Octave Numbers & Toning
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Toning and Harmonics in the New Universe by Joe Townend
The modern theory of harmonics was advanced in a landmark scientific work first published in German in 1877 by
Hermann Helmholtz titled On the Sensations of Tone. Helmholz identified the mathematical underpinnings of
harmony, crediting Pythagoras and other ancients for their contributions. He demonstrated how the intervals of the
musical scale can be derived from the whole number ratios of the overtones or partials with the fundamental or root
of any given frequency. The octave, for example, is twice the frequency of the fundamental. An example of the
octave of A440 would be A880, where the numbers refer to the frequency of vibrations per second or Hertz as they
are now labeled. Here's a table of an octave and its ratios.
C D E F G A B C
1 9/8 5/4 4/3 3/2 5/3 15/8 2
Toning is the sounding of the human voice, usually using sustained vowel sounds rather than words. In recent years
the study and practice of toning has revived some of the old wisdom and discovered some new things too. The power
of the voice is awesome and can be effective for healing, creativity and many kinds of deep spiritual work and play.
We are so used to hearing music that has been professionally recorded and produced to be technically near perfect
that many of us are afraid to sing out with our less than "perfect" voices. This is a fear that when overcome allows
us to step into the freedom of body toning rather than performance toning. Chanting has also been used within
religious and spiritual traditions for centuries but it seems that each generation needs to rediscover the magic in
these open sounds.