A Few Words About Etymology

Etymology. Many people make attempts at it, yet have never even heard of the word.

et·y·mol·o·gy
edəˈmäləjē/
noun: etymology

the study of the origin of words and the way in which their meanings have changed throughout history. “the etymology of a word may be unknown”

Boy, is that an understatement!

Being a musician, many friends can’t understand why I’m not a fan of poetry, or more specifically “modern poetry,” and the reason is etymology.

This bad habit of taking words apart to attempt to change the meaning, or to allude to a false origin, is an Orwellian practice that is only helping to destroy the English language in new and extremely deceptive ways. In most cases it’s probably not intentional, but it’s still a problem.

For one example, one such person who likes to pretend they are telling others about the origins of words without actually knowing anything about them, is also one of these “modern poets” who was frequently posting in a Facebook group I belong to.

He went into a lengthy explanation of the word “evolve,” claiming it’s origins to be the word “love.” Any high-school graduate should know that words don’t “evolve” backwards, but not this guy. He went on and on about all the ways you can re-arrange the words, and how they are therefore connected. Yea, no:

evolve (v.) 1640s, “to unfold, open out, expand,” from Latin evolvere “to unroll, roll out, roll forth, unfold,” especially of books; figuratively “to make clear, disclose; to produce, develop,” from assimilated form of ex- “out” (see ex-) + volvere “to roll” (see volvox). Meaning “to develop by natural processes to a higher state” is from 1832. Related: Evolved; evolving.

love (v.) Old English lufian “to love, cherish, show love to; delight in, approve,” from Proto-Germanic *lubojan (source also of Old High German lubon, German lieben), from root of love (n.). Related: Loved; loving. Adjective Love-hate “ambivalent” is from 1937, originally a term in psychological jargon.

It was the shortest internet debate I’ve ever had with anyone, and I hope he didn’t leave the group over it, but at least he quit posting his silly word-games.

Another example came not long after the death of David Bowie, in a YouTube video dedicated to his esoteric and occult influences. The video was full of interesting info, some I knew already, and some I didn’t. However, when the narrator came to the part where Bowie began dressing in “drag,” they went into a long, phony explanation of how the word “drag” was derived from “dragon,” therefore directly related to evil shape-shifting reptilians. Someone’s been watching too many David Icke videos.

The etymology of the word “drag” is somewhat debatable, but it dates back to 1800’s theater terminology. It either came from dresses “dragging the floor,” or from a Shakespearean footnote, an abbreviation for “dressed resembling a girl,” as back then, men played both women’s and men’s roles in the theater, with no actresses.

Unfortunately, that was it for me, and I really couldn’t believe anything else this guy had to say about anything. Credibility shot.

My last example, though there are hundreds I could list, comes from a podcast I was listening to. The interview was with a pretty intelligent guy in the areas of music, astrology, and physics, but when he was talking about the pyramids, and the word “cubit” came up, he said – in “modern-poet” style – “cube-it, meaning to make something a cube.” Again, sorry, but no, bro:

cubit (n.) ancient unit of measure based on the forearm from elbow to fingertip, usually from 18 to 22 inches, early 14c., from Latin cubitum “the elbow,” from PIE *keu(b)- “to bend.” Such a measure, known by a word meaning “forearm” or the like, was known to many peoples

Again, harmless enough at face value, but when you’re being interviewed about physics and science, and make a statement like that, it punches a huge hole in your credibility as a researcher. If you can’t take 30 seconds to google the definition or etymology of a word, I suggest you don’t go around telling people what you’ve decided it is, stating it as fact. Especially not in a Facebook group, or in a YouTube video, or in a podcast thousands are reading, watching, or listening to.

I’ve found the etymological origins of these words and many more on the really-easy-to-find “Online Etymology Dictionary,” at http://www.etymonline.com, and anyone else can too.

If you have a funny or interesting example of Orwellian re-defining of words, or the refrigerator-magnets cut-in-half style “modern poetry,” please feel free to share in the comments below.

My Top 13 Esoteric Pop Songs

By Dameon M. Keller, 1-2016

                                           fludd

Here I have compiled some of my favorite pop songs which have “esoteric” or “occult” themes and lyrics. Many of the artists listed have many songs of that nature in their respective catalogs, but I’ve listed my top pics with brief descriptions, in no particular order, and a YouTube link for each.

1 bowie     1b The_Coming_Race

  1. David Bowie, “Oh! You Pretty Things,” Hunky Dory, 1971

www.youtube.com/watch?v=pBQ-S6njQQw

Bowie doesn’t have much in his catalog that isn’t “esoteric,” but this is one of my favorites. A 100-year anniversary update to Rosicrucian author Edward Bulwer-Lytton’s truth-in-fiction book “The Coming Race,” written in 1871. Bowie even quotes the books’ title in the line, “We’re the start of the coming race.” 

2 hawkwind     2bn orgone

  1. Hawkwind, “Orgone Accumulator,” Space Ritual, 1973

www.youtube.com/watch?v=MPISXvQwm_E

Recorded live in Liverpool in 1972, Hawkwind featured the great legend and recently deceased Lemmy Kilmister on bass before he went on to form Motorhead. The blues-based “space-rock” jam’s lyrics lead me to believe they may have actually had and used an orgone accumulator box.

 

 

   3 flaming lips     3b book

  1. Flaming Lips, “In the Morning of the Magicians,” Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, 2002

www.youtube.com/watch?v=0jTuKHKIT4w

The song borrows its title from the 1960 book “The Morning of the Magicians,” by Louis Pauwels and Jaques Bergier. The lyrics are not directly related to the subject matter in the influential occult publication, rather reflective on the universe and what it holds for us. It’s a catchy song, and the book is one of my favorites as well.

 

4 kate

  1. Kate Bush, “Orgonon,” Hounds of Love, 1990

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3gGCFETFlQw

The video is a dramatic re-enactment of the day the Feds came and took Wilhelm Reich off to prison, where he would die just before his parole date. Donald Sutherland portrays Reich, and Bate Bush plays his son, Peter, as they wheel a large cloudbuster through a field before being interrupted by the agents.

 

 5 george

  1. The Beatles, “Within You/Without You,” Peppers’ Lonely Hearts Club Band, 1967

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y__Zs3e6BdA

George Harrison’s only songwriting credit on the album, and actually only performed by Harrison, with a team of Indian musicians. He wrote the song in the form and scales of a Raga. It’s said that it was recorded in C, as heard on The Beatles Anthology 2 as an instrumental, then pitched up to C# for Sgt. Peppers. It’s more likely that the Indian instruments were in C# – A432, and it was pitched down to C by producer George Martin in order to add the string arrangements, then pitched back up.

 

 6 Beastie-Boys.jpg

  1. Beastie Boys, “Namaste,” Check Your Head, 1992

www.youtube.com/watch?v=jo7_RyvCNvY

Also may be heard as an instrumental on “The In Sound From Way Out,” which is found at the YouTube link above. After a trip to Nepal, Adam Yauch (August 5, 1964 – May 4, 2012) utilized samples of Tibetan Monks on the album, and subsequently set up the Milarepa Fund with co-founder Erin Potts. This led to the series of Tibetan Freedom Concerts across Europe in 1996.

“A History of the Milarepa Fund”. Beastiemania.com

It’s no coincidence that not only is this song recorded in the key of C# Om, but the entire album is recorded in A432Hz pitch.

 

7 doc oc 

  1. Kool Keith, “On Production,” Octagon, 1996

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IUgXhwhbLJA

“Will space probes in the next century discover extra-terrestrial analogues to the seesaw staircases when they explore the atmosphere of Jupiter and Saturn?,” a reference to the Great Conjunction.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_conjunction

Speaking of “dropping the skills on production,” as the chorus goes, the actual production of the album is done by Dan the Automater (with a few by KutMaster Kurt and scratches by DJ QBert,) and every track is in A432Hz to A435Hz pitch, with one exception – “I’m Destructive,” the one which consists of only live guitar and a simple beat loop.

8 alan.jpg

 

 

  1. Alan Parsons Project, “Eye in the Sky,” Eye in the Sky, 1982

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aBQalkIeE7s

A few years ago, a fan video circulated of a cartoon acting out the song’s lyirics, as a literal round eyeball drone flew around observing and recording everything, Orwellian-ish-ly predicting exactly where we are today. That video mysteriously vanished from the internet altogether.

9 stafford

 

 

  1. Jim Stafford, “Swamp Witch,” single released 1973

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IB0SxXTR_UI

This fan video, by DeviantArt, is amazing and beautifully illustrates the song. A must for any Halloween playlist.

10 gnarles

 

 

  1. Gnarles Barkley, “I’m Going On,” The Odd Couple, 2008

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u_R9fId_Rqo

With another amazing video, full of esoteric allegory, shot on location in Jamaica, this is the story of a young couple who find a portal to another dimension. At first, everyone is with them, but by the end, they are alone in their leap to “the other side.”

11 beck.jpg

 

 

  1. Beck, “Chemtrails,” Modern Guilt, 2008

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BeiFVfyiSiw

The title pretty much sums it up, as the lyrics are typically Beck-ish, in that other than mentioning actual chemtrails and smog, don’t make a whole lot of sense to mere mortals. Just the fact that he wrote a song about such a controversial “conspiracy theory” is cool enough.

 

12 bjork 

  1. Bjork, “Cosmogeny,” Biophilia, 2009

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pm7N7JeJ0cM

Musically, beautifully built around the Circle of Fifths, and lyrically, Bjork tells four different creation stories in each of the four verses of the song.

 

  13 bore.jpg

  1. Boredoms, “Vision, Creation, Newsun,” Vision, Creation, Newsun, 1999

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zdPCt5ZEf40

This epic evolution of the “noise” genre is a transcendentally enlightening piece, with the song itself as a “short version” of the whole album, which ends with a reprise of the single. Despite being mostly instrumental, the album is uplifting in a very tribally spiritual way, sort-of like how a good drum circle might sound, if there ever was one. Each song title is a symbol, but the Boredoms often jumbled random words together in the past anyway, so why not.

I hope you’ve found some new music to enjoy, and stay tuned for more to come!

10 Myths of the Tuning Pitch Debate

cymatics

10 Myths of the Tuning Pitch Debate

By Dameon M. Keller, 12/2015

cymatics.jpeg

http://themindunleashed.org/2015/09/the-a432-hz-frequency-dna-tuning-and-the-bastardization-of-music.html

You may have seen one of the numerous articles circulating online, depicting two side-by-side cymatics patterns – the rippled images created by sound in water. One is of the note “A” in our modern standard tuning pitch of 440Hz, the other at 432Hz, which many claim is “better,” for numerous reasons; some of which are true, some just silly. I’m actually quoted in the first, and most of the re-postings of these articles, which originated with one titled “Here’s Why You Should Consider Converting Your Music to A=432.” Which, by the way, you most certainly should NOT, as it may just end up sounding like it’s being played through a boom-box tape deck from 1987, with almost-dead batteries in it.

788_1boom_box_6_0003_4_7.jpg

         “EQ? VU? A.M./F.M? Are these diseases? WTF is this thing?”
img: https://www.google.com/images/branding/googlelogo/1x/googlelogo_color_272x92dp.png

You may have also heard of the “528Hz Miracle Love DNA Frequency” and “The Ancient Solfeggios,” which is a story full of plot-holes, only believed by the musically challenged. If this includes you, don’t get too offended – I was once a member of this category. The myth was first told in a time before people could just use Google to learn that a “frequency” is the cycles-per-second (CPS) of a wave, and that in “ancient times,” there was no second yet as a measurement of time, let alone any means of measuring the cycles of a wave within one. The “DNA Repair” claim has been tossed aside as of late, as the actual frequencies of our DNA, discovered in the late 1980’s, have recently come to light in the conversations. Classically trained musicians all know that “solfege’” simply means “major scale,” which these 6 math-puzzle “frequencies” most certainly are not, so if you don’t see a red flag from the get-go, you’ll likely fall for the rest of their hooey. Such as…

  1. Gregorian Chants Used the 6 “Ancient Solfeggio Frequencies”

is probably the easiest to disprove, if you have YouTube and a guitar tuner app. Which no one did back in the early 1990’s when the claim was made. And now that we all do, everyone’s checking their facts, right? Wrong. So far I’m the only one I know of who has. Even just a quick Google search will tell you Gregorian Chant is sung in Just Temperament, and…

  1. 528Hz is a Magic Cure-All

Actually, it’s simply a “C” in A440 Just Temperament. “The Pitch Game” has been waging for damn near 200 years, and when they switched to Equal Temperament to accommodate keyboards and fretted instruments, singers and strings players protested. Because the higher the pitch, the more strain on the vocal chords and strings, and the higher the dissonance of the intervals. If I’m losing you again, you’re not alone – I didn’t get it ‘til a few years ago either. I actually believed that…

  1. The Nazis Made Us Do It

The popular and often repeated story is that Radio Berlin proposed the A440Hz tuning pitch standard at a conference in the 1930’s, but the truth is, it happened in the 1800’s, proposed by the Royal Academy of Arts. The switch from Just to Equal Temperament was just going down, as well as the switch from using the note “C” to “A” when defining tuning pitch. So the Academy suggested one thing, meaning another entirely, and the court, who couldn’t have cared less, settled on A440. The “Stuttgart Pitch” was so awesome that people have protested on the regular ever since, and Radio Berlin only showed support for the standard in the 1930’s because, physics for broadcast purposes. Contrary to popular belief, Radio Berlin wasn’t playing quite as much dubstep music back then, though the propaganda they were spewing likely had the same overall effect on listeners.

hitler band.jpg

“I said HIGHER! Higher pitch Higher, Higher, Higher!” img: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2394354/Hitler-performing-Nazi-salute-wartime-marching-band-figure-Rudolf-Hess-The-toys-brainwashed-German-children-World-War-Two.html
  1. Numerology Proves A432 is Better

If you’re the type to use a lot of numerology, this may surprise you – it’s irrelevant when it comes to frequencies. Sure, it has its uses, like determining if you and your significant other are compatible, but applying them to the numerical values that we place on frequencies or man-made concepts like measurements of distance is entirely arbitrary. For example, one article claims that tuning to A432Hz is better because “The diameter of the sun is 864,000 miles (2 x 432) and the diameter of the moon is 2160 miles (432/2).” I’ll save you the boring math I did to get right to the punch-line, which is that if this is true, then all of you musicians who use kilometers instead of miles should be tuning your “A” at the 4th octave to 1080Hz. So get on that, yeah? No. Please don’t.

nclock-12-01_34315_lg.gif

 

“1 + 2 + 1 = 4, so really, it’s 4:00. Wait, is this daylight savings time? What time zone are we in?”
http://etc.usf.edu/clipart/34300/34315/nclock-12-01_34315_lg.gif
  1. Pitch Doesn’t Matter, It’s the Same Intervals

No, it’s not. There’s a Simpsons episode where Lisa repeats that famous quote about jazz, “Listen to the notes they’re NOT playing.” While most people laugh because jazz is just as funny as Lisa Simpson to begin with, what the quote refers to is the intervals. These are the relationships between the notes in the scale. Again I’ll spare you the math, but in the 4th octave, C minus B equals a 14.69Hz interval. “Who cares?” I hear you asking, but let me tell you why you should care. 14.69Hz is so low you can’t hear it – but your brain perceives it as a pulsed beating dissonance, which is a brainwave entrainment frequency. The higher the tuning pitch, the more aggravating the intervals become. The lower the pitch, the more relaxing and natural they become. It’s simple physics and neurology, based on what is known as Sympathetic Vibratory Resonance. So don’t be mad because science proves that yes, you do actually really feel that one song, but no, you should not play it through headphones on repeat all day then wonder why you’re mad at the world for no real reason. And rest assured, the suspicion that your pre-teen’s playlist is warping their mind is actually more true than you wanted to believe.

 

 

                                             mac_Headphones2_1391157610.png
“So I just plop these two giant magnets on either side of my brain,
then let strangers broadcast whatever they want into them? Sound’s legit.”
http://djbrianhowe.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/mac_Headphones2_1391157610.png
  1. Tuning to Either C528 or A432 is Better Than A440

because what I just said in #4. In Equal Temperament, C528 is A444Hz – way too high for guitars to stay in tune, and besides, you’re rarely actually going to hit that high C. And it’s way too high for vocalists, unless you rap, or just growl like the cookie monster and call it “singing,” in which case tuning pitch should be the least of your worries.

 

 

The truth is, the intervals in Equal Temperament will always be shitty no matter what you do. The only way to achieve pure, natural intervals is to utilize Just Temperament, or the Scale of Fifths. But yes, A432 is better, but only slightly, because…

 

  1. A432 is What Everyone Used To Tune To

No, classical musicians tuned to “C” before it switched to “A”, and when they did, “A” was all over the place, hence the need for a standard. The Italian opera singer’s “perfect pitch” at A421Hz was useless in France, where the organ was tuned to A435Hz. And what most people write about in terms of science or physics, refers to Scientific Pitch – or “Philosophers Pitch” – which is C128/256. That’s because C = 1Hz. Also, 1Hz = 60 Beats-Per-Minute, or BPM. Easy for math and physics. In the Scale of 12 Fifths, which you can’t tune your guitar to, C256 will give you A432. But in Equal Temperament, A432 is close enough. It’s a doable compromise, and it closely matches the C# the Sitar is tuned to, which is considered “Om” in the Vedic cultures.

 

  1. Cymatics Patterns Prove A432 is Better

No, cymatics patterns can be very interesting and beautiful, or clustered and ugly. And that depends on the many variables, such as using water or other materials like salt or sand, the size of the plate or container, the volume of the audio signal, and the octave of the notes. None of the late Dr. Emoto’s work in cymatics or water “tuning” has been repeated in front of witnesses, and it’s regarded as total bunk by the scientific community.

 

  1. You Should Retune All Your Music to A432

and yes, there’s an app for that. For one thing, all of your music may not be in A440 to begin with, so just shifting it all down 8Hz equally will yield questionable results. For example, if you have Iggy and the Stooges’ “Raw Power,” or the Beastie Boys “Check Your Head” in there, they’re already at A432. If you have the soundtrack to “2001: A Space Odyssey,” it’s way up at A444.

Hotel-monolith_12_and_3.jpg

 

“Just relax, your subconsciousness is in our hands. Trust us.” http://2001.wikia.com/wiki/2001:_A_Space_Odyssey_%28film%29

 

 

And as for the rest of your collection, well if you want most of the lyrics to sound like the guy from Bauhaus, go for it. I’m guessing the B-Boys recorded a song called “Namaste” in the Vedic C# Om key on purpose, taking into consideration the late Adam Yauch’s work with the “Free Tibet” movement, but “Search and Destroy?” Probably not so intentional. Which leads us to claims like…

 

  1. John Lennon and Many Others Recorded in A432

No, someone did retune a bunch of their music down to A432, posted videos of “Imagine” and others on YouTube, and now people see those and without reading the video descriptions and comments, later report that the songs were recorded that way originally.

 

Some of the Beatles and other early rock & roll recordings are at a lower pitch, but this has more to do with the piano in the studio at the time, or tuning by ear, as the electronic tuner wasn’t invented until the 1980’s. The only well-known modern musician to publically express interest in A432 is Prince, who shared the article I’m quoted in as his one lone response to a Facebook Q&A in 2014. Thanks, Prince!

prince.jpg

Don’t stare into his 3rd Eye too long, or you’ll find yourself at the bottom of Lake Minnetonka.
https://www.pinterest.com/sunnid53/prince/

I still tune my guitars to A432Hz. On the rare occasions I play music with others, I prefer A432. Claims that “guitars just aren’t made for it” are disproven by the beautiful resonance my Yamaha acoustic rings out at the lower pitch, and I don’t see many guitarists hesitate to “drop-D” or tune to Eb to jam to some Black Sabbath either. People who claim keyboards can’t be retuned have simply somehow missed the “Master Tuning” function in their settings (yes, a professional recording engineer actually tried to argue this to me.) Fortunately for me, I mostly compose electronic music, and I have any pitch or temperament I desire available through both synthesizer software and by using fretless acoustic instruments. These days I prefer Just Tempered Scientific Pitch, the Scale of 12 Fifths, or the microtonal scales of our DNA for my music. So far, no complaints.