Musical Mandala in the Barian Mode

The idea of the “Musical Mandala” is to combine musical and visual circularity.

For music, the epitome of ‘circle’ is the endlessly repeating ’round’ or ‘canon’ (like “Row, Row, Row your Boat”). Notating a canon in a circle seems rather appropriate. Visually, labyrinths are frequently circular in shape, and canons and labyrinths are both ‘puzzling’ and can evoke meditative states. The word “mandala” is Sanskrit for ‘circle’, so I’m calling these ‘Musical Mandalas’. For further explanation, see this blog.

Using the Western piano keyboard, and only allowing steps up to a major third, it turns out there are 1490 possible scales, or ‘modes’ as they are officially called in music world (see my website The Barian mode can be found here.

In this mp3, the Musical Mandala is performed by glass armonica, oboe d’amore and bass clarinet (with cello playing a supporting repeating bass line).

It’s in a three part canon at the unison. First the piano plays the mode (scale) on which the Musical Mandala is based, then the piece starts.