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Welcome to On the Brink Radio broadcast #219. This is part 3 of my on-going whale and dolphin update; this show, however, is not about grim global threats to marine life and Mother Ocean herself, but about my original approach to relating with cetaceans: using music as a form of communication.
This broadcast itself is a replay of episode #24 from 2013 and is a ‘non-verbal talk radio broadcast, which Jules Stanley at ucy.tv lets me do now and then, and consists of almost the entirety of my first cd of grand piano improvisations, ‘The White Electric Dog Transmissions’ (1998) and songs of the humpback whales. The mix was created in 2013; the whale songs were added in after the recording. The synchronization is only that of starting both recordings at the same time.
I’m not going to ‘talk’ about music right now, but hopefully you will listen to this broadcast. I love piano but have never claimed to be a pianist by jazz or classical standards; au contraire, I do my own thing with the piano. My playing is more about the sounds, the feeling, the music, than it is about the notes and technical aspects.
Here are a couple of things I have written about music and sound in the context of relating with cetaceans.
“The case of music is very special and very interesting. Let’s consider instrumental, or non-verbal, music. Music is sound, vibrations in air, just like speech and noise. But what makes it “music?” It is sound which is ordered in specific ways. Music has definite patterns of rhythmic (temporal) variation and repetition, and definite patterns of harmonic (frequency relationship) variation and repetition. We are speaking of western music. Eastern music is basically rhythmic and not harmonic, i.e., utilizing chords. Western music is rhythmic and harmonic. Basically, music is combinations of sounds that sound good to us. It is the frequency relationships that determine whether or not we call it music: western music utilizes any types of rhythms, but a more limited number of frequency relationships, or chords. What we call chords are sounds whose frequencies relate to each other in ratios of the reciprocals of small whole numbers.
What does music communicate? Many things, basically feelings and emotions, which we all experience intensely but which we know little about. They are very important to us; in fact, they seem to be the essence of life. But why? The concept of resonance is very important. Resonance is a measure of how well two or more systems vibrate together. Two lovers are resonating well…their bodily rhythms are highly attuned to each other. Musicians playing together are causing their instruments to resonate harmoniously, producing music; if they are playing jazz, then their own bodily rhythms and feelings are being expressed by and through the music, reaching you, the listener, thereby effecting communication. Jazz is very emotional music; Bach is a superb blend of intellect and emotion.
Feeling and emotion seem to be connected to resonance.14 We believe that the same music affects different people in similar ways, if they are in a similar state, and are open to it. How can this be of use in communicating with dolphins? We know already that dolphins are highly and positively responsive to music, but that’s about all. An interesting area for experimentation. We need more research into how our nervous systems perceive and structure sound patterning; music could be a powerful future tool.”
“Cetaceans are the ‘masters of sound’ on our planet. As mammals, they have the same basic array of sensory apparati that we have, but their primary sense uses sound, whereas ours uses light. They have keen vision similar to ours, but our auditory capacities are quite limited and ‘low bandwidth’ compared to theirs. Another phenomenal ability they have developed is the ability to ‘see with sound.’ We see using ambient (or artificial) light; they are able to ‘see with sound’ using sound that they themselves project, as if we were able to see in the dark using light we projected from our own bodies. This is much simpler, more efficient, more ‘environmentally friendly’ than using external electrically-powered light sources.
‘Seeing’ with sound in this way is known as‘echo-location’ because it involves projecting a sound then analysing the returning signals which convey information about the local environment, and inspired the development of ‘sonar’ (24) used universally by military, commercial, and recreational marine vessels.
Moths, bats and other animals are known to ‘echo-locate’ as well, but cetaceans have taken their use of sound…or ‘ultra-sound’ to be more precise…to another level and are able to ‘see inside’ of each others’ bodies!
In addition, they have one or more channels of sound production used for communication purposes. These sounds, which can be produced simultaneously with ‘echo-location’, occur in an extremely wide frequency bandwidth, ranging from several Hertz (cycles per second) to over 200,000 Hz. Human hearing in general ranges from about 50 Hz to 20,000 Hz. To us, the small part of this we can actually hear sounds like complex patterns of clicks, whistles, moans, and groans. The sounds made by hump-back whales sound a lot like singing, or vocal music. (25) It’s these channels of sound that would come closest to ‘language’. The sounds they produce don’t come out of their mouth but are projected ahead of them directly through a complex network of bones, tissues and fluids in their heads. When they attempt to ‘vocalize’ in air, these sounds come out of their blow-holes, through which they breathe. Bottle-nosed dolphins have gone to extreme lengths to imitate human speech in this way, which is quite extraordinary. (26)
Finally, cetaceans in general possess yet another use of sound, that of sending out a powerful shock-wave or blast that can stun fish and be used as a weapon.
The ancient Greeks, among other cultures, were very familiar with cetaceans, and wrote extensively about how dolphins loved interacting with people and were attracted to and seemed to love music, particularly that of the flute and lyre. (27)
Cetaceans live in a world of sound, where light is often diminished or absent entirely; they can ‘see’ and hear; communicate, even over great distances; navigate, obtain information from their local environment, find food and partners, and protect themselves all using sound in ways that are totally alien to humans. Yet they can see as well as we can, and can stick their heads out of the water to have a look at the stars…or us.
ALEX LAUTERWASSER’S WHALE CYMATIC
Despite many claims to the contrary, we have absolutely no way of ‘decoding’, ‘translating’ or understanding their communications with each other. Marine biologists excel at behavioural observations, but are totally clueless when it comes to what cetaceans might be thinking, feeling or experiencing. They don’t use ‘language’ and they don’t ‘talk’ among themselves or with us. They communicate with highly complex and information-rich sound, but in many other ways as well, that we require complex external technologies even to approximate. Being mammals on the same planet, their communications probably have a lot in common with ours; having been here ten times longer than us, living in the ocean with no hands in a world of sound, their communications, their entire ‘reality’ may on the other hand be incomprehensibly indecipherable to us in terms of information transfer as commonly understood.
Competent and successful multi-dimensional communication is the foundation of a shared and meaningful ‘consensus reality’ and true ‘mental health’ in humans; respect as fellow beings is a necessary prerequisite to true communication at any level, intra- or inter-species.”
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I have a lovely partner and 3 very active youngsters. We live in the earthquake ravaged Eastern Suburbs of Christchurch, New Zealand.
I began commenting/posting on Uncensored back in early 2012 looking for discussion and answers on the cause and agendas relating to our quakes.
I have always maintained an interest in ancient mysteries, UFOs, hidden agendas, geoengineering and secret societies and keep a close eye on current world events.
Since 2013 I have been an active member of theCONTrail.com community, being granted admin status and publishing many blogs and discussion threads.
At this time I'm now helping out with admin and moderation duties here at Uncensored where my online "life" began.