Fundamental and subordinate octaves



In the study of the law of octaves it must be remembered that octaves in their relation to each other are divided into fundamental and subordinate. The fundamental octave can be likened to the trunk of a tree giving off branches of lateral octaves. The seven fundamental notes of the octave and the two ‘intervals,’ the bearers of new directions, give altogether nine links of a chain, three groups of three links each."


“The fundamental octaves are connected with the secondary or subordinate octaves in a certain definite way. Out of the subordinate octaves of the first order come the subordinate octaves of the second order, and so on. The construction of octaves can be compared with the construction of a tree. From the straight basic trunk there come out boughs on all sides which divide in their turn and pass into branches, becoming smaller and smaller, and finally are covered with leaves. The same process goes on in the construction of the leaves, in the formation of the veins, the serrations, and so on."


“Like everything in nature the human body which represents a certain whole bears both within and without the same correlations. According to the number of the notes of the octave and its ‘intervals,’ the human body has nine basic measurements expressed by the numbers of a definite measure. In individuals these numbers of course differ widely but within certain definite limits. These nine basic measurements, giving a full octave of the first order, by combining in a certain definite way pass into measurements of subordinate octaves, which give rise in their turn to other subordinate octaves, and so on. In this way it is possible to obtain the measurements of any member or any part of the human body as they are all in a definite relationship to one another.”




Excerpt taken from In Search of the Miraculous by P. D. Ouspensky, pub. Paul H. Crompton Ltd, 2004, pgs.134-135.