Alexander Scriabin’s Music Influenced By Mysticism, Atonality, And Synesthesia

Read how Alexander Scriabin, a Russian composer’s music got influenced by mysticism, atonality, theosophy and synesthesia.

About Alexander Scriabin Music

Alexander Scriabin was a Russian composer and pianist. Scriabin’s music is inspired by Frederic Chopin’s music.

Therefore his early music (during 1880 – 1903) relates to romantic moods and traditions.

Listen to Symphony No. 2 C minor Op. 29 composed during 1901.

During 1903, Scriabin explored atonal music with chromatic and dissonant characteristics. However, it adhered to traditional functional tonality.

What is atonal music?

Atonality is defined as the music that lacks a tonal center, or key.

The musical notes of the chromatic scale function independently of one another.

Scriabin explored and researched about the dissonant sounding atonal music that laid the foundation of the mysticism.

Listen to the atonal style expressed in Sonata No. 5 Op. 53 performed by Clare Hammond.

Soon, Scriabin got influenced by synesthesia.

What is Synesthesia?

Synesthesia is the production of a sensory impression on one sense or part of the body by stimulation of another sense or part of the body.

Synesthesia means “together” in Ancient Greek.

Example: Color-graphemic synesthesia refers to a condition in which the person associates letters or numbers with different colors.

He developed a musical system based on color theory discovered by Sir Isaac Newton’s Opticks.

The circle of fifths was a concept developed based on the synesthesia.

Scriabin started associating colors with various harmonic tones of his atonal scale. It is believed his color-coded circle of fifths was influenced by theosophy.

Scriabin wanted his music to sound radiant and feel shining. Therefore he experimented with the number of chord tones. The mystic chord was discovered during this period.

Scriabin’s late work is also influenced by theosophy. During his last years, Scriabin started writing magnum opus Mysterium that was close to the mystic thoughts.

What is mystic music?

Mysticism is known as becoming one with God or attainment of hidden truths resulting in human transformation.

The Mysterium could have been a grand week-long performance at the foothills of the Himalayas Mountains.

However, the composition remained unfinished due to death of Scriabin.

Thanks for reading my 81st article in the series 100-day music blogging challenge. Stay tuned for more such informative articles.

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Published by Bharat

Hi, I'm Bharat. An artist, blogger, musician and digital marketing professional dedicated to sharing musing and stories about music, art and mindful resonance! Follow me @bharatpc