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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Music and the Tarot: Elemental Tarot

I've been feeling the need to create another little piece of music based on Tarot cards!

To read and listen to my post on the piece I composed with cards from the Mary El Tarot by Marie White (Schiffer Publishing), click HERE.

This time, I'm using the evocative and inspiring Elemental Tarot, with artwork by Marco Turini (Lo Scarabeo). [To read my review of this deck, click HERE.]

A bit of background: In his book The Tarot, Paul Foster Case assigns a musical note to each of the Major Arcana cards. I have been fascinated by this for a long time, but only just now decided to make something of it!

My background in music is quite basic: I learned to play the piano in elementary school and taught myself to play the guitar in high school. In the 1960s, I wrote and performed my own songs in coffee houses.

For my compositions, I assign each card a chord based on the notes provided by Case. Here are the cards I drew from the Elemental Tarot and the chords I assigned to them.

The Chariot: D sharp (E flat)
Strength: E
Justice: F sharp (G flat)

Click on the title of the poem I wrote (below) to listen to the audio file of my finished piece.

Chariot, Strength, Justice
by Zanna Starr

An empty gypsy wagon stands
In an open field.
The horses have no one
To urge them forward or hold them back.
They wait
For you to take the reins of your life.

A lion lurks within.
He lifts his head and growls.
Are you his prey?
His enemy? His gentle master?
He waits
For you to recognize him.

A woman in red stands
With arms outstretched.
The sharp knife of intellect in one hand,
The deep chalice of emotion in the other.
She waits
For you to face the moment of truth.

Paul Foster Case's Musical Note Correspondences for the Major Arcana

Fool = E
Magician = E
High Priestess = G# or A flat
Empress = F# or G flat
Emperor = middle C
Hierophant = C# or D flat
Lovers = D
Chariot = D# or E flat
Strength = E
Hermit = F
Wheel of Fortune = A# or B flat
Justice = F# or G flat
Hanged Man = G# or A flat
Death = G
Temperance = G# or A flat
Devil = A
Tower = middle C
Star = A# or B flat
Moon = B
Sun = D
Judgement = middle C
World = A


  1. Nice poem! I liked the music too, it started out with a spanish feel and then developed into something different not sure what word I'm trying to convey, but I did like it. ^_^

    1. Thanks, Helen. LOL - with the music, I'm really just "free forming" and playing with the chords, mixing styles. I'm sure anyone who actually composes music professionally would be horrified. :)

  2. I really liked the music. It's very upbeat and unique.


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~ Zanna