Monday, February 07, 2011

Music Monday ~ MARS & MUSIC

The qualities and characteristics symbolised by astrological Mars have positive and negative places in the human personality. Ingrid Lind in her book Astrology & Commonsense describes the role of Mars thus:

Mars governs the prime of physical life. Rules or has affinity with the signs Aries and Scorpio. Keywords: energy, heat, activation.

Martian qualities give the fighting spirit which surmounts the difficulties and crises life so abundantly produces. The power to translate courage into action is the Mars in a man working at its highest level, with brutal aggressiveness and uncontrolled passion at the low end of the scale. The amount of 'libido' or vitality in its various manifestations is indicated by the strength of Mars in the chart. In moments of emergency where quick action is needed it is easy to distinguish those who make good use of their Martian qualities. In the same way those with this planet weak by both Sign and aspect tend to crumple. Literally they have no fight in them.

The sex life and attitude to sexual relations as opposed to merely affectionate relationships is largely conditioned by Mars in the chart. Harmonious aspects between Mars and Venus indicate a happy blending of passion and love: inharmonious aspects suggest that the individual has something to learn in the handling of these two.
Mars in mythology is god of war. War has to be the cumulative result of goup negative Mars manifestation, though a single strong Martian personality could incite war, it takes the group/mass to be willing to undertake the waging of it.

In music, a composition immediately springing to mind whenever Mars is mentioned has to be Mars the Bringer of War from Gustav Holst's The Planets.

What, we wonder, was a classical composer doing writing music depicting the "flavours" of the planets?

It appears that Holst, in 1913, travelled to Spain with one Clifford Bax, an astrologer, who introduced the composer to the concepts of astrology, no doubt providing the vision and inspiration for Holst's Planet Suite. Alan Leo, astrologer and theosophist might also take credit for such inspiration. Holst had an interest in theosophy via Alan Leo's book The Art of Synthesis. The book has chapters based on each planet, and describes the astrological characteristics of them.

Gustav Holst seemed to consider The Planets a progression of life. Mars, coming first, presents a rocky and tormenting beginning. In fact, some have called this movement the most devastaing piece of music ever written.
(See here)

Above version of Mars, Bringer of War is from this album:

Where else can the attributes of Mars be found in music?

The positive, energetic side of Mars is to be found in all rock music, I guess. Its negative side surfaces in violent lyrics.

A study of US college students suggests that songs with violent lyrics increase aggressive thoughts and emotions. The study contradicts a popular suggestion that music loaded with violent imagery, such as some rap and heavy metal, are cathartic in venting aggression.

Craig Anderson at Iowa State University and colleagues found that students who listened to songs with violent lyrics were more likely to make aggressive associations in subsequent psychological tests.

Although, the effects were measured over a short time only, the team believes listening to violent lyrics could have a long-term effect - contributing to the development of a more aggressive and confrontational personality.
"Aggressive thoughts can influence perceptions of ongoing social interactions, colouring them with an aggressive tint," said Anderson. "Listening to angry, violent music does not appear to provide the kind of cathartic release that the general public and some professional and pop psychologists believe."
(See here)

Can't finish without a mention of David Bowie's Is There Life on Mars? There's nothing about Mars itself in the song, whose title was probably inspired by a Brtitsh TV series called Life on Mars. Bowie's lyrics lend themselves to a variety of interpretations - like an abstract painting. Wikipedia explains it all.
(EDIT ~~~ Song inspired title of TV series, not t'other way around!)


Kaleymorris said...

Re: Life on Mars -- Pretty sure the song came before the series. Jeff and just finished watching all 16 episodes filmed around 2006. The 1971 Bowie song is featured in the first and last installment. Great song, great series.
Don't you love editors?

Twilight said...

Kaleymorris ~~~ Well yes, the song came from the 1970s, the series, both UK and later USA versions ran2006/2009 - I got my comment on that score arse-about-face didn't I! TV series took its title from the song, not t'other way about.

Thanks for the correction.

Editors schmeditors! :-D

Wisewebwoman said...

Is the series worth purchasing T?
I must check it out.
Venus and Mars, Mars and Venus, was it ever thus, what credence do you give to this philosphy if any?
I do love Holst's music.

Twilight said...

Wisewebwoman ~~~ I haven't seen the series myself, WWW, but the commenter above I know to be a good judge and recommends it. :-)

Venus and Mars - archetypes of different facets of "us", identified by some Greek philosopher, I guess, and related to mythology so that ordinary folk in those days might better understand the concept.

I don't go along with the "Men are from Mars Women are from Venus" stuff though, that annoys me - but it sold books! We all have some of both within us.