Ambient Noise

Here is a video which I found pertinent to my ‘Hall of Mirrors” project:

All of the voices and different tones made in this video show the power of environmental and ambient noise, the sorts of noises which can be found in 4’33” made by the audience watching it.  These sounds would be embraced by Cage were they performed during his silent score. As Cage stated about hearing a possible cough during the performance, “I would simply listen….a cough is as interesting and as audible as any other sound.”

I aim to go to this exhibition as well, which is located in the Wellcome Gallery.



The art of meditation




The art of meditation stems from Taoism, Confucianism, Jainism and Buddhism. Its practice is aimed to induce several health benefiting factors such as:

Heart Disease  Prevention:
– Meditation reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, lowers blood pressure and psychosocial stress

Pain Management
-Meditation enhances pain management, reducing sensitivity to pain
-Increases thickness of brain regions involved in regulating pain and emotions
-Eases the pain suffered by people experiencing chronic pain

-Meditation helps visual memory
-Aids people experiencing memory loss such as Alzheimer’s

-Meditation reduces depressive symptoms of patients, when practiced in conjunction with mindfulness techniques.

All of this information was taken from:


4’33, Rauschenberg and Salome Voeglin


I wrote an essay on 4’33” entitled ” How does Cage deconstruct the borders between music and noise in 4’33”? ” . On re-reading this I found some interesting parallels between 4’33”, Rauschenberg and the concepts of noise and silence all of which are related to my “Hall of Mirrors” piece. I cited my research of Cage through my reading of Salome Voeglin who discussed how if sounds we hear are deemed as unpleasant, it should be classified as noise, whereas if they are pleasant then it is music.

I also explored Rauschenberg and his relationship with Cage.  Both “White Paintings” by Rauschenberg, and “4’33″” invite the viewer to become part of the art itself: Rauschenberg’s piece is minimalistic yet it engages the audience and allows them to project their shadows upon the piece just like the dust from the environment which collects upon the surfaces, while 4’33” similarly allows for the audience to make noises in the concert setting, therefore contributing toward the piece since its format is silent.  In a way, the audience of 4’33” become the composers of the piece because of the noises which they make during its performance are projected onto the piece. This concept relates to my exploration of purity in my “Hall of Mirrors” project since  when an individua looks into a mirror they become part of the mirror itself since their physical appearance is swallowed up by the mirror, and reflected back upon its viewer.

Cage and Rauschenberg are similar in that they wanted to express purity in their works, both in different ways. Cage’s 4’33” explores purity since it is silent, free of any intentional sounds, and therefore devoid of the composer’s ego and mangagement, which is reflected in the objectivity of mirrors, while “White Paintings” also were desired by the artist to be bereft of expresssive outpourings, existing as blank canvases ready for its viewer to project opinions upon them and to affect them physically.






he Man with the 7 Second Memory.

“Music Therapy – Depression –”. Retrieved 2015-08-02.

Deka, Dr. Ankur. “Inner Power Of Music And Music Therapy”. Retrieved23 April 2012.

  1. Davis, Gfeller, Thaut (2008). An Introduction to Music Therapy Theory and Practice-Third Edition: The Music Therapy Treatment Process. Silver Spring, Maryland. pg. 469-473.
    1. LaGasse, A. Blythe; Thaut, Michael H. (April 15, 2012). “Music and Rehabilition:Neurological Approaches”. Music, health, and wellbeing.: 153–163.doi:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199586974.003.0012.
    1. LaGasse, A. Blythe; Thaut, Michael H. (April 15, 2012). “Music and Rehabilition:Neurological Approaches”. Music, health, and wellbeing.: 153–163.doi:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199586974.003.0012.

Music and the body – further research

It has been said that music can be more powerful than medicine in some cases. It is particularly effective in healing people after surgery and helping people recovering from Alzheimer’s. Performing music is also said to be calming: there was a case study conducted whereby adult choir singers managed to improve their heart-rates and breathing by singing, and thereby were put in a calm state of mind. Furthermore, as explicated by Tom Service in Music Matters, a source which I have looked at and posted about earlier in this blog, music is said to help babies functioning and when parents sing to their babies the parents’ stress levels are reduced.

Music can also make us happier since it stimulates dopamine in our brain which increases our happiness. It may also prevent anxiety increases in  heart rate and systolic blood pressure, and decrease cortisol levels. It also reduces pain: a study showed that patients who ha problems with their hernia required less morphine when they listened to music after their surgery.  Another study showed that people suffering from fibromyalgia, a rheumatic illness which makes the sufferer experience muscular pain who were made to listen to music experienced lessened depressive symptoms and pain.

Lastly, music can help people’s immunity. A test in Wilkes University whereby students who had their antibodies measured were made to listen to either soothing music/a tone click/ a radio broadcast/ silence showed that those students who listened to soothing music had increases in their immunity antibodies, compared to the other students in this experiment.

Binaural Beats



Since after reading a meditation article I decided to experiment with “surrounding sound” or “panning” which is the effect that the sound is all encompassing and in some ways, 3-D like I decided to study “Binaural recording.” This concept utilises two microphones which gives the listener the sense that they are actually physically present with the instruments in the track played to them and creates a 3-D stereo sound. It has been used in IMAX movies to conjure a three dimensional acoustic experience.  “Binaural recording” goes hand in hand with “binaural beats.” A binaural beat is a an extra beat/ sound which has a perceived pitch with a frequency that is the difference between the frequencies of sine waves presented to each different ear. For example, if the listener were to listen to a sine wave of 530 Hz on the right ear and 520 Hz on the left ear, the third sound/binaural beat produced will be of 10 Hz.

The history of the study of binaural beats goes back some way: It was studied by Venturi, Chladani,  Scott Alison and Hyacinthe.   Chladani looked at Venturi’s work and agreed that binaural beats enabled the listener to know the location and direction of sound. The term “binaural” was created by Scott Alison.  Alison created the stethophone which was similar to the stethoscope only that “the two tubes (hearing tubes) are, for convenience, mechanically combined, but may be said to be acoustically separate, as care is taken that the sound, once admitted into one tube, is not communicated to the other.”  The listener is enabled to hear and compare sounds from  from two locations.

Listening to binaural beats is reputed to have a great influenced on the electrochemical activity in the brain and can lead to altered states of consciousness. Depending on the frequency of the binaural-beat stimulation, listening to binaural beats can produce relaxing or stimulating effects.  Binaural beats in the delta (1 to 4 Hz) and theta (4 to 8 Hz) ranges  create meditative, relaxed and creative states and can help one to fall asleep, while binaural beats in the alpha frequencies (8 to 12 Hz) increase alpha brainwaves and binaural beats in beta frequencies (16 to 24 Hz) increase concentration and memory. In terms of Delta waves they are link to sleep: they decreased when relaxing or practicing meditation, dichotomising meditation from sleep. Beta waves occur when the brain reflects or works on a task which has a goal.The waves are mainly found in thef fontal and middle part of the brain and emanate from a relaxed state of mind.