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Sonic Alchemy Paperback – May 14, 1997

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Joshua Leeds is a composer and music producer. He is one of few published authorities in the exciting new field of musical psychoacoustics -- the study of the effects of music and sound on the human nervous system. He has produced albums for Louise L. Hay, Andrew Weil, MD, Bernie Siegel, MD, The Monroe Institute, Applied Music & Sound, Advanced Brain Technologies, and many others.

From the Author

I have written and produced music for film, TV, radio, and theatre. But the satisfaction gained from producing music and sound for the enhancement of human function is unparalleled. In Sonic Alchemy, I explain the basics of psychoacoustics and include a dozen interviews from leading sound practitioners from whom I have learned greatly and hold in the highest esteem.

The field of Soundwork is ancient yet new. Passionately drawn to the field of musical psychoacoustics-the study of how mind's perceive music and sound-I could find no university curriculum. So I took five years and traveled America, meeting and interviewing intelligent and innovative modern day soundworkers. They are sonic inventors, frequency scientists, and altruistic philosophers. I call them Sonic Alchemists and they have become my teachers. To this list I must add Dr. Alfred Tomatis, widely thought of as the "Einstein of the Ear." While I have not met him, I have steeped in his Method and theories and believe his research forms the theoretical foundation for the new field of Soundwork.

It is truly my privilege to make the thoughts, experiences, and scholarship of these delightful souls available to those, like myself, who are inextricably drawn to the amazing power of music and sound.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 262 pages
  • Publisher: InnerSong Press; 1 edition (May 14, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0965778606
  • ISBN-13: 978-0965778602
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,604,830 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Dog_Ma! VINE VOICE on June 27, 2007
Leeds accomplishes what he sets out to do and does it very well. I picked up this book because I found it to be a excellent resource to grab when I needed a reference for my own soundwork. I really like this book because I use psychoacoustics in my work. I also use many psychoacoustics on myself, but especially the CDs of Dr Brian Weiss for chronic pain, and they are nothing short of incredible - all of them, but especially his Meditation CD.

Sonic Alchemy goes through the basics of soundwork/music therapy, vibration frequency, tones, beats, resonance, acoustic entrainment, and brainwaves, etc...

Leeds presents a chapter on the Tomatis method. Tomatis was simply brilliant. He was called the "Einstein of the ear", and believed the ear helped to grow the brain of the baby in utero, and then continued to charge the brain and nervous system once the child was born. Tomatis stated that "...the higher frequencies of the mother's voice literally nourish the fetus". Tomatis said he didn't treat children who were brought to him, he "awakened" them. Incredible!

Leeds gives a synopsis of the 12 sound "alchemists" he interviewed, and their specialty. For example:
"Therese Schroeder-Sheker: Prescriptive Music for the Dying. Director, Chalice of Repose Project, Composer, Recording Artist, Academic Dean of the School of Music-Thantology..."
Dr. Jeffrey Thompson, Tom Kenyon, Jonathan Goldman, etc...

As for being an advertisement, the name of the book IS Sonic Alchemy: Conversations With Leading Sound Practitioners.
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4 of 8 people found the following review helpful By The Watchman on March 30, 2007
This book is just a series of interviews with the authors of various commercial music products, getting their approaches and ideas about using music to influence states of consciousness. In effect, it is a giant advertisement that you actually pay to read.

It could be of some use to people who are unaware of such things as Brainwave Entrainment or who want to know what musical products to buy. Unfortunately, for those who already are aware of such things, this book offers no useful information at all.

What is needed in the subject of "sonic alchemy" is more practical information about the effects of music on the mind and brain, practical information about some of the techniques used to effect consciousness through music, and some real guidance for those who might want to do their own experiments in creating music using entrainment, psychoacoustics, or any of the other systems mentioned in this book. This is how music makers and music lovers can create the kinds of "empowering sonic environments" that this book is supposed to tell you how to create.

As it is, the only way anyone can create such "empowering sonic environments" is to buy the music of one of the "leaders" interviewed in the book. To my mind, this is not empowering at all.

It is one thing to sell a starving man a fish that he can afford. It is another to give that person a fishing rod and tell him how to use it. When you do the former, you help the man out, but to really empower the man you must do the latter.

This book does not empower. It just tells you what you can buy. For those who want to just use what is out there, this may be sufficient. But for those who, like me, want to get involved in working with music and sound, this book is a waste of time and money.
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