Musical Overtone Feedback

What is Musical Overtone Feedback?

Musical Overtone Feedback is an experimental method of listening that invites the brain to seek an experience of proportion and connectivity through the experience of harmonic ratios.  It is based on Dr. Calaba’s doctoral dissertation about psychotherapy and the physics of sound, and upon current scientific research on the cellular interactions between sound and neurology.

WHAT IS AN OVERTONE?

If you strike a sound and listen closely, you will hear other tones emerge from the resonance called “overtones” that are different from the first one which is called the “fundamental”.  Nature organizes these overtones into a series of predictable ratios.  no matter what fundamental you start on, the series of overtones will always unfold in the same mathematical way.  The overtone series generated from a fundamental is called the “harmonic series”, “harmonics”, “partials” or “integer frequency ratios”.  The harmonic series continues indefinitely and generates all possible frequencies (even those we can’t hear).

How Does Musical Overtone Feedback Work?

Musical Overtone Feedback works with the first twelve overtones of the harmonic series.  Theoretically, however, any or all of the infinite number of overtones could be used.

It is recommended that the Musical Overtone Feedback method be used with acoustic sounds.  Acoustic tones differ from computerized ones because they generate the spectral ratios (i.e., overtones) of the harmonic series.  Acoustic sounds reflect nature’s structure exactly and create a higher capacity for the auditory system to detect change (Golumbic, 2007.)

In Musical Overtone Feedback, overtones of the harmonic series act as a natural developmental model for introducing one frequency at a time and unfolding into complexity without losing the coherence of the whole.  Harmonic proportion is created between different frequencies so that the proportion itself generates a therapeutic effect.

WHAT CAN MUSICAL OVERTONE FEEDBACK BE USED FOR?

Musical Overtone Feedback can be integrated with many types of  therapies including biofeedback, neurotherapy, occupational therapy, psychotherapy or sound therapy.   It can be used to balance, harmonize, activate, sedate, deepen, expand, align or stimulate.  Musical Overtone Feedback can start simply with single tones and can increase in complexity with longer tone sequences as developmental milestones and/or therapeutic goals are achieved.

HOW CAN MUSICAL OVERTONE FEEDBACK BE USED IN NEUROTHERAPY?

To combine Musical Overtone Feedback with neurotherapy, clinicians are encouraged to explore the pairing of fundamental notes and their overtones with brainwave frequencies being trained so that the auditory feedback becomes an integral frequency component of the feedback loop itself.  Fundamentals can be chosen by assessing brainwave frequencies with a QEEG Brain Map and then matching pitch frequencies that are mathematically in harmonic ratios.  For instance, if 15 Hz is a target frequency, a fundamental is found that is closest to that brainwave frequency (e.g., 15 Hz = the note B.)  Although 15 Hz is below the hearing range, the fundamental of 123 Hz (two octaves higher) could be used along with the overtones for the note B.

How is a musical overtone protocol designed?

To begin a treatment protocol, a fundamental frequency is chosen clinically that supports the client’s needs.  This can be done by working with the client psychologically, intuitively, or neurologically (by consulting the client’s QEEG brain map.)  A long, resonant version of this tone is then played to prime the brain for the overtones it will be hearing.

When the client produces a response that is compatible with a therapeutic goal chosen by the clinician, a tone is heard that is a mathematical harmonic of the fundamental.  This functions to reinforce the client’s experience of success. When the client succeeds again, another tone is presented that is one of the first twelve tones in the harmonic series of the chosen fundamental (either in sequential order or randomly.)

At the end of the treatment protocol, a tone sequence of the whole harmonic series itself is played on the fundamental note to consolidate the resonance that has been just heard and to teach the brain to seek the proportional experience again–like anticipating the notes of a favorite song.

Can I Get Musical Overtone Sounds for My Own Use?

The complete Library of Musical Overtone Sounds for piano with an accompanying manual can be ordered upon request.  Each tone in the collection has been professionally recorded to capture a maximum amount of overtone resonance.  Clinicians can use the tone sequences and protocols provided, or they can design their own by combining any of the 88 notes from the piano keyboard.