In the modern world of today, most do not necessarily dwell on the concept of sound. For the majority, sound is just simply another sense we observe, becoming familiar to us so much that we quiet frankly, take for granted our hearing. Enjoying the soothing musical notes through the speaker of the radio is most common. The constant hum of the hustle and bustle of the outside is but of white noise. Yet sound is so much more. Sound is not just a great song you hear, or the mindless chatter of restaurant noise during a night out. No, sound is more, much more. Let us explore the history of sound and how it has been rooted throughout antiquity as well as how society of today is resurrecting traditions of old.
Most creation stories started with the introduction of sound, including Vedic texts and the Christian Bible. Many ancient cultures studied and used the seemingly magical power of sound to heal. From aboriginal peoples dating back 40,000 years, to the ancient Egyptians along with the greeks, sound healing has been studied, handed down and practiced. The concept of healing with sound had almost disappeared in the West until the 1930s. Acoustic researchers discovered ultrasound and its medical properties around that time an with this discovery, research boomed. Today, the ancient art of sound healing is developing rapidly into a science of its own.
The Aboriginal people of Australia are the first known culture to heal with sound. Their ‘yidaki' (modern name, didgeridoo) has been used as a healing tool for at least 40,000 years. The Aborigines were have said to be able to heal broken bones, muscle tears and illnesses of every kind using their enigmatic musical instrument.
As defined today in the medical dictionary, sound healing is:
“The use of sound as a therapeutic modality, which is linked to the release of hormones and other factors, including the so-called harmonic factor.
Sound therapy is said to affect physiologic parameters, including breathing and heart rate, blood pressure and neuromuscular tone, and is allegedly useful in Alzheimer’s disease, hospice environments for the terminally ill, childbirth, dentistry, and psychotherapy.”
The aborigines clearly knew this type of knowledge way before modern medicine had medical dictionaries.
Interestingly enough, in the Indian traditions, the healing effect of the sequential flow of sounds in the Sanskrit language is said to "not only balance the mind and the body, but even extend further to create harmony in the collective consciousness of society as a whole."Simply listening or reciting Sanskrit hymns, verses, or mantras, is said to have a very profound soothing, healing and revitalizing effect. I encourage you to try this on your own.
Egyptian culture extends back to 4,000 BC and has a long tradition of vowel sound chant as well. They believed that vowel sounds were extremely sacred that their written hieroglyphic language contains no vowels at all, safely assuming that vowel sound chant carried a powerful significance. Priestesses in ancient Egypt used a musical instruments called a sistra that had metal discs. When played, it created a pleasant jangling that generates copious amounts of ultrasound.
Ultrasound is an effective healing modality and is used today in hospitals and clinics. Mass research into the benefits of ultrasound is taking place, including its use in breaking up kidney stones, shrinking tumors and lifting the facial skin with no surgery (fountain of youth?). In addition, infrasound and audible sound are now recognized as having immense healing properties.
An out-of-tune body begins to experience a variety of stress signals, including anxiety, insomnia, allergies, food sensitivities, or emotional and physical pain. Although invisible, sound is actually highly structured. In water sound can be seen. It acts to form ‘micro-sonic scaffolding', a structuring process that causes matter to coalesce in an orderly manner. Since the body is 70% water, it is a good conductor of sound waves. Harmonics, singing, chants, rhythms, drumming, chimes, singing bowls, toning, tuning forks, vibroacoustic, cymatics, and ultrasound have all been used in sound healing therapy.
The Greeks knew much about sound. Pythagoras (500 BC) (some call him the father of music therapy) founded The Pythagoras Mystery School, based on the island of Crotona and taught the use of flute and lyre as the primary healing instruments. By playing his monochord, Pythagoras was able to unravel the mysteries of musical intervals. He created his musical scale starting with a note A (just next to the middle C) that resonates at the frequency of 111Hz. This frequency sounds of a low males voice.
Paul Devereux, a current day an archeo-acoustian, discovered that burial mounds in Ireland resonated to one particular frequency of 111hz. Curiously, these mounds were made of different materials and sizes, yet all held the 111hz frequency. Research has found MRI scans suggest that at exactly 111hz, the brain switches off the prefrontal cortex, deactivating the language centre, and temporary switches from left to right-sided dominance , that is responsible for intuition, creativity, holistic processing, inducing a state of meditation or a trance.
Speaking on the subject of hertz. 432hz vs 440hz has been the topic of discussion in the music world for some time now. For those who are unaware, 432hz is known as Verdi’s ‘A’ and is an alternative tuning that is said to be mathematically consistent with the universe. Music based on 432Hz transmits beneficial healing energy since it is a pure tone of math that is fundamental to nature. The greatest musicians, such as Mozart and Verdi, based their music on the natural vibration of A=432. Music tuned to 432 Hz is softer and brighter, giving greater clarity and is easier on the ears. Many people experience more meditative and relaxing states of body and mind when listening to such music. Egyptian instruments that have been unearthed are largely tuned to A=432Hz. Ancient Greeks tuned their instruments predominantly to 432Hz. Within the archaic Greek Eleusenian Mysteries, Orpheus is the god of music, death and rebirth, and was the keeper of the Ambrosia and the music of transformation. His instruments were tuned at 432Hz.
The standard pitch has been changed to A=440 Hz which does not harmonize on any level that corresponds to cosmic movement, rhythm, or natural vibration. It’s true that it is only 8 vibrations per second different from the standard tuning, but this small difference seems to be remarkable to our human consciousness. In April 2008 Dutch journalist Richard Huisken founded the ‘back to 432 Hz’ committee, claiming that this original tuning was used in ancient cultures and is found on antique instruments like the Stradivarius violin. Music based on 440 Hz represents stuffed emotions and blocked energy. By lowering the pitch by just 8 Hz, you became more flexible and spontaneous. The natural musical pitch of the universe gives a more harmonic and pleasant sound than 440 Hz.
In todays modern society, the concept of Sound Healing is still something that needs to be integrated into our lifestyles to promote an overall richer, well being. Education of old is key. Trying new workshops or events that pertain to healing with sound is much encouraged. On simpler rout, just searching youtube for musical tracks that focus on sound healing can give you a broader idea. Better yet, try Chladni's experiment:
"Take a flat sheet of metal, either circular or square, and mount on a central stalk to a sturdy base. Then sprinkles fine sand or salt on top of plate. Hold the plate with your finger or thumb at a point on the edge. Begin to stroke the side of the plate with a Cello or Violin bow. The plate will ring loudly if you manage to excite a mode of vibration!
The sand will begin to bounce about on the plate until settling at nodal points (areas of zero movement) thereby producing intricate patterns. Where the bow strokes in relation to your finger will dictate which mode of vibration you excite. For simplicity, maybe start by holding a corner of the square plate, stroking the middle of a side, or stroke the circular plate 45° around from your finger."
I hope this blog post has got you thinking on a higher vibrational level considering the unseen force that the frequencies of sound has on our planet and human race. Stay open minded.
Written for Revolution Awakening Radio