The Power of Nature – Based Harmony in the Urban Soundscape

Within the last decade, there has been an explosion of interest in the science of music, as a new generation of scientists has developed the tools to discover the intimate connections between music and human life. The resulting discoveries reveal compelling evidence that music truly is a fundamental aspect of life, something that defines us and binds us together as humans.

We are now creating a future in which music will be recognized as a force far more significant than mere entertainment Every day we are gaining a deeper understanding of this art-form that so profoundly affects our imagination, our spirit, and even our physiology. For centuries, philosophers and musicians themselves have speculated about music, seeking to explain its magic. Yet it is only recently that science has joined in the exploration in earnest. We know instinctively that music has primal power. Historians and anthropologists have yet to discover a culture without music. Music predates agriculture—and perhaps even language. The foundations of music have been traced as far back as existence itself, to the birth of our universe. Mannes, Elena (2011-05-24). The Power of Music: Pioneering Discoveries in the New Science of Song

Chula Vista Marina Memorial Wind Harp 2001
Chula Vista Marina Memorial Wind Harp 2001

The origin of sound reveals the origin of all creation According to top ranking quantum physics, throughout the world, all matter at the subatomic level is in a state of constant vibration, our world is vibrated into existence. Oscillation is the most energy- efficient movement. That is why all matter oscillates – not only each atom but also the Solar System and our galaxy. The Universe is a vast musical instrument that is in a constant state of vibration. “We are vibration. No exceptions. But it’s not only sound and music. Colors, shapes, movements, fragrances, thoughts, all have vibratory make-up. Electromagnetic events are just as ‘musical’ as sound. Colors sing. It’s clear that sound and ALL vibration, then, must intimately be connected to health and well-being. Once we realize the scope of this our reality changes forever.” Entering the Great Sound Current and Riding the Wave by Susan Alexjander, MA Harmonics are inherent within all sounds. Anything that vibrates, produces sound and creates harmonics: the sound of waves crashing on the shore, the wind blowing through Aspen leaves or the sound of our voice all has harmonics. In fact, harmonics are what give our speaking voices their individuality. Also known as overtones, harmonics are mathematically interrelated ratios or intervals that are created when striking any fundamental note Regularly listening to harmonics, and especially if we create them with our own voice, as in chanting or toning, can alter our states of consciousness to expand our perception of “reality”. Healing – whether emotional, psychological, spiritual or physical – is an act of re- creation. It is the process of re-organizing our being toward its intended state of dynamic equilibrium “ Natural Harmonic Sound is important because it brings people together, to sing and to dance to rejoice to grieve to praise and all of these things have a very natural sound. There is something about this natural harmonic geometry for the ears. Harmony can just re-frame the mind whether we are new here to the earth or if we are in our ninth decade First, —- harmony is healthy, Harmony is based on the physics and mathematics of certain proportions a 5th a 4th, a major 3rd and minor 3rd and the body knows it instinctively and this is one of the things that really has created the art and lyricism within the beauty of music.” Don Campbell; author “Healing at the Speed of Sound’ 2011 Longing to be surrounded and enveloped, we are told, goes back to the womb, the primal immersion experience.  Two art forms are said to offer immersion—architecture and music.  But this is being unfair to landscape design, even more so to nature, especially in a disruptive world.  The “restorative” value of immersion in nature has been noted more frequently in recent years.[1]  Nature offers a welcome contrast from urban noise, auditory and visual, and from the virtual world.  Who does not enjoy the sounds of nature—a fountain, a waterfall, the wind blowing through pine needles, birds singing—and feel better for it?  Immersion in nature, taking in the full multisensory experience, has the power to restore emotional wellness and reduce stress. The more multisensory the experience, we are told, the more deeply we are touched and our spirits uplifted, and the more powerful our memory. Then what could be more natural and powerful than experiencing music in nature?  The convergence of sensory immersions—one visually spatial, the other acoustically spatial—works its own mysterious harmonics in what happens between them, within us. In immersion this intense lies rejuvenation, perhaps even redemption. –Tom Paine ASLA, AGER Group Inc., Boston, Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong

[1] R. Kaplan and S. Kaplan, “Restorative experience: the healing power of nearby nature,” in M. Francis and R. Hester (eds.), The Meaning of Gardens (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1990), 238-43. For examples of rigorous studies supporting the claim see Frances E. (Ming) Kuo, “Parks and Other Green Environments: Essential Components of a Healthy Human Habitat” (National Recreation and Park Association, 2011, in, June 15, 2011)

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