Common steps and sub-activities

Listening to flutes and pipes

Flutes, pipes and other wind instruments, whether played by yourself or listened to, can induce a spiritual experience via resonance of the organs of the brain.  The frequency of the notes has to be varied, both high and in the infrasound range.

A flute or pipe might play one single note or multiple notes.  This provides anyone wanting to use the instrument to provide a spiritual experience with a number of possible ways in which to get the complex sounds required.

One note

The instrument can be played continuously or can be played in a rhythmic pulsed way.

One note with complex overtones

In any form of instrument we have the possibility that a note of a certain pitch is producing other frequencies.  In effect, the pitch of the instrument may be more complex because although it may have one actual fundamental frequency, there may be any number of different additional unperceived additonal frequencies called  ‘overtones’ – some of which may be low frequency.  Often instruments made from natural substances – wood for example are better at this than man made substances.  Plastic recorders at school always sounded false in comparison with those of wood, for example.

Several notes with interference

When one instrument is played with the possibility of several notes at once, there may be interference that produces a vast range of sounds including low frequency sound – infrasound.   ‘Interference’ occurs when two waves superpose each other to form a resultant wave of greater or lower amplitude. In this case Interference is occurring because they have  nearly the same frequency.

When two sinusoidal waves superimpose, the resulting waveform depends on the frequency (or wavelength) amplitude and relative phase of the two waves. If the two waves have the same amplitude A and wavelength the resultant waveform will have an amplitude between 0 and 2A depending on whether the two waves are in phase or out of phase.

But, if there is slight difference in the frequency and they are out of phase, they don’t cancel each other out but generate a tiny wave equal to the difference between the two.

So, for example, if  a fundamental frequency of  300HZ was played, which also had an overtone frequency of  310HZ, a pulsed signal of 10HZ would result.

The range of the bassoon

To demonstrate let me take the example of the modern day bassoon. The bassoon is a woodwind instrument with a  double reed in the bass and tenor registers. Its beautiful rich tones make it a favourite in orchestral and chamber music.  If we look at the spread of frequencies which can emenate from a bassoon we shoud be able to see that they extend into the infrasound range.

The contrabassoon, also known as the double bassoon, is a larger version of the bassoon, sounding an octave lower. In effect the higher notes go and the lower frequencies predominate

The contrabassoon is the deepest available sound in an orchestra. Tonally, it sounds much like the bassoon except for a distinctive organ pedal quality in the lowest octave of its range which provides a solid underpinning to the orchestra.

The instrument can have a distinct 'buzz', which becomes almost a hum in the extreme low range.

Composers who used this instrument in their compositions include Brahms and Mahler. Haydn used this instrument in both of his oratorios, The Creation.

What is also interesting from our point of view is that the instrument did not have to be enormous in order to get these very low notes.  On average, the contrabassoon reed is only 70mm long and 20mm wide. The large blades allow ample vibration that produces the low register of the instrument.

The contrabassoon reed is similar to an average bassoon reed in that scraping the reed affects both the intonation and response of the instrument.

So if you want to get high on music choose pieces with double bassoons and tubas or lots of bass instruments in them!

Two or more instruments playing together

Any two instruments tuned to approximately the same pitch may also produce a vast range of sounds including infrasound by the same process of interference.  Thus two instruments playing the same tune together where one is just very slightly ‘off key’ from the other could produce a very complex set of resonances.  Thus even instruments of high pitch can rather ironically produce low notes – even infrasound.

Observations

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