Music

 

In the Quarto Edition of "King Lear," published in 1608, we find this line:

Edmund : "O! these eclipses do portend these divisions."
-Act 1, Scene 2.

The next appearance of this play, in print, is in the First Folio of 1623, where to the above line we find the following added: "FA., SOL, LA, MI."
Here is a musical phrase added to the text fifteen years after the play was first printed. It consists of syllables for solmization(including a tritonus or sharp fourth) implying a series of sounds disagreeable to the ear, formerly called "the devil in music" and has reference to the state of moral, political, and physical discord described by Gloucester in his preceeding speech.
Is it a coincidence that Francis Bacon in his "Sylva Sylvarum" (written in 1622, but not published until 1639), investigates the general laws of harmony, including this particular tritonus,or sharp fourth, a reference to which is found in "King Lear," published in 1623. There is no evidence that Will Shaksper was acquainted with music in any shape or form, and as he had died in 1616 he could not have added the above phrase to the sentence in "King Lear," published in 1623.

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