Eddy Mul: Johannes Kepler and his influence on organ music

by Eddy Mul |Het ORGEL |Year 95 |(1999) |Issue 24

 

Eddy Mul ‘Johannes Kepler and his influence on organ music’
het ORGEL 95 (1999), nr. 1, 5-13 [summary]

The astronomer Johannes Kepler (1571-1630) influenced theLutheran baroque concept of harmony. Central aspects of Kepler’s ideas are geometry andharmony. To Kepler, the cosmos is of geometrical nature in every respect (music, astronomyand astrology). Kepler mentions harmony in his writings after having stated that theplanetary orbits are oval, not circu-lar. In Kepler’s opinion, these oval movements servea purpose: they form melodies. In this way, God, the creator of the cosmos, is in factalso the creator of harmony. This idea is important in the Lutheran baroque concept ofharmony, too, in which the divine origin of music is confirmed. The influence of Kepler onthis concept can be detected by analysing organ literature, for example the organ works byJohann Heinrich Buttstett (1666-1727). Of course these analy-ses have to be based on theway of thinking, feeling and hearing that prevailed in his time and in his environment Inthis way, it is possible to show that organ music like Buttstett’s refers fundamentally tothe creator of music. This creator is the Holy Trinity, who also created heaven and earth,and who connected heaven, earth and music firmly to each other from the very beginning.