The technology

The Technology: How it all began

Heartworks store frontThe technology behind whatsyourtone.com has been evolving for nearly a decade. In 2003, I opened a massage therapy practice in Syracuse, New York. I outfitted my massage table with vibroacoustic equipment and began experimenting with adding deep, resonant bass lines to the music I used during the sessions. In 2006, I composed a full-length album, Deep Waters, which utilized binaural beats, deep vibrations, natural sounds, and entrainment methods.

Thanks to my previous exploration of the binaural beat phenomenon, I had discovered that some sound frequencies (a.k.a. "notes" or "tones") had a much stronger impact on me than others. Some tones were deeply relaxing and induced profound, transcendent states. Some had no noticeable impact on me whatsoever, while other tones were acutely displeasing. I also knew from networking with other sound enthusiasts that my "relaxing" tones often failed to yield similar results for them, and vice versa.

With the consent of my massage therapy clients, I began to use specific tone recordings in their sessions in an attempt to shed further light on this phenomenon. I found that they, too, had a wide array of responses to the various tones. Individuals were able to indicate strong preferences for one tone vs. another, but the collective responses to any single tone (A, A#, B, etc) were across the board. In other words, a recording rendered in "A#" could be extremely relaxing for one person, but quite displeasing for another. There was no consistency in any one tone being the best relaxation tone for everyone.

It was clear, though, that people gravitated strongly towards one tone or another that they found most relaxing. This was an exciting revelation in its own right!

I began to explore ways to determine exactly which tone a person would find most relaxing.

If there were a quick and easy method to accurately identify an individual's relaxation tone, it could open an entirely new avenue to helping people relax, whether on the massage table or not. I decided to turn my sights to the one "sonic" entity common to every individual -- the human voice.

Exploring the Structure of the Voice

Using the skills from my professional background as a software developer and systems analyst, I designed a computer program to analyze my clients' voices. Interestingly, I noticed certain patterns emerge in the spectral analyses of particular parts of their speech.

First, though, consider the following example. These are the vocal frequencies represented in one of my clients as she spoke the word “calm.” The chart is a slice of her voice during the “khh” sound of the word “calm” – just the hard “c” sound without any vowel intonation:

 

freq-chart-c-consonant

 

If the graph looks haphazard, it's because there is no harmonic information evident when the vocal cords make these types of sounds. No useful data can be gleaned from it. However, consider the following chart during the “aw” vowel sound of the word. Notice the clear and consistent harmonic peaks:

 

freq-chart-aw-vowel2

 

Compared with the first chart, this slice of speech contains a far more elegant structure. It became apparent that everyone has a natural cadence, or "song like" quality to the vowel sounds of their speaking voice. This clear and unambiguous harmonic structure was the key to identifying the tones that are unique to any particular voice, as it allows the voice to be measured and quantified in a truly systematic manner. As a result, the analysis software could determine that, for example, Mary's voice has a fundamental harmonic of "C" (as in the example above), John's voice has a fundamental harmonic of "F#", and so on.

After passing a recording of my own voice through the program, I found that my results correlated with my previously-identified relaxation tone. Great! I was on the right track. Next, I began to analyze my clients' voices prior to their sessions, and played music that was specifically composed in their identified tones. Clients now reported, at a much higher rate than before, that they found the music calming, pleasing, relaxing, and restorative. But a small percentage still found the identified tone displeasing. This led to more experimentation with other harmonics identified in their voice and the discovery that the second strongest harmonic in their voice was the key for these clients' relaxation tone.

It became apparent that two dominant tones from clients' voices consistently affected their nervous systems. One tone stimulated - activating the body's sympathetic response[1], while the other tone calmed and soothed - activating the body's relaxing parasympathetic response[2].

The fundamental relationship between the tones in a client's voice, and the client's physical response to those tones, was persistent over the course of hundreds of treatment sessions.

This discovery forms the bedrock of the therapeutic sound system now being offered at whatsyourtone.com!

Once my clients successfully identified their relaxation tone, they began to take the compositions home and use them in their lives outside of the sessions. Some used them to help them sleep while some used them during the labor of child birth. Whenever you are presented with a stressful situation, or simply want to support your life, these compositions can be extremely helpful.

Other Therapeutic Elements

The recordings at whatsyourtone.com also utilize the core therapeutic principles of binaural beats and entrainment. The binaural beat phenomenon occurs when you listen to two tones of slightly differing pitches in each ear using headphones. The human brain is unable to perceive either tone separately, but will instead experience the perceptual integration of the two tones. This experience feels like a beat-like rhythm that occurs somewhere in the middle of your head. There have been numerous studies on this unique phenomenon and its ability to calm, reduce anxiety, increase attentional focus, and induce meditative states.

Entrainment, on the other hand, describes the fact that if an individual is presented with strong types of audio signals, the actual neurological state of the mind will follow those signals. Thus, if a recording has a moderate pulsing beat at a particular tone and then begins to both slow the pulsing beat down and lower the tone, the mind (and physical systems, like breathing and circulation) will begin to follow or "entrain" to the recording.

In Conclusion

This website represents the culmination of many years of discovery and development. I've done my best to bring this work to you in the easiest way possible and hope you find the compositions soothing and healing. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , whether to talk about the compositions, how you are using them, or anything else. I would truly love to hear from you!

Dave Fisher, LMT

Dave Fisher, LMT