More About A Deep Hum, Seven Songs Of Creation

A Deep Hum – The Music The intent of this suite of songs is to celebrate the creation of the universe. There are many, many writings about creation: myths, poems, scriptures, from all over the world. These writings were chosen because they seemed to have a particular resonance with the present day scientific theories of the cosmos.

1. Auguries of Innocence by William Blake

This music, based on the first four lines of a poem by the 18th century English mystical poet and engraver, William Blake, moves from the simplicity of a single line of music through two part harmony, a four part chorale, to the complexity of a fugue. It is sung a cappella by the members of the Deep Hum Chorus. Its focus on the relationship of the very small to the very large has resonance in Chaos Theory and in Fractals.

To see a world in a grain of sand
And heaven in a wild flower
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
and eternity in an hour.

2. What Stirred? from the Rig Veda, 10:129

The Rig Veda is one of four books of hymns written by the Aryan people who moved into India some time between 1300 and 1000 BCE. This song states the basic questions that scientists have been trying to answer since the beginning of time. What started it all? What stirred and made creation happen? This piece is performed by Kathryn Singh, Soprano; Alison Thomas, Alto; Clarence Douglas Wright, Tenor; Howard Kadis, Guitar; Connie Tyler, Drum.

What stirred? What stirred? What stirred?
Where? Where?

What stirred? Where?
What stirred? Where?
What stirred? Where?

Was there water, bottomlessly deep?
Was there below, was there above?
Who really knows,
Who really knows,
Where it arose,
Where it arose,
What stirred?
Where did it arise?

There was neither existence or non-existence then.
No realm of space nor sky.
Existence, nonexistence,
Existence, nonexistence,
Nor realm of space nor sky.

What stirred, etc.

There was neither death nor immortality then.
No sign of night nor day.
No sign of night nor day.
Death and life,
Death and life,
Neither death nor life.

That one breathed,
breathed,
breathed.
Windless,
breathed,
breathed.
By it’s own impulse.
Breathed.
Breathed.
Darkness, hidden by darkness.
All was water. All was water.
The life force covered with emptiness.
All was water.
That one arose,
That one arose,
That one arose,
Through the power of heat,

Heat.
Desire came,
Desire came,
Desire, first seed of mind

 

Poets seeking for wisdom
found the bond.
The bond of existence
in non-existence.
Their cord was extended across
the bond of existence
in non-existence.
Poets seeking for wisdom
found the bond.
Their cord was extended across
the bond of existence
the bond of existence
in non-existence.
First seed of mind.
Seed lacers.
Seed lacers.
Powers.
Powers.

There was impulse beneath.
giving forth above,
impulse beneath,
giving forth above.

Seed lacers.
Powers.
Powers.

What stirred? Where? (etc.)

Was there water, bottomlessly deep?
Was there below, was there above?
Who really knows,
Who really knows,
Where it arose,
Where it arose,
What stirred?
Where did it arise?

Perhaps it formed itself,
formed itself?
Perhaps it did not,
did not?

The one who looks down on it,
the one in the highest heaven,
only he knows,
he knows,
Or perhaps he does not.
Or perhaps he does not.
Or perhaps he does not.

What stirred? Where? (etc.) (fades to end.)

Rig Veda. Translated by Wendy Doniger O’Flaherty. London: Penguin Books, 1981.

 

3. And It Was Good, from Genesis, 1-3

This first creation poem found in the Judeo Christian scriptures was actually written after the second of the two creations poems found in Genesis (the second one being the story of Adam and Eve). It was probably written after the Babylonian exile by the Aaronid priests, perhaps in the 6th Century BCE. Is the wind that swept across the void like the singularity that pops out of the vacuum in the Big Bang theory? It was because of my delight in this poem that I set out to find other creation literature. It is sung by the Deep Hum Chorus with Matthew Laurence Edwards at the Piano and Nancy Hunt on the flute.

Day One
Void and darkness,
Void and darkness,
Void and darkness,
Covered the face of the earth.
A wind,
the breath of the word,
the wind,
the word,
swept across the face of the waters

Creator said,
“Let there be light,
let there be light,
and there was light.”

Separation,
light from darkness,
day and night,
day and night.

Chorus:
And it was so,
and it was good,
and it was evening
and it was morning
the first day.

Day Two
Creator said,
“Dome,
separate the waters,
be in the midst of the waters.”
Waters below,
waters above,
waters below and above.

Creator said,
“Call the dome sky.”

Chorus
…the second day.

Day Three
Creator said,
“Waters gather,
dry land appear.”
Earth and Sea.

Earth put forth,
plants with seed,
trees with fruit,
fruit with seed,
earth put forth seed.
And the earth brought forth trees,
fruit and seed,
fruit and seed,
fruit and seed,
seed of every kind.

Chorus
…the third day.

Day Four
Creator said,
“Lights, be lights
in the dome of the sky,
in the dome of the sky.”
Separation,
day and night,
Let them be for signs,
and for seasons,
and for days,
and for years!

Lights in the dome of the sky,
to give light
upon earth.

Two great lights to rule the night,
to rule the day.
The greater light
to rule the day,
the lesser light
to rule the night.
Two great lights
and the stars.

Separation
light and darkness,
day and night.

Lights in the dome of the sky,
to give light
upon earth.

Chorus
…the fourth day.

Day Five
Waters bring forth,
waters bring forth,
swarms of living creatures,
swarms of living creatures.
Birds fly above the earth,
across the dome of the sky.
Great sea monsters
and every living creature
of every kind with which the waters swarm.
And every winged bird according to its kind.
Waters bring forth and multiply.

Piano and flute interlude

Chorus
…the fifth day.

Day Six
Creator said,
“Earth bring forth,
living creatures
of every kind.
Cattle and creeping things,
wild animals,
living creatures
of every kind.”

Then, Creator said,
Creator said,
“Humankind, humankind,
in our image,
in our likeness,
humankind,
humankind.
Be the earth’s steward
with the fish and birds,
cattle and creeping things,
wild animals,
and every creeping thing
on the earth.
Humankind.
Humankind.
In our image,
in our likeness,
humankind.”

Male and female,
Male
and female.
Creator
created them.

Chorus
… the sixth day.

And on the seventh day,
Creator finished.
The heavens and earth were finished.
Creator rested.
Creator blessed the seventh day
and hallowed it, because Creator rested.

… the seventh day.

The New Oxford Annotated Bible, ed. by Bruce M. Metzger and Roland E. Murphy. New York: Oxford University Press, 1991.

4. Is It Mother of the World? from the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tsu

These two verses from the most famous of the Taoist literature may have been written as early as the 6th century BCE. In verse 25 I was fascinated with the use of the words “void” and “receding” which resonated with the scientific theories of an expanding universe that leapt into being through a singularity in a “false vacuum”. Verse 1 seemed important, too, as every time we try to limit the universe by “naming” one theory as truth, we discover something that widens our perceptions. This piece is sung by Alison Thomas, with Nancy Hunt on the flute, Vivian M. Evans, Bells, Clarence Douglas Wright, Gongs and Connie Tyler, Industrial Chimes. The Industrial Chimes were created by Kenneth and Connie Tyler from square steel pipes from the hardware store.

There is a thing confusedly formed,
born before heaven and earth.
Silent and void,
it stands alone.
It doesn’t change.
Is it mother of the world?
It is receding, receding,
it is far away.

Lao Tsu. Tao Te Ching, translated by D.C. Lau. London, Penguin Books, 1963.

The Tao that can be told
is not the eternal Tao.
The name that can be named
is not the eternal name.
The nameless
is the beginning
of heaven and earth.
The named
is the mother
of ten thousand things.
Ever desireless
one can see the mystery.
Ever desiring
one can see the manifestations.
These two
spring from the same source,
but differ in name.
This appears as darkness,
darkness within darkness,
The gate to all mystery.

Lao Tsu. Tao Te Ching, translated by Gia-Fu Feng and Jane English. New York: Random House, 1972

5. All Things from the Avatamsaka Sutra

Written around 300CE this short Buddhist thought reminded me of how often the myths and writings about creation start with a sound, like the vibration, that movement of the singularity as it pops into existence in scientific theory. And before existence, the dream? Sung by Erica Grevemeyer, Alison Thomas, Altos and Jordan Fong, Jeff Nelson, Clarence Douglas Wright, Tenors, with Horns and Deep Chanting created by Roland Synthesizer.

All things are like a dream
and like the sound.

Buddha-Dharma. Berkeley: Numata Center for Buddhist Translation and Research, 1984.

6. At Every Moment by Laleh Bakhtiar

These words from a contemporary book about Sufism, a branch of Islam, spoke to me of the continuation of creation, that the universe and creation are not fixed, but emerging, “continuously” and “instantaneously”. The song is sung in unison by the Deep Hum Chorus and accompanied by Kathryn Singh, Janet Small, violins, and Sally Blaker, Andrew Ritchie, Cellos.

At every moment
the universe returns to God.
Continuous, instantaneous,
Expansion, contraction.
At every moment
the universe returns to God,

Bakhtiar, Laleh. Sufi, Expressions of the Mystic Quest. New York: Thames and Hudson, 1976.

7. Birthing a Universe, words by Connie Tyler with quotes from John Gribbon, David Filkin, Phillip Dauber and Richard Muller.

The words of this song are my interpretation of current (circa 1999) scientific theory about the origins of the universe based on my reading of the writings of various scientists, some of whom are quoted in the poem. The music places many of the themes from the earlier pieces next to a part of scientific theory that I felt they were in resonance with. This music is performed by Roland Synthesizer with spoken word by Connie Tyler.

Ten to negative forty-three seconds.
Vibration in vacuum. False vacuum.
Quantum fluctuation.
Vibrating strings of quarks.
Particles, things,not things,
Popping in and out,
Existence, nonexistence
Where? When? Uncertain, unknown,
Popping, colliding particles,
in a hot plasma!
energy/pop/particle/pop/
“crazy dance of creation.” (DF)
Matter, antimatter,
“Graceful spirals curving in opposite directions.”(PD&RM)
“Whoosh!”(JG)
Annihilation, radiation, inflation,
Creation inflation flying outward,
everyward faster than light.
Matter only, Matter alone
“swirling in growing irregular clumps.” (DF)
One second.
Time is.
Matter binding, twisting, twining.
Three minutes.
Nuclei.
Still inflation, creation inflation
flying outward everyward
faster than light.
Not seconds.
Not minutes.
Years. 300,000 years.
Electrons whirl, Nuclei curl,
atoms form hydrogen, helium,
free-floating in space.

Not seconds. Not minutes.
Not years. Eons.
Gravitation pulls hydrogen, helium.
“galaxies congregate…
in superclusters,…lacy filaments,
knots, chains, and? sheets.”(D&M)
Hydrogen fuses, stars form ,
stars shine. Stars shine.
Gravity pulls, and pulls.
crushes, cooks,
changing hydrogen and helium,
smashing hydrogen and helium,
unto iron.
And then….Supernova!
explosion,”flinging nuclear matter”
into space. (D&M)
death and rebirth..dust and gas,…
“Blasted out into interstellar space…
star-stuff,… now? pulled inward again?
by the irresistible tug of gravity,”(D&M)
the birth of a star, and planets,
and of the earth
And the “Remnant of the Supernova? left behind…?
Sun compressed, mountain-sized, neutron star…
or totally, completely collapsed…” (JG)
All matter sucked in, all energy sucked in,
accelerated,”hot, swirling” (JG)
“swallowing” everything,
“letting nothing escape,not even light.” (DF)
A totally black hole in the universe.
A singularity. Death and rebirth.
Vibrations. Death and rebirth.
“A budding process.”
“bouncing” sideways into “new dimensions,”
a bouncing baby universe!( JG)
Every black hole
a bouncing baby universe.
Universes bubbling out,
expanding, contracting,
in fractal patterns, forever.
Bubbling forever.