I want to explain how today’s science has discovered how we now have medical and social applications to use sound as a beneficial tool for health and wellness, but I need to go way, way, way back in time to explain how sound was first used to communicate.
We all know that speech in humans probably began back somewhere around 100,000 years ago. Cave dwellers grunted and snarled, made facial gestures, and learned to throw rocks at others to get their attention. The voice was cultured into singular, sustained tones on different pitches, which helped take away from the monotony of talking. Think of the old Saturday Night Live, Cone Heads. But, the physics of sound and specific frequency was out of the question at that time. Still, emphasis on specific frequency was felt in the body, making it ring truer than others. Yet, each bard knew not why.
In early Greek times, the lyre was used by storytellers and helped spread the news from town to town. Most were appointments by the head of government, a king, dictator, or wealthy individual who paid for the musician’s lifestyle to make a record of said individual’s life and accomplishments.
Historical drawings of the lyre show us that most were usually made from wood or a U-shaped bent piece of metal, and most began with a set of 7 strings, usually made from the guts of animals, most commonly sheep, cows, and goats. These were very flexible and when twisted or braided and dried, when plucked with the fingers would vibrate and be set (tightened) in the frame of the lyre.
Here is where the human anatomy was the sole judgment of pitch to set the lyre’s 7 strings. Let’s not forget that the musician had nothing else to do, but tune his instrument and create stories for the one he was serving. So, all day long, he would tighten or loosen the strings until he found an exact pitch, and frequency, which he could feel in his body in the most optimized way. He had no distractions, day in, day out, and he wanted to make the very best impression on his benefactor and give them a physical sensation while delivering the message, and story. The musician became skilled at tuning to new strings and was rewarded for his ability to non-verbally communicate to his boss and others in the performance arena.
It took several thousands of years and the development of technology to understand that sound moves matter, as can be seen through simple examples of cymatics. And if you have not gone to Youtube.com and watched videos of examples of cymatics, I highly recommend it. One video, Cymatics: Science Vs. Music-Nigel Stanford has been viewed over 45M times. It is 8 years old and applies a set of specific frequencies to the tuning of the musical instruments and shows multiple geometric patterns formed in sand, water, and oil. This will be covered later in a follow-up blog post, but first, let’s continue with how we tune instruments to play together and who set these standards.
Historic music composition geniuses, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Giuseppe Verdi, the Father of Modern Opera, were what we could call Rock Stars of Music. Mozart (1756-1791) and Verdi (1813-1901) were highly sought after by audiences all over Europe to perform their music to different audiences. Both of these composers had trained their deep focus on how music feels and both spent most of their performance orchestras to be tuned to 432Hz. More recent REAL rock stars (The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, and Pink Floyd) also tuned to 432Hz. Mozart and Verdi were so very adamant about tuning to 432Hz, they made sure that each orchestra that they conducted held to their standards. Think about how long it takes to re-tune a harpsichord or even worse, a pipe organ. For the organ, used in many Verdi operas, shifting the pipes took an enormous amount of time and each composer would not wait for tuning to take place once in their visiting city and even refused to perform their own music until tuning was set to their standards. But there were other concert halls and royalty that refused to adhere to their requests and invited other famous composers to play their music at whatever Concert A would be. And if you are not familiar with the term Concert A, I want you to think about the last time you went to a classical music concert and before the conductor came to the podium, the Concertmaster came onto the stage and gave the command for the oboe player to play A. This tuning in our lifetime, has been designated by the ISO, the International Standards Organization to be a pitch that the whole world should use to make it as uniform and consistent as possible. The ISO set a global standard to 440Hz. WHAT? WHY?
Going back to when the ISO was founded (1947), the planet was in reconstruction after World War ll. And 47 representatives from all over the world came together to set standards for reconstruction. This would simplify time for crews from visiting cities and countries to bring in their own tools and calibrations, without spending time trying to make things work. Think in terms of metric and Imperial measuring systems, which were set from the Weights and Measures Act of 1897 in the UK. After WWll, research from the Third Reich was cataloged and read by scholars to see if any of their developments could be used for the whole planet in a positive way. In 1955, the ISO came to a mandate that all performed music should be tuned to Concert A at 440Hz. Where and why this number was chosen is very sketchy, but the latest research that I could find was “A funding organization held special attention to musical performance and awarded the ISO funds” and could have been the party associated with this directive. Jacques-Emile Dubois, a chemist, the reported head of the ISO at the time, has no record as to why 440Hz was chosen. And as most people do not question “Why?” following an international standards group seemed appropriate.
With the above-mentioned rock bands of the 1960s and 1970s tuning at a different Concert A, all were coaxed into “tune with the orchestras” and 440 Hz was adapted to the recording standard or modulated in the recording studios after capturing each session. Anyone of you can search the Internet about this subject, as I have, and see many “authorities” downplay this as hogwash, twaddle, and Woo Woo. I also have read others’ first-hand experiences with said celebrities and got it confirmed that yes indeed, they did tune to 432 Hz at some point, but jumped ship to sell records and be in tune with the masses.
I will discuss later in another blog posting about the neurological trials my company has made and are ongoing, showing a positive response of 432 Hz (and other frequencies published in clinical trials from Johns Hopkins, MIT, Harvard, Oxford, and others) as a positive therapy for PTSD and Autism.
I actually took two musicians’ own recordings, one a Grammy Hall of Famer and another Certified Music Therapist, who has several CDs, and applied our patented technology to their own music. The Grammy Hall of Famer compared his original to his music filtered through our tech and exclaimed “This should be in every recording studio in the world!” While the therapist exclaimed, “I could FEEL the difference in my body in 20 seconds.” These are two examples of people that submerge themselves into total quiet and solitude for days at a time in a recording studio and have taught themselves to be extremely sensitive to sound. I am not calling this skill hyperacusis, which is a disorder in loudness perception, but as a trained skill, referred to many times as an audiophile and/or sound engineer.
How could the understanding of this help and benefit each of us? The subtle vibrations we feel in our daily lives can be early warnings to our central nervous system.
Ever walk into a restaurant and be taken to a table where the noise level is so high that you have to raise your voice to be heard? Before software, I was an opera singer, as well as a restauranteur. I trained the staff to take control of the table with loud and clear voices to be overheard by all the others cheering and laughing. There are three areas of dining out that need to be addressed for a successful operation; food, service, and atmosphere, which can be then broken down into three areas; seating, lighting, and music. If a server can control a table, and in a polite way tell the customers what to order, he/she is then in full control of timing the entire experience of the diners.
Now, let’s turn this around. How about the customer being in full control of the dining experience? Can the customer request the quietest table available? Yes. Can the customer also ask the server to turn down the music? Yes again. Do you go to a restaurant for the music? Of course not. But the sound is a pretty high percentage of the pleasure or displeasure of the dining. Many years ago, there was a favorite Italian food restaurant I loved going to for the ambiance. It was a mom-and-pop place with red Naugahyde booths and the music was from an antique jukebox, that cost $0.25 for three songs. The jukebox had great old standards; Frank Sinatra, Louie Armstrong, Nat King Cole, Louie Pena, and many more. Didn’t have a quarter to put into the jukebox? No problem. The owner’s wife walked from table to table and put quarters on your table for you to go and play your favorites. The point is, that the owner’s success was not from award-winning classic cuisine, but how they empowered the customers to control their environment. Ah, I can hear Ol’ Blue Eyes singing “It was a very good year.”
When driving on an unfamiliar street and you are looking for an address, what’s the first thing we all do? Turn down the radio. Remember, as a young child cutting up in the back seat of the car with a friend or sibling, being so loud that dad turned around and said “Boys, be quiet! I can’t think.” Is the lightbulb getting brighter? I will say it again, each cell in the body is influenced by 4 environmental elements; chemical, heat light, and …… sound.
Growing up, the beginning of one of my favorite TV programs started out with a narrator saying “For the next hour, sit quietly and we will control all that you see and hear. We repeat: There is nothing wrong with your television set. You are about to participate in a great adventure. You are about to experience the awe and mystery which reaches from the inner mind to… The Outer Limits.” Since 1974, the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) has prohibited the use of subliminal messaging (ie; placing a single picture of a Coca-Cola into the film of a movie, which shifts focused attention from the movie to “Hhhmmm. Yes, a Coke would be great right now.” I defined my company’s filtering technology to a local American Broadcast Corporation (ABC) affiliate program producer and he said “What you are doing is brilliant, but we can’t use it at the station, because we do just the opposite, we add white noise to the audio, knowing that it puts people in a hypnotic trance, so they won’t lean forward to grab the remote, so the viewer doesn’t change the station, so our Nielsen Ratings are higher, so we can show a higher market share and so we can charge more to the client in advertising.” 6 months after I spoke with that man, I met a director at Nielsen and told him that story. He stared at me for a silent 5 seconds and then told me “Ya, that’s what all the networks do. In fact, we have technology that measures just how much white noise has been added.”
I stated earlier that the United States has prohibited the use of subliminal messages” but sadly it has not made it against the law, as many other countries have. When I told this to a federal judge, he was outraged, saying “SOMEONE NEEDS TO SUBMIT A BILL TO CONGRESS TO MAKE SUCH A CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY!” That’s still in mind.
But sound influences and subconscious programming go way back to before we were born (have you ever heard of a mother-to-be applying headphones of classical music, think of what is called The Mozart Effect) to learning and identifying Western modality of music composition. Around the age of 3-4 years of age, most children are taken to their first birthday party. They see balloons, cake, presents, and other children laughing. And shortly, they all sing a song, Happy Birthday to You, which is in a Major mode of music composition, think C, E, G on the piano, or in music theory, 1,3,5 of the key of C. So much laughter and toys are present and everyone wishes that it was their birthday. Today is the same. When we hear the Major mode of music, everyone is happy. And, the same experience happens with minor music, the boogeyman music, the music played and sung in church during Lent. “HELL, FIRE, and BRIMSTONE” were preached from the pulpit. It is the music we hear in movies with high drama, murder, and conflict. We have been programmed to say “DON’T OPEN THAT DOOR!”
This same programming is embedded into the words we hear and speak. When I hear “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” for example, I am reminded of seeing The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show.
We all have the ability to circumnavigate the use of language as well as become more aware of the entire environment we have placed ourselves. Again, chemical, heat light, and sound.
When we start to take control of our lives and not blame someone else for our experience, we start to see that we can re-wire our subconscious behavior into a new, optimized behavior, a skill set. This is called neuroplasticity, which we will take a deep dive into later in this series. My main point here today is to become aware of all four influences we subject ourselves to each day and know that we always are in control to participate or not. So even if you and your dinner companion are taken to the center table in the restaurant, are you there to be seen or have a great dinner with your companion? Ask for a quieter table and be more in control of your life.