on December 26, 2005
I read this book a little while ago and it completely transformed the way I perceive the world around me. This book showed me the power that sound has. While the book is primarily concerned with the mysticism of sound, he also relates the world around us to sound, and shows us how reliable and accurate our ears are when compared to our eyes.
Joachim-Ernst Berendt also gives listening tests in some of the chapters to give the reader an opportunity to develop their sense of hearing, which he says is being underused in our predominantly visual western culture.
I am a private detective and ever since reading this book, I have always tried to use sound equipment and techniques on my investigations. Since reading this book I have completely re-evaluated and structured the approach and conduct of my work for the better. Can't recommend it enough.
on August 9, 2014
Years ago I read a book called The World Is Sound by Joachim-Ernst Berend. In his book, Berendt speaks of music on the microcosmic level, the music of atoms. He demonstrated the harmonics mathematically. Quoting Lama Govinda, “Each atom is constantly singing a song, and each moment this song creates dense or fine forms of greater or lesser materiality.” On the very same day I read this, I heard an interview on NPR news with a scientist who had just announced the recording of the sound of an atom. He and his associates had used a microphone so sensitive, that it picked up the music (yes, music,) made by an atom.
Music and sound is an integral part of each of our lives, even when people are not paying attention. In addition to the Macrocosmic Music (the sound made by the etheric energy grid around our planet), there is also Microcosmic Music. (Macrocosmic music is sometimes referred to the Music of the Spheres).
According to the research of Dr. Susumu Ohn0, (with the Beckman Research Institute), when musical notes are assigned to cellular chemistry, the cells from different parts of the body create different “melodies”. Some of these are quite complex and beautiful. When the body is in harmony, the music it creates on a cellular level is also in harmony. However, when the body is out of harmony, the cellular music is dissonant. When Dr. Ohno converted the musical notes of a Chopin funeral march into cellular chemistry, he found portions astonishingly similar to a human cancer gene.
One interesting thing you may not be aware of is that whale song is sung in rhyme, and the whale’s songs, along with the dolphins, regulate the earth’s biosphere”. This creates a “window” for the energy patterns needed for the procreation of all species on earth. Remember in “Star Trek 4: The Voyage Home” how the interplanetary probe was sent to Earth to see why the whales hadn’t been communicating with “home world?” Well, that wasn’t so far fetched!
Aristotle knew certain cetaceans “speak”, but it was passed off as legend until World War II when underwater microphones, used to pick up traces of enemy submarines, detected the clicks and whistles of dolphins. The purpose of the clicks seems to be mostly echolocation for navigation, but the whistles vary with each individual. If one dolphin is whistling, other dolphins will wait until he has finished before whistling back.
No one really knows how whales sing? They have no vocal chords, but they do have a larynx, a respiratory tract, and a blowhole, all of which seem to contribute. The song of the dominant male in a pod of humpbacks may last as long as nine minutes and may contain all the notes on a piano keyboard. It is repeated over and over until all the males of the pod have picked it up and sung it back to the first one. Blue whales, the largest animals that have ever lived, emit deep, descending moans so low that the human ear can barely hear them unless they are recorded and played back speeded up. (They are even low when played back an octave higher.) Right whales don’t sing, but they do have a broad vocabulary that consists of whinnies, gurgles, chirps, burps, groans, cries, and much more. (They even snore!) Whales have been known to use sound to stun their prey. (I suspect there is a similar racial memory that makes humans instinctively scream to stun enemies.)
on February 21, 2008
I'm rating this book with just one star because the other reviews are too good, otherwise I may give it "two stars" but no more.
I bought this book because of the positive reviews and I was sorely disappointed. I was expecting a book about the metaphysics of sound. What I got was the superficial text of a rambling enthusiast. The variety of topics covered is interesting and the style is engaging... during the first couple of chapters. After that, Berendt needs a good editor. For example, several times we find quotations of the type (not verbatim): "Some author says that the molecules of hydrogen resonate with a major third interval: <<The molecules of hydrogen resonate with a major third interval>>" This kind of quotation adds nothing and explains less. I am still wondering what kind of analogy is it they were talking about. Besides, the second part of the book consists of a few miscellaneous articles on Zen, jazz, etc., unrelated to what should be the main topic of the book.
On the good side, it showed me some threads to follow... but nothing that can't be found elsewhere, I'm afraid.
on January 7, 2015
I'll start with the weaknesses: Berendt provides a lot of unique thoughts and models on the relationship between sound and reality. However, his logic is segmented and his use of evidence selective. He has a tendency of throwing a bunch quotes, followed by studies which suite the point he's trying to make at the moment, and call it a chapter. In addition, he frequently makes sweeping generalisations without explaining why the generalisation is authentic. Combined with his use of abstract ambiguous prose, his thoughts often come off as very "New Agey". This is most visible in his chapters trying to demonstrate the harmonic nature of the physical world. Here's an example: "With its atomic number 8, oxygen is the element of the octave. The eight electron of the oxygen atom shell and the eight protons of the oxygen atom nuclei for a major scale, the spins of the particles precisely marking the half tones and whole tones" (page 68). Here, he chooses the oxygen atom because it suits his point, but he leaves us wondering how applicable this is to other atoms. It's simply unconvincing. Not wrong, but unconvincing.
Ironically, what was to me Berendt's most important point was hidden in a parentheses on page 61: "We shall see that in the proportions of the macrocosm, microcosm, and our terrestrial world, consonant sounds ("that is, proportions made up of low whole numbers) are highly prevalent". Nowhere else does Berendt define what harmony/consonant sound is. Sloppy writing. And his tirade on science at the end of the book was, if factually correct, caustic and unnecessary. Why end the book with such bad energy.
On the positive side, Berendt is simply full of great, original ideas, it's just that they're badly written. He makes so many good points, but doesn't provide a narrative structure that ties it all together. t learned a lot in his chapters on Indian music and jazz, as well as in the chapter in which he explains how sound is the matter of the universe.
If your into this kind of stuff, I'd recommend you read Hazrat Inayat Khan, who Berendt makes frequent references too.
on April 30, 2015
A book that resonates for years. I borrowed it. Returned it. Bought it. Over a ten year span. Especially relevant in these days of noise pollution, insane behaviors, and destruction of so much of the natural world. Sounds a note of beauty in chaos. Where could it become part of a college curriculum? Music of course, history? Theology? Current events?