The Sirens' call

      In the Odyssey, Ulysses had himself tied to the mast of his boat so that he could hear but not respond to the irresistible sirens, demons who sounded like women calling for help but who were, in fact, leading sailors to shipwreck on the rocks. What I call "Sirens" are abstract sound inventions using found, as well as constructed or played elements. They have development, a beginning middle and end, that engenders emotional or cognitive or neural effects. Sirens often make use of brainwave drivers, but not just by phase lagging noise of different flavors of randomness. White or pink or brown noise assails the ear, no matter the effect. Who can stand to listen long enough? Like random dot stereograms, such audio devices are interesting and effective, but ugly. My sirens utilize counterbalanced or symmetric, rather than random, tonal sequences that are as pleasing as I can make them. These are then processed with binaural interferometry to entrain and amplify specific brain arousal states.  

Binaural drivers

"Binaural interferometry effects, sometimes called brainwave drivers, are created by inputting slightly different sound frequencies into each ear. This can generate a pulse or "beat" between the two frequencies, which is similar to a vibrato in regular music except that instead of varying in amplitude or alternating between a higher and lower tone, binaural tones are playing simultaneously, one in each ear. For example one ear could be receiving 440 hz and the other 445 hz. The frequency difference is 5 hz, and so the combined interactive sound seems to pulse about 5 times per second. This is a frequency illusion, of course. (It is similar to the way racing stagecoach wheels in old western movies sometimes appear to be rotating slowly backward. That effect is caused by the 24 fps frame speed of the motion picture camera sampling from the forward rotating wheel spokes.)   

The Brain's cellular internet.

Human brains are made up of billions of connected nerve cells, all packed into a small container. Each cell generates tiny electrical charges continuously and communicates with other parts of the brain and body using several different means. We can listen to some of the non-specific electrical activity using sensitive electrodes on the outside of the head, called EEG recording. When complex brain EEG waveforms are decomposed or broken down into simpler sine waves, (called Fourier or power spectral analysis) we can distinguish the relative amplitude or power of various frequencies associated with states of low or high brain activity. These frequencies, which we can produce using the trick of binaural interferometry described above,  are  3 hz to about 25 hz. Even though we can't hear tones below 20 hz using our eardrums, our brain cells do respond to the differences between perceived tones, the binaural beat frequency, which can be 5hz or 7hz or even 1hz. They become entrained: Cells in the brain firing at higher or lower frequencies "think" that the source of the frequencies is other neural cell groups in the brain and they do their best to get in step with them.

   Braindrivers were originally conceived of as a therapeutic  tranquilizer or meditation or sleeping aid. Indeed, some of my braindriver tracks are for such relaxing and anesthetic purposes.  But the portals and passageways to meditative and dream states are best if filled with beauty.  So, like meditative chanting,  my silent music tracks try for aesthesia as well as anesthesia."  R.D.Jansen, Ph.D. 


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