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The Science of Sound

Updated on February 25, 2015

Sand and Sound

Chladni's experiments
Chladni's experiments

The Heart and Soul in Music

It is said that the first sense we develop in the womb is that of hearing, and the last sense to leave us upon death is also hearing, or the ability to perceive sound. Even if one is born "deaf," sound is perceived through vibration. From the beating of our mother's heart when we begin life to the beating of our own as we exit, sound plays a tremendous role in our understanding of reality.

…"In 1787, the jurist, musician and physicist Ernst Chladni published Entdeckungen über die Theorie des Klangesor Discoveries Concerning the Theory of Music.In this and other pioneering works, Chladni, who was born in 1756, the same year as Mozart, and died in 1829, the same year as Beethoven, laid the foundations for that discipline within physics that came to be called acoustics, the science of sound. Among Chladni´s successes was finding a way to make visible what sound waves generate. With the help of a violin bow which he drew perpendicularly across the edge of flat plates covered with sand, he produced those patterns and shapes which today go by the term Chladni figures. What was the significance of this discovery? Chladni demonstrated once and for all that sound actually does affect physical matter and that it has the quality of creating geometric patterns."

These patterns are really beautiful and dynamic. I've seen demonstrations of this process in videos and now on youtube. I'm including one for your perusal. If you type in cymatics on youtube, you will find many more such videos.


Sand and Sound

Another Chladni image
Another Chladni image

Music and DNA

I remember reading about a scientific discovery in the late 80s of how different animals' DNA could be deciphered in a musical way to produce an actual melody. This experiment involved mice, and how the amino acids and protein molecules created a very high-pitched andante sequence. Resonant frequencies of DNA are derived from the light absorption spectra of the four base molecules (adenine, thymine, guanine and cytosine) then is used to make up the pitch collection for all the original compositions. There are many professional musicians using this computerized method to create very innovative music. One might call it "cosmic" or "new age," but it is purely scientific. To know that we are encoded down to our DNA with these vibrational patterns is very profound, like a crack in the code to enlightenment!

Tibetan Singing Bowl

Sounds of the Universe
Sounds of the Universe

Healing with Sound

Every cell in our body responds to stimuli - the presence of adequate water, or a predominance of bacteria, too much exposure to sun or radiation. lack of vitamins & minerals, abundance of cholesterol, and of course to vibrations! Jonathan Goldman is one of the modern leaders in sound therapy and practices in Boulder, Colorado. He and his wife offer many seminars on this ancient art. They use quartz crystal bowls that create various tones that help in aligning our chakras, or energy centers. They use Tibetan metal bowls that also produce an extremely resonating sound which can be very high-pitched or low, depending on the size of the bowl.

The bowls are played using a padded mallete that is passed around the rim or used to strike the bowls. Hear is a sample of a meditation session using the bowls:

I start most everyday by playing a medium-sized Tibetan bowl and letting it vibrate around my body. It is soothing and centering. I also love to sing - which of course creates immediate resonance in one's body and cells. Singing helps regulate your breath, inflates your lungs with extra oxygen, and generally makes one feel good. Pitch isn't that important, it's the practice and the pure loving sound that are so helpful.

Just last night I watched a special program on the news about how the study of music increases learning aptitude for math and other sciences in children. This seems so obvious, really. Why has it taken so long for our educators to realize that music and the visual arts are both essential to wholesome development. Music employs rhythm, math, beat, hand-eye coordination, focus, discipline and rigorous repetition. It is a universal language, and indeed the Eastern sound, OM, is considered to be the "seed" syllable and produces a harmonic wave when uttered.


Chant Om and become One with Everything!
Chant Om and become One with Everything!

Meditate on OM

When one chants OM over and over something definitely changes inside. When chanting in a group, often a natural harmony emerges and the blissful notes seem to massage everyone in tranquility. In the late 60s, Steven Gaskin had a commune near Nashville, Tennessee, where all the members came together once a week in a group chanting. There were almost 300 voices that sang to the stars in a celebration of life and love. We made a small ripple in the ocean of humanity which has kept our species alive, in my opinion.

There's much talk about the Secret and Law of Attraction of late. Fundamentally, we KNOW these universal laws. Engaging in melody making on any level definitely increases our awareness and perception of the subtle side of life.


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    • profile image

      Podiatrist 7 years ago

      I found that the calming sound of the singing bowl helped several of my patience to relax.

    • profile image

      Singing Bowls 7 years ago

      The Sound of Enlightenment! Great post . . . thank you!

    • profile image

      Singing Bowl 9 years ago

      Great sound healing article

    • shashigai profile image

      shashigai 9 years ago from New England

      good hub. i know the healing power of sound. this article is nicely done and has information i want to keep handy!

    • profile image

      Tibetan Singing Bowls 9 years ago

      Great video. I love that!

    • profile image

      ruminator 9 years ago

      Thanks, sound is the first sense we are aware of the the last sense we lose. Awesome!

      Who are you?

    • profile image

      singing bowls 9 years ago

      Very nice article. I believe in the healing power of sound too.