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zen alarm clocks are Pythagorean Tuned

zen alarm clocks are Pythagorean Tuned

Pythagorean Tuning

The special tuning of the Zen Alarm Clock’s chime takes its inspiration from the ancient Greek master Pythagoras who lived in the 6th century B.C.  Pythagoras is one of history’s most mystical geniuses.  Although he is best known for his theorem in geometry, Pythagoras was primarily a religious teacher, and his understanding of the universe retains much vitality for our day.  Pythagoras embodied the ancient Greeks’ zest for understanding and their passion for the “physics of spirit.”

Pythagoras’ spirituality was informed by the ancient cult of Orpheus, the Greek God of music and science.  And the tradition of Orpheus has continued to be a potent source of artistic inspiration down through the ages.  Legend recounts how Orpheus was given a lyre by Apollo and was taught to play by the muses.  By playing his lyre, Orpheus produced harmonies that joined all of nature together in peace and joy.   In Greek mythology, Orpheus, through his music, acts as the mediator between humanity and the gods—fitting together that which is separate. And this is the definition of harmony: an agreement between disagreeing elements.

Inspired by this Orphic tradition of music and science, Pythagoras was led to conduct perhaps the world’s first physics experiment.  By playing strings of different lengths, Pythagoras discovered that sound vibrations naturally occur in a sequence of whole tones or notes that repeat in a pattern of seven.  Like the seven naturally occurring colors of the rainbow, the octave of seven tones we recognize as “do re mi fa so la ti” reveals the sevenfold structure that orders all vibrations in the universe.  These tones can be identified by their specific vibrational frequencies which are measured in cycles per second.

In the course of his experiments with sound, Pythagoras discovered that certain tones sound very good together, while other combinations of tones are rather displeasing.

One combination of tones that always sounds good together is known as the Fifth.  The Fifth is a harmonic sound produced when two tones are in a relationship of 3 to 2.  In other words, the Fifth is sounded when one tone is vibrating one-and-a-half times as fast as the other.

For example, if you sound a middle “C” on the piano, and then sound the “G” five notes ahead on the scale, it will sound satisfying and harmonious.

Since its discovery by Pythagoras, the Fifth has come to be universally recognized for its beauty; it forms the structural basis of musical compositions in almost every cultural tradition.  The Fifth is an archetypal expression of harmony that demonstrates the “fitting together” of microcosm and macrocosm in an inseparable whole.  That is, the Fifth is a beautiful sound because it demonstrates how the universe works.

chime alarm clocks by Now & Zen

chime alarm clocks by Now & Zen

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