186 of 193 people found the following review helpful
on June 30, 2001
HEALING SOUNDS : The Power of Harmonics. Revised Edition. By Jonathan Goldman. New York : Harper Collins, 1996 (1992). ISBN: 1852308486 (pbk.)
Not being either an 'expert' nor a scientist in the field of sound, I was able to approach this book with an unclouded mind and one free of preconceptions and fixed ideas. And the most obvious thing about Goldman's book is that it is not a scientific treatise and should therefore not be judged as one. It is primarily a practical manual which sets out to teach us how we can use our voice, and our ability to create harmonics and tones, in some very interesting and beneficial ways.
Although Goldman has a great deal of experience in various forms of chanting and toning and is a teacher of the subject, it's altogether possible that, from the point of a view of a pretentious, reactionary, and mechanistic official science, his views may be unorthodox in some respects. Personally, I don't give a hoot. It's a long time since I grovelled at the shrine of official science.
The human voice is an amazing and beautiful instrument and all of us have one. Sadly most of us are totally unaware of the power and beauty of our own God-given voice. Goldman's book remedies that ignorance. It gives us detailed and precise instructions for toning - "the singing of prolonged sounds, usually simple vowels, on a single note" (Le Mee)- which anyone can follow.
When used, preferably in conjunction with his practice tape of exercises which can be ordered separately, you will soon be amazed to find yourself producing the most incredible and beautiful sounds. You will also find that it's huge fun, lightens your mood, clears the mind of its usual clutter, and that it can help alleviate certain minor physical problems such as headaches and perhaps even a few major ones. In short, it's great fun and makes you feel GOOD!
Its main effects are to balance the mind, emotions, and body, and if you persist in practice you will learn how to direct certain frequencies to different areas of the body where the sustained natural vibrations of your voice can be used to produce a wide range of beneficial effects.
This makes perfect sense because all things, ultimately, are vibration. Modern Physics and Ancient Science both concur in this. The body is a complex and delicately balanced pattern of vibrations and energy flows which can very easily become disturbed, and which need continual fine-tuning and adjustment to be kept in top condition.
I think that's what toning does for us. I also think that is why wolves howl. They don't howl, as some believe, because they are lonely or to announce someone's death. They howl to rebalance the energies in their body and to re-center themselves. In other words, they love to howl because it makes them feel GOOD!
Human beings are gifted with a much finer vocal instrument than God has seen fit to give to wolves, and Goldman (who has probably never thought of this wolf analogy anyway) is of course not asking you to howl but to tone. My advice would be to give Goldman and toning a try.
Goldman has something very important to teach us. His is one of the best of several books I've looked at on the subject (a related and excellent book is Katharine Le Mee's 'Chant'). And I think that if, as I did, you give it a try you'll find toning enormous fun.
Humming and singing are of course unconscious forms of re-centering, though few of us have the ability to sing well. But when it comes to producing not songs but individual notes, you'll be surprised at how well you can do and how good it makes you feel.
54 of 56 people found the following review helpful
on November 5, 2004
The first part of the book provides an overview of toning and harmonics as practiced, mainly for the purposes of healing, in different cultures: Mayans, Native American Shamans, among Tibetan Monks; as well as use in different esoteric traditions - e.g. Kabbalah, Sufi chanting, Gregorian chanting, etc.
This is followed by an entire section on balancing chakras with sound and suggestions for your own experiments with toning.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on March 5, 2008
Over the years I have written, read and spoken a lot of words and never once paid much attention to the vowels -- that is until I read Jonathan Goldman's work and put his exercises into practice. Each of those five vowels -- A, E, I, O, U -- have tremendous healing powers when toned, or chanted like a mantra. As Goldman explains it, all harmonics are found within every vowel, and because each voice is quite unique, we all pronounce vowels slightly differently. As one chants an individual vowel, you can feel a distinct and beneficial change happening in certain parts of the body. This is Goldman's style. He takes something from the realm of science and academics and presents it in every day, understandable English. This book should be a basic in colleges and schools.
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on May 29, 2014
'￼Healing Sounds' was really a discovery for me! It was through the DVD—which I equally reviewed—that I discovered Jonathan Goldman’s erudite approach to sound healing. The DVD triggered my interest to order Goldman’s two major books, to know more about the theory, while I had seen the practice on the DVD.
Let me be down-to-earth in this review and instead of talking generalities, I would prefer to comment some of the quotes I have taken from the book.
Before I do this, I would like to say that this book is very readable because the author understands to explain quite uncommon things in a clear and easy-to-read diction that initiates the reader in a matter that has been blinded out from our consciousness since centuries. The author skillfully weaves personal anecdotes in the narration, which makes the matter more lively and interesting to the novice reader—for let us not be delusional on the matter itself: it’s a highly dry and mathematical subject!
I have in fact studied sound theory during my musical studies at university that I had engaged parallel to my law studies, and I remember to have read a thick book written by the German composer Paul Hindemith about harmonics. And I remember that every time when I was reading a few pages of the book, I was beginning to fall asleep!
Not so with Goldman’s book. He manages to provide the utmost necessary of technical information by imbedding it in a larger context of information so that the read never really gets tedious and boring. To begin with, why should you study sound, harmonics and sound healing? If you are not a healer, and if it’s not specifically for self-healing, there is a reason that the author gives, and that I find important.
Presently, the huge revolutionary shifts in human consciousness are indeed reflected by a raising energy vibration on the cellular level, as it has been affirmed by many esoteric and scientific authors. This is why it is a good idea to learn more about sound and vibration, in general. The author notes:
—Everything is in a state of vibration. Everything is frequency. Sound can change molecular structure. It can create form. We realize the potential of sonic energy; we understand that virtually anything can be accomplished through vibration. Then, the miraculous seems possible./viii
What are harmonics? They are mathematical extrapolations of vibration projected in sound, but sound that most of the time we do not consciously ‘hear’ but perceive as timbre. For example, the special timbre of a trumpet is created by the harmonics of the sound coming out of the trumpet. The same tone played on a piano sounds like ‘piano’ because it has got different overtones than those created by the trumpet. The author explains:
—The first harmonic which occurs vibrates twice as fast as that first note, the second harmonic vibrates three times as fast, the fourth harmonic vibrates four times as fast and so on./16
—Different instruments will all sound overtones, but specific overtones are most prominent in different instruments. These most prominent overtones are called formants. They are the area of the sound spectrum where the sound energy is most highly concentrated./25
The striking characteristic of harmonics is that they are affecting all vibrations that are in the immediate environment, and they affect most the ones that are mathematically closest related to the one that is the triggering vibration—and therefore are called ‘harmonics’ of it.
But the author, in accordance with ancient knowledge on the power of correct proportions, sees and evaluates harmonics not only as an important ingredient of musical science, but also of nature in general.
Now, for the modern reader it is probably not self-evident why sound can be used for healing, even when knowing the theory of harmonics. The author imbeds his explanations within a larger historical and cultural context.
It is important to know that once science and sound were not separated as it is today but sound theory was part of the perennial science traditions, as for example the Hermetic tradition.
In Antiquity, the sage was mathematician in just the same way as he was musician and musical theorist, writer, poet, philosopher and teacher of the youth, and also political theorist, orator, government consultant, astrologer, fortune teller, life consultant and coach—all in one single person! Goldman studied one example of this ancient archetype of the scholar and found it embodied in the Greek mathematician Pythagoras.
Goldman’s merit in this book is that he does not only refer to his own admittedly broad experience with sound healing, as a professional sound healer, but that he also quotes important scientific research done on healing with sound, and in general on the effects of sound on the human psyche and on emotions. This enables the reader to follow up from the notes and research the matter more deeply.
For example, he quotes the German scientist Hans Kayser who, in the 1920s, developed a theory of world harmonics.
Another example of this excellent reference work of the author, which actually broadens and backs up his own theoretical foundation, is Cymatics and its founder, the Swiss scientist Hans Jenny.
Jonathan Goldman also explains that harmonics is not just an intellectual or New Age fancy but has its roots in human evolution, and most probably, from the information we gain from the old myths and sagas, preceded verbal language:
—There are legends that before there was a spoken language of words, there was a harmonic language. This language allowed humankind to communicate with all the creations of nature. It utilized the concept of information being encoded on the pure tone frequencies of harmonics. It was different from telepathy in that it used sound but it was similar to telepathy for the thoughts and information were sent on the sound wave and were received by the listener. This may be one of the ways by which dolphins communicate with each other, transmitting three-dimensional holographic thought-forms of sound. /53
And looking in the future, we can speculate that we may enable time-travel through manipulating sound and frequencies, probably through the use of huge powerful quartz crystals that act as energy transducers.
Another important branch of research done by the author is the famous one-voice overtone chanting of Tibetan monks and Mongolian shamans. The author relates his various meetings with overtone-singing Tibetan monks both in the USA and Tibet and references musicological and other research on this important subject that is still considered highly ‘esoteric’ in our own culture. The Gyuto and other monks from Tibet namely chant a bass voice that is entirely unknown to any, even professional, singer in the West.
Scientists formerly stated that it was impossible to produce a sound of less than 150 Hz with the human voice. But these monks prove the contrary.
Next, the author expands on the research of French doctor Alfred Tomatis who was already twenty years ago an authority on sound research and healing with sound.
Goldman also teaches conflict resolution effected through empathic listening that is completely immersed in sound, and distinguishes it from mere hearing. He points out that the activity of active listening leads to deep understanding.
That all life is coded in sound, we know from ancient times, but it has been completely disregarded in modern science until very recently. Now, based on this ancient understanding of the human body as a resonance emitter and receiver, we can indeed develop from this insight a genuine healing approach that Goldman traces out as a mapping of frequencies.
I highly recommend the present book especially for neophytes in sound theory and sound healing, as the author understands to carefully introduce in the matter, always alternating theory and practical advice or personal experience so as to make the reading lively and interesting.