Harmony in our heads…

I got my first crystal singing bowls yesterday. In addition to playing with them, and programming them with healing intentions for the highest good, I had to more thoroughly (and qualitatively) explore an interesting phenomenon I was hearing. They are tuned to ca. D (11″) and F# (8″). When played together, I heard a distinct and quite loud low E subtone. This is odd, since F# is part of the harmonic spectrum of the D bowl, and so I would think that any subtone I would be hearing would be a D of some sort. So, I recorded them, and did a spectral analysis of their sound together. And guess what? They are not producing that low E tone. A frequency of 82 Hz (E) simply is not present in the spectrum of the recorded sound. What does this mean? Well, since the sound is not present in the physical vibration of the bowls, it means that it is a psychoacoustic phenomenon (i.e. supplied by the mind as a difference tone).

I want to explore this more, but what is interesting to me is that after reading Rudolf Steiner mention that the interval of Atlantis (something that i’ve been spending a lot of time on lately and trying to compose), was the 7th. Not sure where he got this (something I also want to explore), but it is worth noting that the interval between the 82 Hz E phantom subtone, and the fundamental of the 11″ bowl in D, is a 7th (plus one octave).


Incidentally, this phenomenon of psychoacoustic tones is not new. The D string on the violin, for example, is like this too. It simply does not vibrate at the note we are hearing (i.e. that frequency is not present physically in the spectrum of the sound) because of the oddities of the string length and density, etc. It is our mind that is summing the harmonic spectrum (“adding together” the upper partials), and providing the D. Some things, after all is said and done…are only in our heads.



Mother’s calling

In Taos, there is a thing called the Taos hum. I have heard some explanations, everything from “it’s military traffic in the network of tunnels that weave all under northern New Mexico,” to ┬áit being the resonance of the crystal core at the center of Taos Mountain: a sacred place of the Taos Pueblo Indians. I heard the hum there on numerous occasions, but never had the chance to determine what note it is. Perhaps it is different for each person, or on each day, or time of the year. Perhaps it is the Schumann Resonance, which is caused by standing waves between the Earth and Her atmosphere. It is 7.8 Hz (a slightly sharp B, and rising by some accounts). There are also harmonics above this “fundamental” which, interestingly enough, for those music geeks out there, are NOT harmonically related (i.e. whole number ratios), but rather are inharmonically related (the series is: 14, 20, 33 and 45 Hz).

What is interesting to me, is how these resonances are created: by lightening strikes. So, Zeus is literally playing the space between the Earth’s surface and the Ionosphere with thunderbolts! I’m sure someone who knows a lot more than me can make some connections to Greek Cosmology here, but that would be beside my point, which is that the body of the Earth is vibrating, like a base drum, and I have started to hear it now on a regular basis at Harmony Farm. Deep breath…

I do not think of these sounds, the ones that are present in my inner space during quiet time, as disorders-even when the high ringing ones happen. I choose to view them, rather, as momentary awarenesses of other dimensions, or aspects of this 3rd dimension that I have previously bracketed out. It is as John Cage encouraged: if I ignore them, they drive me crazy. But if I listen to them, and even ask who is there trying to communicate, perhaps I will go deeper into this experience called life in the 3rd dimension, and the mists of illusion begin to fade-replaced by glimpses of a different, perhaps deeper potential.

There is fascinating research on these Schumann resonances, and how they might be interacting with our alpha brain waves, but that only makes sense. We are interacting vibrationally with everything around us all the time. So, I’m dancing to the tune of a different drummer again, and this time, not actually sure who that drummer may be. But… I like the beat!