Jul 18, 2008

On protective bacteria, mysterious violins and meaningful musicians

I'm vegging. That means a lot of surfing (and catching up on reading). A few things I have tripped over that make me go hmm:

  • The bacteria helicobakter pylori, which a few years ago was found to be the real reason for stomach ulcers, may actually be protecting children from asthma. With cleaner water and modern antibiotics, the prevalence of the ancient bacteria in newborns is shrinking, while at the same time, asthma is on the rise. Now, I've been having some stomach trouble, and thought that if I really have an ulcer, I need to have that doctor of mine give me a round of antibiotics. Now I'm not so sure. (Actually, I think I just need to watch what I eat.)
  • The Dutch have figured out Stradivarius's secret: Wood density. Generations have been baffled about how violin makers Antonio Stradivari and Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesù made their instruments produce such rich sounds. Thanks to the latest technology, it is now possible to look at the wood itself in the precious violins, without destroying the instruments. The findings: The wood in musical instruments made in the 18th century was denser than today's wood. I have been within 8 feet of a Strad (and its owner, Norwegian violinist Arve Tellefsen), who made his violin seem alive.
  • Who plays the music does make a difference to the listener. Most studies involving music, used "canned" music. One study decided to not only test the effect of "canned" music on the listener, but also the same music played by a human (with emotion, you know). The study found that the test subjects could tell the difference. Or, rather, their brains could. I am currently reading the book "The 7 Secrets of Sound Healing" by Jonathan Goldman. One of the secrets is intention. Goldman has found that sound alone has no effect; the intention of the person playing it (or even while composing it) factors in.

2 comments:

Sravana said...

I've been even closer to a Strad, and they are remarkable, and the people who bring them alive are even more remarkable. I'm glad you've had that experience!

I'm remembering Sept of 2006, when the ex and I were in Salt Lake City, and he was trying out some very remarkable instruments in a collection there. Each instrument is a spirit unto itself, each has it's own voice. Violins are remarkable creations.

I hadn't heard of that Sound Healing book - are you listening to the CD, too? Is it a Tibetan singing bowl CD, or some other kind? :)

Keera Ann Fox said...

Agreed re violins and those who bring them to life. Wow!

With your background, you may want to explore sound healing. Goldman's book is both explanatory and introductory. I like the CD. It's typical New Age music: No clear melody, just harmonic flutes, synthesizer, chimes, harps, etc., weaving in and out, and rain in the background. The piece is called "Peaceful Journey" and can also be found on a CD called "De-Stress".