Sunday, 24 May 2015

Charles Limb: Your brain on improv

Musician and researcher Charles Limb wondered how the brain works during musical improvisation — so he put jazz musicians and rappers in an fMRI to find out. What he and his team found has deep implications for our understanding of creativity of all kinds. (Filmed at TEDxMidAtlantic.)

Wednesday, 15 October 2014


Is there a relationship between sound and light?
You would not be the first to ask this question, in fact, this question was put "on the table" by some of great composers in the past, such as Hector Berlioz, Claude Debussy, Richard WagnerAlexander Nikolayevich ScriabinNikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, and others. 
In this blog I will share some information about the relationship between Sound and Colour from various sources. The text quoted and images used belong to the authors I quote. I have provided links to their web sites, where you can find a lot more interesting information about this and other subjects.

Alexander Nikolayevich Scriabin was a Russian composer and pianist. Though Scriabin's late works are often considered to be influenced by synesthesia, a condition wherein one experiences sensation in one sense in response to stimulus in another. His colour system, unlike most synesthetic experience, accords with the circle of fifths: it was a thought-out system based on Sir Isaac Newton's Opticks.
Note that Scriabin did not, for his theory, recognize a difference between a major and a minor tonality of the same name.

In his autobiographical Recollections,
Sergei Rachmaninoff recorded a conversation he had had with Scriabin and Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov about Scriabin's association of colour and music. Rachmaninoff was surprised to find that Rimsky-Korsakov agreed with Scriabin on associations of musical keys with colors; himself skeptical, Rachmaninoff made the obvious objection that the two composers did not always agree on the colours involved. Both maintained that the key of D major was golden-brown; but Scriabin linked E-flat major with red-purple, while Rimsky-Korsakov favored blue.
(Source: Wikipedia)
So, how exactly can we compare and relate sound and light / colour?


  • Sound and light both exhibit oscillatory wavelike characteristics with various frequencies, wavelengths, and amplitudes.
  • Both propagate at a finite speed.
  • Both exhibit Doppler shifts toward higher frequencies when the source of the wave is approaching us.
  • The sensed intensity is dependent on the amplitude of the wave.

  • The frequencies of visible light and audible sound differ from each other by more than ten orders of magnitude. Audible acoustic range: roughly 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz vs. visible optical range: roughly 380 trillion Hz to 760 trillion Hz.
  • Light waves are composed of transverse waves in an electromagnetic field, while sound waves are mechanical longitudinal waves (alternate compression and expansion of matter).
  • Sound requires a "medium" to propagate, light does not. Therefor while light does propagate through a vacuum (absence of a medium), sound does not.
  • The denser the medium, the greater the speed of sound. The opposite is true of light.
  • The speed of light in a medium is constant. The velocity of sound waves can change.
  • Electromagnetic waves, including light is a "stream of particles" (photons). Sound does not consist out of particles.
  • Light waves can be polarized, but sound waves cannot.
It’s also worth noting that while the frequency range of audible sound covers a factor of 1000, (about 10 octaves), the range of visible light covers only a factor of 2 (just one octave).
"If our ears contained just a few individual sensing elements, each tuned to one particular absolute frequency, we might all be able to recognize the absolute “color” of audible tones just as well as we can recognize absolute red. However, the ear needs to respond over a much larger range of frequencies, and the dimensionality of the “space” of audible sensation is much greater, we can distinguish a much greater variety of spectral characteristics of sound than we can of light.
Roughly speaking, the coiled cochlea of the human ear has a varying elasticity along its length, so it can be regarded as a series of oscillators of different resonant frequencies, and these perform a fairly detailed spectral analysis of incoming sound waves, transmitting to the brain something a 3000 point spectral profile. The detailed mechanics of how the cochlea responds to stimuli are very complicated, and the study of this function is hampered by the fact that the mechanical properties change significantly if a cochlea is removed for study. Nevertheless, it seems clear that whereas the spectral analysis of optical stimuli has only three dimensions, the spectral analysis of aural stimuli has at least 3000 dimensions. It is not surprising that we (most of us) don’t memorize the absolute sensations associated with tones over ten octaves."  
Nick Anthony Fiorenza writes at his website
"The octave of visible light, extending from the color red to the color violet, is forty octaves higher than the middle audio octave, that which you would hear on a piano keyboard. Light, however, is measured by its wavelength, whereas sound in measured by its frequency."
"Waves of light are quite short. For example, the center frequency of the color green has a wavelength that is 0.0000005132 meters long (0.5132 x 10-6meters). To make this easy, we measure visible light in a unit called the Ångstrom (Å) (that is a capital A with a little circle on top). One Ångstrom = 1 x 10-10 meters (that is 0.1 nanometers). The colors of the visible spectrum are measured in thousands of Ångstroms. As show in the following chart, the visible spectrum of light extends from about 7000 Å (red) to about 4000 Å (violet). Also shown in the chart are the center wavelengths for each of the seven basic colors; their corresponding audio frequencies; and the location of the musical notes of an audio octave translated to the the visible spectrum."
"Thus, when we raise each note in middle audio octave by forty octaves we find its corresponding color harmonic. As shown in the chart below, the note "G" lies in the red area of the color spectrum. The note "A" raised forty octaves lies in the orange part of the spectrum. The note "B" lies in the lemon (yellow-green) part of the spectrum. The note "C" in the green band; the note "D" in the turquoise-blue band; and the note "E" lies in the violet band. Notice that the note "F" lies in the far violet area of the visible spectrum. This is near where the human eye range of color perception begins to drop off (although unique to each person). Also notice that the note F# lies even further from violet, in the near-UV (ultra-violet) area of the spectrum. Thus (when raised 39 octaves rather than forty octaves), it also it resides in the far-red (or near infra-red). Because of this, the note F# embraces the visible spectrum, and thus has some red and some violet, a combination that produces more of a purple color."
Image by Nick Antony Fiorenza (
INTERFERENCE: A Grand Scientific Musical Theory (by Richard Merrick)

Excerpt from "Synesthetic Coupling"
"There have been many attempts through history to establish an association between color and pitch, though none have been universally accepted. Composers like Berlioz, Debussy, Wagner and Scriabin all had ideas about which colors matched which tones. The Rosicrucian Order developed their own color mapping and even Charles Fourier suggested in his 1846 Theorie de l’Unite Universelle an alchemical connection between certain pitches, colors and metals. One of the more recent proposals suggests that we should reduce light frequencies down to the speed of sound in order to produce a color mapping. While this last theory is a reasonable approach, physicists would argue against this, pointing out that that sound and light waves are not the same kind of energy. Science requires some other causal link or coupling." 

"Rather than use any of the above methods, we will construct our synesthetic model from Isaac Newton’s popular 12-step tertiary color wheel containing three primary colors, three secondary colors and six tertiary colors. Taken as two groups of six colors, the even group of primary and secondary colors can mix adjacently to produce an odd group of tertiary colors in much the same way as one wholetone scale mixes to the other. This suggests coherent light is perceived to mix harmonically just like coherent sound mixes into music harmony. This is without a doubt due to the fact that the visible light spectrum frequency doubles to form an octave of light just like an octave of sound." 

"Since the visible color spectrum ranges from about 375 terahertz on the low end to about 750 terahertz on the high end, the visible color spectrum naturally forms a 2:1 octave doubling of light frequencies like that of a musical octave. From this, we can proportionally map twelve colors to twelve tones by starting just below human visibility at 370 terahertz and then calculating twelve color frequencies by multiplying each preceding color by 2^(1/12), making sure to balance around the center of the visible spectrum. Doing this creates a logarithmic color scale that perfectly matches an equal-tempered musical octave. It also places each color within its corresponding spectral color band for the three cone photoreceptors on the retina of the human eye." 
THE ROSICRUCIAN ORDERThe Rosicrucian Order based their theories on Just intonation and suggest that note names, frequencies, and colours should be:





THREE CENTURIES of COLOR SCALES image by Fred Collopy (
Image made by Fred Collopy (

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

The Foundations of Scientific Musical Tuning by Jonathan Tennenbaum


The Foundations of Scientific Musical Tuning by Jonathan Tennenbaum

This article is based on a speech given by the author, Director of the European Fusion Energy Foundation, at an April 1988 Schiller Institute conference on scientific tuning held in Milan, Italy. It appears also in the Institute’s “Manual on the Rudiments of Tuning and Registration.”
I want to demonstrate why, from a scientific standpoint, no musical tuning is acceptable which is not based on a pitch value for middle C of 256Hz (cycles per second), corresponding to A no higher than 432Hz. In view of present scientific knowledge, all other tunings including A=440 must be rejected as invalid and arbitrary.
Those in favor of constantly raising the pitch typically argue, “What difference does it make what basic pitch we choose, as long as the other notes are properly tuned relative to that pitch? After all, musical tones are just frequencies, they are all essentially alike. So, why choose one pitch rather than another?” To these people, musical tones are like paper money, whose value can be inflated or deflated at the whim of whoever happens to be in power.
This liberal philosophy of “free-floating pitch” owes its present power and influence in large part to the acoustical theories of Hermann Helmholtz, the nineteenth-century physicist and physiologist whose 1863 book, Die Lehre von den Tonempfindungen als physiologische Grundlage für die Theorie der Musik (The Theory of the Sensations of Tone as a Foundation of Music Theory) became the standard reference work on the scientific bases of music, and remains so up to this very day. Unfortunately, every essential assertion in Helmholtz’s book has been proven to be false.
Helmholtz’s basic fallacy—still taught in most music conservatories and universities today—was to claim that the scientific basis of music is to be found in the properties of vibrating, inert bodies, such as strings, tuning forks, pipes, and membranes. Helmholtz defined musical tones merely as periodic vibrations of the air. The fundamental musical tones, he claimed, are sine waves of various frequencies. Every other tone is merely a superposition of added-up sine waves, called “overtones” or “harmonics.” The consonant musical intervals are determined by properties of the “overtone series” to be simple whole-number ratios of frequencies. Arguing from this standpoint, Helmholtz demanded that musicians give up well-tempering and return to a “natural tuning” of whole-number ratios; he even attacked the music of J.S. Bach and Beethoven for being “unnatural” on account of their frequent modulations.
Helmholtz based his theory of human hearing on the same fallacious assumptions. He claimed that the ear works as a passive resonator, analyzing each tone into its overtones by means of a system of tiny resonant bodies. Moreover, he insisted that the musical tonalities are all essentially identical, and that it makes no difference what fundamental pitch is chosen, except as an arbitrary convention or habit.

Helmholtz’ theory: linear and wrong

Helmholtz’s entire theory amounts to what we today call in physics a “scalar,” “linear,” or at best, “quasi-linear” theory. Thus, Helmholtz assumed that all physical magnitudes, including musical tones, can at least implicitly be measured and represented in the same way as lengths along a straight line. But, we know that every important aspect of music, of the human voice, the human mind, and our universe as a whole, is characteristically nonlinear. Every physical or aesthetic theory based on the assumption of only linear or scalar magnitudes, is bound to be false.
A simple illustration should help clarify this point. Compare the measurement of lengths on a straight line with that of arcs on the circumference of a circle. A straight line has no intrinsic measure; before we can measure length, we must first choose some unit, some interval with which to compare any given segment. The choice of the unit of measurement, however, is purely arbitrary.
The circle, on the contrary, possesses by its very nature an intrinsic, absolute measure, namely one complete cycle of rotation. Each arc has an absolute value as an angle, and the regular self-divisions of the circle define certain specific angles and arcs in a lawful fashion (e.g., a right angle, or the 120° angle subtended by the side of an equilateral triangle inscribed in the circle).
Just as the process of rotation, which creates the circle, imposes an absolute metric upon the circle, so also the process of creation of our universe determines an absolute value for every existence in the universe, including musical tones. Helmholtz refused to recognize the fact that our universe possesses a special kind of curvature, such that all magnitudes have absolute, geometrically-determined values. This is why Helmholtz’s theories are systematically wrong, not merely wrong by accident or through isolated errors. Straight-line measures are intrinsically fallacious in our universe.
For example, sound is not a vibration of the air. A sound wave, we know today, is an electromagnetic process involving the rapid assembly and disassembly of geometrical configurations of molecules. In modern physics, this kind of self-organizing process is known as a “soliton.” Although much more detailed experimental work needs to be done, we know in principle that different frequencies of coherent solitons correspond to distinct geometries on the microscopic or quantum level of organization of the process. This was already indicated by the work of Helmholtz’s contemporary, Bernhard Riemann, who refuted most of the acoustic doctrines of Helmholtz in his 1859 paper on acoustical shock waves.1
Helmholtz’s theory of hearing also turned out to be fallacious. The tiny resonators he postulated do not exist. The human ear is intrinsically nonlinear in its function, generating singularities at specific angles on the spiral chamber, corresponding to the perceived tone. This is an active process, akin to laser amplification, not just passive resonance. In fact, we know that the ear itself generates tones.
Moreover, as every competent musician knows, the simple sinusoidal signals produced by electronic circuits (such as the Hammond electronic organ) do not constitute musical tones. Prior to Helmholtz, it was generally understood that the human singing voice, and more specifically, the properly trained bel canto voice, is the standard of all musical tone. Historically, all musical instruments were designed and developed to imitate the human voice as closely as possible in its nonlinear characteristics.
The bel canto human voice is for sound what a laser is for light: The voice is an acoustical laser, generating the maximum density of electromagnetic singularities per unit action. It is this property which gives the bel canto voice its special penetrating characteristic, but also determines it as uniquely beautiful and uniquely musical. By contrast, electronic instruments typically produce Helmholtzian sine-wave tones, which are ugly, “dead,” and unmusical exactly to the extent that they are incoherent and inefficient as electromagnetic processes.

Tuning is based on the voice

The human voice defines the basis for musical tuning and, indeed, for all music. This was clearly understood long before Helmholtz, by the scientific current associated with Plato and St. Augustine, and including Nicolaus of Cusa, Leonardo da Vinci and his teacher Luca Pacioli, and Johannes Kepler. In fact, Helmholtz’s book was a direct attack on the method of Leonardo da Vinci.
The human voice, the basic instrument in music, is also a living process. Leonardo and Luca Pacioli demonstrated that all living processes are characterized by a very specific internal geometry, whose most direct visible manifestation is the morphological proportion of the Golden Section. In elementary geometry, the Golden Section arises as the ratio between the side and the diagonal of a regular pentagon (see Figure 1). The Golden Section naturally forms what we call a self-similar geometric series—a growth process in which each stage forms a Golden Section ratio with the preceding one. Already before Leonardo da Vinci, Leonardo Pisano (also called Fibonacci) demonstrated that the growth of populations of living organisms always follows a series derived from the Golden Section. In extensive morphological studies, Leonardo da Vinci showed that the Golden Section is the essential characteristic of construction of all living forms. For example, Figure 2 illustrates the simplest Golden Section proportions of the human body.If Helmholtz’s theories are wrong, and those of Plato through Kepler and Riemann have been proven correct—at least as far as these went—then what conclusions follow for the determination of musical pitch today? Let us briefly outline the compelling reasons for C=256 Hz as the only acceptable scientific tuning, which have emerged from a review of the classical work of Kepler et al. as well as modern scientific research.
Since music is the product of the human voice and human mind—i.e., of living processes—therefore, everything in music must be coherent with the Golden Section. This was emphatically the case for the development of Western music from the Italian Renaissance up through Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven.
The Classical well-tempered system is itself based on the Golden Section. This is very clearly illustrated with the following two series of tones, whose musical significance should be evident to any musician: C—E- flat—G—C, and C—E—F-sharp—G. In the first series, the differences of the frequencies between the successive tones form a self-similar series in the proportion of the Golden Section. The frequency differences of the second series decrease according to the Golden Section ratio (see Figure 3).

The Golden Section

To understand the well-tempered system better, we must first examine the reason why certain specific proportions, especially the Golden Section, predominate in our universe, whereas others do not.
These five solids are uniquely determined characteristics of space. They are absolute values for all of physics, biology, and music. Indeed, Luca Pacioli emphasized that all the solids are derived from a single one, the dodecahedron, and that the latter is uniquely based upon the Golden Section. Hence, the Golden Section is the principal visual characteristic of the process of creation of the universe.There is nothing mysterious or mystical about the appearance of the Golden Section as an “absolute value” for living processes. Space itself—that is, the visual space in which we perceive things—has a specific “shape” coherent with the Golden Section. For, space does not exist as an abstract entity independent of the physical universe, but is itself created. The geometry of space reflects the characteristic curvature underlying the process of generation of the universe as a whole. We know that space has a specific shape, because only five types of regular solids can be constructed in space: the tetrahedron, cube, octahedron, dodecahedron, and icosahedron (see Figure 4).
In his Mysterium Cosmographicum, Kepler provided further, decisive proof for Leonardo and Pacioli’s method. He demonstrated that the morphology of the solar system, including the proportions of the planetary orbits, is derived from the five regular solids and the Golden Section. Figure 5 shows Kepler’s famous construction of the planetary orbits through a nested series of concentric spheres, whose spacing is determined by inscribed regular solids. Therefore, the solar system has the same morphological characteristics as living organisms.
Kepler located the underlying reason for these morphological characteristics in the generating process of the universe itself, and this he attempted to identify with the help of what is called the isoperimetric theorem.This theorem states that among all closed curves having a given parameter, the circle is the unique curve which encloses the greatest area. Circular action is the maximally efficient form of action in visible space, and therefore coheres uniquely with the bel canto musical tone and the beam generated by a laser. Kepler reasoned that if circular action reflects uniquely the creative process of the universe, then the form of everything which exists—of atoms and molecules, of the solar system, and the musical system—must be constructible using nothing but circular action.
By this procedure, called “synthetic geometry,” we generate from the circle, by folding it upon itself (i.e., circular action applied to itself), a straight line, the diameter. By folding again, we obtain a point, the center of the circle, as the intersection of two diameters, as in Figure 6. This alone creates for us the basic “elements” of plane geometry. Also, by rotating a circle we obtain the sphere (see Figure 7).
Further constructions, using circular action alone, generate the regular polygons—the equilateral triangle, square, and pentagon—which form the faces of the five regular solids. From these uniquely determined polygons, Kepler derived the fundamental musical intervals of the fifth, fourth, and major third, without any reference to overtones. These polygons embody the principle of self-division of circular action by 3, 4, and 5. The octave, or division by 2, we already obtained as the very first result of folding the circle against itself. From division by 2, 3, 4, and 5 we obtain, following Kepler, the following values for the basic musical intervals: octave, 1:2, fifth, 2:3, fourth, 3:4, major third, 4:5.
Division by seven is invalid, Kepler argued, because the heptagon is not constructible from circular action alone, nor does it occur in any regular solid. Since Kepler’s musical ratios are uniquely coherent with the regular solids, they are uniquely coherent with the Golden Section underlying those solids.
Kepler went on to demonstrate that the angular velocities of the planets as they move in their elliptical orbits around the sun, are themselves proportioned according to the same ratios as the fundamental musical intervals (see Table I). Since Kepler’s time, similar relations have been demonstrated in the system of moons of various planets, and provisionally also even in the motion of spiral galaxies.


C=256 has a uniquely defined astronomical value, as a Keplerian interval in the solar system. The period of one cycle of C=256 ( 1/256 of a second) can be constructed as follows. Take the period of one rotation of the Earth. Divide this period by 24 (=2×3×4), to get one hour. Divide this by 60 (=3×4×5) to get a minute, and again by 60 to obtain one second. Finally, divide that second by 256 (=2×2×2×2×2×2×2×2). These divisions are all Keplerian divisions derived by circular action alone. It is easy to verify, by following through the indicated series of divisions, that the rotation of the Earth is a “G,” twenty-four octaves lower than C=256. Similarly, C=256 has a determinate value in terms of the complete system of planetary motions.C=256 as a “Keplerian interval”

By contrast, A=440 is a purely arbitrary value, having no physical-geometrical justification. A=440 is an insane tuning in the rigorous sense that it bears no coherent relationship with the universe, with reality.
Today, we can add some essential points to this. Kepler’s solution was absolutely rigorous, as far as it went; however, circular action is only an incomplete representation of creative action in the universe. The next great step was taken by Carl Friedrich Gauss at the beginning of the nineteenth century. Gauss introduced conical spiral action, instead of mere circular action, as the basis for synthetic geometry. Spiral action combines the isoperimetric principle of the circle with the principle of growth expressed by the Golden Section.
Let us demonstrate conical spiral action in the bel canto voice. Have a soprano sing a scale upward, starting at middle C (=256). As the frequency increases, so does the intensity of the sound produced. The more precise term for this intensity is “energy flux density.” But this increase is not merely linear extension, not merely increase in scalar magnitude. As our singer sings upward, two important events occur. First, she must make a register shift, at F-sharp, in order to maintain the “isoperimetric,” least-action form of bel canto tone. We shall return to the register shift in a moment. The second event occurs upon arrival at the octave, C=512. We hear very clearly, that one cycle of action has been completed, like a 360° rotation. This proves that there is a rotational component of action to increase the frequency or energy flux density. Again, Helmholtzian straight-line action does not exist.

f8_cone_intervals f9_spiral_scaleThe true geometry of the singer’s action is therefore most simply represented by spiral action upward on a cone. In Figure 8, the cone’s axis represents frequency. Each circular cross-section of the cone represents abel canto musical tone. The spiral makes one complete rotation in passing from C=256 to C=512, and one more cycle would bring it from C=512 to the next higher octave, C=1024. Thus, the interval of an octave corresponds to one complete 360° cycle of conical spiral action.
Not only the octave, but all musical intervals, correspond to specific angles on conical-spiral action. This is most clearly seen if we project our conical spiral onto a plane perpendicular to the axis (see Figure 9). If we divide a full 360° rotation into twelve equal angles, then each such (30°) displacement corresponds to a semitone interval in frequency. The radial lengths defined by the spiral at the indicated twelve angles are exactly proportional to the frequencies of the equal-tempered musical scale. The interval of a fifth corresponds to rotation through 7/12 of the circle, or 210°. The interval of a minor third corresponds to a right angle, and so forth.
(The equal-tempered system is only an approximation of a rigorous well-tempered system whose details have yet to be fully elaborated. Nevertheless, the indicated construction identifies the frequency regions and angular displacements within which the well-tempered values are to be defined.)
Most important, the halfway point of the full cycle starting at C, is F-sharp, the diminished fifth from C, or the interval once known as the “devil’s interval.” In terms of geometrical proportion, this F-sharp is located as the geometric mean of C=256 and its octave, C=512.

corresponds to the perihelion of the ellipse C=512 corresponds to the aphelion F corresponds to the semi-latus rectum F-sharp corresponds to the semi-minor axis G corresponds to the semi-major axisIf we carry out synthetic geometry constructions with conical spiral action, just as Kepler did with circular action, we discover wonderful things. For example, construct the characteristic of the conical volume bounded by the circles at C=256 and C=512, by slicing the cone diagonally across those two circles. The result is an ellipse. Project this ellipse onto the plane. The principal parameters of the resulting plane ellipse define exactly the frequency ratios for the most important division-points of the octave (see Figure 10):
At the same time, F, F-sharp, and G correspond to the harmonic, geometric, and arithmetic means, respectively, of the octave. These three means formed the basis of classical Greek theories of architecture, perspective, and music. The same notes F, F-sharp, and G mark the principal division of the basic C-major scale. This scale consists of two congruent tetrachords: C—D—E—F and G—A—B—C. The dividing-tone is F-sharp.

Physical significance of the register shift

Let us now return to our soprano. She makes the first register shift, from first to second register, exactly at this point of division. The first tetrachord, C—D—E—F, is sung in the first register, while G—A—B—C are sung in the second register. The register shift divides the scale exactly at the geometrical-mean or halfway point in the cycle of conical spiral action. The same process repeats in the next-higher octave, where the shift from second to third register of the soprano comes once again at F-sharp, the geometric mean.
The bel canto shift is a physical event of fundamental importance, and not merely a technical question for the voice. In physical terms, the register shift constitutes a singularity, a nonlinear phase change comparable to the transformation from ice to water or water to steam. An even better comparison is to the biological process of cell division (mitosis). In every case, we see that in C=256 tuning, the region of this singularity coincides with the principal geometrical division of conical spiral action. (Here we take the soprano voice, for musical and developmental reasons, as the fundamental reference for the human voice in general.)
Our solar system also makes a “register shift.” It has long been noted that the inner planets (Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars) all share such common features as relatively small size, solid silico-metallic surface, few moons, and no rings. The outer planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune) share a second, contrasting set of characteristics: large size, gaseous composition, many moons, and rings. The dividing-point between these two sharply contrasting “registers” is the asteroid belt, a ring-like system of tens of thousands of fragmentary bodies believed to have arisen from an exploded planet.
f12_register_frequencies f14_planets_spiral t1_kepler_planet_harmonies
It is easy to verify that the solar-system register shift falls exactly in the same, geometric-mean position, as the shift of the soprano voice in the proper C=256 tuning. If we begin at the outer layer of the sun, and construct a self-similar (logarithmic) spiral making exactly one rotation in passing from that layer to the orbit of the innermost planet, Mercury, then the continuation of that spiral will make exactly one full cycle in passing from Mercury to the region defined by the overlapping orbits of Neptune and Pluto (see Figure 11). The halfway or geometric-mean point comes exactly at the outer boundary of the asteroid belt. More precisely, if we compare the planetary spiral with our simple spiral derivation of the equal-tempered system, letting the interval from Mercury to Neptune-Pluto correspond to the octave C—C, then the planetary orbits correspond exactly in angular displacements to the principal steps of the scale. The asteroid belt occupies exactly the angular position corresponding to the interval between F and F-sharp; this region is where the soprano makes the register-shift, in C=256 tuning. Thus, complete coherence obtains, with this tuning, between the human voice, the solar system, the musical system, and the synthetic geometry of conical spiral action.2
Figure 12 illustrates what happens if the tuning is arbitrarily raised, from C=256 (corresponding to A between 427Hz and 432Hz) to, for example, A=449. The soprano register shifts (at approximately 350Hz and 700Hz) lie, in the higher tuning, between E and F, rather than between F and F-sharp. This divides the octave in the wrong place, destroys the geometry of the musical system, destroys the agreement between music and the laws of the universe, and finally destroys the human voice itself.
If we arbitrarily changed the “tuning” of the solar system in a similar way, it would explode and disintegrate! God does not make mistakes: Our solar system functions very well with its proper tuning, which is uniquely coherent with C=256. This, therefore, is the only scientific tuning.


  1. Bernhard Riemann, “Über die Fortpflanzung flacher Luftschwingungen von endlicher Weite,” inGesammelte mathematische Werke, ed. H. Weber (Leipzig, 1876), pp. 145-164. English translation: “On the Propagation of Plane Air Waves of Finite Amplitude,” International Journal of Fusion Energy (1980), Vol. 2, No. 3.
  2. Recent work by the late Dr. Robert Moon and associates has extended this coherence to the “microcosm” of subatomic physics.

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

The secret behind 432Hz tuning

Tune yourself to the heartbeat of our planet
To understand the healing power behind 432Hz, you must first learn about another frequency, 8Hz. It is said that 8Hz is the fundamental “beat” of the planet. The heartbeat of the Earth is better known as Schumann resonance and is named after physicist Winfried Otto Schumann, who documented it mathematically in 1952.
Schumann resonance is a global electromagnetic resonance, which has its origin in electrical discharges of lightning within the cavity existing between the Earth’s surface and the ionosphere. This cavity resonates with electromagnetic waves in the extremely low frequencies of approximately 7.86Hz – 8Hz.
The “ordinary” thought waves created by the human brain range from 14Hz to 40Hz. This range only includes certain types of dendrites belonging to brain cells, predominantly within the left (the more rational) hemisphere of the brain, which is the center of activity.
If the two hemispheres of our brain are synchronized with each other at 8Hz, they work more harmoniously and with a maximum flow of information. In other words, the frequency of 8Hz seems to be the key to the full and sovereign activation potential of our brain.
8Hz is also the frequency of the double helix in DNA replication. Melatonin and Pinoline work on the DNA, inducing an 8Hz signal to enable metosis and DNA replication. A form of body temperature superconductivity is evident in this process.

What 8Hz has to do with 432Hz tuning

432Hz resonates with the frequency of 8Hz
On the musical scale where A has a frequency of 440Hz, the note C is at about 261.656 Hz. On the other hand, if we take 8Hz as our starting point and work upwards by five octaves (i.e. by the seven notes in the scale five times), we reach a frequency of 256Hz in whose scale the note A has a frequency of 432Hz.
According to the harmonic principle by which any produced sound automatically resonates all the other multiples of that frequency, when we play C at 256 Hz, the C of all other octaves also begins to vibrate in “sympathy” and so, naturally, the frequency of 8Hz is also sounded. This is why (together with many other mathematical reasons) the musical pitch tuned to 432 oscillations per second is known as the “scientific tuning.”
This tuning was unanimously approved at the Congress of Italian musicians in 1881 and recommended by the physicists Joseph Sauveur and Felix Savart as well as by the Italian scientist Bartolomeo Grassi Landi.
In contrast, the frequency chosen in London in 1953 as the worldwide reference frequency and which all music today has been tuned to, has come to be defined as ‘disharmonic’ because it has no scientific relationship to the physical laws that govern our universe.

Natural healing with 432Hz

432Hz is the harmonic intonation of nature
According to the above information, playing and listening to music that has been tuned to 432Hz would make your body, and the organic world which surrounds it, resonate in a natural way. This would fill you with a sense of peace and well-being, regardless of the kind of song chosen to play or listen to.
Opening your ears for music that has been tuned to the “scientific” 432Hz frequency would benefit the entire planet and everyone who lives on it, while listening to music tuned to the “disharmonic” 440Hz frequency does harm by causing stress, negative behaviors and unstable emotions.
Listening to 432Hz music resonates inside your body, releases emotional blockages, and expands consciousness. 432Hz music allows you to tune into the knowledge of the universe around us in a more intuitive way.
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Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Schumann Resonance

The Earth behaves like an enormous electric circuit. The atmosphere is actually a weak conductor and if there were no sources of charge, its existing electric charge would diffuse away in about 10 minutes. There is a 'cavity' defined by the surface of the Earth and the inner edge of the ionosphere 55 kilometers up. At any moment, the total charge residing in this cavity is 500,000 Coulombs. There is a vertical current flow between the ground and the ionosphere of 1 - 3 x 10^-12 Amperes per square meter. The resistance of the atmosphere is 200 Ohms. The voltage potential is 200,000 Volts. There are about 1000 lightning storms at any given moment worldwide. Each produces 0.5 to 1 Ampere and these collectively account for the measured current flow in the Earth's 'electromagnetic' cavity.

The Schumann Resonances are quasi standing wave electromagnetic waves that exist in this cavity. Like waves on a spring, they are not present all the time, but have to be 'excited' to be observed. They are not caused by anything internal to the Earth, its crust or its core. They seem to be related to electrical activity in the atmosphere, particularly during times of intense lightning activity. They occur at several frequencies between 6 and 50 cycles per second; specifically 7.8, 14, 20, 26, 33, 39 and 45 Hertz, with a daily variation of about +/- 0.5 Hertz. So long as the properties of Earth's electromagnetic cavity remains about the same, these frequencies remain the same. Presumably there is some change due to the solar sunspot cycle as the Earth's ionosphere changes in response to the 11-year cycle of solar activity. Schumann resonances are most easily seen between 2000 and 2200 UT.

When we consider that the ionosphere surrounding our planet is electrically positive charged whilst the earth's surface carries a negative charge, we must conclude that this amounts to a prevailing electrical tension within the earth/ionosphere cavity. This tension is discharged when thunderstorms develop in this cavity. In physics two concentric electrically charged balls, one placed inside the other, are called ball condensers, or capacitors.

The inside of the ionosphere layer is used in wireless information transfer to bounce off radio waves emitted by transmitters on the earth's surface. In this way the information can be transferred over large distances.

The physicist and inventor Nikola Tesla was the first to carry out wireless energy experiments at Colorado Springs, USA, which produced such powerful electrical tensions that they resulted in the creation of artificial lightning. These lightning flashes also produced radio waves. Due to their extremely low frequency these waves could penetrate the earth without resistance and thereby Tesla discovered the resonance frequency of the earth. Unfortunately Tesla was way ahead of his time and his discoveries were not taken seriously because it suggested free energy for all and was not good for 'business'.

It wasn't until more than half a century later in 1952, when the German physicist Professor W.O.Schumann of the Technical University of Munich predicted that there are electromagnetic standing waves in the atmosphere, within the cavity formed by the surface of the earth and the ionosphere. This came about by Schumann teaching his students about the physics of electricity. During a lesson about ball condensers he asked them to calculate the frequency between the inner and outer ball, meaning the earth and ionosphere layer. They came up with a calculation of 10Hz.

This was confirmed in 1954 when measurements by Schumann and König detected resonances at a main frequency of 7.83 Hz. In the years following this discovery, several investigators worldwide have researched "Schumann resonance" and a number of properties and characteristics have now been established.

The Research of Dr Wolfgang Ludwig

It was Dr Wolfgang Ludwig who carried out further measurements whilst writing his thesis on the Schumann Resonance. His aim was to measure what kind of natural signals actually exist in a healthy environment. He became aware of the fact that due to man made electromagnetic signals within the atmosphere, the accurate measurement of Schumann waves was almost impossible in the city. For this reason he decided to take measurements out at sea where, due to good electrical conductivity, the Schumann waves are stronger. He than had the idea to take underground measurements in mines. Here he recognized that the magnetic field of the earth fluctuated too. This was also investigated by Dr Robert Becker in his book `Electricity and Vitality: The spark of Life'.

Dr Ludwig came up with an excellent idea to take accurate measurements. When taking measurements at the earth's surface, the reading is the result of two signals, one coming from above and one from below. But subsequently taking measurements below ground makes it possible to come up with exact readings by separating the two.


During his research Dr Ludwig came across the ancient Chinese teachings which state that Man needs two environmental signals: the YANG (masculine) signal from above and the YIN (feminine) signal from below. This description fits the relatively strong signal of the Schumann wave surrounding our planet being YANG and the weaker geomagnetic waves coming from below, from within the planet, being the YIN signal.

The Chinese teachings state that to achieve perfect health, both signals must be in balance. Dr Ludwig found that this is indeed the case. He writes in his book `Informative Medizin' that research carried out by E.Jacobi at the University of Duesseldorf showed that the one sided use of Schumann (YANG) wave simulation without the geomagnetic (YIN) signal caused serious health problems. On the other hand, the absence of Schumann waves creates a similar situation. Professor R.Wever from the Max Planck Institute for Behavioral Physiology in Erling-Andechs, built an underground bunker which completely screened out magnetic fields. Student volunteers lived there for four weeks in this hermetically sealed environment. Professor Wever noted that the student's circadian rhythms diverged and that they suffered emotional distress and migraine headaches. As they were young and healthy, no serious health conditions arose, which would not have been the case with older people or people with a compromised immune system. After only a brief exposure to 7.8 Hz (the very frequency which had been screened out), the volunteers health stabilized again.

The same complaints were reported by the first astronauts and cosmonauts, who, out in space, also were no longer exposed to the Schumann waves. Now modern spacecrafts are said to contain a device which simulates the Schumann waves.

All the aforesaid points to the fact that the ancient teachings are correct. Mankind depends on two subtle environmental signals, the Yin from below and the Yang from above.

"Resonance : Beings Of Frequency" is a fascinating documentary which speaks of the Schumann Resonance of planet Earth and the effect it has on human health.

Research is showing that being exposed to this frequency is absolutely integral to us. It controls our mental and physical health, it synchronizes our circadian rhythms, and it aids our immune system and improves our sense of well being.

Not only are we surrounded by natural frequencies, our bodies are filled with them too. Our cells communicate using electromagnetic frequencies. Our brain emits a constant stream of frequencies and our DNA delivers instructions, using frequency waves.

Through his work, Gregg Braden shares scientific proof of the Earth passing through the Photon Belt and the slowing of the Earth's rotation. At the same time there is an increase in the resonant frequency of the Earth (Schumann Resonance). When the Earth stops its rotation and the resonant frequency reaches 13 cycles we will be at a zero point magnetic field. In 2 or 3 days it will start turning again in the opposite direction. This will produce a reversal in the magnetic fields around the earth and so forth.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

The FORTY NINE Octaves of Sound and Light


The FORTY NINE Octaves of Sound and Light

The 7 Notes of the Octaves of Visible Light and Audible Music
The earth and man—the land, and sea, and sky—are rich and delightful in their infinitude of forms, and sounds, and colors, and motions, while the world of thought and spiritual power is richer than even the outward world.
Harmony consists in the equal balance of Unity and Diversity, and this harmony is increased in exquisiteness in proportion to the number of these parts of Unity and Diversity.
‒ The Principles of Light and Color by Edwin D Babbitt
Sound is Light at a lower vibration and Light is Sound at a higher oscillation. This single scientific fact can change our conception of reality for it becomes evident that all of creation both physical and manifest, spiritual and unseen is one unity of great beauty and simplicity.
“Just as there are 7 Divisions on the Physical Plane and the Rainbow has 7 Colors, the Energy known as Sound has 7 notes in Music and the same note recurs on the eighth key, only it has a higher or lower Pitch according to which side of the Scale is reckoned. Each complete Scale of Notes is called “Saptaka” or Septave, meaning the Scale of Seven. Actual measurement shows that going from the low to the high, each eighth note has a vibration rate of double the number; thus, each Octave from low to high has double the vibration frequency in the high as in its neighboring low and to find the Octave Frequencies means a question of simple arithmetic …
Forty Nine Octaves of Sound and Light
Fig 17 – Forty Nine Octaves of Sound and Light.
We must first differentiate between what is called Vibration and what is known as Oscillation. Vibration means a tremor, quake, shake, tremble; Oscillation means a movement from point to point. In practice, it is safe to state that Oscillation is Vibration + Transportation. When this brass plate is struck, the particles constituting the plate tremble, but, the plate does not move away bodily; that is Vibration of the plate. The Sound produced by the blow, is owing to the imparting of that Vibration to the particles of the surrounding air, which transmit it to adjacent layers till the destination is reached; this transmission is the Oscillation. A plate struck, vibrates; a pendulum moved, oscillates. That is why I differentiate between the two words.

The First Octaves – Infra-Sound

Beginning with the First Octave, we count that as of 2 Oscillations, because, a full Cycle has one move forward and one move backward, making 2 Oscillations. As our smallest period of Time is 1 Second, the Standard of Oscillatory Frequencies is 2 Oscillations in 1 Second, making the First Octave. The Second Octave has 4 Oscillations and the Third Octave has 8. Till now, though there may be an exertion of Energy, nothing is heard, but, as soon as the Pitch rises to the Fourth Octave of Oscillatory Frequency, 16 Oscillations are made and a low musical note is heard. The Fourth Octave, therefore, is called the Octave which produces the Lowest Audible Note. Below that figure, Energy may exist or be exerted, but, the human ear does not cognize it.

Seven Octaves of Music – Audible Sound

If you look at the keyboard of the pianoforte, you will find 88 keys. From a certain near- middle point, there are 4 Octaves in the Treble and 3 Octaves in the Bass, embracing a total of 7 Octaves with more keys. The lowest range of such pianoforte, comes at the Fifth Octave with an Oscillatory Frequency of 32 per Second. The Great C appears at 64, the Small C at 128 and the Middle C at 256 Oscillations per Second, on the Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Octave, respectively. However, the tuning of the modern pianoforte, just like the white flour of the market, differs slightly from the theoretical actual and is 261-2/10 Oscillations per Second for the Middle C; it is the difference between the Conservatory Pitch and the Concert Pitch. If seems they never follow Nature, but, must introduce some odd peculiarities to suit notions of “Professors.”
A Tuning Fork is a good instrument for demonstrating the number of Oscillations in a musical note; here is one having the 128 and another the 512 Oscillations per Second; strike one prong on a hard surface and hold the Fork tightly against a board; the hum will be distinctly heard.
Proceeding from the Middle C, with its theoretical 256 Oscillations per Second on the Eighth Octave, we land on the last high Octave of the pianoforte, on the C5 the Twelfth Octave with 4,096 Oscillations in a Second and whose B note (the last note of its Octave but not on the keyboard,) sounds with 7,680 Oscillations in the same period. That note has a terribly shrill, piercing character, which no human mouth ever produced.

The Buzz Pitch of Insects

Western honey beeA step further, with the Thirteenth Octave at 8,192 Oscillations a Second, begins the Buzz Pitch of Insects. The wings of insects oscillate with incredible speed, some buzzing on the Fourteenth Octave and making 16,384 Oscillations in a Second. As this point is attained, the appeal to the human ears becomes tense, until finally, on reaching the next stage, on the Fifteenth Octave at 32,- 768 Oscillations in a Second, the Highest Audible Note is created and the power of our ears to cognize further such Energy, ceases. Lift up your right hand to try this experiment; wave the wrist one way and another; wave it 16,384 times in l Second; well, that is what a little insect does, which you with all civilization behind you cannot do!

Octaves of Ultra-Sound

Octaves of Ultra-SoundAs Sound is caused by the disturbance of the atmosphere as a conducting medium of the Energy, it is evident that the Resistance of the particles composing the air, will have to be considered in motioning with such numerical height. Up to the Fifteenth Octave, there is no trouble noticeable, but, right after, the experimenter’s miseries start. The atmosphere resents the terrific tremor and as it were, refuses to obey it to produce the Oscillatory Frequency. The only way to circumvent it would be to decrease this Resistance, which can be done by making a partial vacuum and injecting the Energy onto the rarefied gas. Promptly comes the response. Such rarefied medium may then be motioned up to theNineteenth Octave, making 524,- 288 Oscillations in 1 Second. The resultant Energy is still a mode of Sound; it is an Inaudible Rarefied Medium Sound, which is incapable of appealing to the human ears. However, such Sound as an Oscillatory Frequency, has a tremendous potency for disintegration of objects and it is good that outside of certain research laboratories, its existence or method of production is not generally known. I call it Ethereal Sound. On the Twentieth Octave, with 1,048,576 Oscillations in a Second, all Sound, even the inaudible, vanishes and to make more Oscillations it is vital to change the Medium of Conduction or Transportation.

Octaves of Plasma and Ether – Hyper-Sound

Thus, we come from the Gaseous Division to the so-called Ultra-Gaseous. Till now, the only known Energy produced—Sound—was by the bombardment on Solid, Liquid or Gaseous matter, the last being the air. At theTwentieth Octave, the limit of motioning Gaseous Division is reached, even though that Division be rarefied by partial exhaustion. It becomes necessary now to utilize a Medium of Transportation of a finer particulation. The borderland of the Gaseous with the Ultra-Gaseous is between the Twentieth and the Forty-Second Octave, the latter having 4,398,046,- 511,104 Oscillations in l Second. This type of Medium of Transportation, on the Physical Plane, represents practically the inconceivable condition of the inside of a tube exhausted of all air, so what remains might stand for the residuum of an inch of air stretched out to two thousand miles or more —we may call it safely a perfect Physical Vacuum in regard to the spaces between the particles.

Octaves of Heat

At the Forty-Fifth Octave, the Oscillatory Frequency increases to 35,184,372,088,832 in a Second and the sense of Touch tells that a new kind of Energy is born; it is called Heat; I cognize it as Invisible Light or Dark Light. We commence here to slide into the Invisible Thermal Spectrum of the Sunlight which has the Oscillatory Frequencies from the Forty-Sixth to the Forty-Eighth Octave. Heat evolves at the 45th; the addition of all the numerals, 1 + 2 + 3 + 4+ 5 + 6 + 7 + 8 + 9 is 45; therein lies an occult fact.

The 49th Octave of Visible Light

Prism of Light
On the Forty-Ninth, as the Oscillatory Frequency per Second jumps to the high mark of 562,949,953,421,- 312, the middle of the Spectrum of Colors has come into existence, the first Visible Light starting around 318 Trillion Oscillations per Second, with a faint Red Color. While the range of the ear for hearing is from the Fourth to the Fifteenth Octave, a span of 11 or 12 Octaves, the eye can sense only 1 Octave—the Forty-Ninth. As soon as the Fiftieth is reached, with its 1,125,899,906,842,624 Oscillations, the faint Violet of the Spectrum vanishes and for Seven more Octaves, the potent, but invisible Ultra-Violet Range of Radiations is entered. Before going further, we shall look into some of the properties of Oscillatory Frequencies and the conversion of one Energy into another.

And God said, “Let there be Light …”

In the Bible, in Genesis, the First Book of Moses, in Chapter 1, verses 3 and 4 is written, “And God said, Let there be Light and there was Light. And God saw the Light, that it was good: and God divided the Light from the darkness.” God spoke to make Light; thus, Sound preceded Light. On the Oscillatory Frequency principle, this is very correct, because, Sound is an Energy acting on a lower Scale. The fact of Light appearing on the Forty-Ninth Octave, explains its Divine origin and relation; God is represented symbolically by the Circle and only 7 Circles can produce the Cosmos; the Number 49 is made by 7 X 7 and stands for each Circle having been traversed 7 times in Cosmogenesis, before Light came into being, with its Seven Spectral Colors. This beauteous Energy was preceded by Sound with its Seven Musical Notes, the Number 7 keeping pace with the Scales of Evolution.”

Self Healing through Resonance

It becomes quite evident that there is no need for suffering or death from dis-ease – except if for karmic reasons the soul has no other means of learning and resolving why such experience was accepted.
Once we “know” that we are “energy beings” not mortal solids, we become open to receive free universal life giving energy. It´s who we are. Healing therapies that can eradicate all disease with sound and light are available to us all right now. New “free energy” technologies that can liberate us humans from solid world is but a coordinated effort away. Oil and fossil fuels are obsolete.  As we identify so we magnetise!
The fundamental problem with orthodox medicine has been to look only through the microscope of material means to make physical matter healthy.  Similarly, science has made a gross error of believing that energy can only be created from matter. Rather, the physical body is a product, a result of its energy field – health is then a question of realigning the physical etheric field and exposing it to the greater harmonizing free energy field of a larger sphere or source within and without, of which it is a part – a source having the same harmonic spectrum but at a higher octave. This will not only invoke the power of the natural etheric immune system but will rejuvenate cellular life from its exposure to what otherwise might be called – the etheric spectrum colours(Yellow-Red-Magenta-Violet-Blue). 
Spectro-Chrome Prismatic Light
Fig 18 – Light and Dark are the Source of all Colour – a Media of Healing

A great mystery of life is revealed in the wonder of Colour.

Light is invisible. It only “appears” when it strikes a surface. The colour we see is the light that is not absorbed by the surface, but is “reflected”. The colours that we see very much depend on our perceptions as “observer” and place in relation to that we are observing.Light and Dark together create all the colours that we see. Both the light of the Sun and the darkness of Space must be combined and integrated in equal measure.
Goethe Colour Wheel
Colour Wheel – Johann Goethe

Light is the primary source for the creation of the colour Yellow, the dominant colour of the Sun. Dark is the primary source for the creation of the colour of Blue, the dominant colour of the dome of the Sky.The combination of these two primary colours, creates Green – the dominant colour of Nature as well as the Green of the heart centre.
Prism of Dark Spectrum
Prism of the Dark Spectrum – Johann Goethe

Prism of light Spectrum goethe
Prism of the Light Spectrum – Johann Goethe
The colours Yellow of Light and Blue of Dark are the only two primary colours. All others derive from them. These three correspond to the Trinity of Life-Spirit, Earth-Matter and Soul-Heart.The colour Magenta is created by the Shadow of Green and Light. Magenta is the complementary opposite of Green. Magenta has no detectable wavelength. May it therefore be an etheric colour?[ii] 
The Octave of Colour forms harmonic chords and “discordant” opposites just as in music. (See for an outstanding presentation.)
Some correspondences of the primary energy functions of the human are:
Red – Liver | Green – Pineal and Pituitary | Violet – Spleen | Lemon – Stomach
Yellow – Nervous System (Ref: Dinshah Spectro Chrome)
Colour and Sound Frequency has been proven to heal ALL viral diseases including cancer. Colour and Sound Frequencies in resonance with the higher harmonics of sacred geometry re-member original cellular creation.  Quite simply harmonic molecular therapy stimulates regrowth and rejuvenation at cellular levels because it is working from the higher to the lower energetic octave.  It´s our choice.  Both Royal Raymond Rife and Dinshah Ghadiali developed these technologies in the 1930s as a gift for the benefit of mankind. [iii]
“For centuries scientists have devoted untiring effort to discover a means for the relief or cure of human ills and restoration of the normal functions. Yet in neglected light and color there is a potency far beyond that of drugs and serums. Color is the simplest and most accurate therapeutic measure yet developed. I can produce quicker and more accurate results with colors than with any or all other methods combined—and with less strain on the patient.”  Kate Baldwin MD
“A clinical trial on humans with cancer was conducted in 1934 with dramatic results. 14 of 16 patients with significant malignancies at the La Jolla California site were “clinically cured” after a regimen of 3 minute Rife treatments every 3 days for 3 months.” – 1934 MA Report.  In fact within a further month, ALL patients had fully recovered.
(EXTRACT from “Living in Harmony With The Spheres” by Jonathan Eveleigh,
download here:
 (C) 2014 Creative Commons Copyright, Jonathan Eveleigh. All text may be shared provided all sources are referenced.

Monday, 20 May 2013

Music, Meditation, and the Skull as a Sound Chamber

The following is a selection from the Umbris Idearum series on The Teeming Brain.
The ancient Tibetan metaphysical texts state that all sound is music, all music is mantra, and mantra is the essence of all sound. Through the use of ritual and mantric power, the Tibetans use sound to effect a specific change in the individual and the environment.

Mantra is a pattern of sound or sound vibration that is based upon primordial sound structures. By their sheer inherent potency and disciplined execution, these concentrated essential energies bring about direct spiritual phenomenon. –From the liner notes for Cho-ga, Tantric & Ritual Music of Tibet  (Teldec, 1974, LP).

When I was in college I worked at a small music store, often doing 10-hour days with no managerial supervision. This meant that for four years I was privy to an intense engagement with a wide range of music on a daily basis, including everything from Edith Piaf to Throbbing Gristle, and some of the more obscure pleasures in between.  Faced with my own predilections, as well as those of the regular customers, I became interested in deleting my preferences, or more importantly, my distaste for certain types of music.

When you work in an environment like that, it’s easy to become a smug connoisseur. While I won’t claim to have avoided that arrogance altogether, I did pursue a program to erase my preferences by using some of the insights I gained from my academic focus on ritual and cognitive philosophy.  After four years’ worth of 10-hour shifts, if you’re too picky about what you listen to, you’ll quickly go insane or become a raging asshole.

Each day while driving to work or school, I would randomly choose a radio station by spinning the dial and letting it land wherever it wanted. Then I would enjoy whatever music I encountered. I would enjoy it even if I hated it, and during commercials, because I was brainwashing myself and wasn’t interested in letting others brainwash me, I would turn the dial between stations and listen to white noise. White noise also replaced the station if I landed on talk radio during the random spin. Again, I was interested in brainwashing myself, not letting others do it to me, and this experiment was not about learning to enjoy propaganda but opening up my musical preferences.

When I described the experiment to my collegiate advisor, he warned me that I was playing with fire and could end up erasing preferences that were crucial for having a self-identity in society.  However, I knew that initiation, even self-initiation, is a dance with a purifying flame, so I ignored all warnings and continued on.

As you are reading this account many years after I conducted this exercise, you can tell that any irreparable harm to which I was subjected was not damaging enough to suck me into a completely anti-social malignancy.  Those self-designed exercises actually laid the groundwork for a much better understanding of sound and its effects on the way we understand ourselves.

Recently, I was excited to see that the sound artist Kim Cascone is developing a program that takes a more positive approach to this kind of aural meditation. He has designed what he calls a ‘Subtle Listening Seminar’ which engages people in developing a better understanding of the nuances of sound:

Subtle Listening is a mode of listening where one’s imagination is open to the sound world around them, helping their inner ear and outer world intersect.

The Subtle Listening workshop is an ongoing workshop for musicians, media artists, filmmakers, composers, producers, sound designers, or any type of artist who wants to sharpen their listening skills.

The workshop uses a wide range of techniques culled from Jungian psychology, Hermetic philosophy, paradox and Buddhist meditation, as well as thirty years of my own experience as a sound artist and electro-acoustic music composer.

Through guided meditation and various types of listening exercises, participants will learn techniques they can use any time to help heighten their sensitivity to the sounds around them.

This methodology brings out the depth of experience that is possible when we interact with sound. Cascone describes one of his recent compositions, “Lunar Gauzes – Alchemisphere One,” which was featured in the Hermetic Library’s audio anthology Magick, Music & Ritual 4, as “subtle lenses, azoth prisms & scrying mirrors to be listened to on headphones during meditation.”

While this may sound obscure, it plays on the fact that much of Cascone’s current work is created not just to be passively engaged but to be used. The inclusion of binaural sounds in these tracks effects an active change in the brainwave patterns of the listener, allowing these compositions to be what Stephan Schwartz, one of the scientists active in studying Remote Viewing, calls a “ground for working” with the ambient mental field.

Nuances of hisses, static, pure beats — all wash over the auditory field, activating a sort of sensory overload that heightens other forms of mentation. Increased ideation, mental visions, and the emergence of memories bring listening beyond melody into the space. Images appear unbidden, and a trans-cranial cinema emerges from the fully engaged senses.

Cascone’s creations are hand-crafted, psyche-summoning sound sculptures that indeed invite “a mode of listening where one’s imagination is open to the sound world around them, helping their inner ear and outer world intersect. ” These tracks act as substructures that bring about visualized equations of symbolic exchange, with sound acting as the ambient bed on which a lucid mental field emerges in which to work.

With this kind of active listening, the value derived from the experience is very much reliant on the capability of the listener him/herself. The delicate sound sculptures Cascone is creating for these meditative pieces develop from a deeper understanding of what he discusses in his 2000 essay “The Aesthetics of Failure: ‘Post-Digital’ Tendencies in Contemporary Computer Music”:

Concepts such as “detritus,” “by-product,” and “background” (or “horizon”) are important to consider when examining how the current post-digital movement started. When visual artists first shifted their focus from foreground to background (for instance, from portraiture to landscape painting), it helped to expand their perceptual boundaries, enabling them to capture the background’s enigmatic character.

The basic composition of “background” is comprised of data we filter out to focus on our immediate surroundings. The data hidden in our perceptual “blind spot” contains worlds waiting to 14 be explored, if we choose to shift our focus there. Today’s digital technology enables artists to explore new territories for content by capturing and examining the area beyond the boundary of “normal” functions and uses of software.
--Kim Cascone, “The Aesthetics of Failure: ‘Post-Digital’ Tendencies in Contemporary Computer Music,” [] resonancias, 2002 (originally published in Computer Music Journal Vol. 24, No. 4 (Winter 2000)

One of the common critiques of the compositional methods outline by Cascone in this essay is that they forgo the long history of traditional musical development and the understanding of the complex interrelationships of harmonics that underlie Western music. However, Cascone has taken these “glitches” and re-envisioned them with a new kind of formalism that relates directly to a neurological harmonization moving far beyond expressionist abstraction.

To listen to these pieces with classical composition in mind is to miss their importance as meditation tools, which require the active intention of the listener to engage them through a contemporary matrix of science and the sacred.  This kind of work accesses all of the insights gained from contemplative traditions, such as the Hermetic and Buddhist influences that Cascone mentions, and brings them into a contemporary setting where they can interact in a relevant way with our current media-saturated culture. With a background that includes professional audio work for film and video games, Cascone brings a craftsmanship to these pieces that isn’t found in most contemporary music of this nature.

For me, Cascone’s work further develops the transformation of ambient urban noise into complex meditation with a delicacy that I’ve never found in the Futurists, the Musique Concrete movement, or the more recent sub-genres specializing in outre sounds. The focus on an active engagement with the soundscape has made me think more of my skull as a sound chamber, a place for an aural engagement that can lead to spaces in which it is possible to work directly with the mental states and symbolic imagery evoked through a dutiful attention to the art of listening.

“The ancient Tibetan metaphysical texts state that all sound is music, all music is mantra, and mantra is the essence of all sound.”  Accessing this timeless state is easy. It’s simply a question of what doorway you choose, and how dedicated you are to finding the right key.
Image by  Vilanova i la Geltrú courtesy of Creative Commons license.