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Tarot Cards and Musical Notes

Thread originally posted on the Aeclectic Tarot Forum on 20 Jul 2003, and now archived in the Forum Library.



Rusty Neon  20 Jul 2003 
Quote:
Originally posted by truthsayer on another thread today
i can't remember what tarot book i've seen this in but major arcana cards were given musical keys. i'm drawing a blank right now but i'll post if i figure out which one.


If I recall correctly, Paul Foster Case (of BOTA) was the first person to assign musical notes to major arcana cards. Various modern tarot books give details of Case's musical note correspondences. I once even found a site where someone has composed melodies using tarot cards and those musical note correspondences. 


Baby Owl  20 Jul 2003 
There is something about this here:

http://www.tarotpassages.com/song.htm

I intend to try it but keep putting it off. Maybe today!?

Baby Owl 


Le_Corsair  20 Jul 2003 
Tarot for Dummies by Amber Jayanti. For those who might not have this book or the works by Case, the musical correspondences are:

Fool = E
Magician = E
High Priestess = G#
Empress = F#
Emperor = middle C
Hierophant = C#
Lovers = D
Chariot = D#
Strength = E
Hermit = F
Wheel of Fortune = A#
Justice = F#
Hanged Man = G#
Death = G
Temperance = G#
Devil = A
Tower = middle C
Star = A
Moon = B
Sun = D
Judgement = middle C
World = A


Hope this is helpful.

(EDITED AS FOLLOWS: Jayanti doesn't explain the reasons for the correspondences, but noted that she was taught by Case, whose works presumably explain this. Or not.)

Bob :THERM 


Baneemy  20 Jul 2003 
Another possibility is to use only the 7 notes of the diatonic scale and assign a unique pair of notes to each trump (the Fool, of course, is not technically a trump). There are lots of ways to do this, and I tend to think that each tarotist should work out his/her own musical correspondences rather than accepting some "standard" system. Each note in the diatonic octave corresponds to one of the seven planets, and associating each trump with a pair of planets should be pretty straightforward.

-Baneemy 


Rusty Neon  20 Jul 2003 
Quote:
Originally posted by Baneemy
Each note in the diatonic octave corresponds to one of the seven planets, and associating each trump with a pair of planets should be pretty straightforward.


This in fact is what Paul Foster Case (of BOTA) did for the major arcana (i.e., trumps and Fool) but he went a bit beyond the diatonic octave -- to include some sharps to reflect the 'new' astrological planets.

To each major arcanum that had an 'old' astrological planet assigned to it in the Golden Dawn system, the musical note that he assigned to that major arcanum was the one that astrology assigned to the planet. Same idea in the case of major arcana that had a 'new' astrological planet assigned to the trump, under Case's update of the Golden Dawn system of assignments to reflect the new planets.

For each given major arcanum that had a zodiac sign assigned to it, Case used the musical note that astrology assigned to the old (or new, where there is one) planet that rules that given sign of the zodiac. 


firemaiden  20 Jul 2003 
...okay...
Being a musician, my very first post on Aeclectic was a question about musical minors. Into the discussion arose a question about the Music of the Spheres -- an idea I have noticed floating around in the history of ideas, but never understood. I am supposing it means there is a link imagined between the planets and certain vibrational frequencies, which are notes.

But in all honesty, I cannot see, a part from an alleatory tone row for serial music, what possible application such correspondences between tarot cards and musical notes could have.

What can we do with this? 


Rusty Neon  20 Jul 2003 
Quote:
Originally posted by firemaiden
But in all honesty, I cannot see, a part from an alleatory tone row for serial music, what possible application such correspondences between tarot cards and musical notes could have.

What can we do with this?


Apart from magical uses (which ain't my bag at all):

(1) Use tarot cards to compose melody lines. Not all those melody lines would necessarily be good. :)

(2) If one has a favourite melody, analyze it in terms of the underlying tarot cards.

By the way, apparently Paul Foster Case had a doctorate in music. What I posted in my immediately preceding post above is essentially all that I was able to glean from his book _The Tarot_. Does anyone know if Dr. Case wrote something more detailed and profound about Musical Notes and Tarot Cards in the BOTA study course? 


Macavity  20 Jul 2003 
I guess you could also examine e.g. three (or more!) card readings as "triads" etc. to see if they provided harmony in a vertical sense? Look at the "intervals" between cards to weight them - as with elemental combinations? Whether any of this would be useful is another matter... })

Bring on the D13b5b9's? :D

Macavity 


firemaiden  20 Jul 2003 
Quote:
Originally posted by Rusty Neon
(2) If one has a favourite melody, analyze it in terms of the underlying tarot cards.


Okay, sounds fun! Lets do one. Pick a melody, any melody! How about "oh say can you see, by the dawn's early light"

Uh oh... what note does that start on? I got the tune, but not the key? Our musical melody reading will be different depending upon which key we sing it in! (uh oh, and what if i'm flat?)

Maybe the tone correspondances might better be applied to a scale with "moveable Do? (where Do is not 'C', but rather the root of the chord)

Quote:
Originally posted by Macavity
I guess you could also examine e.g. three (or more!) card readings as "triads" etc. to see if they provided harmony in a vertical sense? Look at the "intervals" between cards to weight them - as with elemental combinations? Whether any of this would be useful is another matter... })


I vote we try one of these too! (not sure I understand, but perhaps in time I will)

Quote:
Originally posted by Macavity
Bring on the D13b5b9's? :D [/b]


euh... Macavité... plaît-il?? 


Macavity  20 Jul 2003 
Well, a bit OTT maybe? :laugh:

OK then, since I can (really!) only think in C Major, a simple, "pleasant-sounding" chord would be based on stacked Maj. 3rd's. So you could have e.g. C9 (C ninth) built up of notes: C - E - G - Bb - D. Then, according to the B.O.T.A. sheme, this might be equivalent to:

C = Emperor
E = Strength
G = Death
Bb = Star
D = Sun

(not a unique assignment) But this reminds me that I mostly see Majors Only spreads as a "lot of people shouting at the same time" and usually get little further than that! :D

Macav. 


firemaiden  20 Jul 2003 
Okay, majors for a major key, and the emperor for C. Somehow that sounds most appropriate for Beethoven. :) 


Rusty Neon  22 Jul 2003 
As pointed out in a recent thread about the Parrott Tarot deck, that deck has musical notes printed on the major arcana cards. These musical notes appear to correspond to those of Paul Foster Case. If anyone has time, feel free to check out the Parrott card musical notes. If the musical note correspondences don't correspond with those of Case's, I'd be interested to know about that.

deck creators' website:
http://www.geocities.com/parrott-tarot/p-tarot.html

book:
http://www.geocities.com/parrott-tarot/mdk-text.html

pictures:
http://www.geocities.com/parrott-tarot/p-tarot.html
http://www.aeclectic.net/tarot/parrott/ 


Baneemy  22 Jul 2003 
Quote:
Originally posted by Macavity
C = Emperor
E = Strength
G = Death
Bb = Star
D = Sun


Okay, we have the Emperor, then La Force, and then the sequence Death Star. Anyone up for a little game of name that popular American sci-fi film?

-Baneemy 


jmd  22 Jul 2003 
There seems to have been a fair amount of work on colour and musical notes done at the beginning of the 20th century, with both BOTA and AMORC incorporating and adding to some of the work of the times.

As a neo-pythagorean concept, I seem to recall that planetary associations go back quite a way, with much later even Newton making some notes as to numerical correlations between colours, the seven (traditional) planets and the octave.

As correlations between Tarot and letters of the Hebrew alphabet had already been made at least as far back as the 1850s by E. Levi, and later modified by the Golden Dawn, and as seven of these latter have planetary correlations, Case's musical correlations - even if similar ones did not appear in print earlier - would have been noted by initiates of the Golden Dawn and other orders on the continent.

As an example, the SRIA also notes the importance of the 'music of the spheres', and the importance of both colour and the Kabbalah. If one does do the studies encouraged, then these additional correlations become, even if not published, at least discussed. With the addition of Tarot (which the SRIA does not include), musical tones again would be somewhat considered by at least some.

How useful is all this? Personally, and though I see much value in persuing the physiology of synaesthesia, I tend to consider the Tarot and the musical scale quite independent of one another. 


WolfSpirit  22 Jul 2003 
Quote:
Originally posted by Rusty Neon
As pointed out in a recent thread about the Parrott Tarot deck, that deck has musical notes printed on the major arcana cards. These musical notes appear to correspond to those of Paul Foster Case. If anyone has time, feel free to check out the Parrott card musical notes.


Rusty, the notes on the Parrott are the same. The book does not tell more about it, only that they were given to the cards by the Golden Dawn. 


isthmus nekoi  22 Jul 2003 
Quote:
Originally posted by Baneemy
Okay, we have the Emperor, then La Force , and then the sequence Death Star. Anyone up for a little game of name that popular American sci-fi film?

-Baneemy


That would be cute if Star Wars had a C9, but starting w/Cmaj I think you end up w/an A7? Errrrr I need a keyboard!!

Musical keys can have moods, like decks. I need to find a deck in C#min ^_~ 


The Tarot Cards and Musical Notes thread was originally posted on 20 Jul 2003 in the Using Tarot Cards board, and is now archived in the Forum Library. Read the active threads in Using Tarot Cards, or read more archived threads.

 
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