Music of the Spheres

Musical appreciation has much to do with agreeable resonant frequencies.

Pythagoras discovered relationships between musical notes. The pitch of a note being played on, say, a guitar depends on:

  • The length of the string.
  • The tension of the string.
  • The material the string is made of.

Pressing a finger on the string clamps the string on to the metal fret to the left of where the finger is pressed. The effective length of the string becomes the distance between the fret and the bridge. If we say the length of the string is one unit, we can show the effective lengths of the string for each of the notes in the scale as fractions of the whole, related by powers of 2 and 3. These harmonious “consonant” lengths were discovered by Pythagoras. Furthermore, Pythagoreans believed that this was a general principle of the universe: everything is related by the ratios of whole integers..


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