Application for inclusion of theory of harmony in the UNESCO list of intangible world cultural heritage

The procedure requires that such an application cannot be made directly but that it must first be included in the list of Swiss cultural heritage. The responsible commission, headed by the Federal Office for Culture, meets every 5 years.The application for this was submitted on October 8, 2021 and receipt was confirmed on October 21, 2021. The Federal Office of Culture will announce the results in July 2023.

Federal Councilor Viola Amherd, Head of the Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport, visited this page and wishes by letter dated June 23, 2022 every success in the pending decision of the Commission.


The special connection to Switzerland

The connection to Switzerland arises from the fact that the Swiss pianist Franz Josef Hirt laid the foundation for a new research approach with his illustrated book "Meisterwerke des Klavierbaus", published in Olten in 1955. He was also interested in the theological, technical, art-historical and historical context of the presented cultural assets (see blog A1). The consistent continuation of his work is documented on this page, which was added to the web archive of the Swiss National Library in 2020 (details in blog B26).

All of this happens regardless of the fact that the presented cultural heritage as such - in view of its history of origin and in view of the distribution area of ​​the keyboard and the underlying sound system - is not primarily Swiss but is a world cultural heritage. In terms of content, the theory of harmony is based on a non-denominational and intercultural global ethic. Although the scientific contextualization only took place with the appearance of this page, the content has been practiced for centuries wherever people sit together with the goal of synergetic music making. Prior tuning is an essential prerequisite for this. Harmony and synergy are incompatible with strategic goals.

In addition, the musical contexts were supplemented by symbolic-theological findings, thus making the overall system, including the interval designations, easier to understand. The theory of harmony - the name was derived from Ἁρμονία, the goddess of unity - has always been understood as a skillful combination of extremely different elements. Consonance and dissonance do not eliminate each other. The acceptance of the other is therefore a basic requirement for a deeper understanding. It is not for nothing that at least two parties are needed for a peace agreement. This in turn has to do with Switzerland's national self-image and its mediating role in the political context.

Here, in a first step, she would have to demonstrate her willingness to re-anchor the theological context of music (see blog B 27), which had been displaced by the Enlightenment, as a given historical fact in the cultural-historical awareness, regardless of the well-known debate about the acceptance of religious symbols in classrooms and to adapt the curricula accordingly.

The material has lost none of its topicality and describes the problems of our time, which have to deal not only with local but also with global threats - the nuclear and climatic - which were caused exclusively by strategic thinking and self-serving actions by human hands (cf. Objectives / Critical Comments).

According to the Federal Office of Culture, the proposal should be included in the discussion in 2022.