Friday 8 May 2009

Gods of Sumeria symbolize our Ancient Music of 22 Srutis

    Contemporary music comprises of 12 tones. Medieval Indian musicologists had ‘sensed’ the existence of a far superior ‘ancient music’ that was founded on a more structured resource-base consisting of ‘22 tones’. However, this ancient music remained buried under the hard encrustations of a pre-historic past and not much evidence could be adduced by these visionaries in support of their ‘hunch’.
This age-old ‘belief’ motivated me to undertake a humble fact-finding Study. I have narrated in my Book “The Mystic Citadel of 22 Srutis Music”, as to how my work got ‘stone-walled’ by the lack of musicological records, prior to first millennium B.C. I, however, continued with the ‘study’ drawing from traces of past ‘cultural histories’. The cultural history of the West has been fairly well documented, thanks to the extensive research work undertaken by scholars!
Sumerians, the earliest civilization as per our recorded history (approximately 4000 B.C.), worshipped their gods in the form of ‘fractions’. My initial response was one of utter disbelief as to how an abjectly primitive society could ever entertain higher mathematical concepts such as ‘fractions’! Obviously, there was something ‘mysterious’ about these Sumerians!
To quote Laurence Gardner, historian on Sumeria: “…To this day, everyone concerned is baffled by the sudden, extraordinary emergence of the Sumerians, seemingly from nowhere. But there is no doubt that, upon their advent in southern Mesopotamia, they were already highly advanced, to a level far beyond that recorded or sustained in any place from where logically they could have emanated. Nowhere on Earth was there a culture like that of the Sumerians, who appeared soon after 4000BC….”
There are plenty of speculations about their mystic origin. To quote one: “....  civilizations with large cities and complex societies do not just spring up from nothing....  The Sumerians, who do not seem to be related to the earlier inhabitants of the region, had to have inherited their civilization from somewhere, either an antecedent culture or, as Sitchin, Gardner and others have suggested, it was given to them by beings from elsewhere who came to Earth around that time”.
To quote Ernest G. McClain, historian on Sumeria: “…For reasons that have been vigorously argued but remain unclear, they developed a base-60 number system. Waiting to be recognized within it--and in ways obvious to any scribal adept, although invisible to the illiterate--were the main patterns of harmonical theory that appear later in India, Babylon, and Greece…”
To quote Zecharia Sitchin, another historian on Sumeria: We always knew that there was music in the earlier Assyrio-Babylonian civilization, but until this deciphering we did not know that it had the same heptatonic-diatonic scale that is characteristic of contemporary Western music, and of Greek music of the first millennium BC.... Until now it was thought that Western music originated in Greece; now it has been established that our music – as so much else of Western civilization – originated in Mesopotamia. This should not be surprising, for the Greek scholar Philo had already stated that the Mesopotamians were known to "seek world-wide harmony and unison through the musical tones."
To quote more from Ernest G.McClain: “Sumerian numbers were impressed on small clay tablets .... A ‘60’ was made as a large ‘1’ by pressing the stylus more firmly into the clay.... Computation was made easy by tables of "reciprocals, multiplications, squares and square roots, cubes and cube roots, ...exponential functions, coefficients giving numbers for practical computation,...and numerous metrological calculations giving areas of rectangles, circles… "Regular numbers" up to 60 are shown with their reciprocals, transcribed... so that the reciprocal of 40/60 = 2/3 reads 1,30, meaning 90/60 = 3/2. Notice that only the most important fractions of 60 are deified (1/6, 1/5, 1/4, 1/3, 1/2, 2/3, and 5/6)”.
In the ambience of such ‘extraordinary’ inputs, I turned on my spot lights over the cosmology of Sumerians. The numbers/gods worshipped by Sumerians were: 60, 55, 50, 45, 40, 35, 30, 25, 20, 15, 10 and 5 . All were indicated as the fractions of “An” (60) who was their most supreme God. Sumerians wrote the number ‘60’ as a large ‘1’ and used it as their ‘reference’ number for everything! Therefore, ‘An’ Himself got depicted as 60/60 = 1/1. Enlil (50) got depicted as 50/60 = 5/6.  Ea/Enki (40) was 40/60 = 2/3, Nanna/Sin (30) was 30/60 = 1/2, Utu/Samash (20) was 20/60 = 1/3 and Ishkur/Adad (10) was 10/60 = 1/6.
Sumerian pantheon had many more gods and goddesses; but only six gods and six goddesses were “deified” formally in the following manner:
60 An /Anu (God)                         55 Antu (Goddess)
50 Enlil (God)                               45 Ninlil (Goddess)
40 Ea/Enki (God)                          35 Ninki (Goddess)
30 Nanna/Sin (God)                      25 Ningal (Goddess)
20 Utu/Samash (God)                   15 Inanna/Ishtar (Goddess)
10 Ishkur/Adad (God)                   05 Ninhursag (Goddess)
After pondering over these observations a bit longer, I realized that these “extraordinary Sumerians” have left some vital musicological ‘clues’ in the garb of their twelve ‘deities’, for the posterity to infer and extrapolate; their ‘theology’ is the ‘symbolization’ of an ancient ‘musicology’ and should, therefore, be viewed through the musicological prism. The ‘fusion’ of male gods with ‘Anu’ (as described above) led to the revelation of certain ‘core’ musical fractions, such as: 1, 1/2, 2/3 and 5/6. On this analogy, I attempted an extrapolation and discovered soon that many more such combinations were feasible. I realized that the scope of such ‘fusions’ would get fully unfolded only if we ‘unhinge’ the emphasis that was grossly slanted towards this ‘Anu’ model. After listing all possible combinations, I classified them into three broad categories: male/male; female/female and male/female. In this analysis, I have deleted the result of those ‘fusions’ that yielded fractions like 1/3, 1/5 etc.; they belong to the higher octave of music and, therefore, lie well outside the bounds (i.e. between ‘1’ and ‘1/2’) of the “primary octave”: -

god/ god
goddess/ goddess
god/ goddess
60/60 = 1/1
45/55 = 9/11
55/60 = 11/12
50/60 = 5/6
35/55 = 7/11
45/60 = 3/4
40/60 = 2/3
35/45 = 7/9
35/60 = 7/12
30/60 = ½
25/45 = 5/9
50/55 = 10/11
40/50 = 4/5
25/35 = 5/7
40/55 = 8/11
30/50 = 3/5
15/25 = 3/5
30/55 = 6/11
30/40 = ¾

45/50 = 9/10
20/40 = ½

35/50 = 7/10
20/30 = 2/3

25/50 = 1/2
10/20 = ½

40/45 = 8/9

30/45 = 2/3

35/40 = 7/8

25/40 = 5/8

30/35 = 6/7

20/35 = 4/7

25/30 = 5/6

15/30 = 1/2

20/25 = 4/5

15/20 = 3/4

10/15 = 2/3

5/10 = 1/2

(This Table couldn’t be rendered expressive enough in this blog-format. I would therefore, request the viewers to read this blog in conjunction with my Presentation Slides at: )
After deleting the redundancies (marked in red colour), we may observe that there are only 24 residual entities. Out of these, the reference entity (i.e. the Tonic) is 1/1 which happens to be a ‘whole number’ and not a ‘fraction’; this should, therefore, be eliminated from the outcome of the ‘fusion’ process. We should also exclude the entity ‘1/2’, as it happens to be the reference note (i.e. the Tonic) that marks the commencement of the succeeding higher octave. Thus, we are left with only 22 entities, all being “simple fractions”. It is mathematically impossible to generate a family of fractions which carry simpler integers than these! In my blogs, I have described this family of 22 simple fractions as ‘god-fractions’ of Sumeria.
I found that ‘tonal transforms’ corresponding to these 22 ‘god-fractions’ have been ‘embedded’ into the ‘gramas’ and ‘murchanas’, described in ancient Indian musicological literature. (However, the medieval and contemporary Indian musicologists failed to uncover these 22 tones within the octave, as the relevant details have been embedded in a ‘coded’ manner!). This feature is an amazing evidence to establish that there was “Total Convergence” between the thought-processes of ancient Sumerians and Vedic Indians with regard to the identification of the building blocks (i.e. 22 vital ‘Tones’) that constituted the pre-historic music.
I also observed that there are certain latent ‘melodic patterns’ interior to the family of 22-Fractions that would guide us while ‘composing’ music in this new environment. For more details, please refer to the following ‘Presentation Slides’:
For more details, contact me on Teles: 91 20 26729256, 9890266845, 98501 21834. E-mail: Please visit my web-site wherein I have provided ‘links’ to access various ‘Blogs’ and ‘Presentations’ related to the pre-Historic Music of 22 Tones. I would also request the viewers to peruse my Book: “The Mystic Citadel of 22 Srutis Music”, for details (available at my postal address: Srinivasan Nambirajan, A-7/ 103, Florida Estate, Keshav Nagar, Mundhwa, Pune-411036).