Wired for Sound

“If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.” ~ Nikola Tesla

I hope to furnish you with some sound advice in this post!

I recently learnt that every atom, cell and organ of our bodies generates its own electromagnetic field, a set of specific vibrational frequencies unique to each organ, so it could be said that your entire being is resonating like a kind of biological orchestra.

cymatics

Humans have evolved on our home planet over millennia, and as such, our bodies function best in a vibratory environment ranging from 7.813Hz (cycles per second) to around 40 Hz, the sound signature of Earth. Yes, our planet sings too, and this frequency range is known as the Schumann Resonance.

At any given moment about 2,000 thunderstorms roll over Earth, producing some 50 flashes of lightning every second. Each lightning burst creates electromagnetic waves that begin to circle around Earth captured between Earth’s surface and a boundary about 60 miles up. Some of the waves – if they have just the right wavelength – combine, increasing in strength, to create a repeating atmospheric heartbeat known as Schumann resonance.

NASA are now exploring sound and light therapy to assist astronauts with bone loss due to prolonged time in a zero gravity environment, as well as a raft of other healing applications.

The whole universe is a cosmological symphony! Quantum physics tells us that everything is made up of energy, and that energy has varying frequencies. Light and sound waves are interchangeable energies, meaning physical, mental and emotional imbalances can be healed and re-harmonised using sound, light and colour to heal us at a cellular level.

“Concerning matter, we have been all wrong. What we have called matter is energy, whose vibration has been so lowered as to be perceptible to the senses. There is no matter.” ~ Albert Einstein

Sacred Sounds 

I recently met an amazing lady who opened me up to a whole new world: one of pure resonance. As a practitioner of Sound Therapy she explained to me how sound affects every area of our life. She also taught me about the remarkable healing power of the human voice.

The voices of ancient Gregorian Chant were said to utilise ancient sounds known as the Solfeggio Scale, which consisted of 6 sacred tones: Ut – Re – Mi – Fa – Sol – La.

It’s a fascinating subject, and I found a great website that explains all about the Solfeggio Scale and its origins with the medieval monk, Guido d’Arezzo. The syllables of the scale were taken from the first of each Latin Stanza of the hymn written by Benedictine, Paulus Diaconus.

The Hymn to St. John The Baptist, Ut Qeant Laxis:

Tuning & Temperament

The whole subject of tuning seems to be quite complex, and probably worthy of a separate post. I thought it would be good to provide a flavour of the issues and some links and videos to explain something I don’t fully understand. From what I can gather it boils down to harmony, and what sounds better to the ear and the soul, but there’s lots of maths behind it. Stay tuned!!

What’s so special about 528Hz?

This is the third tone in the Solfeggio Scale, said to be the ‘miracle’ (Mi) note, associated with DNA repair. In standard western tuning of A-440 Hz the closest one can get is C (above middle C) which equates to 512Hz.

The A-432Hz vs. A-440Hz Debate

In reading up about the Solfeggio scale it became apparent that many believe the standard western tuning of A-440Hz to be in dissonance with these original frequencies. Apparently Mozart and Verdi, going right back to the ancient Egyptians used 432Hz tuning. Baroque tuning was around 415Hz. It was never an exact science as the technology to ascertain the exact pitch was not invented in those days so they used their ears and rudimentary tuning forks, which were invented in 1711.

Even the so called modern standard concert pitch of A-440Hz varies around the world. The Boston Symphony Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic are known to tune their pitch to A-442Hz, and classical German and Austrian orchestras (as well as some other continental European orchestras), tune up to A-443Hz.

Here is Mozart’s Symphony No. 40 in G minor, KV 550 played in A-432 tuning, see what you think:

Milton Mermikides puts forward a very balanced and comprehensive article concerning the pitch debate.

Just Intonation (JI) and 12 Tone Equal Temperament

This is a fairly complex subject. I don’t want to bamboozle you (because it certainly made my head spin when I investigated these historical methods of intonation – including Pythagorean), so I think it’s better to provide some links by people who really know what they are talking about and a couple of videos to put the points across. Just Intonation explained by Kyle Gann.

Tuning Theory, Just Intonation:

Goeyvaerts Trio about ‘just Intonation’ in Arvo Pärt’s Stabat Mater:

The difference in sound and aesthetics is undeniable. Personally, I found JI imbued the music with a spiritual quality, and I felt peaceful when listening..

Eben Goresko isn’t the best pianist, but he does an interesting presentation showing how classical repertoire sounds when performed with historical tunings. Musical excerpts and demonstrations of Equal Temperament classical piano compositions performed in Well and Modified Meantone Temperaments:

“If you only knew the magnificence of the 3, 6 and 9, then you would have a key to the universe.” ~ Nikola Tesla

Sound Therapy 

Sound therapy works in a similar vein to meditation in that it utilises the law of entrainment. Groups of women living together will notice that over time their menstrual cycles will start to synchronise, just as our internal body systems fall into synchronised rhythms. Even our biological clock seems to fall in line with the rhythm of the Earth relative to the sun, so that we become attuned to our environment.

Have you ever noticed when two people walk together for a while will fall into step with each other?

Entrainment was first discovered in 1665 by Dutch scientist and mathematician, Christiaan Huygens, when he performed an experiment with a room full of pendulum clocks. He set them up one by one, and when he returned the next day he found that their pendulums were swaying in synchronisation. From this experiment he surmised that closely related rhythmic cycles synchronise to conserve energy.

The phenomena of entrainment means that any energy systems (whether it be biological, electrical, musical, geographical, meterological etc. will entrain if exposed to each other for long enough.

sound-therapy bowls

There are two main types of treatment, sonic and non-sonic. Sonic treatment involves the use of Himalayan bowls (Tibetan singing bowls), gongs and crystal bowls which produce sine waves. They give off pure sound. These act as tuning key for the Chakras along with the human voice in the form of mantras.

The non-sonic treatment involves the use of specialist tuning forks, and can be directed towards subconscious reprogramming as well as physical healing.

Sound and light therapy is used to heal a variety of physical and emotional conditions, such as arthritis, cancer, etc. and can act as an energiser, to help provide motivation for giving up smoking and other self-sabotaging habits. Disease can occur when our subtle energies are blocked. Emotional problems, stress, anxiety, pollution and poor nutrition can all contribute to lower energy, and this manifests eventually as physical ailments.

In my opinion energy medicine should not be considered ‘alternative’, it should be considered ‘mainstream’.

“The day science begins to study non-physical phenomena, it will make more progress in one decade than in all the previous centuries of its existence.” ~ Nikola Tesla

Sound Phenomena

The phenomenon of Sonoluminescence occurs when sound is applied to a bubble in liquid which can produce a bright light. The theory is that the collapsing bubble generates an imploding shock wave that compresses and heats the gas at the centre of the bubble to create an intensely high temperature.

Cymatics is the process of visualising sound. Sound affects matter. A short TED talk that explains what it is and how it used:

A cool visual demonstration of Cymatics. Science Vs. Music by Nigel Stanford:

We have all experienced how a beautiful piece of classical music or opera can induce an emotional response: tears, euphoria, calmness and dreaminess at the top end of the scale (excuse the pun!) down to agitation, anxiety and fear from loud, harsh and dissonant noises. Sound and music also have a very powerful link to memory as well as mood.

I wonder if the origin of the phrase, “I slept soundly,” is some kind of subconscious reference to our bodies vibrating in a state of perfect harmony or a link to the divine. That feeling of total rejuvenation and refreshment…

The sound of one of my children crying or screaming puts me on edge like nothing else can. It seems crazy to wake to the sound of a jarring alarm clock, just as it’s incredibly comforting lying down and listening to the sound of rain drops on a window pane. For me, nature provides her own beautiful music.

ocean waves2

There’s something magical about the sound of birds singing, the swoosh of the ocean as waves crash onto a beach, or the rumble of pebbles as the waves recede and pull them back into the foamy water. Nature’s sounds can be both violent and gentle. Thunder still has the power to startle me, just as the soft swish and sway of leaves on branches bending in the wind are quite hypnotic. It’s wonderful to sit in a garden with the sweet scent of honeysuckle carrying on a breeze as the bees buzz around you. Being outdoors can have such an energising effect on us.

From a human perspective I love how contagious laughter is. Sound affects us in every area of our lives. We are literally wired for sound!

I hope you find your frequency…

“There is in souls a sympathy with sounds:

And as the mind is pitch’d the ear is pleased

With melting airs, or martial, brisk or grave;

Some chord in unison with what we hear

Is touch’d within us, and the heart replies.” ~ William Cowper

3 thoughts on “Wired for Sound

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s