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The Discovery of PrimaSounds, Written in English by Prof. Keyserling

by Arnold Keyserling

"The existence of sacred music was well known in most traditions, but the breakthrough came by the merging with the pentatonic scale. Thus the discovery of Prima Sounds is a step toward an unknown future."

The fulfillment of the history of systematic philosophy was Kant’s discovery: that human experience is based on three levels: sensation, intellect and reason. Sensations are the awareness of reality, submitted to the laws of space and time. Intellect confers the capacity to order sensations according to logical laws. Reason enables us to understand the Infinite and creativity.

There are three aspects to infinity:

Infinity of space;

Infinity of time, based on the cycle and the octave, repeating the starting point as a result; and,

Infinity of number, that the series never ends, that after each number follows another one.

The numbers are based on the sequence 1-9, and ten or zero. Each has a quality, which is the basis of intuition. Space is geometrical, and shows the laws of physics and matter. Time is infinite in repetition, repeating the order on a higher level, and thus is the basis of evolution, from matter to Man. All three levels have a common denominator in music or tones. Every tone is a synthesis of space and time, matter and vibration. Therefore mathematics is music, and this music is either description or creation.

The structure of the human organism is physical, an ordered entity. But this organism is vitalized by vibration, by energy. Thus the human form has an energetic counterpart. As the structure of the body-mind is sevenfold: spirit-soul-body, willing, feeling, thinking and sensation; each of these correspond to a single tone – which is a part of the sevenfold space-time-structure. These sounds constitute an ordered gestalt - the Prima Sounds. By knowing these sounds we can touch the energy field, and, with this, have the possibility to act upon these energies.

The ratio of these numbers is the division of seven, an interval between the overtones not used in other harmonic structures. 7/7, 7/6, 7/5, 7/4, 7/3, 7/2, 7/1. Each of these fundamental tones will effect the corresponding energy structure or chakra. Thus they help to tune the mind, and create a tool to attain the synthesis.

Listening or playing those sounds transforms consciousness into awareness, awakening the being of Man behind the phenomenological appearance.

Out of this structure emerges five intervals. By doubling the five-tone scale we attain the oldest existing scale tenfold scale, called the Slendro scale, much older then the Pythagorean sevenfold octave.

Ralph Losey has developed a music based on this scale. The music enables the player and listener to tune their mind to Awareness and therefore to being, attaining union with the cosmical energy force called in India “Prana”, and in China and Central Asia “Chi”. This musical discovery has happened before in many parts of the globe, but only today we can understand its functioning and affects.

Music in the European tradition belongs to the arts. However, in many countries music had a second significance – to understand its effect on healing. This aspect demands a deepening of the understanding of the laws of sounds. Energy appears in two forms of vibration – longitudinal and transversal. Longitudinal are waves of water and sound; transversal are waves of light and many physical phenomena. We will only be concerned with the first kind of vibrations. If I throw a stone into a pond, from the place of its entrance it will form circular waves. We can also describe transversal waves in a string – the vibrations follow a clear sequence. First the whole string vibrates, then the two halves, then the three thirds. To express in a linear sequence:


In tones the following intervals will appear:

the half of the string vibrates in an octave,

1/3 in a fifth,
1/4 in a fourth,
a 5th in five places.

The vibrations are divided according to nodes, places which do not resound. All these are used in the building of instruments. The intervals show the following fractions:

1/2 = octave
1/3 = fifth
3/4 = a fourth
1/5 = a major third
1/6 = octave of the first fifths
1/7 = is not used in our notations.

The one seventh interval is different from the major second of 1/9 and 1/10. When used, however, this 1/7th interval will divide the octave into five parts. This is the basis of Prima Sounds, also used in the Asian slendro scale, in difference to the Pythagorean scale, out of which our twelve notes have developed.

Now the Pythagorean scale was used analogically as corresponding to the planets, the sun and their relation to the galaxy. The slendro scale, used in central Asia, Indonesia and parts of Africa, does not refer to a planetary analogy, but to the structure of the human awareness field, the chakras of Yoga.

The Pythagorean scale was used to understand the structure of the solar system, and the Ptolemean world view beyond Kepler. For most people it is the only frame of reference. The slendro scale, based on five Elements, and a sequence of ten dimensions – in accordance of the elementary structure of physics – is in accordance with the structure of consciousness and spiritual reality.

The five elements of Asia, Africa and Indonesia are based on the five elements of the pentagram:

1 – wood
2 – fire
3 – earth
4 – metal/mineral
5 – water – life

The basis of reality is matter, with its chemical elements and 4 forces. The basis of life force and consciousness is the fundamental spiritual force, called CHI. Our spiritual or energetic body – based on longitudinal – sound waves – is based on the Prima Sounds. Therefore the sounds can be used for healing, for revitalizations, and penetrating to the meaning of life, of making sense. The five elements can in Taoism be used in two ways: the cycle of creation and destruction. Thus, the five-tone scale of Prima Sounds serves for understanding the structure of the energy body, and is used in many ways.

The history of the slendro scale has been investigated by Professor Steve Otto of York University, Montreal. He has documented that it is much older than the Greek scale and can be used for many purposes. Used as a basis for musical compositions by Ralph Losey (with Prima Sounds), it has already shown its value in many critical situations, but also in enhancing spiritual vitality and creativity. For instance, the various Prima Sounds CDs have been used to help people in emotional and intellectual crisis. But we are just beginning to explore all its potentialities.

To articulate Prima Sounds and activate its full usefulness, we have to add more data. The basic tone is 12 Hertz – this is the so-called samadhi vibration activating the cosmic consciousness as described by Maurice Bucke. This is, so to say, the real basic tone – the equivalent to “C” of the seven-tone scale. But, having the fundamental tone is only the basis – we also have to understand how the other tones develop. The earth has a vibration of 7 Hertz, as with the earthquakes. So, by adding the sevenfold division, consciousness will tune into the earth vibration, therewith uniting cosmic consciousness with normal consciousness – attaining the flow of creativity, and therewith the primal source of CHI, of the Universe.

The existence of sacred music was well known in most traditions, but the breakthrough came by the merging with the pentatonic scale. Thus the discovery of Prima Sounds is a step toward an unknown future.

This scale articulates the human awareness field, the seven chakras. Therefore I called this tone in my first introduction Chakra Music. The seventh overtone divides the octave into five intervals. As the fifth tone will be the octave, the value of the intervals is:

First root of five,
Second root of five,
Third root of five,
Fourth root of five,

In 1971, I built an electronic organ with 25 keys, based on the pentatonic scale of Prima Sounds (then called Chakra Music). We called this organ a chakraphone. I took it to an international yoga congress in Switzerland. The Dalai Lama attended and brought some tapes of Tibetan ceremonial music - it corresponded exactly to the sounds of the chakraphone. At the next Yoga congress in Morocco, when I played these tones, all of the animals present – dogs and camels – started to move in accordance with the music. In the meantime, I saw the film by Peter Brooke on Gurdjieff (Meetings With Remarkable Men). It starts with a scene in Central Asia, where a musician played the same sequence, and the surrounding landscape responded. Next year I was in Mykene, and played the chakraphone in a structure called Agamenon’s Grove, which I consider an acoustical device. The same thing happened as in the film: suddenly I heard answering music. The director of the same theater, Prof. Basilidaes, told me that this had only happened once before. Thus it seems that Prima Sounds not only have a human impact, but also an impact on animals and the surrounding environment.

In France, I visited the head of the musical research institute of the French Radio, Prof. Francois Bayle. He had also discovered the tone structure, and had used it in some experimental concerts. I invited him to perform a concert in the Museum of Modern Art in Vienna, and it was a great success. Professor Steve Otto, the slendro scale authority, has also shown great interest in Prima Sounds and studied with us in Vienna.

Effects of Playing or Listening to Prima Sounds

The seven chakras are not the structure of the energy body, but of a structure one could call the Awareness body. It has the quality of directly perceiving the corresponding realms of reality:

1. muladhara chakra – sense reality;
2. swadhistana chakra – realm of thinking, language and number;
3. manipura chakra – realm based on the emotions and impulses;
4. anahata chakra – realm of willing and decision, based on energy;
5. vishudha chakra – realm of the body and its organism;
6. ajna chakra – inner eye, realm of the soul and communication;
7. sahasara chakra – realm of the spirit, the inner light and vision.

Man’s danger as described by the Buddha and Gurdjieff is to identify with mental representation. Thus the awakening of the chakras reveals the being.

By playing Prima Sounds all chakras are activated simultaneously, annihilating the false dependence on illusion, mechanicalness and repetitive associations. Man’s being is liberated from the false chains of dependence; it attains cosmic consciousness in the meaning of Maurice Burke (1890).

original essay in English by Arnold Keyserling
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