In Freemasonry, we are familiar with music as one of the Seven Liberal Arts and Sciences. Pythagoras, our ancient Friend and Brother, is known for the “Music of the Spheres.” The Masonic philosopher Albert Pike, writing in Morals and Dogma, notes in his mystical way that in “the Kabala [sic], the last Seven Sephiroth constituted ATIK YOMIN, the Ancient of Days; and these . . . correspond with . . . the Seven notes of the musical octave.” (Lecture on the “Knight of the Sun” Degree, p. 727, classic edition)
There is a nexus between music and mathematics, and -- as a mathematician -- I know that the human ear responds logarithmically to sound in general. Yet music can resonate better in sublayers of sound and integrate more smoothly with the components that relate these signals to the body. Music motivates the dormant strings of the brain to bring forth energy to the entire system of the universe, as well as to the individual soul.
Perhaps for this reason, music is used in diverse applications in life as a balsamic treatment. It improves the health the patient and speeds his recovery in the hospital. It brings sleeps to those with insomnia and quiets the nerves from tension. It helps infants into a pleasant sleep and nice dreams. It spreads joy to the listener and relieves the burdened heart. It disseminates happiness and eliminates tension.
Music is one of the Seven Liberal Arts and Sciences that Masons are encouraged to use in order to develop their faculties and enhance their knowledge in practical life. Accordingly, music is highly encouraged to be played in Lodges and major ceremonial events in order to make them more successful and render their performances more solemn. Would one notice the difference between a march or procession with and then without music? Would one feel that its treble is pounding on one’s heart and hugging one’s spirit? It is perhaps no accident that some of the world’s greatest composers – Haydn, Mozart, Liszt, Sibelius, and Sousa – were attracted to join the fraternity and -- in many cases -- write music for ceremonial Masonic purposes.
Yet even the greatest music in the world – like our Gentle Craft itself – is but a gateway into the Eternal, a sublime intimation of that “house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” (2 Corinthians 5:1)