eTorus™ Archive

Meru Foundation eTORUS(tm) Newsletter Special Edition -- 6 August 2002
Copyright 2002 Meru Foundation
Written by Cynthia and Stan Tenen

Listen to a sample of Track 1, The Creation Overture   Time: 1:04 510K 
The Creation Overture is (c)2002 Daniel S. Gil and licensed to Meru Foundation

ANNOUNCING:   FIRST SOUND(TM): The Music of Genesis


I am very pleased to announce that Meru Foundation is now offering a new music CD-ROM, FIRST SOUND(tm): The Music of Genesis.

Over the years, friends have often asked us to tell them more about the music playing during the opening and closing credits of our videotapes.  Many have noticed that this music has an unusual feeling quality.  This is because it is derived directly from the Hebrew text of Genesis, letter by letter, "playing out the text" as you listen to it.  There are many ways that the Hebrew letter-text of Genesis can be rendered musically -- and that each, true to the text in its own mode, allows us to hear and feel the text so that it can enter our hearts and minds.

Our new FIRST SOUND(tm): The Music of Genesis CD includes three different renditions, each starting at the beginning of the Hebrew letter-text of Genesis.  We are presenting for the first time, a new, 10-minute symphonic work by composer Daniel Gil, The Creation Overture: A Musical Commentary on Genesis 1:1-3.  This truly extraordinary work embodies the structure of the text in a very different way than Stephen James Taylor's Music of Genesis, the music on our videotapes.  The CD also includes a short portion of our original, simple chromatic rendition, which Stan and I first explored in 1981.  Below, you can read the liner notes about each piece, and a short essay by Stan about the ideas behind our Music of Genesis project and our new CD.

I will elaborate further on our plans for FIRST SOUND(tm): The Music of Genesis CD in the next eTORUS.  Among the ideas we are exploring are the possibility of a competition for additional musical renditions of the Hebrew letter-text of Genesis, the possibility of computer animation or live performance of the letter-gestures along with the music, and a number of other intriguing possibilities.

FIRST SOUND(tm): The Music of Genesis is now available on Meru Foundation's secure-server website, (To go directly to our secure server front page, click here.) This original, First Release: Rev. 0 version is hand-produced by Meru Foundation for a limited time only, at a special introductory price of $18.00.  The Hebrew word Chai, meaning "life", has a traditional numerical value of 18, and many people make charitable contributions or personal gifts amounts that are multiples of 18.  This eTORUS coincides with the beginning of the New Year on the Jewish calendar (Rosh Hashana).  Stan and I want personally to wish everyone reading this eTORUS newsletter a sweet, happy, and healthy year, one that sees the world beginning to grow towards peace.  FIRST SOUND(tm): The Music of Genesis, can help us all along the way.

--Cynthia Tenen


FIRST SOUND(tm): The Music of Genesis -- Liner Notes

1. The Creation Overture: A Musical Commentary on Genesis 1:1-3 (10:00)
(c)2002 Daniel S. Gil. All Rights Reserved.
The Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra, Karol Petocz, Conductor

Composer Daniel Gil received his B.A. from The Berklee School of Music in Boston in 1997. His Western music influences range from Gustav Mahler to Dmitri Shostakovich and Aaron Copeland. However, what distinguishes Gil's work is that he is an heir to the Judaic tradition of "Holy Song" passed down to him from the late Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach. Gil also possesses a deep understanding of the Hebrew text acquired through lifelong study. After assigning musical notes to each Hebrew letter, Gil then employed the architecture of harmonic structure (or chords) generally according to the standard rules and principles called "Common Practice" (the methods by which most Western classical music is composed). Gil adds that "the music itself is projecting and communicating Torah commentary in the literal sense."  (Torah is the Hebrew Bible).

Listen to a sample of  The Creation Overture   Time: 1:04 510K

The Creation Overture is (c)2002 Daniel S. Gil and licensed to Meru Foundation


2-3. The Music of Genesis by Stephen James Taylor, original concept by Stan Tenen.
(c)1992, 1994 Stephen James Taylor, BMI, Kiba Dachi Music, BMI, Publisher; and Stan Tenen for the Meru Foundation.

Composer Stephen James Taylor is known for his fusion of blues, gospel, African tribal music and classical counterpoint into lyrical film scores. Among his credits are "To Sleep with Anger," "Why Do Fools Fall in Love", and "A Question of Faith", as well as the acclaimed T.V. series "I'll Fly Away".  "The Music of Genesis", composed in 1992, renders the 27 Hebrew letters in a microtonal scale based on ascending and descending perfect fifths, with nine computer-generated instrumental voices assigned to the letters in groups of three as specified in Meru research. This music is excellent as tonal background for meditation or healing.  Two versions are presented here, each played through twice to provide approximately a half-hour of consistent music.
        2.  2210 notes (Gen. 2:11), each note approximately 0.5 seconds long, played twice (19:10)
        3.  252 notes (Gen. 1:7), each note approximately 1.5 seconds long, played twice (12:40)

4. Genesis 1:1-3 - A Chromatic Rendering
(c)1981, 2002 Stan & Cynthia Tenen

This rendering of the first 104 Hebrew letters of Genesis uses a chromatic scale (like a piano keyboard).  Stan Tenen first used this simple means of turning the text-string into music in the early 1980's, in order to listen for possible patterns in the text.  It is easier to hear patterning in a long, sequential string of data, than it is to see it.  (He also explored various microtonal renderings, not reproduced here.) Even this simple text-string has musical qualities that intrigued the Tenens into exploring further.  This early chromatic rendering, covering exactly the same portion of the Hebrew letter-text as Gil's The Creation Overture, was reproduced by Cynthia Tenen using computer software available on Meru Foundation website, Music from the Torah, which allows the listener to experiment with the Hebrew-letter text using several pre-set chromatic and modal scales. (The Music from the Torah software is copyright to Kevin Acres, of Research Systems Ltd. in Australia.)


FIRST SOUND(tm): The Music of Genesis
        Music that brings Genesis into your Heart
        ".....And there was Light."

An Introduction by Stan Tenen

Much has been made of millennialism, most of it controversial at best.  But there is something to the idea that humankind grows in stages, and given our current world-wide informational and scientific "golden age" - there is good reason for us to be attentive to real, new-in-our-time advances in human consciousness.

We have all seen our small, blue-green planet from the new perspective of a higher orbit, above - a modern "heavenly view."

But much as we would like to be one world, we speak many languages, and we know in many different ways. There is one exception: music is universal.  Music bypasses our cynical, analytic, separating mind, and our cultural prejudices.  Music doesn't care about education, class, or religion; music goes directly to our heart.  If there is One God (or One Nothingness, or one scientific Theory of Everything), then that is the song all of our hearts can sing together.

There are many candidates for this One Song.  It may be that the great composers of all times have heard this Song, or part of it, and "drawn it down" and recorded it for us.  It's not hard to think that something like this inspired a Mozart, or a Mendelssohn.  And of course, the Great One is great, and all-inclusive, because the Whole includes all of its parts, all of its variations, and all of its projections, regardless of our point of view.

In the course of researching the possibility of letter-patterning in the root document of Western civilization, the Hebrew text of Genesis, it became obvious that patterning would only be important if it was extended throughout the text, and not just limited to the very beginning, or one or two odd corners.  But, how to tell if the patterns at the beginning of Genesis continued, without a priori knowledge of what to look for?  The simplest, quickest way to get a sense of pattern is to look or listen.  Looking at a text of thousands of letters, and seeing it all as a coherent pattern, or containing a coherent pattern, is just not feasible.  But listening to a sequence of musical tones (chords and developments of tones) that accurately represents the sequence of letters of the text could bring out patterning by the presence or absence of musical structure that could be felt directly by careful listening.

The Hebrew text of Genesis has been translated in literally hundreds of different ways, each based on a different tradition or different needs.  While these translations are valuable and valued, they don't bring us together, because they require a particular cultural view - and we're just not all that familiar with each others' cultures.  The Hebrew text of Genesis is traditionally chanted (a form of singing).  But this chanting is based on the Hebrew words, and the tradition of chanting is both varied and, of course, subject to interpretation and thus controversy.

If the Hebrew text of Genesis is a record of creation, perhaps its sequence of letters, expressed as tones, is in fact FIRST SOUND(tm): The Music of Genesis.  When we hear the sequences of tones that represent the creation process in Genesis, letter by letter, this process directly enters our hearts, where we can feel it for ourselves.  Interpretation and translation are not necessary.

The story of the text of Genesis takes us from nothing (but God) and no-life, to life.  It's the ultimate path of self-organization and growth.  This is the "hero's journey" in all faiths, because it archetypally recapitulates our own embryonic experience as our experience in/on this womb we call Earth.  When we tune ourselves to the sound of creation, we grow naturally towards the Source of creation.  Whether we see this as God, or Nothingness, or a scientific Theory of Everything, whether we see it as embryology or mythology, when it enters our hearts, it encourages and guides our growth.

There is no way to tell whether what we learn from others can be trusted, or not.  After all, even experts are rarely right all the time.  But when we hear with our own heart, and trust with our own heart, we can feel truth and beauty for ourselves.

FIRST SOUND(tm): The Music of Genesis is a new experience.

The Creation Overture is a symphonic work.  It requires a different ear than the Music of Genesis, which is based on simpler letter-tone relationships.  The simpler tones, played softly, may be helpful as a quiet background for meditation and healing.

It is also possible to follow the Hebrew text letter-by-letter, and to make the hand-gestures that form the letters in time with the music.  Thus, The Creation Overture and The Music of Genesis also become The Dance of Creation.  (Live performance and animation will be available soon.)

It is strongly recommended that you listen through each of the tracks separately, three times.  First, the sounds may be new and unexpected.  Just let them in.  On second listening, they will begin to become musical, and you will begin to be able to follow the flow of harmonies and tones.  On the third listening, the deep pattern of the sound of creation should begin to emerge.  You may have heard these songs in the womb, at birth, or in a dream or meditation.

Follow your heart home.

(c)2002 Stan Tenen

Contents of this page are ©2001 Cynthia Tenen, and licensed to Meru Foundation,
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