Bodies of Sound

Ancient Egyptians did not draw symbols for vowel sounds in their written language. The sound was considered to be eternal and not able to be transcribed by humans. Hebrews believed similarly, that the sound of a vowel contained the essence of the secret name of G-d, and therefore they did not risk the use of vowels in their written language.

the bone rattle in my ear
of silence says “I am”

The composer, artist, and philosopher John Cage created a series of music compositions based on recordings of lectures he had presented. As a music composition experiment, he removed all vowel sounds from the recordings using tape editing equipment. The title of one of the lectures, “A Lecture on Nothing (PDF).”

There is nothing new
under the sun.”

The Greeks were the first to incorporate vowel symbols in their written language. They articulated human thought and believed they articulated the eternal nature of nature. The Greeks invented names for the naming of things.

When I was a child I played with blocks called Legos, a Greek word that means to count, tell, say, or speak.

Abwoon is the sound used in Aramaic to describe the the power of the universe to continuously create. Jews use the sound Yahweh to name G-d. Muslims make the sound Allah to describe the source of creation.

My name has no clear derivation.
Who am I?

Humans are born of women who are called by the sound “mama” around the world. The word “man” derives from a Proto-Indo-European root meaning “hand.” Hands and language distinguish other animals from humans.

“Yeah, but I think that’s where I’m evolving;
a large-brained primate with an opposable
thumb, with which I will oppose all of nature”
Russell Edson, “Darwin Descending”

A Latin transcription of the word “person” is being of sound: per meaning “by means of,” and son(us) meaning “sound.” Sound is a radiant mechanical energy.

et in terra pax
ut nobis Corpus et Sanguis
et in terra silencium perpetua
et pacem, pacem, pacem

Clay pots, wind chimes, and hollow trees resonate when struck. Sound is the condensation and rarefraction of molecules, a pattern of pressure changes through a medium, usually air.

every breath we take contains at least
three molecules of air
breathed by every human on the planet

Pythagoras articulated that a single string produces a note when plucked. The Western musical scale consists of seven tones beginning with the tonic and repeats on the eighth tone, the octave. The same string, held (stopped) in the center and plucked produces the same note only higher, vibrating twice as fast.

The memory of human emotion
is stored in muscle tissue.

Ancient Indian spiritual and musical traditions center on the idea of Nada Brahma. Nada means “sound” in Sanskrit, or “bull,” and in context can mean “a roaring sound.” Brahma is one of the three main deities of Hinduism along with Shiva and Vishnu. Brahma is a mystic formula, the source of the world and sacred knowledge, the primal word for creation. Nada Brahma means world is sound or God is sound.

Zeno postulated that every distance
is divisible by two so getting there is . . .

In the late 1500’s Johannes Kepler discovered that the relationship between each planet’s orbit and the sun (its aphelion and perihelion) correspond with the intervals between tones of the musical scale as described by Pythagoras. This concept is known as musica mundana, music of the world.

In the beginning was the word

The sound of the human voice is a combination of four physical processes: respiration, phonation, resonation, and articulation. Respiration is to move air in and out of the body, inhalation, exhalation—breathing. Air moving through the larynx causing the vocal cords (strings) to vibrate is called phonation. Resonation is the intensification and enriching of a musical tone by supplementary vibration. Resonation is often created using a hollow object such as the human body when filled with air. Articulation is the process of controlling the flow of air out of the body with the mouth and tongue.

and the word became flesh

A melody is not defined by the notes or pitches contained within it, but by the relationship of the notes to one another. A singer sustains a note on the sound of a vowel. Resonance requires air in the human body. The perception of sound is the vibration of bones in the skull. In the beginning was. Nada brahma ripples through a bang, bone, muscle, and molecule. And now.

From “Liner Notes” by Jeffery Oliver