The Sounds of Civilization!


By Jill Mattson | | Art by Jill Mattson


Editor's Note: This article provides an inspired synopsis of how different major civilizations have used music, and specifically the spacing of musical notes, in different ways. Then she connects those different manners of usage to certain socio/politico/economic developments. Jill Mattson is a four time author/soundhealing expert, uses Sound Healing techniques with original music. Free soundhealing mp3s are available by visiting the bottom of her home page at, that allow you to sample her musical as well as writing gifts. She postulates that special frequencies expand our consciousness; and that musical intervals, rhythms and harmonics may be directed to produce special effects. Enjoy!

“Vibrations, or sounds, can control civilizations!” wrote ancient officials. An outrageous idea at first glance, but many ancient dynasties lasted thousands of years, while we grow tired of our president in merely four years.

I planned to uncover why many rulers believed this. I hunkered down into the study of antiquity… for twenty years, carefully recording musical and esoteric secrets. Esoteric societies guarded this data, believing that whoever knew it – could control people and for the wrong reasons! They refused to document this secret information. Esoteric students were divided according to their moral and psychic advancement into categories such as initiates, disciples, adepts and masters. Secrets of sound were confined to verbal discussions among proven adepts and masters …safe guarding this powerful information. Each esoteric school divulged a few secrets, but I studied so many, I accumulated a wealth of diverse vibratory knowledge. Merely considering these ideas exponentially increased my understanding of the power of music!

Sparse writings from Rudolf Steiner discuss the musical system of the ancient Lumarians and Atlanteans. The earlier civilization, the Lemarians, listened to a descending musical scale, in which the smallest distance between adjacent tones was equivalent to nine of our notes! This music connected the listener with the Divine. Later, the Atlanteans claimed to enjoy a descending musical scale with the notes closer together, yet neighboring notes still represented seven of our musical notes. The Atlantean music connected man to his own Divine Spirit.

In order to hear Lemarian or Atlantean music, one would need clairaudience, as few notes would be within our hearing range. Steiner suggests that man had not “involved” into matter to the extent that we have today, enabling people to hear clairaudiently.

The ancient Indian and Persian epochs boasted of a musical system built on the interval of six of our notes.  Persian cosmetology mingled with writings about Zoroaster reflect that music escorted man towards a connection with the next lower hierarchy of spirit, the “Planetary Logos,” providing a spiritual experience.

Increased historical documents shed light on music of ancient Egypt and China. Music was believed to be a powerful controlling influence on the population. The rulers governed, regulated and policed the music people heard.  By controlling the vibrations that people were exposed to, officials believed they yielded a strong influence over them.

Ancient Chinese rulers believed that each musical note was a connection to the Divine. The rulers orchestrated concerts with 10,000 players, making plentiful and powerful connections to the Divine.  In a current example, the Latvian country of Estonia sponsors a weeklong songfest every five years. These historic concerts boasted of half a million singers…a good showing for a country of only one million people. Many credit the historic courage of this tiny nation in their struggles for independence – to the energy created by this vitalizing, musical experience.

Ancient Chinese music centered on twelve notes. Each note was five of our notes apart and was referred to as the “Lu Scale.” Musical sounds floated like the sounds of wind chimes, with no beginnings or endings. Tones still descended and were said to augment the imagination.

As the stars in the skies journeyed across the horizon, this changing energy was believed to influence people. The music or “musical astrology” changed throughout the year, providing support for personal and emotional challenges caused by the vibrations of planets in motion in our solar system. This musical feng shui varied as energy in nature changed, providing a balancing mechanism for the population! Instruments made out of the various elements were exclusively played at certain times, further engineering the balancing effect of the music.

In the Greek epoch, tetra chords, two groups of four notes each, created modes, which resembled our scales.  These modes characterized personalities. The modes were even named after people who preferred its mood. According to Steiner, this musical system enabled spiritual energy to descend to a greater extent, so mankind could see the world primarily through a physical body.

Control of music shifted to the Catholic Church in the Middle Ages. Initially adopting the Greek modes, they later dropped all but two, renaming them “major” and “minor.” Music prior to this period was a series of ongoing tones. An “amen” was added on the end of Gregorian chants and church liturgy, creating the concept of a beginning and ending in a song.

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