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Music and Mp3's and Missing Harmonics
A technological disjointed musical experience in cotemporary culture, in opposition to higher experience of harmonic interconnectedness
by Darren Curtis <B.Hon.Mus.St.>


There is now in contemporary culture a digital revolution occurring whereby one can interact with musical form in fast, connivent and compact/miniature medium for music playback. This comes in the form of musical compression technology, taking form primarily as the MP3 file format using hardware audio delivery system i.e. the MP3 player or popular 'I-POD'. The MP3 format is currently the main compression format for use in the commercial market.

There seems to be a major issue starting to emerge with this technology revolution in which the essence of the musical experience is becoming limited and disjointed. The key factors include compression technology whereby the fundamental harmonic matrix has been changed in order to save space and download time. The other issue is the audio delivery system via earphones which is the most common choice of the consumer in which a further limited auditory experience can occur if other external audio methods of listening aren't employed.

Everybody has a idea what the musical experience means to them, but this article addresses what the ancient preist-musicans called the 'Music of the Spheres' whereby music could be used as a immersion tool for higher experience of mind-body-spirit to augment of the sates of joy, ecstasy for one to be in harmonic resonance with nature and supernature.

The earth and the cosmos according to the ancient Sanskrit -Vedas and Hebrew - Psalms are a musical score where we all play our role as musicians in the orchestration of life and it is when we join together in this song and dance of the divine that the holistic interplay comes alive.

The Issues:

Music is universal everyone can speak it. It has a power to express cross cultural interconnectedness and unification. There can be a sense of community, joy and festival if the right factors are employed. The experience is powerful, unifying and immersive, employing all senses incorporating mind body and spirit.

The emerging issue points to a breakdown in this universal communication through modern technology. Musicologists and music technologists around the world are suggesting there is issue with compression technology i.e. the MP3 format for the use in music playback, whereby a loss in fidelity (quality of sound) in the music compression process can lead to a disjointed musical experience overlooking the holistic body-mind-spirit connection with the universal sound current.

The MP3 format and its analogy:

The MP3 is currently the main file format used in the music industry, it takes little space and it is argued that quality is kept in the listening process. MPEG-1 Audio Layer 3 or Mp3 is short for a digital audio encoding format using a form of lossy data compression. Not considered High Fidelity, created at 1/10th the size of the CD file created form the original audio source - current standard at 44.1hz (bit rate of 1,411.2 kbit/s 16bit) and MP3 works anywhere from (128kbit/s to maximum 320kbit/s) A rough comparison using 44.1Khz at 16 bit would be 600mb for audio CD at 60min and 6mb for MP3 at 60mins. In the compression process the technical principles uses the science of psychoacoustic (how the brain interprets sound) models to reduce precision of components less audible to human hearing.

If we have an analogy to the MP3 compression format in the image format then this would be best equated with a JPEG image whereby the resolution and pixels have been compromised to a certain extent. Thus when creating a MP3 file (lossy audio encoding) there is a trade-off between space and quality.

Through this file format in the digital domain the music industry has quickly moved to capitalise on this ease of use with the digital samples. The ability to move, cut, paste and recopy has seen a explosion in file sharing and file transfer.

Insight into the holistic interplay

This author is interested in how the higher holistic experience of music can give the listener through biofeedback and entrainment principles of resonance the experience of one as a musical note moving through space without any boundaries. Thus when certain frequency components have been removed through compression technology then the original composition say of a sacred music piece, looses its original frequency patterns. So let us examine why this may be an issue.

The digital music can range from software code to real world sampling anything can be created via digital sampling and synthesis. This process of creating music can be tailored for an intellectual experience, emotional experience or in the case of this author preposes music as a means for change for inductive resonance or interconnectedness.

So what is happing with the loss of fidelity in the digital sample revolution in connection with sound healers and music therapists? What is postulated is that frequency and its components are the key factor to induce a beneficial therapeutic response in the physiological and psychological conditions of the human subject(s). This according to researchers occurs via entrainment principles whereby certain harmonic components trigger a interhemispheric coherence in the brain and nervous system inducing altered sates of consciousness whereby the subject can feedback new information into the body complex system for healing and transformation. This is well documented by the Hemi-Sync Process, Alfred Tomatis and ancient shamans using resonant caves.

Our body working in a frequency range in meditation around 8hz and our brain wave states operate from 0hz to 40Hz. Our bones have resonant frequencies in the upper frequency range. Basically we are a complex vibratory system in which harmonic resonance allows an interconnection with the environment. It is when we are out of vibratory sync with nature and supernature that we get sick and have troubles integrating new energy patterns, Itzhak Bentov examined and demonstrated this ancient concept of disease in his book Stalking The Wild Pendulum:

Illness is an out of tune behavior of the body. When a gland is distressed, its frequency loses the beat that goes with the other glands. If the frequencies cannot circulate freely to and though that organ or system of the body, it begins to play the wrong notes. Its timing is off and friction will escalate into some disease.Illness is an out of tune behavior of the body. It loses life energy; it is isolated and not a well functioning and contributing part of the whole. It experiences a lack of ease - or disease. Through sound, you can apply harmonizing vibrations that will stimulate this organ to reconnect, raise its frequencies and rise in tune with the body again.

The human energy field can be explained as a vibratory string or chord thus at certain sections occur nodal or resonance points. Basically what happens at this higher interdimensional harmonic node points is that if certain harmonic ranges have been truncated then the kinetic energy can't transfer from one octave to another higher harmonic or sub-harmonic, in turn causing a disharmony in the vibratory system.

It is quite well known in the new quantum physics that the original intention of the composer can imprint on the sound waves directly. Thus if this information is some how encoded on a higher level then that key frequency range and how it interplays with the other harmonics is lost. An analogy in biophysics would be what genetics are saying out junk DNA which comprises 97% of the genetic material in which this junk DNA may be just as important as the other 3% which drives the genetic code Another analogy in astrophysics would be the substance of the universe - matter is around +/- 6% in total, leaving another +90 of dark matter and dark energy. Therefore if we start subtracting information that is deemed not useful then can we fully access the complete experience and spectrum of the musical harmonic experience.

This is also evident in the relationship of geometry and sound which on a higher level come together. In the expression of sacred music we can see how visually that the geometry the Sri-Yantra can be formed by the sacred seed syllable of ancient Indian mantra the 'OM'. This was chanted into a tonoscope by the work of Hans Jenny in the science of cymatics showing how perfect form can manifest through sound. Thus showing how Yantra (Image) and Mantra (Sacred Sound) become one.

What is not shown here is how the Sri-yantra is NOT formed if the 'Om' is slightly chanted incorrectly. Here is another example of perfect sound and disharmonious sound as seen in geometry for a basic understanding and analogy.

Perfect Form

Disharmonious Form

The other factors

Of course the playback system and the recording system is just as important as the delivery system. Headphones are important for certain types of musical experience - i.e. binaural beats need to be transmitted in this way. Certainly MP3 players or 'I-POD's' have there place in pod-casting, digital interviews and giving people a experience of music whereby one may never have had the opportunity. But in the experience of community of music the 'I-POD' revolution may be at best hyper-individual seclusion form the external interactive world. Instead of retreating to a sonic safe place let as a biological musical transducers take it up us to sing with one another and sing with the earth and cosmos. Let us realise it is more about quality than quantity and rethink where we are going as biological musical instruments in the song of life.

If we are to experience a full manifestation of the musical-sound scape of life then the whole body needs to be incorporated harmonically and vibratory. Sound is as much in us and we are in sound, the ancient Vedas of the Sanskrit tradition talked about the supersonic plane of the cosmic sound that remained a pure tone. This may be akin the level of celestial sounds one can hear in advance yogi stages of sound-mediation. Basically these ancient wrote about how we are a modulation of the original carrier wave or sound wave and if we are to be in sync or in synergy with this higher sonic-template which controls the spin points of this matter-energy system then the asymmetry we exist need needs to be modulated after certain key musical patterns and scales that open up the geometry boundaries for higher resonance. For certain the ancient cultures used musical instruments to do this wether you see the aboriginal didgeridoo or the Tibetan horn or the Fijian conch shell or the harmonic over toning of the monks of Tibet these all used complex frequency ranges above and below our centre human hearing range in order to stimulate a whole body immersion for a higher experience. They didn't simply use headphones to stimulate the brain and ear cavities rather they tuned the whole body where the skin became the drum, to transmit vibratory beats to come in sync with mother earth.

Are we becoming as hyper-individualistic subculture out of sync with the cosmic heartbeat. We need to rethink how we are to use this digital revolution to our advantage and realise that we may be cutting short our experience of life and its fullest experience we can like the ancient yogi's become inner cosmonaughts opening an interconnection with the Divine and its creation.

Darren Curtis is a sacred sound/music composer who uses specific advanced acoustic feedback techniques to compose through the medium of Interdimensional Music. He believes that the encoding of the original musical-sonic frequencies need to be preserved as the composer originally imprinted it. You may download a sample of his music in mp3 format but in order to experience the symphony of the higher musical experience please purchase e a CD album from www.sacredresonance.com.au


Ancient Vedas. "Sacred Texts Online." http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/index.htm

Bentov, Itzhak. Stalking The Wild Pendulum, Dutton 1977 & Bantam 1979.

Bruce D. Curtis, J.J. Hurtak . "Consciousness and Quantum Information Processing: Uncovering the Foundation for a Medicine of Light." The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. February 1, 2004: 27-39.

Cymatics Videos. "You Tube". http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=cymatics&search_type=

Hermann L. F. Helmholtz, M. D. (1912). On the Sensations of Tone as a Physiological Basis for the Theory of Music, Fourth Edition, Longmans, Green, and Co.

Jenny, Hans (1967). Kymatik (Cymatics)

MP3 by Fraunhofer. IIS http://www.iis.fraunhofer.de/EN/index.jsp

Monroe Instiute. http://www.hemi-sync.com

Strings, standing waves and harmonics. "Physics Online." http://www.phys.unsw.edu.au/jw/strings.html

Darren Curtis © 2008
Sacred Resonance