# LAW OF POSITION

Ramsay
The life-force of the notes from the law of position gives them a versatility which they could never have had from fixed ratios, however numerous. If the interval of the octave be excepted, there are no two notes together in a chord, nor succeeding each other in the octave scale, having the same amount of specific levity or gravity; consequently each note has an expression and [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 35]

When the major scale has been generated, with its three chords, the subdominant, tonic, and dominant, by the primary mathematical ratios, it consists of forms and orders which in themselves are adapted to give outgrowth to other forms and orders by the law of duality and other laws. All the elements, orders, combinations, and progressions in music are the products of natural laws. The law of Ratio gives quantities, form, and organic structure. The law of Duality gives symmetry, producing the minor mode in response to the major in all that belongs to it. The laws of Permutations and Combinations give orders and rhythms to the elements. The law of Affinity gives continuity; continuity gives unity; and unity gives the sweetness of harmony. The law of Position gives the notes and chords their specific levities and gravities; and these two tendencies, the one upward and the other downward, constitute the vital principle of music. This is the spiritual constitution of music which the Peter Bell mathematicians have failed to discern: [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 37]

If the effects of notes and chords had depended entirely on their mathematical ratios, then the effect of the subdominant, tonic, and dominant would have been alike; for these three chords have exactly the same ratios. It is the law of position which gives the tonic chord its importance, and not any special ratios embodied in its structure. The ratio of 2 to 1 has a pure, unmixed, invariable character, always realized in the interval of the octave. The notes produced from 1 by the first, second, and third powers of 3 have different degrees of centrifugal force. The character of the notes produced by the first power of 5 depends on the character of the notes from which they are derived, namely, 1, 3, and 9. The final character of the notes and chords derived by the same ratios is determined by the amount of force which they have acquired from the way in which they have been derived, and from their position in the system; and no matter where these notes may afterwards be [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 37]

Music, and mathematics have nothing more to do with it. Already the Law of Position has guided the genesis upward in the major; and while mathematical primes were generating the chords one after another in precisely the same way and form, like peas in a pod, the Law of Position was arranging them one over the other, and so appointing them in their relative position each its own peculiar musical effect bright and brighter. And when the major had been thus evolved and arranged by ratios and position, another law, the Law of Duality, gave the mathematical operation its downward direction in the minor; and while the primes which measured the upward fifths of the major also measure the downward fifths of the minor, the Law of Position is placing them in their relative position, and appointing each its own peculiar effect grave and graver. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 68]

The sympathy of one thing with another, and of one part of a thing with another part of it, arises from the principle of unity. For example, a string requires to be uniform and homogenous to have harmonics producing a fine quality of tone by the sweet blendings of sympathy; if it be not so, the tone may be miserable ... You say you wish I were in touch with Mr. Keely; so do I myself ... I look upon numbers very much as being the language which tells out the doings of Nature. Mr. Keely begins with sounds, whose vibrations can be known and registered. I presume that the laws of ratio, position, duality, and continuity, all the laws which go to mould the plastic air by elastic bodies into the sweetness of music, as we find them operative in the low silence of oscillating pendulums, will also be found ruling and determining all in the high silence of interior vibrations which hold together or shake asunder the combinations which we call atoms and ultimate elements, but which may really be buildings of wondrous complexity occupying different ranges of place and purpose between the visible cosmos and Him who built and evermore buildeth all things. The same laws, though operating in different spheres, make the likenesses of things in motion greater than the differences. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 87]

"The life force of the notes from the LAW OF POSITION gives them a versatility which they could never have had from fixed ratios, however numerous." [Laws of Music]

"The LAW OF POSITION gives notes and chords their specific levities and gravities; and these two tendencies, the one upwards and the other downward, constitute the vital principle of music. This is the spiritual constitution of music which the Peter Bell mathematicians have failed to discern" [Laws of Music]

"It is the LAW OF POSITION which gives the tonic chord its importance, and NOT any special ratios embodied in its structure." [Laws of Music]