piece "Ea the Creator" was inspired by
some beautiful Sufi melodies of musicians who played
at a large dance party held in Marin County, California
by Saladen Takesh. The slow pace of this expressive
music, after an hour of very rhythmic party dancing,
is refreshing, and draws one into a mood of relaxation
and contemplation. Tired dancers sat down to rest,
and a few who had not been dancing rose slowly to
their feet as a new feeling came over the room.
An older woman stood up and began turning, turning,
very slowly, in a clockwise direction. Another man
gestured upward with his arm and stepped carefully
in a small circle to this hypnotic music.
was a happy feeling, as gradually others joined
them in turning, turning to the beautiful sinuous
sounds of the ney (nay) and we felt bound together
in a different way, east and westerner, Sufi and
non Sufi. All the long costumes and skirts began
to spin slowly outward and filled the dance floor,
and the room, with a new symmetry. It was a very
the Creator" starts with a slow improvisational
melody, and becomes more rhythmic, making a departure
from the original free improvisation in several
ways. Without changing the diatonic A mode scale,
this arrangement becomes a vehicle for showing how
our own western music still fits quite comfortably
within the ancient diatonic modes. It is the eastern
traditions with their subtle microtonal variations
that in fact have varied more greatly from the ancient
tuning texts, than the tonal music of western Europe,
from what we can tell using the present evidence.
it there are some subtle jazz harmonies suggested,
this modern treatment later in the piece does not
go outside the realm of ancient tunings because
at no time does the piece use more than the original
seven tones of the A modal tuning (A, B, C, D, E,
F, G, and A). Even the familir cycle of fifths used
in the bass line is a very diatonic device in western
popular beginning with the Baroque period.
There are those who are disturbed by hearing a style
that is too modern in this context. We try to emphasize
that the style does not come from 4000 years ago,
only the "A" mode tuning which gave rise
to this melody. Please forgive the musicians who
sometimes get too playful with a tune they especially
like. They at least put it back when they are through...
Click for another, slightly larger image
(Sumerian) or Enki (Akkadian) was the patron god
of Eridu before he joined the ranks of Enlil,
(Sumerian) or Elil, Akkadian) Inanna
(Sumerian) or Ishtar, (Akkadian) and An (Sumerian)
or Anu,(Akkadian) as the four main gods of Mesopotamia.
Ea's Akkadian name, Enki, means Lord of the Ki,
which means he was in charge of everything from
the earth's surface on downwards, his portion of
the world's order. He controlled the soil and the
sweet waters or abzu beneath the earth from
which life sprang, in the eyes of the inhabitants
of the southern marshlands from where he arose in
Some have suggested there was a connection between Ea and the very ancient merman/fish god Oannes, shown at left. See this interesting site: www.geocities.com/dominorus/oannes.html
Sumerian equivalent of 11:57pm July 3rd
14000BCE sky chart and the Narmer Plate combined here on a. royal cylinder-seal depicting
"The Sun is Risen", complete with Ancient
It is dated to 2308 BCE and celebrates the Dawn
of the Age of Aries.
This same cylander seal shows Ea at the other
end (click thumbnail)
shown as a river god and god of freshwater fishermen,
which his epithet, "owner of the net"
implies, Enki/Ea's images often show him holding
a vase from which flow four rivulets of water. He
is also associated with abundant harvests and growth.
(This little image appears on the larger version
of the cylander seal above).
good earth he lavished with teeming vegetation.
He multiplied the herd of the high steppe,
placed them where they are supposed to be.
He multiplied the sheep and the wild rams in
made them breed.
of Enki," Kramer and Meier
role in various myths is that of a wise ruler,
who can intervene and save difficult situations
using clever solutions without breaking any rules.
In contrast to the occasionally destructive god
Enlil, Enki seems to have been known for his genuine
concern for the well-being of mankind, always
benevolent and just. Among his many talents, he
was also a good builder:
great prince placed a string on the pickax,
guided the brickmold,
made it penetrate mother-earth as if it were
one whose footers once laid down do not sag,
whose lasting house once built does not collapse,
whose vault reaches to mid-sky like a rainbow,
Musdamma, great builder of Enlil,
Enki placed in charge of them.
Source:"Myths of Enki, The Crafty God,"
by Samuel Noah Kramer and Meier, John.
the fourth string on the Sumerian lyre is called
"fourth-small string (or) Ea Creator,"
and is the only string which has a name as well
as a position number; the fourth string might have
had some special musical significance. Why this
particular string had such a distinguished name
is one of the unanswered questions in the lyre texts.
2. next string
3. third thin string
4. fourth-small string (or)Ea creator string
5. fifth string
6. fourth-behind string
7. third behind string
8. second-behind string
9. behind string
10. (total) 9 string
lexical text U,3011 col. 1(=Nabnitu Tablet
seemed appropriate to dedicate a song to this
god, and have it begin with the interval 4,1,
starting with the Ea Creator string.