“Two notes of the chord that’s our poor scope
But to reach the chord is our life’s hope
And to name the chord is important to some
So they give it a word and the word is (Om).”
(Graeme Edge of The Moody Blues)
“I heard there was a secret chord
That David played and it pleased the Lord…..
The baffled king composing Hallelujah.”
I love these two songs, both referencing the primordial chord of the mystical, metaphysical energy or sound of the universal consciousness. What is fascinating to me is the differing approaches to obtaining the Human Being. One approach is eastern, steeped in seeking out the Truth, while the other is western, describing revelation.
The Moody Blues offer the prospect of a path, as in reaching and seeking the chord. This evokes images of the supplicant following his or her venerated teacher and practicing a lifetime of service and meditation. Cohen, in his epic song, is describing a sudden epiphany that is so unexpected that King David is baffled, even as it is coming through him. Upon its performance the Lord is pleased. No mention of reaching or seeking here; it’s like Grace or Divine intervention.
Though these two approaches appear quite disparate, they actually have more in common than a surface review reveals. The seeker on a path desires to empty his or her mind, to be free of the mental clutter of the material world to find that chord. King David must have already been uncluttered for this revelation to pass through. The differences are more stylistic than substantive. It’s emblematic of the ways eastern thought is expressed versus western thought.