Ficino, Marsilio - Commentary on Plato’s Timaeus - On music, ratios and the planets
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Ficino, Marsilio - Commentary on Plato’s Timaeus
On music, ratios and the planets
…. the situation suggests that we should go back to the seven-stringed instrument of Terpander, where the fourth string is struck twice to produce the octave. Terpander followed this grouping, I think, because the number of notes clearly distinct one from another does not rise beyond seven. But by a wonderful similarity the eighth note returns to the first, just as the double ratio through which it is created restores the smaller number which it exceeds while exceeding the same number by the same amount. The ninth turns back to the second and, like the second, is also dissonant. The tenth returns to the third and, like the third, is harmonious; the eleventh to the fourth; the twelfth to the fifth; the thirteenth to the sixth; the fourteenth to the seventh. Finally, the fifteenth returns to the eighth and with the eighth returns to the first.
The first and lowest note they call hypate; the next, parahypate; the third, lichanos; the fourth, mese; the fifth, paramese or trite; the sixth, paranete; and the seventh, nete.
Moreover if we make a comparison with the qualities and movements of the heavens, we shall compare hypate with Saturn, and the following notes with the following planets respectively.
But if we compare the notes to the swiftness or tardiness of the diurnal movements, we shall compare hypate to the Moon, and the subsequent notes to the higher planets, and we shall discover that the low notes are mixed in the heavens with the high ones, and that the self same orbs utter a high note from one kind of motion and a low note from another kind.