Quiet-List 1997

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The effects of music and sound

David Tame in his book ‘The Secret Power of Magic’ argues convincingly that
the fall of great civilisations has always been preceded by a degeneration
of popular music. Perhaps more than civilisations are now at stake - from
the following extracts it appears to me that with so-called modern 'music',
coupled with the onslaught from radio/TV/advertising/piped sounds/movies,
we may be tampering with the very ground of our being.....

Ray Hattingh

Extract from an article entitled: ‘Healing Sound’, by Michael Rault, in the
Oct/Nov 1989 issue of Odyssey. Address: The Wellstead, 1 Wellington Avenue,
Wynberg. 7800. Republic of South Africa. Tel: 27 21 797-8982 
    Music can intensify feelings, summon images and memories, fill you with
awe, or simply charm you. Sound vibrations can both heal and destroy, and
can have far reaching effects even on our cellular structure.
    Dr Diamond, an advocate of behavioural kinesiology, has found the
indicator muscle will test ‘strong’ if harmonious music is played to a
person, even if the ears are blocked with sound-absorbent material. This
demonstrates that the body can discriminate between beneficial and
detrimental sounds and is affected by them.
    Dr Diamond is particularly critical of heavy rock music as played by
groups such as Queen and Led Zeppelin. He approves of the more melodic
Beatles, and favours classical music. He observes that orchestral
conductors are remarkably long-lived - presumably because they are
continually exposed to life enhancing music. The average longevity of the
American male is 68.9 years: yet 80% of conductors are still alive and
working at 70 years of age. Pablo Casals at age 95 was still actively
conducting, as were R Genz and L Stokowski at 95. Heavy rock musicians, on
the other hand, tend to burn out and some die young. Many of the ‘fathers’
of modern Jazz, who wrote and played sounds of despair, bitterness and
defeat, have died violently or diseased.
    In Primitive rituals monotonous drumming leads mediums into trance
states of spirit-possession, and Indian music drones and mantras are used
to focus the mind and lead through its many distraction to inner peace and
unity. Research by a new generations of sound therapists may lead us back
to the sources of music; back beyond Gregorian chant and church music to
the power of the chanting human voice and a pattern of tones and harmonics
of which the effects are universally recognised.
    David Tame in ‘The Secret Power of Magic’ argues convincingly that the
fall of great civilisations has always been preceded by a degeneration of
popular music. When I hear the background music from radios and in
supermarkets, designed to induce helpless suggestibility, I wonder where
our own civilisation is heading. 
    We are subject to a continual barrage of noise from traffic, aircraft,
vacuum cleaners, televisions , fridges, typewriters, lawnmowers,
air-conditioners, barking dogs, power tools.... Even should you wear
earplugs when you sleep, noise will still get through to you as sound
vibrations are received by your whole body, not just your ears. The human
body absorbs the impact of sound waves as they pass through the skin
through to the deeper tissues. The individual molecules comprising the many
millions of molecules in human tissue are excited by different frequencies.
When struck by the sound wave nearest to their own inherent frequency they
will oscillate more strongly and will resonate to it. The direct
consequence of molecular impact is the creating of alternating compression
and dilation zones - in effect an intensive form of massage at cellular
level. However, we can get ‘massaged’ by very undesirable sounds as well as
those that are therapeutic.
    Volume is a contributing factor, of course. General city street noises
often average 80dbA - that’s loud. The volume at rock concerts may exceed
90 dbA (how this has changed since this was written - Ray Hattingh) and
even orchestral performances by Wagner or Beethoven, powerful and dramatic
composers, may exceed 85 dbA. Rhythmic patterns can sweep us along with
their momentum, perhaps elevating us to a new level of sensory awareness,
producing mild ecstasy, a feeling of freedom or, on the other hand,
militaristic feelings as aroused by Hitler’s martial music, or the
rebelliousness associated with heavy metal rock music.

Extract from an article entitled: ‘a world of tangible Sound’, by Ken
Carey, in the Apr/May 1987 issue of Odyssey. Address: The Wellstead, 1
Wellington Avenue, Wynberg. 7800. Republic of South Africa. Tel: 27 21
797-8982 and extracted with permission from Terra Christa with permission
from Ken Carey.
    Physics classes will often conduct experiments with pure tones,
observing their effects on various media: sand, oil, water, etc.
Participating in these on occasion, I have seen sand arrange itself is
precise geometric formation when the bow of a violin was drawn across the
tin plate on which it was resting. I have seen certain tones cause oil
floating on the surface of water to coagulate into cell-like configurations
that seemed to grow and divide like amoeba as the tone’s pitch was slowly
raised. I have seen tiny grains of salt stand one upon the other and dance
like human figures as they experienced a vibrating surface beneath them.
    Vibration is found at the root of every phenomenon; but in a fallen
world, not all sound affects us equally. There are discharged sounds that
deplete human energy as well as charged sounds that bring us strength and
    (A picture of a yantra - that has been used for centuries in the East
to represent the AUM, the mantra of mantra’s - appears in the article
together with another graphic that shows that the sound waves created by
uttering AUM into an electronic transmitter created a similar pattern). 

Extract from an article entitled: ‘Sound within Sound’, by Petra Skriver,
in the Feb/Mar 1986 issue of Odyssey. Address: The Wellstead, 1 Wellington
Avenue, Wynberg. 7800. Republic of South Africa. Tel: 27 21 797-8982 
    Not all sound is positive, harmonious and healing. Included in the
range of musical expression are destructive and chaotic forces. Research
done with people and plants has clearly demonstrated the effects that
different kinds of music can have. Plants respond positively and grow well
in an environment of harmonious and ‘happy’ music; but they become stunted
and may even shrivel and die in an atmosphere filled with violent and
dissonant music (particularly exposure to hard rock).
    In ancient India music was considered so sacred that it was shared with
only two or three people together at any one time, so that total spiritual
harmony could be achieved.

Extract from an article entitled: ‘the hidden power of Sound’, by Elizabeth
Clare Prophet, in the Feb/Mar 1986 issue of Odyssey. Address: The
Wellstead, 1 Wellington Avenue, Wynberg. 7800. Republic of South Africa.
Tel: 27 21 797-8982, and reprinted by courtesy of ‘The Coming Revolution’
journal, published by Summit University Press
    Daily bombarded by the entire spectrum of sound, we are often unaware
of its tremendous power - a power long known to the adepts and yogis of
both East and West. Now, scientific research is beginning to uncover the
essential role sound plays in the structuring of matter.
    For thousands of years the sacred texts of India have taught that sound
holds the key to the mysteries of the universe, to the creation and
sustaining of our world, .......
     In order to explore the nature of sound, we have to corelate the
sciences of biology, atomic physics, chemistry, and mathematics because
sound is the integrating phenomenon of life - the common denominator
through which and by which everything else operates.
     The power within the core of the atom is but a minute pinpoint of this
infinite energy; yet even this is able to destroy cities and planets with
its power. With the exception of the work of a handful of advanced
scientists, such as Nikola Tesla and John Keely, the relatively course
instruments of modern science have barely begun to probe this energy
source. Through the ultimate knowledge of sound man can not only create but
he can also sustain and destroy.

Ray Hattingh
Phone : 27 21 531-6781
e-mail   : leemond@ilink.nis.za

P O Box 111
Howard Place
South Africa
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