Double Ziggurat

Day 123 Week 18 Q2 Thursday, May 2, 2024

“Zigguratic” isn’t a widely recognized term, but it could be used to describe something related to or reminiscent of a ziggurat. For example, you might use it to describe a building or structure that shares some architectural characteristics with a ziggurat, such as having a stepped or tiered design. It could also be used metaphorically to describe something hierarchical or structured similarly to the tiers of a ziggurat. 

Sometimes, I think that the creative outliers approach to life is like a ziggurat. These ancient architectural structures are slowly built up upon broad foundations with smaller second stories and still more minor thirds all of the way to wherever the builder is trying to get. It’s like a pyramid made of steps. In fact, the pyramids were likely constructed as variations of this approach. Whether the ziggurat is to reach into the skies to God or simply raise people off the ground of the floodplain doesn’t matter because we were using it here as better or not as a physical manifestation.

The term was a new one to me until yesterday when a member of our creator’s flywheel attempted to describe how we rearranged the furniture at the café where we regularly meet. It was a leap as ziggurats are three-dimensional, and we were using the term to describe an essentially 2d design. The concept of building upon tiers is an old one used by the Sumerians in 4000 BC, the Mayans in 1400 BC, and millennia later in Sacramento, California, in 1997.

Now, using the metaphor to vault from architecture into music is where it leads us.

Imagine a musical composition as a ziggurat, with each layer representing a different element of the music, such as melody, harmony, rhythm, and texture. Each layer contributes to the overall structure, just like the tiers of a ziggurat build upon one another to form a cohesive whole.

In this metaphorical ziggurat of music, the melody could be likened to the foundational layer, providing the central theme or motif upon which the composition is built. The harmony adds depth and complexity, like the subsequent tiers of the ziggurat ascending upwards. Rhythm serves as the driving force, providing momentum and energy to the composition, much like the ascending steps of the ziggurat leading toward its pinnacle.

Now, let’s introduce the concept of a double ziggurat. In music, this could represent a composition that incorporates multiple layers of complexity, with one “ziggurat” of musical elements inverted and placed atop another.

In this double ziggurat structure, the inverted ziggurat could symbolize a variation or inversion of the original musical theme. It could introduce counterpoint, contrasting textures, or unexpected harmonic shifts, creating a sense of tension and resolution within the composition.

As the listener ascends through the layers of the double ziggurat, they experience a journey of musical exploration, with each tier revealing new perspectives and interpretations of the underlying theme. The interplay between the two ziggurats creates a dynamic musical landscape where familiar motifs are transformed and reimagined in surprising ways.

Ultimately, the concept of a zigguratic structure in music invites us to consider the interplay between different musical elements and the potential for creativity and innovation within a structured framework, much like the ancient architectural marvels that inspired it.