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Build a Musical Instrument Day
Close your eyes for a moment and listen to your environment. What sounds do you hear? Unless you are in the quietest place on earth, Stratfield Labs’ special Anechoic Chamber, your ears will easily tune to even the little sounds in your environment, and even little sounds can have big effects on us. When a sound is unpleasant to our ears, we call it noise. When it is sweet and pleasing, we call it notes, or music. Sounds are so much a part of our life that we don’t often think about the incredible process that gets sounds from their source to our brains, and the influence that certain sounds can have on us. So, what is a sound, anyway? And how does sound affect our imaginations, health, and moods?
All sounds are made the same way: they are vibrations. A vibration is when something moves back and forth incredibly fast, faster even than our eyes can see. These vibrations transmit from the object to the surrounding particles in the air. A vibrating object causes the air molecules around it to vibrate in the same way as it is vibrating. Then those air molecules cause the next air molecules to vibrate the same way, and so on and so on — all the way up to your eardrum, which is a membrane made to catch vibrations and pass them through the intricate anatomy of the ear. When they reach your ear, they are translated into electrical signals that can be understood by your brain. Sound is, basically, a vibration that travels across the air in a wave-like pattern, until it touches us with its energy right in our ear!
How many waves a sound vibration has in a given period is known as its frequency. Higher frequency sounds pack in many waves, while lower frequency sounds have less. Although still experimental and theoretical at this stage, there is some fascinating work from many different fields of science that indicate sound frequency and vibration may have great potential to benefit humanity. One of the greatest scientists of all time, Nikola Tesla, famously said that “If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency, and vibration.” Among his many projects, for example, was one to turn vibrations into electricity that could be easily shared across the world. Scientists on the frontier of sound as medicine, such as Dr. Lee Bartel, are even indicating that certain frequencies of sound, especially 40 HZ, may stimulate the fading neurons of Alzheimer’s patients into better function over time. There is even evidence that certain sound frequencies may destroy cancer cells.
Although the potential of sound to impact things like global
energy and human health are just beginning to be understood, it’s a fact that
the vibrations of sound can have a powerful impact on our well-being. Just think of a time that a loved one’s voice
touched your heart, or a song on the radio changed your day from a bad one to a
If you want to explore the amazing world of sounds, vibrations, and frequencies for yourself, check out our at-home Harmonica experiment and make some good vibrations with your own home-made instrument!
Harmonica Lesson Plan:
Harmonica Tutorial Video:
Stratfield Labs Anechoic Chamber, the quietest place on
Classic Bill Nye the Science Guy Video on Sound:
An Introduction to Nikola Tesla:
Possibilities in Sound as Medicine:
Resonant Frequencies as a Possible Treatment for Cancer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1w0_kazbb_U