Greek Esoteric Music Theory

Elemental Sequences

Progressive Sequences
Female to Male Upper to LowerABCD
Lower to UpperBADC
Male to Female Upper to LowerCDAB
Lower to UpperDCBA
Lower to Upper Male to FemaleDBCA
Female to MaleBDAC
Upper to Lower Male to FemaleCADB
Female to MaleACBD

Cyclic Sequences
Female to Male to Female Upper to LowerACDB
Lower to UpperBDCA
Dry to MoistADCB
Moist to DryBCDA
Male to Female to Male Upper to LowerCABD
Lower to UpperDBAC
Dry to MoistDABC
Moist to DryCBAD
Upper to Lower to Upper Female to MaleABDC
Male to FemaleCDBA
Dry to MoistADBC
Moist to DryCBDA
Lower to Upper to Lower Female to MaleBACD
Male to FemaleDCAB
Dry to MoistDACB
Moist to DryBCAD

  1. In the Progressive Sequences there is a movement from one Quality, Power or Dominion to its opposite, expressed in the Primary Progression. The Secondary Progression (or Internal Progression) takes place twice within the Primary Progression. Progressive Sequences can be used to move from one state to another.

  2. In the Cyclic Sequences there is a departure from one Quality, Power or Dominion to its opposite and then a return; this is expressed in the Primary Progression. Superimposed on this cycle is the Secondary Progression from a Quality, Power or Dominion to its opposite. Cyclic Sequences can used to temporarily visit another state in order to make some change.

  3. See The Elemental Tetrachord for correspondences between the Notes and the Elements, Deities, Vowels, etc.

  4. Lower refers to the Underworld (Hades and Tartaros), the chthonic dominion of Hades and Persephone.

  5. Upper refers to the Heavens (Earth and Olympus), the celestial dominion of Zeus and Hera.

  6. The Male Elements have the Warm (separating) Quality and the Female have the Cool (uniting).

  7. Dry refers to the Quality of being strong, but also rigid. Moist refers to the Quality of being flexible, but also weak. The Moist and Dry powers correspond to the alchemical operations of Dissolution and Coagulation, referred to in the famous alchemical maxim Solve et Coagula.

  8. For more on the Qualities or Powers (Warm/Cool, Dry/Moist), see The Ancient Greek Esoteric Doctrine of the Elements.

  9. In choosing a Sequence, pay particular attention to the Element (Deity etc.) on which it ends.

  10. A melodic step of a major third (e.g. A to C) represents a conjunction of opposing principles (e.g. Fire and Water) or the union of a God and Goddess (e.g. Hades and Persephone).

  11. Melodic steps of a second (e.g. BC or DC) or a perfect fourth (e.g., AD) occur between principles that share some quality (e.g. gender or domain).

  12. Notes within a Sequence may be repeated without altering the overall Sequence. Thus ADBBBC dwells in the Watery power of Persephone (B), before returning to the upper realms (C).

  13. The Progressive Sequences occur in pairs, in which the notes are reversed in each pair of notes (e.g. ABCD vs. BADC). Such pair have opposing Secondary Progressions.

  14. The Cyclic Sequences occur in pairs, which are reversals of each other (e.g. Dry to Moist and vice versa). It will also be observed that the Upper/Lower Sequences differ from corresponding Dry/Moist Sequences in having the middle two Notes reversed (look for yourself to see the pattern; it is easier to see it than to say it).

  15. The Cyclic Sequences can be repeated to create double cycles. For example DCAB DCAB... cycles between Male (DC) and Female (AB) and between Upper (CA) and Lower (BD).

  16. If we use the sequences in a cycle, then rotations make no difference; for example ADBC and BCAD both produce ...ADBCADBCADBCAD... If we eliminate the simple scales ABCD and DCBA, then there are only four distinct sequences:

    (Notice that the sequences form a Latin Square.) As it turns out, these are the same four Elemental Vowel Chants presented by R. J. Stewart (Music, Power, Harmony 126-7), although he uses different correspondences. Their meanings in the Greek Tradition may be determined by consulting the Table of Cyclic Sequences above.

  17. There are twenty-four Sequences, corresponding to the twenty-four letters of the Classical Greek Alphabet.

  18. DEFG can be used instead of ABCD, as can any other diatonic Phrygisti tetrachord (i.e., tone-semitone-tone).

  19. If you know The Elemental Tetrachord and The Ancient Greek Esoteric Doctrine of the Elements. then you can throw away this chart, because you know everything you need to know to construct a Sequence corresponding to any desired progression of Qualities, Powers, Dominions, etc.

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Last updated: Sun May 9 22:58:35 EDT 1999