Music of the Spheres from Hopi to the Middle East

Listen!  Do you hear it? Nasruddin, the holy fool of so many Middle-Eastern stories is playing his Kemenche again.

One day Nasruddin’s wife entered the house to find him playing the ancient instrument, drawing his bow over one of the strings…  playing the same string, and the same note, over and over and over again.  He went on for hours, until finally his wife could no longer take it.  Still, she tried to be diplomatic.  “My dear husband,” she said, “Do you know that when some musicians play the Kemenche, they sometimes play notes that are higher, and sometimes play notes that are lower than the one you have been playing over and over and over all these many hours?”

“Of course I know,” he replied, “That’s because they are trying to find this note… the one I am playing.”

A world away and quoting now from Frank Water’s World of the Hopi, here is a fragment of the Hopi creation story…

“Palongawhoya, traveling throughout the earth, sounded out his call as he was bidden.  All the vibratory centers along the earth’s axis from pole to pole resounded his call,  the whole earth trembled, the universe quivered in time.  Thus he made the whole world an instrument of sound and sound an instrument for carrying messages, resounding praise to the creator of all.
“This is you voice, Uncle, Sotuknang said to Taiowa,( Creator) ”Everything is tuned to your sound.”

Listen!  Do you hear it? The sound of all creation?  Nasruddin’s one note? Today, I’ll be playing and living notes higher and lower, but I’ll be listening and perhaps by effort, with the help of grace, find a moment to be in tune.



  1. like melissa, the first thing i thought of was ohmmmm. in centering prayer, you stop pressing your needs on god or thanking for past graces. you just listen and let god do the talking. you are getting tuned in when you her god saying ohmmmm.

  2. Resonating on the universal note. I’m thinking Ohmmm. But there are probably examples of this in countless cultures or spiritual practices. Thanks for sharing this and reminding me that sound has the power to focus us and put us in tune with the world!

  3. Bob,
    Love these stories who help us reflect and I share your desire to be in tune with my environment. Occasionally it happens and you have reminded me of that.

    Thank you.

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