For thousands of years, music accompanied the humans on their journey on this planet earth. Many attribute the emergence of language -as a means of communication- to the early man trying to mimic the sound of animals in his environment, animals used sounds to call for mating, to warn from enemies or even just to entertain themselves. Whether the early man understood this or not, he was influenced by it and so all early ways of human communication included many symbols of animal sounds and pictures as a tribute to one of the very first teachers of mankind.
When humans started to settle and culture started to emerge, music and dance events were a central part of every early human culture. Ancient Egyptians, Sumerian, Vedic and Greek civilizations all of them had specific gods for dance and music and they associated them with fertility and it was considered as a religious ritual. This kind of sacred music gatherings is still manifested in our days, and it is attributed to the same lineage of tribal ecstatic events that are still performed nowadays in aboriginal and indigenous cultures.
Many communities all over the world are paying tribute to the power of such events in having a transformational experience on individuals taking part them. In taking the analogy of a pilgrimage, such events are being held in areas away from the crowded cities were you can disconnect from the cyber sphere we live in and connect to the original experience that we share with our ancestors and become rewired with the true elements of our own formation; earth, air, water and fire.
And from here, my journey starts in Dahab, and what other place can get you more connected with the nature of the sea, mountain and desert. Once I put my foot in Dahab, I found myself in a kind of an unorganized therapeutic community, where everyone is sharing his experience in healing through different modalities and schools. In the heart of all of this is music, and many transformative experiences that redefine your relationship with sound, frequency and rhythm.
The science of studying the perceptual and acoustic effects of music is called psychoacoustics, this branch of science studies how humans perceive different sound stimuli and how does this affects them emotionally. There is a whole field of study in psychotherapy involving the use of music in healing from past traumas and bad habits, it can be considered as a type of behavioral therapy and there are many researches in this field. One of the many prominent methods in using music in healing is the Tomatis method, which is a natural approach to neurosensory stimulation, it has many listening programs that change the music and voice in real time in order to capture the brain’s attention and to develop motor, emotional and cognitive skills. This is only just one example of how music can be used to develop long lasting effects even on the motor level not the emotional part only.
Since most of the transformative experiences related to music and dance takes place in the form of a gathering, other areas should be well maintained to guarantee safety of all participants. In any event where there is a big chance of severe introspection to the level of entering realms of altered states of consciousness, the space has to be well prepared to accommodate any possibility of hard times during venturing these difficult realms. So while we to tend to only focus on the direct acoustic effects of music, one area sometimes gets out of focus which is the social psychology of music.
In a general sense, any audience is a crowd, that come together in some limited area of space for a certain length of time, usually with a common purpose. In this context, the theory of crowd psychology applies to any attendants of a music event, and any interaction within has to be well studied and then organized according to the specific needs of each crowd. A single individual psyche is highly affected when inside a crowd and so instead of dealing with only different individual consciousness you become handling a single uncontrollable mass consciousness that needs rules and codes of ethics to function properly on the individual level. This means that studying social effects of music on an individual and group level transcending just the acoustic effects is also important in our journey to reach a comprehensive study of the effects of music in the healing journey.