I have mentioned before, and will again at some length in future, how I believe Pythagoras was the world’s first DJ. As well as being known as the “Father of Mathematics” and the “Father of Geometry”, he is also known as the “Father of Music”. This latter epithet came about because he discovered the musical intervals and, having transposed his Numerological system on the musical scales, was also able to heal the body using Music. In fact, he would, as per ancient sources, routinely prescribe music as medicine.
Now, why am I mentioning this if it’s not about the DJ angle? Before I go into that, let me share this quote by Marie Thompson, author of “Beyond Unwanted Sound: Noise, Affect and Aesthetic Moralism (Bloomsbury, 2017)”:
"At its most intense, noise music disorganizes the body, it disrupts the organization of the organs. It transforms the organs into a thousand ears, the ears into a vibrating, fluttering drum skin. Noise music addresses me as matter, rendering the body porous. I can feel it in my lungs, my stomach, my throat; it can turn me inside out."
If we assume Pythagoras is right, and many of us believe him to be, and that Marie Thompson knows what she is talking about, then what you want to do is make sure you treat your ears and body to the best experience of the music that you can afford. I am talking about getting a good set of earphones. With the cheap stuff, you miss out on frequencies and sounds that might be of physical benefit to you in some unknown ways. And even if there are no physical benefits, surely you want to experience the vision of the Producer as he or she intended it to be? Artist after artist, and Producer after producer tell us repeatedly how the actual physical product never quite matches up to the mental version of whatever it is they did. Now if you, on top of that, use a bad set of earphones, then you are taking your experience even further away from that original mental form that gave inspiration to the produced thing.
Speaking of Pythagoras, he also came up with the “Golden Mean”. This theory or teaching states there is always a desirable path between two extremes and that this path must always be preferred. He based everything he did on this. The ancient followers of Hermes believed the same in the form of the Law of Rhythm. Christians are taught “Moderation”, a similar teaching. In that spirit, when you go out and get a good set of earphones, know that you can safely apply the Golden Mean. You do not need to go too expensive or too cheap – chose the Middle Path like the Pythagoreans, or the Buddhists, or the followers of Trismegistus. Your ears, body and bank balance will thank you when you look back 20 years from now and your earphones are standing the test of time.