Marian Carcache: Sweetest music of the ever-wheeling stars

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Most of us have probably always known, on some level, that sound has therapeutic benefits, and now research confirms that sounds can not only boost immune function and lower stress, but also aid in the treatment of some mental and emotional disorders.

When I worked at an acupuncture clinic, I witnessed tuning fork and singing bowl therapies. Even now, in my neighborhood, I can often hear a drum circle a street or two over from my house as the participants, in the words of Grateful Dead drummer, Mickey Hart, “get in tune with each other and themselves” and form a “collective voice.”

Religious services often use chants or mantras, which have been described as being “medicine for the soul,” just as worshipers sing hymns to give comfort and praise. We also use music to boost morale both for sports events and for military troops, and lullabies to sooth our babies.

Pythagoras believed that the planets and stars move according to mathematical equations that correspond to musical notes. This movement, he concluded, created a symphony, which came to be called “Musical Universalis” or “Music of the Spheres.”




As a belated birthday gift, at the end of a devastating week in which every day’s news brought more heartache, my friends Tina and Kelley took me to a small concert, part of the Sundilla series, at the local Unitarian Fellowship. The performers were Cliff Eberhardt and his guest, Louise Mosrie. Their voices, their words, their breathtakingly beautiful music reminded me to — for at least a couple of hours — let go of the existential misery that forces beyond our control or understanding can wreak on us and our neighbors, to open my ears and heart to something akin to what Milton described as “that sweetest music of the ever-wheeling stars.”

Marian Carcache welcomes 

comments at carcamm@auburn.edu.