in sand sprinkled
on the plate. Different
musical tones would cause the sand particles to move into geometric
In the 1960s Hans Jenny, a Swiss scientist, spent over ten
years conducting experiments to discover the effects of sound waves
on materials placed on metal plates vibrated with sound. Materials
such as glycerine, mercury, gel, powder and iron fillings were used.
He photographed the patterns created.
He found that low frequency sounds produced simple geometric
shapes in the materials. As the sound frequency was increased, these
simple forms would break up and more complex patterns would appear.
The sound ‘OH’ would produce a perfect circle. The sound ‘OM’ produced
a pattern that resembles the Shri Yantra; the ancient mandala for
‘OM’ used in India for thousands of years.
Dr Tomatis discovered the power of chant after visiting a monastery
in France. The new abbot had stopped the monks chanting. The Benedictine
monks normally chant for six to eight hours a day. The abbot believed
that the Gregorian chant served no useful purpose and that without
it they could recapture that time for other things.The monks had been
chanting in order to ‘charge up’ themselves, but they
hadn’t realized what they were doing.