Edit: since we seem a bit deadlocked at this point, let me weaken the question. It's fairly easy to see that the set of 8-tuples of reals which can be the eigenvalues of a matrix of the desired form is closed. We know from jjcale and Caleb Eckhardt that its complement is nonempty. Is its complement dense? That is, would a generic 8-tuple not be the eigenvalues of such a matrix?

First, here is a baby version of the question, that I already know the answer to. Consider complex Hermitian $4\times 4$ matrices of the form $$\left[\begin{matrix}a I_2&A\cr A^*&b I_2\end{matrix}\right]$$ where $A \in M_2(\mathbb{C})$ and $a,b \in \mathbb{R}$ are arbitrary. Can any four real numbers $\lambda_1 \leq \lambda_2 \leq \lambda_3\leq \lambda_4$ be the eigenvalues of such a matrix, or is there some restriction? Answer: there is a restriction, we must have $\lambda_1 + \lambda_4 = \lambda_2 + \lambda_3$.

The real question is: what are the possible eigenvalues of Hermitian $8\times 8$ matrices of the form $$\left[\begin{array}{c|c}aI_4&A\cr \hline A^*&\begin{matrix}bI_2& B\cr B^*&cI_2\end{matrix}\end{array}\right]$$ with $a,b,c\in\mathbb{R}$, $A \in M_4(\mathbb{C})$, and $B \in M_2(\mathbb{C})$? Can any eight real numbers be the eigenvalues of such a matrix? (I suspect not. If they could, that would tell you that any Hermitian $8\times 8$ matrix is unitarily equivalent to one of this form.)

7more comments