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The (supposed) neurological effects of Gregorian Chant. Any thoughts? (please don't spam) kyle_doerksen at hotmail.com
Tue Jan 4 21:54:25 EST 2000

I was just leafing through a little book called Chant by Katharine Le Mee,
and I ran across some neuroscience related claims which I thought the
knowledgeable people in this newsgroup might be able to support or refute.

The author presents the following situation: in France, in the early 1960s,
monks in a Benedictime monastary underwent several changes, but primarily
(according to Le Mee) it was the cesation of regular chanting that was most
detrimental.While the monks were able to live very well on three or four
hours of sleep per night, after they stopped chanting, they got very tired,
and many of them became ill. Dr. Alfred Tomatis, an internationally renowned
ear specialist reported that the chant functioned to "charge the cerebral
cortex with electrical potential. It is clear then, that a person with poor
hearing is unable to effectively receive the charge of energy being provided
by the ear. A well-tuned ear is able to stimulate the brain... The monks
sing in the medium range -- that of a baritone -- but due to the unity and
resonance of the sound, their voices produce rich overtones of higher
frequency. It is these high tones, mainly in the range of 2000 to 4000
hertz, that provide the charge to the brain. When the monks referred to
earlier were not chanting, they were missing their daily dose of energy. It
is not difficult to understand the feeling of fatigue that they
experienced." Then there's a little analogy about transmitting signals to a
space probe and some talk of energy fields.

Anyway, my question is whether any reputable, peer-reviewed work has been
done which would give credibility to this? Also, what sort of neurological
processes/oscillations could explain this observation? Also, is anybody out
there a wired-monk who has tried this method and gets by just fine on 3
hours of sleep by chanting a little bit each day? If so, I'd love to hear
about that.

Thanks a lot!
-Kyle Doerksen

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