There is something about a heartbeat. The soft rhythmic melody that flows beneath the breastbone, harkens life. It is the quintessence of our being. The “lub” gathers the momentum and passion of the human soul and carries the weight for a fraction of a second and then with a Spartan precision throws the even-keeled burden into the deafening blow of the consummating “dub.” How wonderful to be able to hear it in its glory with your ears to the chest of another being. The beautiful rhythm, the repetitive melody and the soothing timbre all conspire to comfort a crying infant to her mother’s heartbeat.
The harmonics of the blood flow within the chambers and then the muscular force that beats in unison to drive the elixir of life far and beyond its reaches, is the consummate reflection of our being.
Not to far in the past I lost a couple of friends to unknown causes. They both collapsed into a lifeless heap. The first one in his fifties was trimming the tree branches with a electric trimmer and the other one was using the leaf-blower and hedge trimmer. Both collapsed in mid-movement and were gone. What happened? What brought on the calamities of these two disparate individuals. There was no known illness in either. Both physicians of quality and integrity and both lost to the world.
It dawned upon me that the commonness of these two events might have something to do with harmonics. I cannot prove it, I can only surmise.
Ever sit down to the calming arpeggio laden. “Prelude in C-Major” by J.S.Bach.
Listening to it you will find a certain comfort to want to listen to it again and again. The beauty of the notes of the cords played in different octaves is like a soothing, enchanting high priestess of comfort, massaging away the tight muscles of living.
In recent day music, Coldplay, a musical group has encompassed that beautifully in many of its songs; “Viva La Vida”
The rhythm and resonance of the large audience symbolizes the connection to their souls.
or, listen to the equally wonderful, “Every teardrop is a waterfall.”
This is another beautiful melody that shimmers just above the undercurrent of a warm harmony. It keeps you tapping to its even beat.
There is something about music, which is proprietary in its finesse. When listening to it, all extraneous movement is arrested voluntarily. The listener’s focus and attention gets directed inwards. The doors to the chamber of thought are closed and the echo of the melody takes over. It resonates with the harmonics of the soul. All extraneous reference is rendered moot, cast away with abandon. It is only the melody and the harmonics within that remain.
If you listen and not just hear music you will find the ghosts of Christmas past and with them, all the joys, smiles, laughter merging with the tears to become one. The line between good and great is crossed. There are such beautiful musical creations that invoke feelings like this within. The classical fugue is the Concertos for two Violins by J.S.Back where point and counterpoint keep you alert and alive to the harmonic dialogue. If you listen carefully the background melody is repeated as the foreground melody counters both itself and the product of the background. It is fascinating in its creation and only a master could have managed to hold together this variegated castle of incredible beauty. Listen to it and rejoice in it. It will fill your soul. But through it all this music with the rub of the strings will resonate with the rhythm of your heart.
But then, there is the violent side of music that jars. It compels all our essence to hide behind itself. The violence is not tempered, the notes thrash at each other, the harsh dissonance increases and makes one uneasy. It raises the blood pressure and the heart rate. It evokes sentiments of anger. We listen to it and it puts us in a disjointed frame of reference. It is music of another mindset. Yet it is music, of another culture for another culture. Seeking harmony and comfort is not in it. This is designed for a different purpose. It violates comfort. It awakens. It brings out emotions of despair and anger.
So you might agree that music affects us all in many ways. The harmonics are everything. Precisely there is where it got me thinking. Maybe the harmonics of the two instruments that my friends were using clashed with those of their heart rhythms and that clash caused the final act. Maybe the clash of the harmonics created a sudden change in the harmonics of the heartbeat and a convulsive ventricular tachycardia emerged, turned into a fibrillation from the resonance and blood ceased to flow? Maybe, the dys-arrhythmia played a role, because autopsy of one showed no direct or indirect causation. But this is just a hypothetical and we will never know. But maybe, just maybe, given how music affects us all, harmonics were at play.
Let me take you down another lane of thought. An interesting study conducted on succcessive monitoring of the R-R intervals of EKGs over 24-hour period as stated on the website: "The time series belonging to the first two groups (healthy and congestive heart failure) are all in sinus rhythm. Those in the third group (a1rr, a2rr, a3rr, a4rr, and a5rr) are provided as examples of a cardiac rhythm that is not sinus rhythm; in that group, the rhythm is atrial fibrillation (AF), an atrial arrhythmia producing an erratic and typically rapid ventricular response. All of the time series were derived from continuous ambulatory (Holter) electrocardiograms (ECGs)" show interesting rhythmic intervals between a resting hear rate that has a flow and balance to it as compared to one with congestive heart failure where 2% premature beats were recorded and a exaggerated baroreflexive state and atrial fibrillation.
The recorded views are presented below:
Normal EKG r-r interval
Congestive Heart Failure r-r intervals
Atrial Fibrillation r-r intervals
One immediately notices the stark differences in the three rhythm scenarios.
We all live in the constant feed of doubt and I am sure there is plenty here for you to mull over. But below is a beautiful melody crafted on the harmonics of a heartbeat. Listen to this and allow your heartbeat to slow down. Soul cleansing!
Music therapy has become an especially important feature to control psychosomatic side effects to medical managements and Bettermann and colleagues in their paper, “Musical rhythms in heat period dynamics,” (http://ajpheart.physiology.org/content/277/5/H1762.full) argue,” …experiments should include percussion (at least finger tapping) or dance to reproduce the rhythms and should pursue the question whether distinct physiological rhythms can be specifically amplified. This positive physioacoustic feedback or rhythmic resonance may be of great potential use, in particular, for the evaluation of music therapies.” They go on to say that African music is the heart beat of music per se, stating bluntly, “From the point of view of African cultures, music rises directly from the inner dynamic of human beings, which is symbolized and brought forth by the human heartbeat.”
Speaking about the convergence of music across continents and platforms, the essence remains the same. The beauty of the Seven Notes that create the magic is evident in this phenomenal musical video of Peter Gabriel and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. The melody shifts, reaches, falls and then is reborn while the harmony lingers long after the song is over. There is definitely something about music that reverberates in the human soul. There is something magical.
Don’t you think?