Some of the elements of the Chromatic System were known 200 years ago. The Diatonic scale, being called the "Natural scale," implied that the chromatic chords were consider to be artificial; but the notes of the chromatic chords, from their PROXIMITY to the notes of the tonic chord, fit to them like hand and glove. Nothing in music is more sweetly natural and pleasingly effective than such resolutions; and hence their extensive use in the hands of the Masters. The chromatic chords have close relations to the whole system of music, making the progressions of its harmonies easy and delectable, and producing effects often enchanting and elevating, as well as often subtle and profound; and while they are ever at hand at the call of the Composer, they are ever in loyal obedience to the laws of their own structure and system. When a diatonic chord precedes another diatonic chord belonging to the same scale, it has one note moving in semitonic progression;1 but when a chromatic chord precedes a diatonic chord, it may have three semitonic progressions.2 The primary chromatic chord resolves into 8 of the 24 diatonic tonic chords, with 3 semitonic progressions. These identical notes of the chromatic chord, with only some changes of names, resolve into another 8 of the 24 tonic chords, with 2 semitonic progressions and one note in common; and when they resolve into the third and last 8 of the 24 tonic chords, they move with one semitonic progression and 2 notes in common. So to the chromatic chord there are no foreign keys.3 And as it is with the first chromatic chord, so with the other two. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 51]


[Harmonies of Tones and Colours, The Method of Development or Creation of Harmonies1, page 15]

THIS scheme is grounded upon the belief that a key has been gained which unites grandeur with simplicity, the laws of which are wonderfully simple, although most complex in their working, explaining all the intricacies which arise in the developments of harmonies. [Harmonies of Tones and Colours, The Method of Development or Creation of Harmonies1, page 15]

There is much paradox, and the scheme differs so much from any hitherto published on the subject, that I am aware that, if any link can be found to be wanting in the chain, the defect will immediately be seized upon. I believe, however, that it will be found to admit of clear demonstration. Anyone who has studied the subject knows the difficulties that arise on all sides. In the problem before us, we have to reduce large fields of thought to certain elementary truths. In my endeavour to do this, I have been entirely dependent upon the discovery of the laws of Nature, as my ear is not musical enough to assist me in the matter. "All mysteries are either truths concealing deeper truths, or errors concealing deeper errors," and thus, as the mysteries unfold, truth or error will show itself in a gradually clearer light. The great mystery of music lies in its infinite resources; it teems with subtle elements and strange analogies. A musical note may be compared to a machine: we touch the spring and set the machine in motion, but the complex machinery exists beforehand, quite independent of our will; the motive power is not of our creation, and the laws on which its operation depends are superior to our control. The complex work of harmony is governed by the laws which are originated by the Creator; every note performs what He has willed, and in tracing these laws let us not be indifferent about their Author, but ever bear in mind that the source or fountain of the life and activity of harmonies arises from the Power who created the machine, and who knows how it will act. Let us also remember that we understand this machine but partially, and govern it but imperfectly, as indeed the finite can only, in a small measure, grasp the Infinite; and in any [Harmonies of Tones and Colours, The Method of Development or Creation of Harmonies1, page 15]

Of course, true Art cannot be opposed to Nature, although all the rules of the musician are not the facts of Nature. Music, pure, natural, and harmonical, in the true and evident sense of the term, is the division of any key-note, or starting-point, into its integral and ultimate parts, and the descending divisions will always answer to the ascending, having reference to a general whole. The essence and mystery in the development of harmonies consist in the fact that every key-note, or unit, is a nucleus including the past, the present, and the future, having in itself an inherent power, with a tendency to expand and contract. In the natural system, as each series rises, its contents expand and fall back to the original limit from any point ascending or descending; we cannot perceive finality in any ultimate; every tone is related to higher and lower tones, and must be a part of an organised whole. It is well known how deeply the late Sir John Herschel studied this subject; and it was his opinion that there was some principle in the science of music which had yet to be discovered.[Harmonies of Tones and Colours, The Method of Development or Creation of Harmonies2, page 16]

the artificial system must not be mixed up. The wonders of Nature's laws in the developments of harmonies, consist in the beautiful adaption of keyed and all other musical instruments to a range commensurate with human powers. The chromatic scale of twelve notes (the thirteenth being the octave) is not the scale of Nature. To construct a musical instrument upon real divisions of musical tones, each of them being in correct ratio with the others, it would be necessary to have a larger number of tones to the octave. In the development of harmonies on the natural system, we trace the perfect adaptation of means to ends, meeting the intricacies of every musical instrument, including that most perfect of all— the human voice. [Harmonies of Tones and Colours, The Method of Development or Creation of Harmonies3, page 17]

If the laws which I shall endeavour to explain develope the twelve major harmonies, with each note in succession expanding its six tones from within itself; and if each of these is found to be a lower development, which leads the ear to a corresponding higher expansion of the twelve major key-notes, and the six tones of each ascending and descending in an unbroken sequence from any twelve consecutively, the thirteenth being the octave of the first, which commences a higher or a lower series; and if the twelve minor harmonies are also gained by the same laws from their twelve relative key-notes (the thirteenth again being octave): if, again, all other notes are shown to be but higher or lower repetitions of these twenty-four harmonies—may we not consider the problem as in some measure solved? especially as the harmonies proceed in geometric as well as harmonical ratio, and an accurate parallel can be traced between the development of notes and colours, which latter correspond with all the intricacies of harmonic sounds. [Harmonies of Tones and Colours, The Method of Development or Creation of Harmonies3, page 17]

In the diagrams the circles are not drawn as interlacing into each other, from the difficulty of representing them accurately as rising spirally in geometric progression. If we endeavour to realise the development of harmonies, both in geometric order, and at the same time advancing and retiring, as in musical clef, we must imagine a musician having the physical power of striking all the notes on a circular keyed instrument of seven octaves, linked to a lower series of seven octaves, and a corresponding series of seven higher. But in fact the depth of the lower series, and the height of the higher, are alike unfathomable to our present powers. C, the first note of the seven octaves, sounds the four lowest tones, F, G, A, B of the lower series; and B, the last and highest note of the seven octaves, sounds in its harmony C♮ and D# of the higher series of sevens. [Harmonies of Tones and Colours, The Method of Development or Creation of Harmonies3, page 17]


"And God said, Let there be light, and there was light."—GEN. i.3.
"God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all."—I JOHN i.5.
[Harmonies of Tones and Colours, On Colours as Developed by the same Laws as Musical Harmonies1, page 18]

The primitive laws of any science should be capable of succinct statement, but in combination with others they become more complex and delicate, and error is proved if in the developments they do not echo each other. If, therefore, musical harmonies are correctly gained, the same laws will develope harmonies of colour, and will agree with the colours of the rainbow, the circle of which is divided by the horizon. All who are interested in the laws which regulate these two sciences will doubtless know the interesting lectures delivered by W. F. Barrett (Professor of Experimental Physics in the Royal College of Science, Dublin), and the article written by him and published in the Quarterly Journal of Science, January, 1870, entitled "Light and Sound; an examination of their reputed analogy, showing the oneness of colour and music as a physical basis." I will quote shortly from the latter for the benefit of those who may not have met with it. "The question arises, Has all this æsthetic oneness of colour and music any physical foundation, over and above the general analogy we have so far traced between light and sound? We believe the following considerations will show, not only that it has some foundation, but that the analogy is far more wonderful than has hitherto been [Harmonies of Tones and Colours, On Colours as Developed by the same Laws as Musical Harmonies1, page 18]

The fountain or life of musical harmonies and colours is E, or yellow; the root B, or ultra-violet: these being, in fact, tints and shades of white and black. Ascending, they partake more of white; descending, of black: the former drawing tones and colours higher, the latter lower. [Harmonies of Tones and Colours, On Colours as Developed by the same Laws as Musical Harmonies2, page 19]

The tones between the seven white notes of keyed instruments, and the tints and shades between the seven colours, cause the multequivalency of colours and of tones; consequently every colour, as every musical harmony, has the capability of ascending or descending, to and fro in circles, or advancing and retiring in musical clef. It is a curious coincidence that Wünsch, nearly one hundred years ago, believed in his discovery of the primary colours to be red, green, and violet; and in this scheme, red, answering to the note C, must necessarily be the first visible colour, followed by green and violet, but these not as primary colours, all colours in turn becoming primaries and secondaries in the development of the various harmonies. To gain facts by experiment, the colours must be exactly according to natural proportions—certain proportions producing white, and others black. In this scheme, green and red are shown to be a complementary pair, and therefore (as Clerk Maxwell has proved) red and green in right proportions would produce yellow. The same fact has been proved in Lord Rayleigh's experiments with the spectroscope. Yellow and ultra-violet, [Harmonies of Tones and Colours, On Colours as Developed by the same Laws as Musical Harmonies3, page 20]

The inequality of the equinoctial points is a well-known fact. It will be seen how apparent this is in the developments of harmonies. From the moment that trinities depart from unity, the balance is unequal, and the repeated endeavours after closer union cause a perpetual restlessness. May not this want of equilibrium be the life or motive power of the entire universe, with its continuous struggle after concord, even to oneness? "Closer and closer union is the soul of perfect harmony." In tracing harmonies of tones and colours, the double tones of keyed instruments will be seen to correspond with the intermediate tints and shades of colours. The twelve notes, scales, and chords in the major and minor series, the meetings by fifths, &c., all agree so exactly in their mode of development, that if a piece of music is written correctly in colours with the intermediate tints and shades, the experienced musician can, as a rule, detect errors more quickly and surely with the eye than the ear, and the correct eye, even of a non-musical person, may detect technical errors. Although the arithmetical relation has been most useful in gaining the laws, it is not here entered upon; but numbers equally meet all the intricacies both of tones and colours. The bass notes have been omitted, in order to simplify the scheme. [Harmonies of Tones and Colours, The Arabian System of Music, page 21]

The twelve which develope twelve major harmonies are written thus

Half Note

the other six which are incapabable of developing major harmonies thus

Whole Note

without regard to musical time. The seven colours are shown to answer to the seven white notes, the other five being intermediate tones and colours. A flat marked to a note indicates that it is nearer to the tone or colour below; a sharp means that it is nearer to the tone or colour above. The notes and chasms are not written according to accurately measured degrees. [Harmonies of Tones and Colours, Diagram I - The Eighteen Tones of Keyed Instruments, page 22a]

The diagram begins with C, the third space of the treble clef, as being more convenient to write than C, the lowest note in the bass clef. The life of musical sounds rising from a hidden fountain of life is shown by the chasms of keyed instruments between B and C, and E and F; their great use will be strikingly manifest as the developments proceed. The fundamental key-note C and its root F rise from the chasms. B, the twelfth key-note, and E, its root, sound the octave higher of the fountain B. The generation of harmonies is by one law a simple mode of difference. Each major major key-note and its tones embrace the eighteen tones of keyed instruments which all lie in order for use. The power and extent of each are complete in itself, rising and developing, not from any inherent property in matter, but from the life communicated to matter. In the whole process of harmony there are limits, and yet it is illimitable. Its laws compel each key-note to follow certain rules within certain bounds; each separate key-note, being the fountain of its own system, has its own point of rest, and series after series rise and enlarge, or fall and diminish infinitely. [Harmonies of Tones and Colours, Diagram I - The Eighteen Tones of Keyed Instruments, page 22a]

A key-note developing its harmony may be compared to a seed striking its root downwards, and rising upwards. On striking a note, it sounds from within itself, in a rapid and subdued manner, the six kindred tones necessary to its harmony, and all which do not belong to that individual harmony are kept under; thus all harmonies are in sevens. Each seven forms an ascending and descending series; the ear is aware of the tones, but not of the order in which they rise. [Harmonies of Tones and Colours, Diagram II - The Twelve Keynotes1, page 23]

The arrangement of a key-note and the six tones which it sounds may be simply explained by writing tones in a musical clef as notes. In this diagram we have the harmony of C and its root F. Both of these rise from the chasms, and hence this harmony is not so closely linked to that of B, and its root E, as to the other eleven harmonies. [Harmonies of Tones and Colours, Diagram II - The Twelve Keynotes1, page 23]

This diagram represents the two last major primaries of a series of 12; 12 of a higher series follow, and the two first of a still higher series: the secondaries are written below the primaries, the sharps or flats belonging to the different harmonies are written to each note. Each primary sounds the same tones as the secondaries of each third harmony below, but in a different order; and the double tones are altered sharp or flat as the harmonies require.
By reference to previous coloured notes it will be seen that all these agree. [Harmonies of Tones and Colours, The Two Last Major Primaries, page 24e]

In the progression of harmonies these are always closely linked into each other. If any key-note is taken as central, its root will be the fifth note of its harmony below, and it becomes in its turn the root of the fifth note above. If we add the silent notes, the root of the central note is the eighth below, and becomes the root of the eighth above. To explain the lower series of the notes sounding the six tones from within themselves, the only plan appeared to be to write the tones as notes in musical clef. By reference to Chapter V., we see that the lowest series still sound their tones, and lead the ear to the higher series of a key-note, and the six notes of its harmony, as they follow each other in trinities. [Harmonies of Tones and Colours, Diagram III - The Major Keynotes Developing by Sevens, page 25a]

IF we strike the twelve keys of harmonies in trinities, scales, and chords, as written in musical clef, beginning with the lowest C in the bass clef, this first development is linked into the lower series of seven octaves)) by the four lower tones sounded by C. If we follow with the twelve keys six times, at the seventh time they will gradually rise into the higher series. We obtain a glimpse of the beauty arising from musical notes in the Pendulograph. How exquisite would they be if they could be represented in their natural coloured tones! — as, for instance, the chord of the scale of C in red, yellow, and blue, with the six coloured tones rising from each, and harmoniously blended into each other. [Harmonies of Tones and Colours, The Twelve Keys Rising Seven Times, page 28a]

THE twelve keys have been traced following each other seven times through seven octaves, the keys mingled, the thirteenth note being the octave, and becoming first of each rising twelve. Thus developing, the seven notes of each eighth key were complementary pairs, with the seven notes of each eighth key below, and one series of the twelve keys may be traced, all meeting in succession, not mingled. When the notes not required for each of the twelve thus meeting are kept under, the eighths of the twelve all meet by fifths, and as before, in succession, each key increases by one sharp, the keys with flats following, each decreasing by one flat; after this, the octave of the first C would follow and begin a higher series. It is most interesting to trace the fourths, no longer isolated, but meeting each other, having risen through the progression of the keys to higher harmonies. In the seven of C, B is the isolated fourth, meeting F#, the isolated fourth in the key of G, and so on. Each ascending key-note becomes the root of the fifth key-note higher; thus C becomes the root of G, &c. [Harmonies of Tones and Colours, Diagram VII - The Modulating Gamut of the Twelve Keys1, page 29]

In the development of the key-notes, the sharp or flat is written to each note, but not to the keys. The reversal of the three and four notes of each seven of the twelve key-notes and their trinities meeting by fifths having been traced, we will now examine the twelve scales meeting by fifths, and the results arising from the reversal of the three and four notes of each fifth lower scale in the fifth higher. Take as an example the scale of C: C D E F G A B, and that of G: G A B C D E F#. The four lowest notes of the seven of C are the four highest, an octave higher, in G; F, the central and isolated note of the seven of C, having risen a tone higher than the octave in the scale of G. The twelve scales thus modulate into each other by fifths, which sound the same harmonies as the key-notes and their trinities. Refer to the twelve scales written in musical clef ascending by fifths, and strike them, beginning at the lowest C in the bass clef; this scale sounds no intermediate tones, but these must be struck as required for all the scales to run on in fifths. After striking the seven notes of C, if we fall back three, and repeat them with the next four notes of the seven; or strike the seven and octave of C, and fall back four, repeating them and striking the next four, the four last notes of each scale will be found to be always in the harmony of the four first of the fifth higher scale. When the twelve scales ascending have been thus gained, as we trace them also on the table, they may be struck descending by following them as written in musical clef upwards, and [Harmonies of Tones and Colours, Diagram VII - The Modulating Gamut of the Twelve Keys2, page 30]

THE term "key" in the minor developments must be taken in the sense in which it is understood by musicians, although it will be seen that it is only the seven of the harmony that are the relative minor keys of the majors, the scales with their chords sounding other keys. The grandeur, combined with simplicity, of the laws which develope musical harmonies are strikingly exhibited in the minor keys. Although at first they appear most paradoxical, and, comparing them with the majors, we may almost say contradictory in their laws of development, when they are in some degree understood, the intricacies disappear, and the twelve keys follow each other (with the thirteenth octave), all exactly agreeing in their mode of development. I shall endeavour to trace them as much as possible in the same manner as the majors, the lowest developments of the minor keys being notes with scales and chords, the notes always sounding their major harmonies in tones. Here an apparently paradoxical question arises. If the major keys are gained by the notes sounding the major tones, how are the minor keys obtained? Strictly speaking, there are no minor key-notes: the development of a minor harmony is but a mode of succession within the octave, caused by each minor key-note employing the sharps or flats of the fourth major key-note higher; and with this essential difference, it will be seen in how many points the developments of major and minor harmonics agree. I have carefully followed the same laws, and if any capable mind examines the results, I am prepared for severe criticism. I can only express that it was impossible to gain any other results than the seven of the harmony, the ascending and the descending scale and the chords combining three different keys. [Harmonies of Tones and Colours, Diagram VIII - On the Development of the Twelve Minor Harmonies, page 32]

TO recapitulate from the beginning, observe, firstly, the twelve major key-notes as they have developed from within themselves in succession, six tones in trinities seven times through seven octaves, each thirteenth note being the octave of the first note of the twelve that have developed, and being also the first of the higher series. We may retrace all as still sounding their tones, the key-notes leading the ear to the six notes of each harmony, the keys with sharps and those with flats being mingled. The ascending and descending scales always agree in their harmonies with the key-notes and their trinities. [Harmonies of Tones and Colours, Diagram XV - The Twelve Major and the Twelve Minor Keys, page 42a]

The chords always agree in their harmonies, and thus the close union of all is seen. The corresponding harmonies of tones and colours are also shown. [Harmonies of Tones and Colours, Diagram XV - The Twelve Major and the Twelve Minor Keys, page 42a]

If the foregoing harmonies of sound and of colour have been rightly developed from the Scriptures, I trust they will be considered as steps gained towards the belief that Evolution is the law of the Almighty for the continuance of activity throughout the universe, and towards an increasing study of Creation and Revelation as mutually explaining each other. According to my belief, the Scriptures must be based on the principle which is explained of keyed instruments at the conclusion of Chapter II. In the development of musical harmonies the beginning and the ending are unfathomable. It is the same in the Scriptures. No musical note or colour can be separated from those below and above it. Neither can any portion of the Bible be separated: every part embraces the past, [Harmonies of Tones and Colours, Reflections on the Scheme4, page 46]

See Also

Harmonies of Tones and Colours
Poles in Harmonies

Created by Dale Pond. Last Modification: Saturday April 3, 2021 05:20:46 MDT by Dale Pond.