We’ve updated our Terms of Use to reflect our new entity name and address. You can review the changes here.
We’ve updated our Terms of Use. You can review the changes here.

Graven Image​*​*​*

from The Bible in Translation (disc 2) [album] by John Harvey



The composition is based on the phrase ‘graven image’, taken from the second commandment (Exodus 20.4-6). The phase comprises eight different letters – the same number of letters as there are notes in a western musical scale. The eight letters are arranged in alphabetical order and assigned to the seven distinct notes and the upper and lower tonic notes of the scale. Since ‘graven image’ begins with ‘G’, the eight letters are assigned to a G scale. And, since the subject and tenor of the text’s semantic content is grave, the work is in a minor key. The first and last (or tonic) notes and the repeated letters (‘A’ and ‘E’ and their associated notes) are differentiated, musically, by scoring them in different octaves. The notes are played in the order of their corresponding letters (first ‘g’, then ‘r’, the ‘a’, and so forth) until the phrase is spelled out.

Biblical Source
You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.

Biblical Reference
Exodus 20.4-6

Personnel: John Harvey.

Instrumentation: Apogee Duet audio interface, Apple MacBook OX S 10.4, Apple Logic Studio Pro 9, Boss ME-25 Multiple-Effects unit, Digitech Hardwire DL-8 delay/looper, Electro Harmonix Big Muff Pi fuzz box, Seymour Duncan SFX-01 Pick-Up Booster, and Traveler EG-1 guitar.

Context: Recorded live at a lecture entitled ‘The Un-“Graven Image”: An Aniconic Approach to Art’ delivered at the ‘Contemplations of the Spiritual in Contemporary Art’ conference, Liverpool Cathedral, UK on December 11, 2010.


from The Bible in Translation (disc 2) [album], released September 1, 2016


all rights reserved



John Harvey Ceredigion, UK

I’m a practitioner and historian of sound art and visual art, and Emeritus Professor of Art at the School of Art, Aberystwyth University, UK. My research field is the sonic and visual culture of religion. I explore the sonic articulations of the Christian religion by engaging visual, textual, and audible sources, theological and cultural ideas, and systemic and audiovisualogical processes. ... more

contact / help

Contact John Harvey

Streaming and
Download help

Report this track or account