Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Practice--This is Your Body on Music

photo by Patricia Herlevi
Ever so often I wake up with an idea for a new blog post for working with sound and music.  Today while meditating, I started paying attention to how my body responded to the songbirds outside my window.  Then I pondered the question, what constitutes music?

Since I have listened to music from around the world in a variety of modes, scales, and structures, I understand that when even 3-notes are repeated in a pattern, this constitutes music.  Since all of this music came from humans there was no question as to its status as music.  But when we deal with nature do we consider the frog and bird songs actual music? And what about the frequencies contained in these nature songs, how do they affect our health and well-being? Do you ever wonder?

To indigenous musicians and people this is a no-brainer.  To them of course nature provides music and healing frequencies.  Indigenous people the ancients believe that the world is made of frequencies and that everything is interconnected, meaning those frog and bird songs affect the cell activities in our bodies.  Musicians and scholars such as the late Marjorie De Muynck and David Rothenberg actually spent time with non-humans creating music.  They do this for different reasons given their diverse backgrounds.  For instance, De Muynck was both a musician and an energy healer with indigenous heritage (Cherokee), so she produced nature-based recordings for healing and balancing experiences.

Rothenberg, comes more from a philosophical background, but is obviously in love with the natural world and on his Wikipedia page, he mentions that preserving the songs of nature help us to appreciate nature more so that we preserve it.  Not a bad mission.  He has recorded with birds, whales and insects--look for his videos on YouTube and his books in your favorite bookstore.

You can find Marjorie's CDs and books on Sounds True or Lemniscate Music (see end of post for links).

So the practice that I suggest is to visit a tranquil natural setting preferably with frogs or songbirds or if you are really eclectic head to a place with gulls or crows.  Sit in this place and pay attention to your body's reaction to the nature songs.  To be honest, I feel that the songbirds or frogs will provide you the most relaxing experience.  Though a sound of a hawk in the distance certainly has his or her effect too.  You can also try this with the wind, or a gurgling creek or the sound of waves coming in and out.  However, the key is to go out in the natural world and not use a nature CD for this purpose.  I want you to feel all the elements of nature around you so that you can experience a sense of Oneness.

Write down your experiences in your music diary.  You are keeping one? You can also share your experiences in the comment section of this post. (Lemniscate Music)

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