posted on
Oct 24th

The Harmony of the Spheres: The Pythagorean Tradition in Music

The concept of the “Harmony of the Spheres” has fascinated inquiring minds for many centuries. Godwin’s sourcebook traces the history of this idea that the whole cosmos, with its circling planets and stars, is in some way a harmonious or musical entity. Beginning with the creation myth from Plato’s Timaeus, the author shows how this concept has continued to inspire philosophers, astronomers, and mystics from antiquity to the present day.

Jewish, and Muslim sources, Joscelyn Godwin’s anthology offers a rich fount of inspiration to poets and musicians, scientists and occultists. More than half of the fifty‑two texts have been translated into English for the first time from Latin, French, German, and Italian, including long passages on the subject of cosmic music from the Venetian Kabbalist Francesco Giorgi; the great Renaissance philosophers Kepler, Fludd, Mersenne, and Kircher; the German Pythagoreans Peter Singer and Albert von Thimus; and the rich esoteric tradition of modern France. All the passages are accompanied by introductions and notes explaining terms, clarifying concepts, and suggesting further reading. An extensive bibliography and indexes are also included. Harmony of the Spheres is an essential resource for anyone with a serious interest in the spiritual dimensions of music.

Musician, scholar, and professor of music at Colgate University, Joscelyn Godwin is the author of numerous books, including Harmonies of Heaven and Earth: The Spiritual Dimension of Music. He is also the editor of Cosmic Music: Keys to the Musical Interpretation of Reality and Music, Mysticism, and Magic.