Universal Sound Therapy
The Integration of non-Western Music and Philosophy Into Western Therapeutic Practices
Ian Hedges Hofstra University Honors College Thesis
Table of Contents
Sound and Therapy From a Western Perspective
Sound and Therapy From a non-Western Perspective
The Integration of Ideologies and Practices
56 56 62
Appendix Interview with Dr. Benedikte B. Scheiby Music Therapy Referral Form
Introduction As a student of music business, it is easy to become desensitized to the true intentions of sound in an artistic setting. Profit margins, sales figures and licensing agreements cloud and distort the perception of what is purely “musical.” Upon reaching this realization, I desired to explore music and its functions from a particularly subjective standpoint. However, I would consider myself equally informed about music as I am passionate; well aware of the conscious and subconscious effects a song can have on an individual as well as the role music has played in the evolution of culture. Instead of becoming complacent with the newfound, classroom based ability to perceive music differently, I became curious as to how sound has the capacity to effect people regardless of their level of engagement and knowledge surrounding the immanent properties of music. What is so intrinsically eloquent about the language of music that it has had the ability to thrive over thousands of years while simultaneously becoming engrained into the every day cultural construction we experience? These intrinsic values led me to discover the realm of music therapy. The banal descriptions of sound such as “powerful,” “moving,” and “emotional” seemed to provoke far more questions about the poignancy of sound than a superficial listen would call for. Why are the compositions we love so powerful? What occurs within our minds and bodies that attracts us to particular sounds? And most importantly: how can these findings be used to stimulate a healthier and more fulfilling musical and everyday life? Upon further research, I found that my questions of how sound related to our everyday existence and the world that surround strongly resonated with non-Western sonic philosophy. This paper is an exploration of how we as individuals perceive sound and ultimately how this perception can be realized in a therapy setting. iii
Music therapy is an area of medicine so vast that nearly every condition and disease can benefit from the use of sound in the treatment and healing process.
Sound & Therapy From a Western Perspective
Music is unique as a Western art medium in that it exists as an enveloping phenomenon that a vast number of people experience for virtually their whole lives. A great deal of our identities is based on what we listen throughout a lifetime of interacting with music and the sounds in our surrounding environments. Often times, when humans are at a loss to articulate their mood or emotional status in a verbal manner, music can serve as a viable alternative form of communication. Ethnomusicologist A.P. Merriam goes so far as to say, “There is probably no other human cultural activity which is so all pervasive [as music] which reaches into, shapes, and often controls so much of human behavior” (Merriam 1964). To expand upon Merriam‟s views on the ubiquitousness of sound, Dr. Rolando O. Benenzon proposes that we are surrounded, literally, by sound from the point of conception. “These acoustic, sound, vibrational, and motor phenomena are found right from the time the ovum is fertilized by the spermatozoid to form the beginning of a new being. At this moment there are many processes which surround this egg which nests in the womb and produce, with their own dynamics movement, vibrations and sound, e.g., the noises produced by the uterine wall, the arterial and venous blood flow and the intestines; the murmur of the mother‟s voice, the sounds and movement of breathing; the mechanical movements and friction of the viscera, the joints, the muscles, chemical and enzymatic processes and many others. (Benenzon 1981, 4)
As an egg develops through the stages of embryo, fetus and onward, it does not “hear” sound through its own auditory system of perception. The fetus engages in interactions with the outside environment through sensory perception. The vibrations that the fetus feels in the womb can arguably go on to shape how an individual perceives and 1
interprets the sounds in everyday life. A newborn can often recognize a mother‟s voice and intentions based on inflection patterns simply because the fetus could continually feel the vibrations of his or her mother speaking while the child was developing. In the early 1980‟s Dr. Alfred A. Tomatis tested this theory while treating children with dyslexia. He would pass the sound of the mother‟s voice through an aqueous medium to simulate the auditory stimuli a fetus would receive while in the womb. He found that the child only recognizes and understands the words of his mother and no one else. This may be tested by all of us. If we listen to any tapes of the filtered sound, even after hours we will not recognize any of the words said by the different women. However, if they are the words of our own mother, after a time, we will understand more and more until we understand the whole of the recording. (Benenzon 1984, 29)
Whether these environmental sounds are interpreted as music is a matter of our upbringing. As Westerners, our idea of “music” must be viewed through a cultural lens, however. It is easy to assume that the organizational structures of what Westerners listen to can be translated on a universal basis. On the contrary, Western musical thought is quite myopic when viewing the world of organized sound. Even though the history of musical construction in North America and Europe spans a variety of genres, – jazz, rock and roll, pop, classical, etc. – they all refer to an identical musical language at the core of their formation. To understand this language in which Western music is created, a bit of historical context is necessary. Until the year 1722, the idea of harmony, while extensively practiced, was not a widely discussed one. Jean-Philippe Rameau brought this faction of musical practice to light during this year with an attempt at a standardization of the practices behind harmony. His Traité de l'harmonie proposed and expanded upon the fundamental 2
Western ideas of tonality and harmony. While Rameau derived pitches through acoustically sound methods, he was in favor of an equal tempered system of tuning. ET is achieved through the process of mathematically calculating the difference between pitch intervals, unfortunately compromising many natural acoustical principles. It eventually developed into the Western chromatic scale used today. A Western chromatic scale consists of twelve pitches that are equally spaced. A distance of 100 cents separates each adjacent half step within this scale. Therefore, the distance between the top and bottom pitches of an octave is 1200 cents. The chromatic scale is then used as the language for the diatonic major and minor scales. For example, a diatonic major scale spans the required 1200 cents, but instead of equal divisions of 100, the scale is divided into the following pattern: Whole step (200 cents), whole step, half step (100 cents), whole step, whole step, whole step, half step. The following relationships between whole and half steps can be manipulated further into different scales characteristic of certain styles of Western music. Unfortunately, “the musical scale is not one, not „natural,‟ not even founded necessarily on the laws of the constitution of musical sound so beautifully worked out by Helmholtz, but very diverse, very artificial and very capricious” (Ellis, 1884). Functionally, this standardization of sound can be useful on a superficial level. It has eliminated a level of disconnect that may arise because of cultural differences between North American and European countries. “An Italian tenor can sing with a Dutch orchestra. Music composed for a string quartet by a German can be played and understood by a Frenchman. It is true – there are subtle stylistic differences in performance practice that have established certain “nationalistic” musical traits. But all Western European and North American art cultures speak, read, and write the same musical language” (Hood 1971, 35-36). This unifying language is known as equal 3
temperament. While the focus of this paper is not to focus on the inconsistencies presented in Western sound construction, I believe it is a fundamental part in highlighting the benefits and potential of using non-Western music in a therapy setting. A simple deconstruction of the harmonic series can highlight the principles behind the system of equal temperament. If we are given a hypothetical fundamental pitch of 400Hz, where the number of hertz equals the number of vibrations per second, we can then determine any interval relative to the fundamental pitch through acoustically defined ratios. To determine an octave, we would use the ratio of 2:1. Acoustically speaking, this ratio states that any string or tube twice the length of another, assuming all other variables such as string tension remain the same, will vibrate at half of the fundamental frequency. This gives us a value of 200Hz.– an octave lower. Conversely, any string or tube that is half the length of the fundamental will vibrate at twice the number or vibrations per second, or 800Hz – an octave higher than the fundamental pitch. Every interval in the harmonic series has its own ratio; 3:2 represents a pure fifth, 4:3 represents and pure fourth, 5:4 represents a pure major third and so on. What is so naturally beautiful about this organization of sound is that with any given frequency, the fundamental pitch along with every note in its respective harmonic series is heard. A frequency of 100Hz will resonate with frequencies of 200Hz, 150Hz, 133.33Hz, 125Hz and on up through the harmonic series ad infinitum. This series is precisely the reason why different instruments playing the same pitch do not sound the same - the materials that are vibrating or the materials that the air is vibrating in have the ability to emphasize certain harmonics over others. Moreover, the harmonic series is why musicians tune to the unison or the octave, these are the simplest intervals of the entire harmonic series. But what would happen if someone playing within a Western musical context utilized any of the other previously mentioned intervals to tune? Any musician with an 4
ear trained to recognize pure intervals not seen in equal temperament would be able to hear a slight dissonance. Here is why: Figure 1: Circle of Equal Tempered Fifths (Duffin 2007, 23)
The circle of fifths depicted in Figure 1 above illustrates how our Western system of tuning neatly packages the twelve intervals listed above. The twelve fifths listed above span the same sonic distance as the seven octaves that they cross if you were to ascend the notes on any instrument. According to the physical properties of natural sound, however, this is not possible. If we were to take a fifth‟s ratio from the harmonic series, 3:2, and mathematically traversed the circle of fifths, it would look like this:
3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 x x x x x x x x x x x 129.746 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
Next, if we calculate the corresponding musical distance in octaves, the equation could be depicted as such:
2 2 2 2 2 2 2 x x x x x x 128 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
While one might expect a 1:1 ration as the result, evidently this is not the case. Acoustically, we end up with a ratio of 129.746:128, or about 1.014:1. Therefore, in reality a true circle of fifths is best drawn as such: Figure 2: Circle of Pure Fifths (Duffin 2007, 25)
We can conclude through the calculations that there is a slight disconnect between the distance that equal tempered fifths cover and the distance of an equal number of pure fifths. The Western tuning system of equal temperament accounts for this slight discrepancy by shortening each fifth by of the difference. While this solution seems
concise and logical, it is anything but. The shrinking of this interval only highlights a plethora of other harmonic issues with equal temperament. First off, seeing as an interval of a fourth plus a fifth amounts to an octave, the shrinking of the fifth will only lead to a wider fourth when compared to pure acoustic ratios. Furthermore, if we were to go through the same process of comparing sonic distances between different intervals and this time replaced the ratio of a fifth with the ratio of a third we encounter an even larger problem. In an equal tempered system, three major thirds cover the distance of one octave. Yet the acoustically given ratios do not concur.
This falls quite short of the given ratio of 2:1 for the octave. So short, in fact, that if we calculate the difference of the two discrepancies that have been examined, the major third must be tempered over seven times the temperament of the fifth. Ross W. Duffin comically explains how we have dealt with this musical dilemma: This interval is the invisible elephant in our musical system today. Nobody notices how awful the major thirds are. Nobody comments. Nobody even recognizes that the elephant exists. „Living with the elephant‟ is assumed to be so much better than the unknown alternatives that it‟s a nonissue. Asked about it, some people even claim to prefer the elephant; they have grown to like the elephantine thirds. But I‟m here to shake those people out of their cozy state of denial. It‟s acoustics baby: Ya gotta feel the vibrations. (Duffin 2007, 28-29)
As Mantle Hood established in The Ethnomusicologist, from a functional standpoint, the changing of intervals presents a convenient solution to a complex problem and many musicians are willing to except it. Yet if we ignore the laws of the harmonic series, how can we claim to have acceptable harmony? The re-shaping of intervals destroys the resonance properties that exist for certain frequencies. In Chapter Two, I will expand upon the benefits of resonance and how non – Western music harnesses these advantages. For now, I will highlight the harmonic compromises that musicians must make from a vertical and horizontal sonic perspective when forced into the realm of equal temperament. Yet how did we reach this point where compromise of the issue is preferred over what sounds best? Many theorists and educators advocated the use of equal temperament during the system‟s infancy in the 1800s, and it was consequently popularized because of its convenience. However, their enthusiasm for the system was only in regards to their 7
teaching of music performance to beginners and to the simplification of the learning process for their pupils. While Bach, Mozart and Beethoven, among other prolific musicians of the past two centuries, may have encouraged the use of equal temperament in the classroom, there is irrefutable evidence that they acknowledged, and possibly preferred, the existence of other systems of tunings. As the students of the 1800s grew up and passed along their knowledge, the use of equal temperament along with the ignorance of extended meantone temperament, just intonation, or other perfectly viable methods of musical tuning, became increasingly pervasive. Moreover, according to Ross Duffin, there are many cultural, political and even economic influences that have limited our perceptions on the potential positive implications of sound. In the early 1900s, at a time when Europe was experiencing a massive political and cultural shift and Communism seemed to continually threaten the American way of life, “What a coincidence that the tuning instructions that finally set the instrument free from unintentionally equal tunings were published the same year as the Russian Revolution – history‟s ultimate expression of the triumph of “social equality” (Duffin 2007, 140). Western music itself seemed to fall in line with American ideologies proclaiming, “Every note is created equal!” Furthermore, as capitalism became engrained in American society, music became readily available to the masses unlike ever before. Consequently, amateur musicians and bands began performing whenever and whenever possibly. Naturally, it would be financially and practically impossible for piano manufacturers to produce and tune pianos to anything but equal temperament. Again, American ideologies led to the exponential growth of this particular system of tuning. All of these cultural influences on music seem to be linked to the idea of positivism – which coincidentally arose around the time of Rameau‟s Traité de l'harmonie. Auguste Comte, the founder of positivism, developed this philosophy early in 8
the 19th century. In short, “The great object which Positivism sets before us individually and socially is the endeavor to become more perfect” (Comte 1865, 6). Comte applied this mindset not only to social issues such as the equality and participation of women in society, but also to the world of art. Yet how can art become more perfect? Naturally there will always be a great deal of subjectivity that surrounds organized sound, visual art, dance and so on, but again, how can we constitute perfection within any of these mediums? Art may be defined as an ideal representation of Fact; and its object is to cultivate our sense of perfection. Its sphere therefore is co-extensive with that of Science. Both deal in their own way with the world of Fact; the one explains it, the other beautifies it. The contemplations of the artist and of the man of science follow the same encyclopedic law; they begin with the simple objects of the external world; they gradually rise to the complicated facts of human nature. (Comte 1865, 314)
Keep in mind that I am in no way making an attempt to denounce the thinking of Comte or his views on Art. I am simply highlighting the paradoxical Western applications of positivism to the realm of sound. How can music become “more perfect” if we must make sacrifices at the most structural level, that of sound? “In general terms positivism looks for empirical data to justify knowledge or beliefs. As a result is excludes things that cannot be studied by quantification or that do not fir theories assembled by documented evidence. This means that something so complex and irrational as the division of sounds into a musical scale was bound to prefer the order and apparent simplicity of ET” (Duffin 2007, 141). Yet even when confined to a singular system of tuning, the principles of what Western music entails are quite broad and vulnerable to much subjectivity. We all perpetually perceive sound, either from a receptive point of “view” or from a productive stance. Yet it is difficult to hear every sound that is emitted on one singular sonic plane. 9
Naturally, there are sounds that individuals will listen to and determine to be in the “forefront” of a production while other sounds may fall into the background. While interpreting music horizontally, the listener often focuses solely on the melody and thinks in terms of melodic contour and the relationships between notes of phrases. Vertical listening entails that the listener‟s perception is preoccupied by the harmony and chordal structures of a musical work. While the melody is still heard, each melodic pitch is heard in terms of where it belongs within the harmonic structure at that point in time and not in relation to the other notes of the melody. In music the figure is represented by the melody standing out against an indistinct ground of the harmonic accompaniment. Musicians are loath to call the polyphonic strands of a well-constructed harmonic progression a mere accompaniment. Often the accompanying voices form parallel melodic phrases expressive in themselves. Yet the usual description fits the ordinary naïve way of enjoying music well enough. Moreover, it corresponds to the demands of the gestalt principle which exalts the melody as the figure to which the accompaniment serves as a background. In our memory, a piece of music is remembered only as the sound of a melody. But as we have come to appreciate, artistic perception is neither ordinary, nor confined to its precise focus which can only attend to a single melody at a time. The musician…has to train himself to scatter his attention over the entire musical structure so that he can grasp the polyphonic fabric hidden in the accompaniment. (Ehrenzweig 1976, 25)
As Ehrenzweig stated, the goal of any artist is to perceive and digest a work as a whole. But is it possible for musicians to produce sound in similar regard, formulating a sonic presentation where aspect is displayed as one singular gestalt? “The trained musician allows his attention to oscillate freely between focused and unfocused (empty) states, now focusing precisely on the solid vertical sound of chords, now emptying his attention so that he can comprehend the loose, transparent web of polyphonic voices in their entirety.” In classical symphonies, this type of attention is so important in order perceive the transformation of the melody within a specific instrument and between 10
instruments as it weaves its way through the sonic texture. Unfortunately, it is impossible for producers and listeners alike to share one universal opinion about what best represents the gestalt; what proportion of variables must be present in order to be defined as “in the forefront” or “background?” Ethnomusicologist Jean-Jacques Nattiez highlights why music, especially today in the West, can be defined through an extensive gamut of interpretations: “A sonorous fact of any kind is recognized as music when we make the distinction between music and non-music; that is, when we associate interpretants conveyed by the concept “music” or “the musical” with that sonorous fact” (Nattiez 1990, 41). Furthermore, these associations that Nattiez is discussing can be influenced by three different sonic variables: poietic – those of the producer or composer; immanent – lying with the sound itself; esthesic – those of the receivers, and here, we as listeners determine that for sonic constructions to be considered “music,” the product resulting from the combination all three variables must be “pleasant.” First, let us discuss sound in terms of its immanent variables.
These elements are open to little interpretation simply because they deal with acoustics and the physical aspects of sound. One example that is rarely open for discussion is whether or not the ratio of frequencies for a fundamental pitch and its octave is 2:1, or the ratios for any interval within the harmonic series, for that matter. The specific frequencies and how they relate to certain pitches, however, are subject to some differentiation and are not considered immanent. The frequencies relate to the tuning used and the cultural organization of sound. The tuning then becomes a poietic variable as it is concerned with the materials used in a composition. Although sound has a physical aspect, “music”, unlike other art forms, cannot be depicted visually. While certain types of sounds may influence listeners to visualize specific settings, this is more of a testament to the changing consciousness required for listening – an esthesic issue. Therefore, immanently 11
speaking, “music” is intrinsically temporal in terms of its existence. Igor Stravinsky goes as far as to argue that the relationship between man and time is the only aspect of “music” that truly exists. Everything else is formulated through matters of extra-musical expression during the production. “For I consider that all music is, by its very nature, essentially powerless to express anything at all, whether a feeling, an attitude of mind, a psychological mood, a phenomenon of nature, etc… Expression has never been an inherent property of music. That is by no means the purpose of its existence…The phenomenon of music is given to us with the sole purpose of establishing an order in things, including, and particular, the coordination between man and time.” (Stravinsky 1936, 53-54)
The temporality of music is further emphasized especially when presented in a recorded format. The physical sound waves that once existed were transformed into a digital format, at least this is the case in today‟s musical world. Since the dawn of personal, portable playback devices, man‟s musical relationship with time has become strained. We have the power to manipulate the temporal dimension of music when given a pause and play button. The process of stopping and starting a recording at our own free will detaches us from one of the few immanent parts of sound. The ability to control the time associated with music has shifted the temporal quality of sound to the esthesic, or receptive, category of variables. As I mentioned before, esthesic sound variables relate to how a consumer of sound perceives what they are listening to. And much of the time, for the listener to consider the auditory stimulus “music,” it must be “pleasing.” Since we cannot make a universal claim of what “pleasing” sounds like, let us at least identify some influential factors when a listener determines the level of sonic quality. Proper intonation, timbre, instrumentation and dynamics are just a few variables that must cooperate to gain the appreciation and continued engagement of a listener. While a listener may not recognize 12
a “musical” work that explores extreme dynamic ranges to the extent that it is sonically unpleasant, a composer has every right to deem the composition as “musical” because it manipulates and employs certain sonic variables that are part of the “musical” domain. Poietic variables are far more pervasive, mostly likely due to the sonic variety of how composers use sound in today‟s culture. “We must remind ourselves that – for historical reasons that are not my part to discuss – we live in an age in which it has become possible (without undue risk) for anyone to baptize anything as „music,‟ „poetry,‟ or „painting‟” (Ruwet 1975, 349). It would be remiss if only the aspects of sound that we interpret through auditory perception were discussed. Visual interpretation contributes to our overall comprehension of a musical performance, as well. Pianist Alfred Brendel describes how the phenomena of combining physical actions during performance can enhance our understanding of the musical implications. “The sound of sustained notes on the piano can be modified…with the help of certain movements which make the pianist‟s conception of cantabile actually visible to the audience. There are many examples of pieces where [suggesting things with physical gestures] is necessary. Things like the end of Liszt‟s B minor Sonata, where before the three pianissimo B major chords there is a crescendo on one chord that that one has to convey bodily, with a gesture.” (Brendel 1976, 31)
The combination of sound with the artists‟ physical movements help increase the audience‟s overall understanding of musical intentions. Granted, if the physicality of the artists were not present, it would not change the sonic content of the work, only the level of listener comprehension relative to the intentions of the composer or performer. We can conclude that “We would not know how to speak of music without referring to sonority even when the reference is only implied. We can then allow (without too much soul searching) that sound is a minimal condition of musical fact” (Nattiez 1990, 43). 13
Now that we have explored all three dimensions of musical construction, we will now present how they relate to one another. So far, we have explored what constitutes “music” for individuals in a Western society. However, we have not identified the characteristics of the “non-musical,” or simply, noise. But before delving deeper into a tenuous semiological issue, we would like to point out that the focus of this chapter is to define how “music” fits into a therapeutic process, not what does or does not constitute noise. As mentioned before, we will quickly find ourselves in a world of subjectivity when discussing noise and if noise, especially that which is created in a non-traditional (instrumental) fashion, should be considered musical. For the sake of understanding – and formulating a comparative definition – it is best to define noise as that which both composers and listeners find displeasing and possessing no form of discernable organization. In an immanent and acousmatic sense, noise can be seen as sound produced “from non-periodic vibrations (an erratic, intermittent, or statistically random vibration)” (Nattiez 1990, 45). Figure 3: (Nattiez 1990, 46)
Here in Figure 3, we see the differences between what constitutes noise and sound across the three levels of sonic involvement. The disconnect seen across the three planes can be explained, yet again, in terms of subjectivity. What the composer or producer may consider to be music could mathematically and acoustically be proven to be nothing more than intermittent sound waves. Yet if the composer presents them in a musical manner while associating the noises with other strong musical interpretants, he has every right to deem the production “music.” The listener may be skeptical of the production seeing as they are surrounded by a constant cultural representation of what “music” is, and any composition that does not fall comfortably within these cultural norms is often considered non-musical. Take, for instance, the works of Iannis Xenakis. Xenakis was as much an architect of physical structures as he was a musician. He often employed an engineering mindset when he approached the process of musical compositions. Mycenae Alpha was a piece of electronic music Xenakis “composed” by assigning certain frequencies to visual aspects created in a drawing Xenakis used. The “music” emitted would vary based on shading, shape, where the parts of the drawing existed in terms of placement along the vertical and horizontal axes of the canvas. The result of the production is an eerie, tenminute production that sounds more like extraterrestrial conversation than a “typical” piece of “music.” In spite of this, Xenakis‟ work has plenty of musical elements present. He uses computer-generated frequencies with varying dynamics and timbres within a temporally organized setting. Whether or not the piece is deemed “pleasing” is of no importance. Every sonic aspect of Mycenae Alpha must be referred to in terms of sonority and how they function “musically.” The continued expansion of sonic boundaries into the musical universe can be depicted with the timeline below.
Figure 4: (Nattiez 1990, 49)
The figure above represents the shifting perceptions from poietic, immanent and esthesic viewpoints. Over time, “the extension of the concept of „music‟ (that is, what has been accepted for consideration as „musical‟ over the course of the centuries, at least in the West) is paralleled by an acceptance of sound phenomena that were previously considered noises” (Nattiez 1990, 48). This “acceptance” is depicted above quite nicely within the poietic level. Composers have accepted more and more of what once was classified as noise into the musical world. The timeline suggests that all noise can now be
interpreted as music. The composer‟s creations, therefore, have influenced the receiver in that the audience has changed their perceptions of what they believe music to be. While there willingness to accept to entire sound spectrum into the musical world, there has been a distinct change in the breadth of noise that listeners interpret as “music.” Now that we have established a foundation for what music is in a Western context, let us explore the therapeutic applications of the sonic constructions. Knowing that one‟s perception of the human milieu is shaped largely by music, a therapist can take advantage of this fact and attempt to stimulate or suppress certain aspects of our individual insights to our environment. At times, music itself elicits these behavioral changes. However, most often there is the purposeful persuasion, either directly or indirectly, of the therapist. By means of music and persuasion, then, the ultimate goal – to bring about desirable changes in human behavior – is attempted. (Gaston 1968, 7) Music therapists are able to take advantage of our susceptibleness to music and sounds in general. Sound tends to be quite primal and closely associated to the subconscious natural rudiments that occur within our bodies. “The long extensions of the interior of the human body such as the larynx, the arms, the legs, the hands, the feet, the fingers, the tongue, the mouth, and the skin will become musical instruments which will serve as intermediary subjects when they are used in music therapy” (Benenzon 1997, 8). Our bodies become a medium through which sound is directed. Music therapy harnesses this body-sound connection and has the potential to heal a person as a whole. “Man is not body and mind or psyche and soul, or matter and spirit. He is a whole and music therapy (which, among all the branches of medicine, is precisely the one that uses invisible abstract elements which can only be perceived over time) is the technique which is most directed at the whole of man” (Benenzon 1997, 6). The therapist acknowledges that no 17
single aspect of the patient is more important that another. By using sound in a healing setting, the human condition is accepted as complex system where every functional mechanism must be at balance in order to properly function. Here in the United States, The National Association for Music Therapy defines the practice as, “…the use of music in the accomplishment of these therapeutic aims: the restoration, maintenance, and improvement of mental and physical health. It is the systematic application of music, as directed by the music therapist in a therapeutic environment, to bring about desirable change in behavior. Such changes enable the individual undergoing therapy to experience a greater understanding of himself and the world about him, thereby achieving a more appropriate adjustment to society.” (Davis, Gfeller, Thaut 1992, 5) Naturally, music therapy covers a broad range of disciplines aside from music, and a therapist must be well versed in all of these areas, which may include, “…the biological sciences, sociology, anthropology, psychology and oral and written music communication” (Davis, Gfeller, Thaut 1992, 11). While these “concrete” sciences may offer research-proven theories and a solid basis for their utilization, music on the other hand, has always fallen in the categories of philosophy and speculative science. Furthermore, because music is often a highly personalized experience, the interpretation of the phenomena surrounding it will tend to differ from person to person. It is easy to make broad claims “…such as „Stravinsky disturbs,‟ „Wagner exalts,‟ „Sibelius depresses,‟ „Chopin stimulates,‟ and so on. Surely these statements would find agreement in some quarters…It is obvious to the reader, however, that it might be equally accurate to maintain that Stravinsky stimulates rather than disturbs, or that Sibelius exalts and Wagner depresses…It is precisely in this apparent quandary that we find the crux of the matter: The emotional reactions which music may arouse are as numerous as the individuals reacting, and the subjectivity of emotional experiences which is reflected in all this variability is the core of our problem.” (Fisichelli, Paperte 1952, 15) 18
This has made it difficult to develop overarching principles surrounding the science of how music functions cognitively and behaviorally on a universal level. Scientists, musicians and therapists alike have not demurred at this fact, however. Extensive research has been conducted over the past 50 years concerning the application of music therapy with patients suffering from a wide variety of conditions. Case studies have been performed on those with impaired vision, impaired speech, impaired hearing, Cerebral Palsy, Autism, Schizophrenia, orthopedic patients and geriatric patients, to name a few. “The earliest known reference to music therapy in the United States was an unsigned article in Columbian Magazine in 1789. The article, entitled „Music Physically Considered,‟ presented basic principles of music therapy that are still in use today and provided evidence of music therapy practice in Europe. Mainly using the ideas of Descartes, the anonymous author developed a case for using music to influence and regulate emotional conditions. An interesting conclusion drawn by the author was that a person‟s mental state may affect physical health. (Davis, Gfeller, Thaut 1992, 21)
Over the past two hundred years, methods of practice may have evolved drastically, but the original theory proposed above that a patient‟s mental state might affect their physical health has remained at the core. Over this time period, scholars continually “…supported the use of therapeutic music as an alternative or a supplement to traditional medical treatment” (Davis, Gfeller, Thaut 1992, 22). Even as early the Nineteenth Century, there is evidence of music therapy being used in conjunction with traditional therapy for students at the American Asylum for the Deaf in Hartford, Connecticut, as well as other physically disabled students. Today, according to the membership directory of The National Association for Music Therapy, the majority of all patients, about 28%, are being treated for some type of mental illness (Davis, Gfeller, Thaut 1992, 8). The directory goes on to give a detailed breakdown of a slew of other conditions that patients suffer from including those with eating disorders, substance abuse 19
problems, Alzheimer‟s, Autism and even AIDS. Naturally, these health problems will tend to encompass every age demographic, further increasing the patient variability within music therapy. Just as a doctor will concentrate on one specific segment of medicine such as pediatrics, a music therapist will tend to focus on one affected segment of the population, such as one of the conditions listed previously. With many of these medical issuess, there are many universal symptoms that accompany the process of coping with a disease, both mentally and physically. Therapy can be used to control pain or discomfort as well as a method for stress management. As previously noted however, unlike Indian and other forms of non-Western music, music therapy in the United States runs into a large dilemma of subjectivity. Indian music, for example, has a proven methodology of employing different scales to evoke different states of mind (Daniélou). Yet in America, it is quite the opposite; the emotions that a patient is feeling tend to dictate the music a therapist will use to treat their condition. The therapist acts as a medium between qualifying and affiliating the music and emotions of the subject rather than employing a concrete emotionally inducing set of sounds. However, there has been a movement toward a non-Western based philosophy in music therapy as well as holistic therapies in general in recent years. Whether this trend has to do with the acknowledgement of the underlying problems that exist in Westernbased music therapy or if it is simply a product of living in exceedingly globalized environment is up to interpretation. The increased pervasiveness of Indian and Gamelan traditions within Western society, however, cannot be denied. From the explosive growth in Yoga, to other notable forms of newly adapted therapies, such as Gamelan based gong therapy, North Americans are looking for new methods of achieving physical as well as mental fitness. If this trend continues, music therapy in the United States could be far
more effective in treating not only patients with physical and mental ailments, but also those simply looking to improve their overall state of well being.
Sound & Therapy From a Western Perspective
Through living in the year 2012, we have access to a dizzying array of musical choices. An incalculable number of works within countless genres have been spawned and developed over the centuries, each representing a specific culture or cultural segment. With the plethora of sound available to us, it is difficult to grasp the basis of how the idea of organized sound was conceived. For us to understand any form of music, we must first conceptualize it in a historical perspective. It has been the general consensus of many anthropologists and ethnomusicologists that the beginnings of quantifying sound into an organized system can be attributed to the Greeks around the time of 600 B.C. Greece was a hotbed for new ideas in the area of art and science, seeing as it was in a location not far from cultural hubs such as Egypt, Persia and the birthplace of civilization, Mesopotamia. By no means did the Greeks “invent” science or music, “…the Greeks received all the elements of their musical system from Egypt and the Near East, a fact that they never attempted to conceal. Where they really showed their originality was in their physicists‟ attempts to explain the laws of that music with the help of a theory that they had received from another source, and that in reality was applicable to another system.” (Daniélou 1943, 94) The individual who can most often be attributed to making sense of the relationship between music and science was Pythagoras. Born in approximately 570 B.C., Pythagoras was a brilliant philosopher whose ideas became the basis for much of Western thought. Pythagoras postulated that everything that exists naturally in our universe could be expressed in terms of ratios and numbers. He identified this relationship through the symbolic representation of the tetractys:
X: One; Unity, identity, equality, purpose of friendship, conservation of the universe, sympathy. XX: Two; Dyad, principle of dichotomy, the mutability of everything that is. XXX: Three; Emblematic of things with a beginning, middle and end. XXXX: Four; The number of points required to construct a pyramid, the simplest of perfect solids. This system presented not only a philosophical understanding of the universe, but also a way to connect biological, mathematical and spiritual practices. On this regard Arthur Koestler affirms: “The sixth century evokes the image of an orchestra expectantly tuning up, each player absorbed in his own instrument only, deaf to the caterwaulings of the others. Then there is a dramatic silence, the conductor enters the stage, raps three times with his baton, and harmony emerges from the chaos. The maestro is Pythagoras of Samos, whose influence on the ideas, and thereby on the destiny, of the human race was probably greater than that of any single man before or after him. (Koestler 1959, 25) The “Pythagorean Philosophy” concerned the interrelatedness of all human knowledge, proposing the existence of a “harmony” between the “instruments” of the natural sciences and music – or that they are simply one in the same. If everything in the Universe can be expressed in terms of numbers, including the Universe itself, Pythagoras concluded that if our universe could be expressed in terms of music, then our universe and the cosmos itself is music. Pythagoras‟ theory of “universal music” can be divided into three distinct types: Musica instrumentalis, musica humana and musica mundana. Musica instrumentalis concerns the production of musical sounds through either vocal or instrumental means. Musica humana is the “continuous but unheard music made by each human organism, especially the harmonious (or inharmonious) resonance between the soul and body.” (We will discuss this theory of soul and body resonance later). Lastly, Musica mundane, or “music of the spheres,” is music created by the universe itself.
(James 1993, 31). While the production of each form of music may be different, the theory would not be inherently Pythagorean if each form of music were unrelated and did not arise from the same fundamental nature. “Since musica instrumentalis and musica humana were of the same essence, manifestations of the same truth, then by plucking the strings of a lyre one could arouse sympathetic vibrations in the human instrument” (James 1993, 31). This same principle can be applied on much larger, and smaller, scales. Pythagoras concluded that everything in the Universe, from the innermost workings of the human body to the orbits of planets and stars, in motion and produces some form of sympathetic vibration. In turn, these vibrations all produce sound. Even if the human ear cannot perceive these noises, they still exist. Aristotle put it beautifully when he proposed the question: “When the sun and all the stars, so great in number and in size, are moving so rapid a motion, how should they not produce a sound immensely great?” Furthermore, …[T]o deal with the problem that none of us is able to hear these musical sounds of surpassing loudness, Aristotle explains that the sound is in out ears from the very moment of birth and is thus indistinguishable from its contrary contrast, since sound and silence are discriminated by mutual contrast. An analogy was drawn with the coppersmith, who spends all his time surrounded by the din of the shop, until finally he grows oblivious to it. (James 1995, 40)
The sounds that atoms, oceans, mountains, planets and stars all create produce a harmony that is Universe it ultimately in tune with. While each is a separate entity from one another and they each possess their own function, they all contribute – musically and otherwise – to the whole of everything that exists. After digesting the philosophical beliefs that Pythagoras and Aristotle had established concerning music, I could not help but think of the work of Rolando Benezon. As I pointed out in Chapter One, Benezon believes that the vibratory stimuli that a fetus receives in the womb can have a deepseeded effect on a newborn‟s auditory perception as the develop. Similarly, I would like 24
to believe that a parallel could be drawn to every human existing in the womb of Mother Nature. While we may not explicitly realize many of the sounds emitted from our natural environment, they too have a inherent part on our perception of sound. Music then becomes part of the cosmic fabric that blankets the Universe and can be considered the purest form of self-expression. Along with being a philosopher, scientist and musician, Pythagoras was also known as being a healer. He could often times incite a feeling or mood within subjects that he worked with simply by choosing a certain musical mode to work with. “Pythagoras considered that music contributed greatly to health if used in the right way…He called his method musical medicine. In the spring…he would sit in the middle of his disciples who were able to sing melodies and play his lyre…His followers would sing in unison certain chants or paeans…by which they appeared to be delighted and became melodious and rhythmical. At other times, his disciples also employed music as medicine, with certain melodies composed to cure the passion of the psyche, as well as ones for despondency and mental anguish. In addition to these medical aids there were other melodies for anger and aggression and for all psychic disturbances. (Iamblichus)
When the Greeks would practice rituals to rid the body of diseases and lead the subjects to higher states of consciousness, the particular mode of music used was an innate part of the practice. Yet these healing properties that were found in the music were present when working with sound that existed naturally or music that was organized under the basis of natural tunings. In the West, our equally tempered scales denounce any potential relationship between music and the effects on the body. When they correspond exactly to certain ratios and certain pitches, intervals awaken a particular resonance in all elements of matter whose structure comprises the same ratio or wavelength. Here absolute accuracy is an indispensable feature. If we stray by one-hundredth of a vibration, the sound loses its sharpness and produces no reaction. When certain systems of music, like Western music for example, give up the fundamental accuracy of natural intervals by adopting such compromises as equal temperament they entirely forgo any possible „magical‟ effects, and, indeed, also most of its emotive power. Such music is bound to become more and more abstract and meaningless. (Daniélou 2003, 36) 25
Therefore, the function of Western music is limited to purely enjoyment. “A Mozart Sonata can have no important or durable effect curing illness or increasing a cow‟s milk yield” (Daniélou 2003, 35. Consequently, because sound exists naturally, it can be broken down to numbers and mathematics. Musicians depict this numerical depiction of sound through the harmonic series. I briefly touched upon the harmonic series in the previous chapter, and here I will explain how it correlates with the Pythagorean way of thinking. Legend has it that Pythagoras became enlightened to the ratios of sound when passing by a blacksmith. The philosopher heard the clanking of the anvils on metal are perceived consonances and dissonances from the result of different weighted hammers. While this story may be questionable – harmonics relate only to the length, thickness and tension of a string or length of a tube, not to weight – it no doubt resulted in a stimulus for further exploration. Pythagoras soon discovered that the beginnings of the harmonic series corresponded to the tetractys. An octave can be expressed in terms of the ratio 1:2, a fifth as 2:3, and a fourth as 3:4. These three ratios constitute the three most important intervals in many systems of tuning, and they allowed Pythagoras to construct the groundwork for a primitive yet mathematically based scale. He combined his knowledge of intervals with his theory of celestial harmony to produce the Pythagorean Scale. Counting outward from the earth to the outermost sphere of the fixed stars, Pythagoras fixed the musical intervals as follows: from the earth to the moon was a whole step; from the moon to Mercury, a half step; Mercury to Venus, another half step; from Venus to the sun was a minor third…the sun to Mars, a whole step; Mars to Jupiter, a half step; Jupiter to Saturn, a half step; and from Saturn to the sphere of the fixed stars, another minor third. Thus the musical scale to which Aristotle referred…runs: C, D, Eb, E, G, A, Bb, B, D. (James 1995, 40)
Yet even if Pythagoras was the origin for how Western systems of tuning arose, we cannot make the overall assumption that other parts of the world extrapolated and employed these systems with similar artistic and cultural suppositions. Through the immersion of sound that we experience in Western culture, it is difficult to imagine organized sound as something more than entertainment. Even as a student of music, it is often a recalcitrant mental exercise to separate oneself from the aspects of production and performance – chord progressions, technology, intonation, stage presence – and solely appreciate that the sounds heard are meant for listeners to appreciate. If we translate this esthesic standpoint to a worldwide perspective, certain cultural associations must be left behind. When discussing “music” in a worldly context, we must take a nominalist position in order to fully grasp these sounds from the perspective of an insider of that culture. Moreover, it is imperative to keep in mind that …[E]thnomusicologists and musicologists who by means of the concept „music‟ bind together facts that other cultures keep separate…Nevertheless, we cannot disperse with out own descriptive tools, in integrating the conceptualizations of indigenous peoples into our analyses. We must realize that the musical phenomena are necessarily approached simultaneously from an anthropological point of view, and with recourse to analysis of the neutral level. (Nattiez 1987, 59-60)
In reality, we cannot apply the form of a Mozart sonata to Indonesian Gamelan music any more than we could compare an Indian rāga to an Erik Satie melody. As Nattiez mentioned, from an esthesic standpoint, it is possible to formulate similarities such as instrumentation, timbre, and tuning, but functionally and culturally, these types of music share little to no common ground. For instance, Western classical music “has decays; it is granular; it has attacks; it fluctuates, swollen with impurities – and all this creates a musicality that comes before any „cultural‟ musicality” (Nattiez 1987, 46). In fact, if any common ground is found, it is undoubtedly because the similar variables are 27
being evaluated post-extrapolation. An anthropologist or casual listener may take an observation such as, “both works contain similar rhythmic structures,” and assume their likeness implies “musical” similarities. On the contrary, these structures were derived from separate cultural origins and created by individuals with entirely different views on sonic perception. Whatever parallels exist are created simply for the sake of creating loose cross-cultural identities. I seem to suggest that there are no grounds for comparing different musical systems; there is no possibility of any universal theory of musical behavior, and no hope of cross-cultural communication. But if we consider our own experiences, we must realize that this is* not in fact so…some Venda songs (traditional music of South Africa) that must have been composed hundreds of years ago still excite the Venda, and they also excite me…our own experience suggests that there are some possibilities of cross-cultural communication. I am convinced that the explanation is to be found in the fact that at the level of deep structures in music there are elements that are common to the human psyche, although they may not appear in the surface structures. (Blacking 1973, 108-9) The ideals surrounding positivism seem to surface yet again when we discuss the comparisons that are made for the sake of cultural unity. For some reason, many listeners seem to be drawn to the idea that there is a necessity for one perfect, unified system of sonic creativity. While this may be product of the globalized environment we live where individuals are compelled to create connections, it often tends to be illusionary. “There are musical languages, just as there are articulated languages, and, as a rule, it is difficult for us to understand a musical language with which we are not familiar” (Daniélou 2003, 107). I am in no way, however, denouncing the accessibility to information regarding other cultures and what we perceive as their art forms. I consider the progression of art, as well as science, economics and other societal issues to be dependent on innovation that we derive from outside of bland, structuralized thought. This innovation can only be inspired by ideas not centralized in an insouciant atmosphere but in surrounding 28
conducive to diversity. I am emphasizing the fact that while we can glean a great deal of information for different ideologies, these cultures must ultimately remain separate in order to preserve the fundamentals of each culture. These differences are what inspire us in the first place to appreciate the beauty in other forms of art. We can conclude that “the question is whether the process of association are the same in different cultures, whether similar musical processes and structures give rise to similar or analogous connotations in different cultures” (Nattiez 1987, 66). As observers, we should be looking for the ideas that provoke certain practices and not solely at the practices themselves. Regardless of whether or not Western and non – Western ideologies are comparable, both parts of the world use sound as a means for healing and therapy. This chapter will first focus on the gamelan music of Southeast Asia. Gamelan is performed in Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia, but this chapter will focus on the philosophy and traditions that surround the Indonesian tradition. Historically, gamelan has been centered around Java and the island of Bali. Let us first describe gamelan as a whole before we delve into the regional differences. As an important cultural art, it typically is used in a communal setting, often times to accompany social gatherings, trance rituals and even puppetry events. The sound produced consists of two layers: the structure, which sets a sonic foundation, and the solo, usually played by a flute or a stringed instrument, and in some cases, it is performed by a vocalist. The structural sound is produced by sets of gongs and xylophones that consist of metal or wooden bars. These structure-producing instruments are divided into two categories – phrase-making instruments and loud instruments – on the basis of their responsibility within the ensemble. The gong, kempul, kenong, kethuk, and kempyang are all considered phrase-making instruments in that they demarcate where the phrases in melody exist. The subsequent faction, loud instruments, mostly contributes 29
to filling the overall sonic space. In this dimension, three types of instruments work together to demonstrate the loud playing style: saron, bonang, and the kendhang, the later is of the percussion family. Together, these instruments perform short melodic, pentatonic-based patters that all differ slightly from one another, yet when combined, it results in sonically enveloping phrases with simple interlocking rhythms. This provides the groundwork for the solo instruments to perform. The solo instruments subsequently fall into the faction of soft instruments. These soft instruments assist in reinforcing the basic melody that the ensemble is presenting. The slenthem, gender, and gambang are all xylophone-esque instruments, similar to those used as phrase making instruments but of a higher pitch. The celempung and the rebab are stringed instruments and the suling is a bamboo flute and the only wind instrument of the gamelan ensemble. Lastly, the voice is also a member of the soft family. From a Western standpoint, it seems counterintuitive for a “solo” instrument share exclusivity with the term “soft,” yet, the functional properties of a solo in a gamelan setting are far different than what we are used to as Westerners. “Unlike Western concert tradition where traditionally the function of the orchestra is to accompany the voice, in the…gamelan orchestra the singing is no more or less important than any other instrument; its function is yet another melodic layer in the overall structure of the music” (Gamelan Dharma Swara). This selflessness portrayed within the musical aspect of the ensemble highlights the true social function of gamelan music. While each instrument serves a specific function within the ensemble, there is no sonic trait that is more important than another. Therefore, no member of the ensemble serves as a focal point of attention.
As you can see in Figure 5 above, the variety and quantity of instruments used in a typical gamelan ensemble calls for a large number of musicians. The instrumentation of these ensembles reinforces the belief that gamelan is first and foremost a social activity before it is considered a “musical” one. I had the privilege of traveling to the Indonesian Consulate in New York City with a group of students from Dr. Cassio‟s class, sponsored by the D‟addario Music Appreciation Initiative. The gamelan performers taught us the basic performance techniques of each instrument, such that we could perform a piece of gamelan music after about an hour of rehearsal. There was no sheet music to read, only a few of us were particularly musical, and the system of tuning was entirely foreign to the vast majority of the group. Yet, through the process of repetition, we were able to 31
perform as one cohesive group. One may be quick to highlight the simplicity of some of the parts to belittle or negate whatever accomplishments we made as an ensemble. However, for an individual that is non-musical it is easy to become disoriented in gamelan music because of the repetitive rhythmic patterns found in different instruments and the unfamiliar system of tuning. Surprisingly, because the sound is entirely ensemble intensive and any individual‟s part can be heard – and even “felt” – in other parts of the room, the music serves as a social support system to encourage and reinforce participation. I believe that each individual there came to the realization that we existed not to be heard but only to complement one another, both sonically and socially. The sense of transformation that is created and communicated is a central element of this type of therapeutic effect. The transformation perceived is thus potentially a transformation experienced by the individual performer and by the group for which it is performed. In short, these performances serve their audiences, and strive to be valued by such audiences – they are embodied ideology. These performances are inseparable from their social and cultural contexts, that is, they cannot exist without them. As performed states of consciousness, they are contingent upon the information flow – the trains of thoughts and associations – from which they are created, and through which they are embodied and enacted by the performers. (Morelos 2006, 181) I arrived at the Consulate eager to ask questions on what the ensemble members thought of the music therapy, properties of resonance, and the processes of how sound affects state of mind and body. Through the action of performing with a group of enthusiastic and like-minded individuals, however, the majority of my questions were answered. Gamelan performers do not approach the music with the mindset that it will heal or transform them in an overt manner. The enjoyment that the performers perceive by performing with friends and family, and the notion that without the individuals they are surrounded by, the magnitude of intrinsic satisfaction would not resonate nearly as deep. This satisfaction is then unconsciously transformed into an improvement of the 32
overall state of mind, which as we will discuss in detail later, can have a direct impact on the improvement on physical health. The leader of our student ensemble told a short anecdote of how he once entered a rehearsal with a nagging headache that he could not seem to alleviate. After about an hour of playing the headache dissipated and he found himself with a clear mind. He did not delve into any scientific explanation for how the sound waves stimulated a certain chemical reaction or inspired certain synapses to begin firing, but simply said through the process of experience, he was able to feel better. The music that we experienced as a class was typical of the Javanese style of gamelan. Java style was emblematic of what was heard in the upper echelons of society in that part of Indonesia. “…traditionally, the musicians in service of the Royal Courts of Central Java were palace servants. The music they composed and performed . . .enjoyed the highest evaluation not only by the elite for whom they performed, but also by all levels of society who emulated the same repertoire through the communal efforts of the village musicians performing on instruments of relatively poor quality” (Hood 1963). Their style of music is often characterized as slow, serene and intellectual. On the contrary, Balinese gamelan is far more commonplace among villagers and their everyday lives. Balinese style of music is an addition to religious ceremonies, trance rituals and entertainment such as puppet shows. Unlike Java style, the music of the islanders is far livelier and full of rhythmic variation of vitality. Both styles of Indonesian music, however, are built upon the fundamentals that were discussed previously. First, gamelan is typically associated with some other ritual and becomes fused within an overall experience – a dance routine, weddings, or a trance ritual. Second, if gamelan is presented as a separate entity, the primary function is often non-musical. A great deal of tradition surrounds gamelan and it is derived from the richness of social connectivity each ensemble member experiences. 33
Just north of Indonesia, the sonic culture of India presents similar beliefs on how the “musical” integrates with their everyday lives. Contrary to gamelan, however, Indian organized sound is far more conscious of the “musical” differences between their art form and that of the West. Indian sound philosophy tends to correspond to the teachings of Pythagoras and his theory surrounding the “music of the spheres.” As I discussed earlier, Pythagoras believed everything in the Universe could be expressed in terms of patterns and numbers. Likewise, Indian music assists in facilitating our relationship and level of perception regarding the natural world that surrounds us. “If sounds can invoke in us emotions, beings, or landscapes, it is because there are correspondences between different aspects of the manifested world that the laws of music allows us to bring out” (Daniélou 1943, 2). Due to this, there is a sense of purity that surrounds traditional Indian music and how their cultural realizations of sound. This purist nature is highlighted if we were to compare it to the use of vibrato in Western music. Most non-Western musicians view the utilization of vibrato as a means to mask any inconsistencies pertaining to pitch. In a harmonic sense, vibrato only diminishes the physical relationship each pitch has with one another. “In this case…the classical Indian vocal and instrumental technique is much superior, since it aims at pure unwavering sound and at a precise pitch. The effect of such sounds is therefore much deeper and more lasting” (Daniélou 1943, 38). It is strange, then, to see such strong emotional associations tied to the use of vibrato. Modern interpretations of late Romantic music, which I consider to be some of the most “expressive” Western classical music, are synonymous with the use of vibrato by the soloist. Even without sonic manipulations such as vibrato, the acceptance of the equal temperament system discussed in Chapter 1 presents a slew of difficulties for those dealing with Western harmony. 34
“One of the main drawbacks of harmonic music is harmony. This seems rather odd, but is in fact true. Only very few sounds can be played together and create a pleasing musical impression and not a confused noise. Therefore polyphony, the playing of several sounds together is mostly limited in harmonic music by harmony itself, that is, by the need for these sounds to mix together harmoniously. Harmony is therefore based on a very few intervals, which are the fifth and its inversion, the fourth, the major and minor thirds and their inversion the major and minor sixth. Beyond this, use of the tone or half tone creates dissonances that must be properly framed by consonance.” (Daniélou 1943, 52) While Western music tends to focus on harmony and its relationship to melody, Indian music focuses solely on the melody and the relationship to the listener and producer. Harmony does, however, provide distinct reference points with which to frame the melody. Through a quick analysis of the music as a whole, everything from the key to melodic structure and points of emphasis can be recognized. In Indian music, we must use other methods of interpretation. The first of these elements is the modal constructions of Indian music. When focusing on the modal aspect, we must reconceptualize our Western conditioned definition of harmony. “We must remember that, just as Indian musicians may see in [Western] harmony only a meaningless noise, Europeans are perhaps similarly incapable of appreciating the significance of an isolated modal degree. They cannot realize how an isolated note can convey the full meaning of a chord, because of its position in regard to the memorized tonic and sometimes to another axial note. Still, by the work of memory, a single note really does form a chord or relation of sounds.” (Daniélou 1943, 60)
When perceiving a chord in a Western context, it becomes difficult to deconstruct the set of notes because each element within the whole is inherently related to one another. Through application of Indian concept of harmony as described by Daniélou above, however, it becomes clear that the modal system allows the listener to perceive each note individually and how it cooperates with the system on a larger scale. Therefore, “There is no essential difference between successive notes and simultaneous sounds, 35
provided the ratios that bind them together are the same” (Daniélou 1943, 60). The purity that the sounds of Indian music consists of and the biological connection that it excites between the listener and our surrounding environment is only further realized when considering the entire assortment of sounds a single mode presents. The intentions of the sound are so decisive that “only modal music can create such permanent impressions, because all its variations only tend toward the expression of one accurately determined feeling or image. This cannot fail, after a sufficient time, to imprint that feeling or that image in the mind of all those who hear the mode, whether attentive or not” (Daniélou 1943, 61). The exploration of Indian music made here is in reference to the classical tradition, just as I refer to the traditional methods of Western harmony in the previous chapter. However, “If we value music, not according to the amount of noise it can produce, but according to the quality and variety of the emotions it can convey, we shall find that modal music offers very great possibilities, greater in fact than any other system” (Daniélou 1943, 53). “If we bear in mind that of all the people of the Earth, who all possess music and songs, Europeans are the only ones who use harmony, chords, and who find this mixture pleasant; if we bear in mind that, of all the nations who cultivated fine arts, not one knew this harmony; that no animal, no bird, no being in Nature produces any other sound than unison, any other music than melody; that Oriental languages, so sonorous, so musical, that Greek ears, so delicate, so sensitive, trained with so much art, have never guided those voluptuous and passionate peoples towards our [Western] harmony; that without it, their music has such extraordinary effects; that, with it, ours has such feeble ones; that finally, it was to be privilege of Northern races, whose organs, hard and rough, are more impressed by the shrillness and the noise of voices than by the softness of accents and the melody of inflexions, to make this great discovery and to put it as the principle of all the riles of Art; if, I say, we bear all this in mind, it is very difficult not to suspect that all our harmony is only a Gothic and barbarous invention, to which we would never have taken, had we been more sensitive to the real beauty of Art and of truly natural music.” (Rousseau 1768, 245)
Where Indian music coincides with the world of therapy is in the personal and environmental relationships the sound generates with its associates. The interactions that are developed vary according to the style of sound used, or specifically, the rāga. The term „mode‟ is used to avoid any alienation when describing these principles from a Western standpoint, as I am. I will now begin to refer to the rāga as a “group of sounds used for the representation of a definite emotional state” (Daniélou 1943, 88). In a therapeutic sense, Indian rāgas are better suited for use in a therapeutic setting because the mood is consistent. In Western sonic construction, modulations and the constant shifting of timbres and dynamics present a continual modification of implied mood. When a listener, or as far as I am concerned, a patient, is immersed in a prolonged sonic soundscape, they will subconsciously begin to repair or realign whatever internal structural mishaps are present. The physical disagreements between frequencies that are present in Western harmony are no longer a distraction to the mind, and the patient‟s conscious and subconscious is set at ease, allowing the patient to increase their susceptibility the healing properties of music therapy. The immersion in pure sound, or as Pythagoras described, music of the Universe, allows the inner workings of the patient to “harmonize” and “tune” into the individuals natural state of mind and body. The process of meditation can only further the effectiveness of music of the mind and body. In Indian tradition there are two broad forms of meditation in conjunction with sound. A bhajana is “a combination of articulate and Musial sounds, or a sung poem, can also be a support for mediation. In India this is…a devotional song, and is very widely used as a means of mental concentration, or relaxing mediation” (Daniélou 2003, 102). Through this process of concentration, we improve our ability to perceive the entire sonic spectrum that exists in the surrounding environment. Part of this perception is derived from sources outside of our auditory systems. The range of frequencies human ear can 37
hear is limited; therefore we must rely on our bodies to feel the inaudible sounds. “The higher form of meditation is therefore considered to be meditation on the principle of sound (nāda) which is symbolized by the sacred syllable AUM, a syllable said to include all the possibilities of speech since it is made of a guttural, a labial and a nasal sound, all other sounds being unavoidably contained within this triangle” (Daniélou 2003, 103). Similar to bhajana meditation, the purpose is to tune the individual‟s being to the sonic occurrences of the Universe. Music therapy and meditation exist in different fields in a practical sense, yet similarities can be drawn between the two. Along from the spiritual benefits discussed by Daniélou, “music that is noninvasive and unfamiliar melodically with a quiet dynamic and with an underlying but not prominent rhythmic structure fosters the alpha brain waves of the meditative state” (Crowe 2004, 324). Again, here is yet another case of how music in combination with other forms of traditional healing culminates into a product that is greater than the sum of its parts.
The Integration of Ideologies & Practices
Regardless of the geographic origins of the multitude of sonic constructions we have discussed, it is evident that they have profound and lasting effects on the lives of listeners, whether they are in a therapeutic setting or not. The position an individual takes in terms of perception – productive or receptive – is ultimately insignificant as both members are part of the sonic experience as a whole. While the content may be decisively different between different regions of the world, the overall “musical” methods tend to posses more comparable characteristics. “The question is whether the processes of association are the same in different cultures; whether similar musical processes and structures give rise to similar or analogous connotations in different cultures” (Nattiez 1990, 66). In other words, the focus should not be on the product that results from the culturally influenced organization of sound but instead on the factors that influence us as humans to transform sound into art. Often times, as Westerners, “we are too rarely interested in specifying what defines the concept „music‟ in the spirit of indigenous peoples. We would be hard put to say (for whatever population or group we might choose) where music beings for them, where it ends, what borders mark the transition between speaking and singing” (Nattiez 1990, 54). This exact interpretation could be applied to anyone from India or Indonesia and how individuals from these areas perceive Western music, especially because our popular culture is so pervasive. Can we expect them to consider what they hear on the radio, a minimalist work by Brian Eno, or a gamelan performance as cultural, artistic, or musical counterparts? Here it is no longer an issue of subjectivity, but of cultural disconnect. The customs that are engrained into an individuals lifestyle patterns become
second nature. These customs can consists of everything from visual and auditory cues to the physical ones as well, such as body language. Art psychologist Anton Ehrenzweig shared a brief personal anecdote about a firsthand experience he had with this divide in cultural perception. “When I was a young boy I was asked by my father to guide a Japanese lawyer round the sights of my native Vienna. At that time…the media of mass communications, books, periodicals, films, had not yet brought about the present diffusion of aesthetic sensibilities around the world. The Japanese gentleman, though highly educated, was quite unfamiliar with Western art. We soon became good friends, and I concluded that all traditional European art seemed highly stylized and decorative to him. I also showed him around a conventional show of contemporary post-Impressionistic art and this too impressed him as stylized. I was puzzled. It dawned on my that only Japanese art could be realistic to him, in spite – or rather because – of its conventional schema…” (Ehrenzweig 1976, 9)
Today, it is nearly a hundred years after the story took place, but the same principle behind perception is still present. Even though the absence of mass media that Ehrenzweig described eventually developed into an omnipresent force in today‟s Western culture, we only receive the superficial content of the practices that exist outside of the North American and European musical microcosm. It is not until an individual engages in the foreign cultural practices that they can begin to perceive and appreciate the culturally reinforced artistic practices. In terms of sound, “the universals of music must be sought not in immanent structures, but in the behaviors associated with sound phenomena, particularly in poietic strategies” (Nattiez 1990, 64). As I discussed in the first chapter, there are multiple extra-sonic forces that effectuate the producer‟s contributions to the overall “musical” experience. Cross-cultural comparisons of sonic qualities quickly become erroneous if the physical and cultural behaviors of the creative process are neglected.
The “musical” traits that are transcendent of any society-enforced norms eventually help individuals relate to one another, specifically, a patient and a therapist. I was fortunate enough to visit the Institute for Music and Neurologic Function and spend an afternoon talking with Dr. Benedikte B. Scheiby, Director of Music Therapy Supervision and Training. Dr. Scheiby has written extensively about her therapy methodology entitled Analytical Music Therapy (AMT). AMT, as defined by its founder, Mary Priestley: “So Analytical Music Therapy is the name that has prevailed for the analyticallyinformed symbolic use of improvised music by the music therapist and client. It is used as a creative tool with which to explore the client‟s inner life so as to provide the way forward for growth and greater self-knowledge.” (Priestley 1994, 3) Generally, music has two broad therapeutic functions: music in therapy or music as therapy. While music in therapy focuses on the patient‟s personal experiences with music and sound, music as therapy employs music and sound as the main form of communication. In the latter, sound undertakes the functional role that verbal communication typically fills. “Music rivals verbal language in its complexity and is well suited to conveying the subtleties and ambiguities of emotional expression…I list below aspects of the music that the music therapist uses with clinical intent: intensity, emotional content, melodic contour, rhythmic contour, tonal/atonal language, sense of time, pauses, articulation, sudden changes or monotony, energy flow, patterns of tension and relaxation, wholeness and fragmentation, sense of form versus chaos, experimentation, spontaneity, spirituality, mood, antiphonal (dialogic) quality, timbre, polarities, choice of instrumental or vocal sound, developmental level (oral, anal, phallic, or genital music), repetition, flexibility, receptiveness, phrasing ability, sense of beginning and endings, boundaries, symbiotic qualities, regressive qualities, musical scales, preferred idioms and styles, pitch, initiative, choice of instruments, and use of instruments.” (Scheiby)
All of these variables can be deduced individually in terms of what the patient is trying to communicate. While I participated in the group therapy session, there was a 41
moment during a group improvisation that one of the patients spontaneously starting singing. There were no discernable words or “lyrics” present, simply long drawn out tones that the individual changed at will. As of the many possible permutations of sound, singing can promote similar healing properties. Just as sound has been and continues to an integral part of our daily lives, it is only natural that we as beings with the ability to produce sound on our own will incorporate into our everyday existence. “Our vocal mechanism is complex – for chanting, lungs and vocal chords are enough; when we speak, the mouth and tongue are drawn into play. Early human skeletal remains reveal signs that the use of the voice to produce speech goes back some eight thousand years while also suggesting that chanting began perhaps a half a million years earlier” (Menuhin and David 1979, 7). The therapist must also have a thorough understanding of the patient‟s personal experiences with music to contextualize the meaning of the aspects of sound discussed above. With AMT, however, the given definition draws upon both clinical uses of music – music in therapy and as therapy. Analytical music therapy engages “the client in issues through active involvement in various forms of musical activity rather than in purely verbal explorations. Through the musical action, the client is engaged at a physical level, where body and mind act together, facilitating an integrated result closer to outer reality.”1 Dr. Scheiby‟s methods are unique in that they are heavily influenced on Eastern philosophies surrounding therapy and music, yet they are exercised in a Western setting.
discussed in an interview with Dr. Benedikte Scheiby on April 17 th, 2012. Dr. Scheiby works as the Director of Music Therapy Supervision and Training at the Institute For Music and Neurologic Function in the Bronx, NY. We discussed the influences behind her methodology and I had the opportunity to experience AMT firsthand while sitting in on a session with four adults, all of whom possessed some form of a progressive neurological disorder.
However, there are difficulties that arise when incorporating therapeutic factors from both sides of the world. “In terms of challenges, there is a dichotomy that is present between the two schools of thought. A music therapist using Eastern methods, the institution looks a patient as a whole person, and looking to heal the “whole person.” A Western method looks to recover functions and removing symptoms. In the Eastern music therapy form, the process is very important. In Western therapy, the product is very important – think about the Mozart Effect. In the Eastern method, there is an emphasis on “being” qualities. In the West, “doing” qualities, it‟s all about actions. In the Eastern methods: non-judgmental being; Western methods: very judgmental. In the Eastern methods: quality is important; Western methods: quantity. In the Eastern methods: non-classical instruments; Western methods: symphony orchestra instruments, like the cello and violin, whereas the Eastern instruments used are gong, bells, rain sticks, etc. In the Eastern methods call for sitting in silence at times; Western methods: put as much sound in the silence as possible as to fill the empty space.
So it‟s two different philosophical ways of living and viewing, but that you can integrate. It becomes a representation of patients in a Western setting with illnesses that are usually being treated traditionally from a Western point of view, and treating them with a lot of Eastern aspects and philosophies to help them reach a “balanced” place in their lives.”2 Dr. Scheiby focuses on the “process” side of sound of which I discussed earlier. By doing this, she is able to better incorporate the few universals that exist between the Eastern and Western schools of sonic thought into her therapy practice. “The overall aim of AMT is to remove obstacles that prevent the client from realizing his or her full potential and from achieving specific personal goals through the active use and
experience of music.”3 At the same time, Dr. Scheiby gives her patients something that many of them have lost as a result of their physical or emotional abuse, cognitive disorders and diseases, psychotic disorders: control. It is often the case where patients have the inability fully express themselves verbally, so they do their best to communicate sonically through the use of instruments. Music is an “important coping mechanism for the patients to acquire because their lives had changed from being able-bodied and in control of their lives one day, to losing control and being dependent on others the next day” (Scheiby 117). Patients who have physical limitations that inhibit their motion functions can still experiment with a variety of sonic variables through simple percussion: tempo, dynamics, rhythms – all of these elements can be translated into an understandable means of expression. This provides the participants with a sense of physical, cognitive, and emotional empowerment, along with the ability to “provide a variety of nonverbal expressive techniques, which facilitates intrapersonal and interpersonal communication, clarification, and integration between emotional and cognitive content generated in sessions” (Scheiby 282). In the gamelan tradition of Indonesia, the musicians are encouraged to choose the instrument that best suits their personality, whether that is the through the size of the instrument, the timbre, or how the instrument functions in the overall sonic mechanisms of the ensemble. Dr. Scheiby employs a similar philosophy when it comes to tailoring a therapy session to fit a patient‟s individual needs. “I think it‟s very important that the client picks the instrument that they want to pick. Whether it‟s one they can play or one they cannot play, it has to do with the sound and if they are attracted to, the form of the instrument and what they can produce with it. Each person has their own taste at different times of the day, their own ability – like a recent client only had one arm, so they physically couldn‟t do much. The people choose the instrument themselves and that is very important. Often times when I work, it can be a month before a person will pick an
instrument. They may claim: “I‟m not musical, I can‟t play, I can‟t sing.” But the minute they pick up an instrument or they start saying something, that‟s the minute that they become motivated to be rehabilitated and to change…the instrument may stimulate free-associations through symbolism or memories associated with the sounds or the instrument itself. I had a patient who said playing a cello reminded him of holding a baby, or somebody picked a flute because it reminded him of smoking a cigarette. The symbolic aspect of the instrument is important and every person has different symbolic associations to the instruments, not one has the same.”4 This consequently results in a more fulfilling experience for her patients. Furthermore, Dr. Scheiby has an extensive collection of instruments that originate from all over the world. “These can include a variety of percussion instruments such as Chinese gongs, chromatic xylophones, metallophones, cymbals, different types and sizes of drums, maracas, shakers, rain sticks, claves, wood blocks, bells, and tambourines…clients choose the instruments that they want to play and are encouraged in self-expression rather than in meeting any performance standards.”5 Many of them emulate the natural sounds that Pythagoras first framed in terms of biology and mathematics and which Daniélou wrote so extensively of. During the therapy session, some of the patients described how earlier on, the “music” we were creating invoked beach and ocean imagery. We continued to expand upon this response by generating sounds that one would find representative of being on a beach. I played an ocean drum (a large circular box with a plastic top that is filled with small metal pellets and when rotated, emits the sound of waves washing up on the beach), one patient played a small glockenspiel that seemed to fabricate the image of a wind chime, and the others played collections of shells that were tied together and could be shaken. After preparing a sonic landscape, Dr. Scheiby proceeded to guide the group through breathing and movement exercises that one might associate with the beach:
swimming motions with the arms, dipping the feet into the water, and breathing exercises that correlated with the rhythm of the ocean. The physical effect of these movements is greater than if they were dissociated from the sound. The sonic environment provides a deeper level of engagement for the patients to experience by forming and prolonging nature – based associations that stimulate the connections between the mind, body, and the world that surrounds them. “I have nature instruments because I believe that it‟s so important to connect people with nature because many people have lost that connection, in particular, town and city people. They have completely lost the connection to nature and to their inner nature. You‟re body reacts to nature, like some people with rheumatoid arthritis experience worse symptoms when it rains or when it‟s cold, their bones hurt. You want to make connections such as, “Why is my breathing bad today?” Allergies. You want to know the connection and be in touch with both your own and your surrounding nature, in my opinion.”6 It is common for a client to experience a session as described above only once or twice. In these cases, the client can use the mental and physical activities as an impetus to incorporate this type of therapy into their daily or weekly routines. Dr. Scheiby encourages this behavior by making this integration as fluid as possible. “… sometimes you only see a client once or twice, like if they are only in rehab for one week. So then you want to help the client to do things for themselves. Sometimes I will give them a CD recording of the session they attended so that they can see what we did and have that at home so they can reproduce the experience. Then I give them this [Optimal Wellness For Every Body]. This is a CD that is based upon improvised music, and at the same reinforcing yoga practices. First, it begins with music and meditation, then about twenty minutes of peaceful, quiet music where you can just free-associate and simply listen and relax. It finishes with music-assisted yoga. A client can go through this procedure every day. I also do “homework” in terms of asking people to write down their dreams and listen to their dreams and use them as inner supervisors. Sometimes I demonstrate how we can process a dream in music and how the emotional qualities arise in sound, and what is symbolic to a specific client.”7
The blending of music as therapy and music in therapy is seen elsewhere besides the AMT process that Dr. Scheiby engages in. Dr. Mitchell L. Gaynor is a board certified medical oncologist and Clinical Professor of Medicine at the Weill-Medical College of Cornell University. Dr. Gaynor is known for the use of Tibetan singing bowls when treating cancer patients and advocates for the holistic treatment of mind, body, and soul – not a medically shortsighted emphasis on treating and preventing the symptoms of a disease. The relationship he has formed with his patients evolved from that of a doctor who simply diagnoses and treats to an individual who is regarded as a healer. Dr. Gaynor acknowledges that it is not music alone that can serve as a tool for treating and healing patient, but all sound in general. To him, sound is considered “the most underutilized and least appreciated mind-body tool. It should become a part of every healer‟s medical bag, whether a conventional allopathic physician or a traditional healer from a far-flung culture. We are so oriented to visual stimuli in our culture that we often neglect to credit the impact of auditory stimuli” (Gaynor 1999, 26). Like Dr. Scheiby, Dr. Gaynor recognizes Pythagoras and his early views on sound within the Universe as a philosophical cornerstone in his medical practices. Yet he also draws upon the stories surrounding the role of sound in other ancient cultures, not just the Greeks. “Sound is a universal motif in every great spiritual and mystical belief system. Consider the obvious reality that in every religion and wisdom tradition, whether Eastern or Western, many more prayers are sung than spoken. Although the spoken word carries its own rhythms and vibrations, and it, too, is essential to prayer and spiritual practice, the vast repertoire of sacred songs and chants underscores the fact that the great religions have always used sound and music to intensify our communion with the define power, however we define or name that power.” (Gaynor 1999, 29)
Apart from the grandiose theories pertaining to the music of the spheres and the mystical importance sound from a spiritual viewpoint, Dr. Gaynor has postulated a number of 21st century, science based propositions concerning the life changing possibilities that sound has in the medical world. Similar to Tibetan singing bowls, medical professional use bowls made from crystals. If we accept the idea that thoughts are essentially just another form of energy, manifested in our brainwaves, then the potential the crystal bowls have becomes plausible. “The crystalline structure [of the bowls] will respond in unique and precise ways to a wide spectrum of energies including heat, light, pressure, sound, electricity, gamma rays, microwaves, bioelectricity, an even energies of consciousness…In response to these varying energetic inputs, the molecular structure of the crystal will undergo partial modes of oscillation, thereby creating specific vibratory frequencies of energy emission.” (Gerber 1988, 338) Therefore, if our brain waves were mapped and measured, the frequencies at which they “vibrate” could be calculated. Mathematically, we could deduce potential frequencies produced by the bowls that are in harmony with our minds. The wide range of brain waves that exist may possibly allow doctors to pinpoint certain parts of our consciousness. When individuals are awake, “high levels of Beta are associated with high levels of focus and concentration, Alpha is associated with inner mental “pondering,” Theta with original, creative inspiration, problem solving, visualization and Delta with deep physical relaxation” (Thompson 1999).8 While no type of brain wave is more important than another, each results as a product of our internal activity and external stimuli. Now that the ability to control and manipulate the external factors with the
Brainwave activity typically ranges from 0.5Hz to 30 Hz, where Delta is from 1 Hz to 4Hz; Theta is 4 Hz to 8 Hz; Alpha is 8 Hz to 12 Hz; Beta is 13 Hz to 30Hz; Gamma is 30 Hz to 70Hz. Extreme states of brainwave activity include Epsilon (below .5 Hz) and Lambda (~200HZ). Both of the latter states are present in deep mediation or extreme ecstatic states and tend to occur when the frequencies between the right and left portions of the brain are synchronized.
crystal bowls is possible, doctors can venture down an entirely new avenue of music therapy. “Quartz crystal bowls vibrate at frequencies that produce powerful sound waves, and these sounds are the energetic manifestation of the crystalline structure of the bowls themselves. Thus, the bowl sound may resonate in a uniquely harmonious fashion with the human body since…our healthy human tissues are more crystalline than fluid in nature. Moreover, the framework of bone and collagen is party comprised of calcium phosphate crystal. All these crystals must have a “resonation potential,” and no doubt the sounds produced by quartz crystal are more harmoniously in tune with our own crystalline structures than sounds emitted by other bowls or instruments.” (Gaynor 1999, 115-116)
The original paradigm that an individual‟s sonically influenced state of mind directly altered their physical status has been manipulated; in one step sound can change how we feel physically. Naturally, a healthier body will produce a thriving mind and spirit, too. I see Dr. Scheiby‟s AMT methods and the neurological focus of Dr. Gaynor as the beginnings of a new movement in music therapy. So much of the “prescription” based music therapy is irrelevant due to the individualized nature of sounds and music. Traditionally, the music employed in Western therapy sessions was bogged down by implied cultural constructions that pigeonholed patients into a certain mode of listening so that sound soon became a minimal condition of the therapy practice. However, with the methods of the two doctors I have discussed and the prominence with which they display non-Western music and therapy philosophy, their methods of therapy revolve entirely around the relationship between sound and the patient. I was able to witness and experience firsthand the physical, cognitive, and emotional benefits of AMT. Over the course of a one-hour therapy session, I observed patients expressing themselves in ways that are not possible in a traditional music therapy setting. While I was not there to 49
personally benefit from the therapy that occurred, I felt a sense of well being just by studying the reactions of those who were sonically verbalizing with one another.
Throughout the process of uncovering the world of music therapy, the healing process revealed itself to be far more integrative than simply implementing the use of music in a traditional therapy setting. Sonic energy is a pervasive force that when harnessed correctly, has the potential to entirely shift an individual‟s perspective on their current health status. Additionally, sound alone has the power to heal the inner workings of our bodies through properties of resonance. Not matter the level of physical, intellectual, or spiritual stimulation, sound therapy is only effective when the patient, therapist, and particular sonic construction are placed in a culturally viable setting. Patients must have the ability to express themselves using the sonic tools that they are familiar and comfortable with. If forced to use or participate in a “musical” situation that is dissonant with the conditioning they have received from a lifetime of environmental influences, the balance of mind, body and soul that we discussed extensively will be out of balance. Without this essential balance, a patient‟s health will be unable to progress. And while the content of the sound in therapy is most effective when it is cognizant of the individual‟s personal history and needs, I would advocate for the use of non-Western-based sound. The tradition behind the production of this part of the world‟s particular “musical” style parallels the holistic stance that must be taken when treating a client. Human beings and sound both share a symbiotic relationship with one another and with the natural world, so it is fitting that a therapist‟s practice should entail sound that our auditory perception systems are most comfortable with. Whether a patient is producing the sound in an improvisational setting or they are on the receptive plane, music can play a fundamental role in assisting individuals recover from illness and disease. It must be noted, however, that sound can be used to simply improve a person‟s outlook on life, regardless of their current health status. 51
Benenzon, Rolando O. Music Therapy Theory and Manuel: Contributions to the Knowledge of Nonverbal Contexts. Springfield, Ill: Charles C Thomas, 1997. Brendel, Alfred. Musical Thoughts and Afterthoughts. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1976. Capurso, Alexander Alexis, Emil A. Gutheil, Jay T. Wright, Vincent R Fisichelli and Frances Paperte. 1970. Music and Your Emotions; a Practical Guide to Music Selections Associated with Desired Emotional Responses. New York: Liverright. Comte, Auguste. 1957. A General View of Positivism. New York: Robert Speller & Sons. Crowe, Barbara J. 2004. Music and Soulmaking: Toward a New Theory of Music Therapy. Lanham, MD: The Scarecrow Press, Inc. Daniélou, Alain. 1943. Music and the Power of Sound: The Influence of Tuning and Interval Consciousness. Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions. Daniélou, Alain, and Jean-Louis Gabin. 2003. Sacred Music: Its Origins, Powers, and Future : Traditional Music in Today's World. Varanasi: Indica. Davis, William B., Kate E. Gfeller, and Michael H. Thaut. 1999. An Introduction to Music Therapy: Theory and Practice. Boston: McGraw-Hill. Duffin, Ross W. 2007. How Equal Temperament Ruined Harmony (and Why You Should Care). New York & London: W.W. Norton & Company. Ellis, Alexander J. 1884. “On The Musical Scales of Various Nations.” in Journal of the Society of Arts. Gaston, E. Thayer. 1968. Music in Therapy. New York: Macmillan. Gaynor, Mitchell L. 2002. The Healing Power of Sound: Recovering From Life – Threatening Illness Using, Sound, Voice, and Music. Boston & London: Shambhala. Gerber, Richard, M.D. 1988. Vibrational Medicine. Sante Fe, NM: Bear & Company. Hood, Mantle. 2002. The Ethnomusicologist. New York: McGraw-Hill. Hood, Mantle. 1963. “Indonesia.” in Asia in the Modern World. New York: Mentor Books. James, Jamie. 1993. The Music of the Spheres: Music, Science and the Natural Order of the Universe. London, UK: Abacus. Koestler, Arthur. 1959. The Sleepwalkers: A history of man’s changing vision of the Universe. New York: Macmillan. Merriam, Alan P. 1964. The Anthropology of Music. Evanston, IL: Northwestern UP. Morelos, Ronaldo, Sally Macarthur and Bruce Crossman. 2006. “Angels of Bali: The Sanghyang Dedari Trance Performance Tradition” in Intercultural Music: Creation and Interpretation. Sydney: Australian Music Centre. 53
Menuhin, Yehudi and Curtis W. N. Davis. 1979. The Music of Man. New York: Simon and Schuster. Morelos, Ronaldo. 2006. Trance Forms: A Theory of Performed States of Consciousness. Lambert Academic Publishing. Nattiez, Jean-Jacques. 1987. Music and Discourse: Toward a Semiology of Music. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Rousseau, Jean-Jacques. 1768. Dictionnaire de musique. Paris: Chez la veuve Duchesne. Ruwet, Nicolas. 1975. Parallelisms and Deviations in Poetry: Language, Speech and Society. Paris: Seuil. Stravinksy, Igor. 1936. Chronicles of My Life. London: Gollancz.
Beth Abraham Family of Health Services Presents: Optimal Wellness for Everybody Guided Meditation, Music Therapy Relaxation & Gentle Yoga Rick Leeds & Benedikte B. Scheiby “Music Therapy and the practice of Yoga are a perfect combination. The process invites you to be brought into a deep relaxing state of consciousness that affects the body, mind and spirit. The potential for optimal wellness is evident. The fusion of music and yoga therapy creates a deep enhancing experience. Everyone benefits. Improvised Music Therapy allows for the emergence of personal images, association and emotions to surface, which can be helpful in a process of healing and integration. Yoga invites you to integrate min, body and spirit through the ancient practice of breathing, meditating and stretching. People of all abilities and ages can use this recording. It requites: awareness, practice and discipline. Follow our guidance. Be gentle with yourself. We encourage patience and gentleness. Transformation is possible.”
1) Introduction 2) “Being”: Guided Meditation 3) “Surrendering”: Music Therapy Relaxation 4) “Flowering”: Gentle Yoga
Dr. Benedikte B. Scheiby Director of Music Therapy Supervision and Training Institute For Music and Neurologic Function Interview: 4/17/2012
Q: Do you view the increased inclusion of music in a therapeutic setting more as a progression in therapy or as “alternative” therapy? A: Neither. Music therapy as an integrated therapy in a medical paradigm or in a psychiatric context has been practiced here and in Europe for at least 30 years, so it‟s been there for a long time, used actively as well as receptively.; active, as in improvised music or receptive music as in music coming out of a loudspeaker in a dining room in a hospital for instance. And using music as therapy has been practiced since the 1970‟s. It started here in the United States with the music therapist Florence Tyson working with soldiers coming back from the war. She was a psychoanalytic oriented music therapist and she started a center for Creative Arts Therapies rehabilitation. So it started here in the 1970‟s as well as in Europe where it was Mary Priestley who started it in London, and in Denmark, Claus Bang, Synnove Friis, Carl Maria Savery and others. Many different key persons in different countries, so it‟s been around for many years, so there has been music at most institutions for many years, but it is becoming more and more accepted and 56
more and more institutions are hiring music therapists and paying them, but mostly the ones that have their Master‟s Degree and are licensed. They have to take 1,500 hours [of supervised observation and practice] after their Master‟s to get licensed and then they can practice music psychotherapy in institutions and also conduct private practice under supervision of an experienced music therapist I think the internet shows this trend, too. You can see on YouTube, dailiy, music therapy sessions with music therapists working with clients, whether it‟s children, autistic children, care givers, Alzheimer‟s patients, or music and meditation. On the internet, music is shown as therapeutic in all of these settings, so I think that has affected the societies need for music. Also, iPods; the fact that more and more people have iPods these days – they listen to music all the time. Now, iPads have helped music reach everywhere. It [ubiquitous music] started in the 70‟s with music in the supermarkets in Denmark (I am from Denmark), and it slowly become popular. Another reason music has become a larger park of out lives is that there have become more educational degrees related to music therapy, from a Bachelor‟s degree to a Masters and Doctoral programs all over Europe and here. There are many programs on both the East and West Coast, and of course, they also infuse their environments. Psychologically, you can hypothesize - I feel that I use music to help me to be grounded, to calm down, or to dance - it‟s therapeutic for me as a recreational tool. That‟s what I use music for, as well as in my own supervision to process my countertransference, the transference I experience when I work with clients. And a lot of people nowadays, like you, start going into their own music therapy and work with their own resources, own challenges, dreams – they want to have a job, want to have a boyfriend/girlfriend – how do you use your own musical interventions to get there? Music works as an individual form of psychotherapy. So it‟s more common in people‟s everyday lives, they know that it exists, and I‟m sure the computer has played a major role in that, too. In the “old days” it was orchestras, symphonies, the music life of the villages – the concerts, the bars…everywhere. But now I think a lot of it comes through iTunes, all that.
Q. You mentioned that music could be used in a therapeutic setting not only for patients with cognitive or physical disorders, but for just anyone in general? A. Yes, you can find music therapy in any area today. Pre-mature babies, AIDS, people trying to quit smoking, weight management, cancer etc. Any physical illness that you may have – breathing problems, heart problems, patients in intensive care units, hospice patients, transplant patients, surgery patients while they are being operated on (and the surgeons may also listen to it), it‟s everywhere. It‟s not an “alternative” method anymore. But many hospitals have it categorized under “integrative therapy,” so when you go to an institution if you want to have music therapy, you have to contact the creative art therapy department or the integrated medicine department, those are the two departments where you would find them if you want to have it as a client.
Q: In that process of integration, especially with non-Western forms of music, what do find most difficult where pairing Western, traditional therapy and non-Western sound?
A: In terms of challenges, there is a dichotomy that is present between the two schools of thought. A music therapist using Eastern methods, the institution looks a patient as a whole person, and looking to heal the “whole person.” A Western method looks to recover functions and removing symptoms. In the Eastern music therapy form, the process is very important. In Western therapy, the product is very important – think about the Mozart Effect. In the Eastern method, there is an emphasis on “being” qualities. In the West, “doing” qualities, it‟s all about actions. In the Eastern methods: non-judgmental being; Western methods: very judgmental. In the Eastern methods: quality is important; Western methods: quantity. In the Eastern methods: non-classical instruments; Western methods: symphony orchestra instruments, like the cello and violin, whereas the Eastern instruments used are gong, bells, rain sticks, etc. In the Eastern methods call for sitting in silence at times; Western methods: put as much sound in the silence as possible as to fill the empty space.
So it‟s two different philosophical ways of living and viewing, but that you can integrate. It becomes a representation of patients in a Western setting with illnesses that are usually being treated traditionally from a Western point of view, and treating them with a lot of Eastern aspects and philosophies to help them reach a “balanced” place in their lives.
Q: What you described there seemed like a distinct, decisive dichotomy. Are there and universals between the two methods that you can draw upon to highlight or does it remain entirely separate between East and West? A: Yes, I think there are similarities. I found some Indian music therapists that “prescribe” music, that‟s the same here. Some therapists with “prescribe” music, such as Mozart. That‟s what I have found as similar, the rest – not really. It‟s so different, the training of music therapists, the research methods of music therapists, and the kind of research that you find about the effects of music therapy.
Q: Do you incorporate any specific practices with any specific system of tuning or Eastern philosophies? A: Yes, I use instruments from Eastern spiritual practices, toning, music assisted yoga, music assisted meditation, music assisted guided imagery, personal musical meditation recordings made together with the clients – they make the music themselves and have meditative music in the background, maybe a sitar or the sound of the ocean paired with some piano. And we practice chakra meditation with toning or instruments as support. We practice music assisted breathing techniques – many different ones, with or without 58
instruments. We use drones as a background to create a container depending upon the goals of the treatment, preparation, and objectives of the group or individual.
Q: I read in some of your articles that you try to establish long term goals, whether that be maintaining or prolonging whatever lifestyle a patient has at that point. Do you try to establish and short term goals from session to session with “homework” to work on? A: Yes, sometimes you only see a client once or twice, like if they are only in rehab for one week. So then you want to help the client to do things for themselves. Sometimes I will give them a CD recording of the session they attended so that they can see what we did and have that at home so they can reproduce the experience. Then I give them this [Optimal Wellness For Every Body]. This is a CD that is based upon improvised music, and at the same reinforcing yoga practices. First, it begins with music and meditation, then about twenty minutes of peaceful, quiet music where you can just free-associate and simply listen and relax. It finishes with music-assisted yoga. A client can go through this procedure every day. I also do “homework” in terms of asking people to write down their dreams and listen to their dreams and use them as inner supervisors. Sometimes I demonstrate how we can process a dream in music and how the emotional qualities arise in sound, and what is symbolic to a specific client. If a client is very heavy and they need to exercise, we can make a CD together with music that reinforces, in their style, movement so they can exercise different parts of their body. Or if it‟s a person that is a psychiatric client recording a CD for recovery, they can come up with some sentences that relate to recovery and we can make a song out of it to create and then use at home. They can continue the songwriting at home, too, if they have the tools. For patients that are demented and living at home with caregivers, I have made an interactive DVD that has different components: music and exercise, music and meditation, and music and memory. Those three areas are trained and the person that‟s demented or agitated or depressed watches the videos together with the caregiver and they both participate. In the video there are, for instance, beautiful pictures of a botanic garden or waterfalls, and then, at a certain point, have a musician play Indian music on a tanpura or I will call upon the patient to sing. Of course if you work with children, there are so many apps [phone applications] that can be applied to the iPad in working with children in special education. We have some patients here that have music they have composed out on the Internet to facilitate people to get connected with their community. We have a program here –community music therapy – where people come from their own neighborhood. Every Tuesday it‟s either music and exercise, music and relaxation, music and spirituality or music and movement. They can take whatever they want with them and it is all very practical so they can go home and do everything themselves. So yes, sometimes I do give homework. But I am an analytical oriented person. I considered what happened in today‟s session as the important thing. Hopefully that will spread, like rings of water, both psychologically and physically.
Q: I noticed in today’s setting you encouraged the clients to choose their own instruments. Similarly, in the gamelan music of Indonesia, if you are musician of one of their ensembles they encourage you to pick the instrument that best suits your 59
personality, whether that is the size of the instrument or the timbre. How much of the therapy is improvisation and how much in instrumentation? A: Let me say this: I think it‟s very important that the client picks the instrument that they want to pick. Whether it‟s one they can play or one they cannot play, it has to do with the sound and if they are attracted to, the form of the instrument and what they can produce with it. Each person has their own taste at different times of the day, their own ability – like a recent client only had one arm, so they physically couldn‟t do much. The people choose the instrument themselves and that is very important. Often times when I work, it can a month before a person will pick an instrument. They may claim: “I‟m not musical, I can‟t play, I can‟t sing.” But the minute they pick up an instrument or they start saying something, that‟s the minute that they become motivated to be rehabilitated and to change. Sometimes I will assign a special instrument to a person. For instance, a few minutes before you came, I put a glockenspiel in from of a client and then she could sit and explore the instrument. It is an easy instrument to discover without knowing anything about music. It wouldn‟t have worked if I gave her some kind of guitar or more complicated string instrument. Or if I want someone to learn leadership skills, I will tell them to go to the piano and play the music you want to play and lead the group. Sometimes I will assign, but it is related to a specific goal and task. But usually I will tell them to pick the instruments that come to mind and what you fingers want. I want to establish a connection to the unconscious. The instrument may stimulate free-associations through symbolism or memories associated with the sounds or the instrument itself. I had a patient who said playing a cello reminded him of holding a baby, or somebody picked a flute because it reminded him of smoking a cigarette. The symbolic aspect of the instrument is important and every person has different symbolic associations to the instruments, not one has the same.
Q: With some of the instruments, such as the ocean drum that I was using or the rain stick, they all represent natural sounds. What role does nature take in music therapy? A: I have nature instruments because I believe that it‟s so important to connect people with nature because many people have lost that connection, in particular, town and city people. They have completely lost the connection to nature and to their inner nature. You‟re body reacts to nature, like some people with rheumatoid arthritis experience worse symptoms when it rains or when it‟s cold, their bones hurt. You want to make connections such as, “Why is my breathing bad today?” Allergies. You want to know the connection and be in touch with both your own and your surrounding nature, in my opinion. And you can be in touch with nature through those instruments that have those natural sounds. I sometimes use sounds from YouTube, like ocean, rainforest, or thunderstorm sounds. It depends on what metaphors people come up with, like today was ocean. Maybe someone tomorrow will say, “I feel like I‟m the middle of a thunderstorm.” Then we will all make thunderstorm sounds.
Q: In your “Dying Alive” article, there was a quote that resonated with me: “We are trained to keep ourselves together, but we do not get much teaching in falling apart.” 60
With many of these patients, they are nearing the end of their lives. When you use music in that setting, is it spontaneous music and that represents a natural progression, similar to that of life and death? Or, obviously in this setting, both the therapist and the client know the inevitable, so is the music more guided in a specific direction? A: No prescriptions. It‟s unique and dependent upon where in the dying process the person is. There are four stages of the dying process. So first of all, you have to assess where they are. Let‟s say the patient still has the ability to speak and they have cancer. They may want to reminisce or they want to give a message to their family. I had a patient who was here but her family in Jamaica. She wanted to make a message to them in the form of a song. I helped her substitute the text of the Bob Marley song, “Three Little Birds,” with what she wanted to sing to them. She sang with a very hoarse voice, but she sang to them, “Don‟t worry. I‟m gonna be alright.” And I sent it to them. They were so appreciative of it. It depends upon the person. Maybe the patient can‟t let go and needs to be helped to die. You want to make, maybe, long sounds that help with letting go and releasing tension. Let‟s say a person wants the family to sing with them, this is the case with many children. The parents know the child is going to die. The child may come up with some words and they will make a song that the child can sing together with them. Music can help them to relax or maybe the goal is to help with pain management. You will want to make music with them that is in their style, that they like, and within their culture. You will want to support the rhythms within their body – the way their body moves up and down, or their pulse, or breathing rhythms. It‟s just as individual as everything else. Everybody dies differently. Some have very violent deaths, their blood comes out of their mouth and it‟s very dramatic. You want to help the family to deal with that and sing a strong song. It really depends on the interaction of the family members, the dying person, and the music therapist – the whole context – and where they are in the process. I‟m speaking from an analytical music therapist‟s perspective; there are behavioral oriented music therapists. They use a lot of prescriptive music: “Pachelbel's Canon has to be used when, and if…” But I‟m not like that. I look at the human being and the process: where is this person; what is this about? My goal in the end is to integrate body, mind and spirit. And of course when a person is dying, I want to help the person to connect with their spiritual resources. I will connect to their faith or what they believe in, or help them reminisce, whatever it is, and relate this to their experience and relate it to who they are as a person. Somebody, for instance my husband, would have Grateful Dead playing at his deathbed. It totally depends on the person.
Q: You mentioned how you believe that everyone should become more “in tune” with nature and their natural surroundings. Do you find yourself hypersensitive to any particular noises? A: Yes, I hate the noise from a fire truck. It hurts me. I mean, I am hypersensitive to sounds in general. When I sleep, I can hear a mouse coming up the stairs. My ears are my orientation point, so I don‟t like heavy metal rock or anything like that. It bombards my system with things that I don‟t like. Other than that, any sound that indicates danger. I love all kinds of music, all styles (except the heavy metal that is very, very, loud and uses curse words). But I have to work with a population here whose musical taste here is very broad. So I may have to work with it, but I am not fond of it. 61
I‟m very excited about music from other cultures, any style. And I will use any style if I can. At home and in my private practice, I have so many instruments that can give so many different sounds from cultures all over the world: India, Argentina, Estonia, etc. I have gathered all kinds of cultures into an instrument pool, which I think is important. This way, there is an instrument for each person from each culture that they can identify with or connect with. This same thing goes for music lullabies; we have many from all over the world. We have many people here from all over, so I have to be able to sing in all kinds of languages, including Chinese. I teach in Hong Kong at the University every year, so I‟m learning Chinese and their style of music therapy. I am open to everything.