In my kabbalistic studies, I have seen many attempts to draw associations between the ten emanations (a.k.a., sefiroth) of the Tree of Life and the Realm of Music. None of these associations seemed to suit me as expressive of the nature of the Tree of Life; some simply assigned seemingly randomly selected musical information to the ten sefiroth. Here I will attempt to make sense of the chaos I have encountered.
First, it is my presumption that many of the musical associations which I have encountered were made by people who understood Kabbalah, but not Music, or vice versa. My set of associations attempts to typify the sense of polarity which the student can easily see in the Tree of Life, with a respect for the Central Pillar which reflects the stability found in certain musical intervals.
As in all naturally numbered schemes, I begin with 1, Kether (Crown), the First Emanation. To the first emanation I assign scale step , the Tonic. This association mainly serves to give the remaining sefiroth a common point of reference, for without 1, there can be no 2, without which there can be no 3, and so on. Kether resides at the top of the Central Pillar, which in this scheme follows the disposition of the energy of emanation in the Lightning Flash, in which the Central Pillar denotes stability.
After the first sefirah, the remaining sefiroth (particularly those on the Left and Right Pillars) are to be regarded in pairs. Each one of such a pair of sefiroth is assigned a step on the chromatic scale which, when paired with the tonic, produces a harmonic interval which is the inverse, or complement, of the interval made between its paired sefirah and the Tonic at Kether.
An example here can be seen with Chokhmah (Wisdom) and Binah (Understanding): Chokhmah is assigned to scale step , which forms a Major Second (M2) when compared to the Tonic. Binah is attributed a scale step, which, when paired with the Tonic at Kether, produces an interval which is the inverse (complement) of the M2 formed by Kether and Chokhmah: the Minor Seventh (m7). Binah is therefore assigned scale step [↓7] (lowered seven) in order to produce the m7 interval with the Tonic.
The next emanation, Chesed (Mercy), is attributed scale step . This emanation’s musical character is a diminished fifth, or Tritone (T), differenced from that of Binah. Most students of Music will agree that the Tritone is the furthest harmonic distance from the Tonic one can go; it is by far the single most dissonant musical interval we recognise. This implies the sort of distance traversed to go from the extreme of Form on the Left Column to the extreme of Force on the Right Column. As scale step , which produces an interval of the Major Third (M3) with the Tonic, is assigned to Chesed, so is the scale step [↓6] (lowered six) assigned to Gevurah (Might), in that with the Tonic it produces the interval of the Minor Sixth (m6), the complementary interval of the paired sefirah, Chesed.
Next, as we migrate to Tifareth, we see that it is associated with scale step , and that we only travel a Minor Third (m3) from Gevurah to reach it. Taking into account the distance of the Tritone (3 whole steps) as a reference for a full migration from one side pillar to the other, the interval required to go only halfway over (stopping at the Central Pillar) seems sensible at half-a-tritone (which is 1½ steps, or the Minor Third, m3).
The journey back over to the Pillar of Mercy swings us into Netzach (Victory), which is here assigned to scale step , a Major Third (M3) differenced from that of the sefirah Tifareth. The 6 implies the tonic interval of the Major Sixth (M6), whose inverse is the Minor Third (m3), here suggested by scale step [↓3] (lowered three), and assigned to the sefirah Hod (Splendour).
Another short shift, and we find ourselves on the Central Pillar and scale step , assigned to Yesod (Foundation). The Perfect Fifth suggested by this association with the Tonic relates a sense of stability about the Tree’s structure, as stability within is necessary to maintain stability overall. One more jump, this time a full Perfect Fourth (P4), and we find ourselves at the Octave, and Creation realised in Malkuth, which resonates with the greatest level of consonance aside from the Unison: that of the Octave, or Translated Unison. Thusly is fulfilled the axiom that Malkuth is in Kether, and Kether in Malkuth, but after another manner. Both tones embody the Creator, but one as Fundamental and the other as Harmonic.