The following information is in reference to Chapter 11, page 149 of The Power Of Sound.
Frequencies and Modes
After twenty-plus years of playing therapeutic harp, Sue’s formula for success is basically the same for people and animals. After determining pain, stress, anxiety, or depression, she begins to play, selecting from a repertoire of original and re-arranged compositions. It is an intuitive process that has been honed by years of observation. Her method revolves around two primary diagnostic considerations: What ‘cellular chemical’ does the patient need for balance, and which musical mode will facilitate stimulation or soothing?
Sue believes that every cell has specific frequencies. Similar to being dehydrated and then introducing water to slake thirst, she provides missing frequencies with her choice of harp notes naturally assist cellular balance. According to Sue, specific scale modes—with their resulting overtones—provide acoustical nourishment for both 2- or 4-leggeds. Sound far-fetched? Yes, but the results are undeniable.
The Three-Minute Access
There is a common thread that Sue has noticed since 1994, when she first began working with animals. She calls this phenomenon the three-minute access. Regardless of species, within the first three minutes of music, the person or animal will exhibit some kind of release. People commonly have a deep breath or sigh. Animals, however, cease activity: dogs circle and lay down, birds go to roost, while monkeys suddenly sit down, wolves lay down, and goldfish go to the bottom of tank and rest. Even giraffes lay down, which is significant, as it makes them defenseless. Sue remarks, “cows close their eyes and doze, but the bulls actually generate a tremendous erection. We’ve been using the music for shy breeding—an erection problem with stallions and bulls.” At about three minutes in, everyone begins to settle. It is extremely consistent, be it wild or domesticated animals.”
Sue’s animal sessions are observed with meticulous notes taken. “Consistently,” she says, “at about three minutes, the music and sound begin to take affect on a cellular level. It is at that point that I then shift to specific tones and sequences corresponding to chemical elements I’m looking to stimulate.”
When I queried Sue Raimond about the difference between dogs and larger animals, she explained that it was all the same. Sue began her animal playing with her own dogs, and then has continued to work with many more. However, she has found that regardless of the species, the reaction is primarily the same. From goldfish to gorillas, the vibrational appeal of music, sculpted from the vibration of sound, cuts across size and temperament.
“Music that works for people also works for animals,” she says. “We all entrain to the external rhythms of music. Birds will on occasion nod their heads to the beat. Wolves will slow down their pace, and elephants will sway back and forth.” Anybody seen a gorilla snapping his or her fingers? If you have, we want to know!
Speaking of Gorillas
Boston’s Franklin Park Zoo invited Sue to come and play for their gorillas. Their motivation was to provide a unique enrichment opportunity. The previously scheduled enrichment for the day was shredded newspaper with treats hidden in it.
Sue and five vigilant zookeepers were separated from the gorillas behind a plexi-glass wall, not far from the open area the animals occupied. Her primary audience was a 6-year old mom with her 3-year old baby, a 9-year old juvenile male, a 21-year old female, and a 30-year old female who was reputedly quite anti-social.
Sue’s observations . . . “The mom brought her baby to me and put her at my feet. She laid her down on her back and then laid back, herself, in a noticeably submissive position. The 9-year old actually came up to the glass and blew me a kiss, and the 30-year old came in and sat with the group. Per the keepers, gorillas are usually very active and don’t generally sit in such close proximity. They normally keep at least an arm’s length distance between themselves and require a certain amount of personal space. However, after hearing the sounds of the harp, they came in together, stayed close to the plexi wall and one by one, fell into deep sleep for the next hour. After the hour, I stopped playing and Kira, the baby, jumped up and pounded on the glass for the harp to continue. There was also a 450-lb Silverback male in a nearby enclosure. He is normally anti-social, hiding under bushes or staying out of sight of people. After I played for a few minutes, he came as close as he could get, sat down, and listened to the music. He stayed the entire time I played. The zookeepers who were with me were transfixed! They were crying that ‘their’ babies were so content and relaxed.”
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