The Music of the Spheres by Talonabraxas (deviantart.com)
The “Music of the Spheres” was a term that was originally used to describe the harmonic and mathematical movement of the “planets,” which in the time of Pliny the Elder, Gaius Plinius Secundus, included Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Sun, Venus and Moon (Natural History: A Selection by Pliny the Elder; Translated with an introduction and notes by John F. Healey, Penguin Books, 2004).
While this concept had very religious and metaphysical connotations, it was Pythagoras who connected the planetary orbits and their associated numerical ratios with musical notes (sounds frequencies) in proportion to the length of string and its associated sound. Pythagoras identified that the “planets” all produced their own unique hum (orbital resonance) based on the orbital revolution and called this concept the Harmony of the Spheres. Pythagoras was a mathematician and astronomer; he proposed that the Earth was spherical like the other planets and established the basis of musical intervals (Pliny the Elder, 2004). It is not surprising that Pythagoras would connect the celestial movement of the planets with musical theory. Pythagoras goes on to say that the quality of life on Earth is directly impacted by these planetary sounds even though the human ears can not sense or pick up these sounds.
As identified by S.T. Joshi (I Am Providence: The Life and Times of H.P. Lovecraft, 2013), HPL read Pliny and was certainly familiar with Pythagoras. Indeed HPL actually mentions The Music of the Spheres in “The Horror in the Museum” one of the revision tales – this one for Hazel Heald. In the tale the protagonist is in a vaulted chamber of the museum in the middle of the night and “wishes that his senses were not so preternaturally keen.”
The protagonist catches faint sounds of whispering, murmuring or rustling, “which could not quite be identified within the nocturnal hum of the squalid streets outside, and he thought of vague, irrelevant things like the music of the spheres and the unknown, inaccessible life of alien dimensions pressing on our own.” I believe HPL is referencing Pythagoras’s Harmony of the Spheres since he read Pliny and must have been familiar with the proposed connection between the celestial hums (orbital resonance) of the planets and our inability to perceive them. Thus, in “The Horror in the Museum” HPL makes the connection that these barely audible sounds may represent an inaccessible alien dimension.
So what does all of this have to do with Erich Zann? I propose an awful lot. I hypothesize that the specific tones and frequencies of that weird, strange tune Zann plays in front of the large garret window prevents the “things” on the other side of threshold from entering our universe. At a minimum, the music warns them not to enter.
Sound is a vibration in some type of medium, such as air or water, which travels as a mechanical wave of pressure and displacement through the medium. This vibration is typically received by some type of membrane and then interpreted. In the case of humans, these sound waves reach our eardrums, which resonate at varying frequencies and in turn are converted into electrical signals, which travel to the brain and are then interpreted as sounds (Hyperspace: A Scientific Odyssey Through Parallel Universes, Time Warps, and the Tenth Dimension, by Michio Kaku, 1994). Similarly, our vocal chords are also stretched membranes that vibrate at varying frequencies or resonances and create sounds (Kaku, 1994). Thus, membranes both generate and receive / interpret sound waves.
The Music of Erich Zann by Khalfrodod-d7uas5p (www.deviantart.com)
I described in a previous article, Beyond the Wall of Sleep, Part 4 – The Cosmic Radio, that a energy can be converted into another form of energy. The example provided in that article was the natural radio emissions generated from the planets and their moons / rings, which are collected and then translated into sound waves by our space probes (Voyager I and II and Cassini). In this case natural radio waves generated in the vacuum of space are converted into a format that can then be perceived through one of the five human senses; in this case sound.
With the information provided above the question is posed, was the music of Erich Zann’s producing sound waves that were hitting some inter-dimensional membrane, then being translated on the other side as a warning to “keep out?” Or, were the sounds waves of Zann’s music being converted into a particular form of energy that repulsed the entities or forces on the other side of the garret window?
The next article will be the last on The Music of Erich Zann. Next time we will discuss and describe the entities beyond the threshold of the garret window.
Rue d’ Auseil by Mercvtio-d6a9unf (www.deviantart.com)