someone else would spend countless hours trying to match the Rosslyn carvings to something in order to come up with this?

Quote:
It truly is an amazing musical science and I believe and many others who research in this field such as John Reid and Jeff Volk that there is a great deal to be learned and developed from this science.
Here's something to get our teeth into. Failing any kind of peer-review by professional architectural historians and archaeologists, name-checking other..."peers" is all we're getting as validation. Sorry to say, it's not looking good for these two "scientists"... the Great Pyramid also has secret information encoded using vibrations apparently! And evidence of creation is also to be found! Holy crud, could we get any deeper into the woo here?

Quote:
The Stave Angel clef to us seemed another strange coincidence, I agree with you that it could be any one of 4 possible clefs which brings me to the main point; the designer did not mark one on the carving. Why?
Because it doesn't actually mean what you want it to mean? Besides his coloured perception it being a co-incidence, if it's just a decorative carving (perhaps with some other symbolic significance), then it's not a coincidence at all! This is circular reasoning.

Quote:
Well in our opinion for one thing, that would have been a wee bit too obvious. The stave would have been recognized by someone at any time, they would not even have to be a musician, therefore 70% of the music would have been deciphered and the route through this knowledge bypassed.
Of course! Why didn't I think of that! It's sooper sekrit! If they'd left actual evidence of hidden music, the nasty church would have seen it and put a stop to things. Makes perfect sense. Thank goodness we have overactive imagination to cut through the evidence-based history...

Quote:
Secondly, it seems Tommy and I such a spooky and bizarre coincidence that the 3 cubes immediately above his head mirror the patterns produced by 3 different frequencies/Cps (cycles per second) using Chladni plates and are the actual frequencies/Cps of these 3 points that his finger tips are resting on – If the 5 lines were (hypothetically) a treble clef.
So IF the lines are intended to represent a treble clef, and IF his finger is intentionally pointing somewhere, and IF they were right about the Chladni pattern connection, then... oh I give up.

Quote:
One of the or most probably the main designer of Rosslyn Sir Gilbert Haye (who is now believed by historians to have had a direct role in the designs and plans for the chapel in 1446) spent 14 years in Cathay (old name for China) and the far east. Stranger still that he should come back and carve an ancient alchemical method of Chinese Gong tuning into 215 (originally 2 are now missing) cubic/rectangular stones, in a ceiling of a chapel in Scotland.
What?!!! Where did this Chinese stuff come from??? Is he suggesting that the medieval Chinese were aware of Chladni patterns too? I must have missed that. And "alchemical"??? It's no good, she cannae take the woo, Cap'n!!!! The source of this seems to be a book by Alan Butler and John Ritchie. Some content here. No idea whether they have any verifiable source for their claim.

Seriously, unlike most of this BS, it should be possible to at least determine whether or not this guy spent "14 years" or indeed any time, in China. On further Googling, the only results for "gilbert hay" and China relate to Mitchell's "discovery", or to associated woo. Wikipedia has an entry from a referenced book summarising him; no mention of China there. I was given to understand that "the East" was largely unknown in a cultural sense, beyond trade. When I get back to work I'll check his Oxford Dictionary of National Biography entry (it's subscription).

Quote:
I would say it was the most elaborate and subtle way of passing knowledge under the nose of the controlling authorities to be picked up by future generations (under less of a ‘knowledge strangle-hold’) to be understood, appreciated and developed.
Any more elaborate and subtle and we might have reason to question it Thank god for the resurgence in ignorance, prejudice against science, and uncritical thought, eh?

Quote:
Sir Gilbert Haye is asking us in this time to continue his research, and he placed a beautiful piece of music for us as a ‘Can you now ‘see’ what music is?…Now the rest is up to you.’
No, seriously, he isn't.

Quote:
Thank you all for the wonderful and constructive comments. My father and appreciate everyone’s interest as this is a subject we want everyone to discover for themselves.
Shame he hasn't actually addressed any of those. I'd invite him here, but I have called him a numpty..
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Old 5th May 2007, 06:15 AM   #39
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"numpty" is hilarious to me because I'm a Yank and I have no idea what it means.

I admire your patience, Big Les.

I've performed a little experiment.

First, I put myself in a mystical mood by thinking of someone with Haunting Beauty.

With each roll of the dice I thought of Shemp.

I came up with: 2,3,3,4,6,6,6,5. Possibly Satanic.

I can think of these any way I want--intervals, scale degrees, whatever.

So that things are not too far-fetched, I chose scale degrees in A minor, with A=432, because it resonates with Shemp.

So that would be: B,C,C,D,F,F,F,E

I chunked this as |B C C D |F F F E | -a two bar phrase

This can be harmonized (somewhat crudely) with

|G#-A--|D------C |
|E-----|B A G# A |

It doesn't sound quite right, but if I set a Latin text with it and give it to some good singers, and record it in a church (for the acoustics) I've got Instant Haunting Beauty™. Who cares if I started on a V chord?

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Old 5th May 2007, 06:53 AM   #40
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Thanks for that Calebprime - instructive as ever. I imagine that if one is fully immersed in the woo, it's all the easier to contrive something from nothing. Bit like a "natural" cold reader versus a sceptic or mentalist who's learned it from a book.

There's a reference in this press release to Robert Hooke being an intermediate "discoverer" of the link between vibration and music;

Quote:
Chladni spread fine sand on metal or glass plates, then used a violin bow to make the plate vibrate. Sand gathered in parts of the plate which were not vibrating, creating patterns unique to each pitch.

Although the patterns are associated with Chladni, the effect had been noted a few decades earlier, by the English scientist Robert Hooke in 1665.
Which implies that the formation of patterns based upon the frequency of vibrations (specifically "music") was known before Chladni. That doesn't appear to be the case:

From Project Gutenberg's copy of his work, this is what he actually observed:
Quote:
let us suppose a dish of
sand set upon some body that is very much agitated, and shaken with some
quick and strong vibrating motion, as on a Milstone turn'd round upon
the under stone very violently whilst it is empty; or on a very stiff
Drum-head, which is vehemently or very nimbly beaten with the Drumsticks.

By this means, the sand in the dish, which before lay like a dull and
unactive body, becomes a perfect fluid; and ye can no sooner make a
hole in it with your finger, but it is immediately filled up again, and
the upper surface of it levell'd. Nor can you bury a light body, as a
piece of Cork under it, but it presently emerges or swims as 'twere on
the top; nor can you lay a heavier on the top of it, as a piece of Lead,
but it is immediately buried in Sand, and (as 'twere) sinks to the
bottom. Nor can you make a _hole_ in the side of the Dish, but the sand
shall run out of it to a level, not an obvious property of a fluid
body, as such, but this dos imitate; and all this meerly caused by the
vehement agitation of the conteining vessel; for by this means, each
sand becomes to have a vibrative or dancing motion, so as no other
heavier body can rest on it, unless sustein'd by some other on either
side: Nor will it suffer any Body to be beneath it, unless it be a
heavier then it self.
Quote:
particles that are similar, will, like so many equal
musical strings equally stretcht, vibrate together in a kind of Harmony
or unison; whereas others that are dissimilar, upon what account
soever, unless the disproportion be otherwise counter-ballanc'd, will, like
so many strings out of tune to those unisons, though they have the same
agitating pulse, yet make quite differing kinds of vibrations and
repercussions, so that though they may be both mov'd, yet are their
vibrations so different, and so untun'd, as 'twere to each other,
that they cross and jar against each other, and consequently, cannot
agree together, but fly back from each other to their similar particles.

Now, to give you an instance how the disproportion of some bodies in one
respect, may be counter-ballanc'd by a contrary disproportion of the
same body in another respect, whence we find that the subtil vinous
spirit is congruous, or does readily mix with water, which in many
properties is of a very differing nature, we may consider that a unison
may be made either by two strings of the same bigness, length, and
tension, or by two strings of the same bigness, but of differing
length, and a contrary differing tension, or 3ly. by two strings of
unequal length and bigness, and of a differing tension, or of equal
length, and differing bigness and _tension, and several other such
varieties. To which three properties in strings, will correspond three
proprieties also in sand, or the particles of bodies, their Matter
or Substance, their Figure or Shape, and their Body or Bulk. And
from the varieties of these three, may arise infinite varieties in
fluid bodies, though all agitated by the same pulse or vibrative
motion. And there may be as many ways of making Harmonies and Discords with
these, as there may be with musical strings.
If you think this is wholly irrelevant to the main claims at hand, you'd be right, and Mitchell doesn't make much mileage from this (though I presume he's the originator of the reference in that press release). Hooke's observations pertain to the existence of vibrations and the properties of materials, with analogical reference to musical instruments. That's as far as Hooke seems to have taken it.

There's a real failure by these people to understand how science came about. People like Hooke made observations, others tested them, and the body of knowledge snowballed. This sort of thing just wasn't happening in any way organised enough to describe something like Chladni patterns, until at least the Renaissance, if not the Enlightenment. Of course we can't prove that this stuff wasn't known to the carving designers, but then of course it ought to be up to the claimant to prove their claims.

As for "numpty", an explanation is in order. A fantastic word indeed, the usage of which to denote "general foolishness" seems quite apt in this case.
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