N.O.W. produces sounds that help us experience “right”, or harmonious relationship. Right relationship in sound is a “reference”, a feeling-state that helps us recognize and experience right relationship with people, places and things.
Let us define “right relationship” as being a harmonious, peaceful, loving, respectful, compassionate, accepting and non-discordant co-existence of forms. A co-existence where no entity seeks to dominate the other through an expression of will. A co-existence that is a sort of a joyous play of forms.
Young children playing a game of imagination with silly words, faces and gestures with an open-hearted sharing of their playthings would be a good example of the joyous play of forms. To paraphrase: “… become as little children and enter the kingdom of heaven”.
N.O.W. helps those who have forgotten what right relationship feels like, re-experience this state of grace. N.O.W. does this by stripping away the complexities of the world and allowing one to hear the ease and truth inherent in the most simple relationships –– the relationships between a few pure sine wave tones. N.O.W. does not teach about right relationship by using metaphors created out of symbolic language (two degrees of separation from what is being described).
N.O.W. presents direct experience of right relationship and thus bypass the subject / object separation problem inherent in language. Let’s see how this is possible.
The sound materials of N.O.W. are very simple –– pure sine wave tones. These are tones in which only a fundamental frequency, and no “overtones” are present. For example, N.O.W. often produces a C note at a frequency of 256 vibrations per second or 256 Hz in physics terminology (the older, more descriptive term was “cycles per second” ––c.p.s., while the current term is Hz, an abbreviation of the surname Hertz).
A tone with just a strong fundamental or “base” frequency and no significant “overtone” energy has a clear, pure quality similar to a gently played flute note or a soft whistle. The sound of a reed instrument like a saxophone has a complex overtone series on top of the fundamental sine wave tone. This gives the saxophone a brighter, more “buzzy” quality compared to the flute with its simpler harmonic structure.
By design, N.O.W. uses pure sine wave tones because these tones can be combined, at random, and produce combinations that retain the clear, open and relaxed quality of the constituent tones themselves. In other words, the pure sine wave tones of N.O.W. are pleasing to hear either when heard alone, or in combination with each other. I’ll give a mathematical example of this in a moment, but for now just remember this: N.O.W. is a tone therapy system that presents harmonious relationships of sound to the listener that would appear inharmonious if the same musical intervals were played on a piano.
By striping away the overtone series heard in more complex timbres (piano for example), N.O.W. allows one to the hear the fundamental “rightness” of the relationship between tone forms in relation to each other (say the interval of a “2nd” –– the note C sounded at the same time as the note D), but without the inharmonic discord.
Through an emphasis on fundamentals, N.O.W. reveals harmony previously obscured by complex overtone forms.
In the world of human relationships we experience this when we let go of our ideas about another person, and suddenly share a moment of mirth with strangers in a humorous situation, experience “team spirit” or familial love.
The problem is, we often reserve this harmonious love for those we deem worthy, or like us, and do not extend these feeling of loving kindness to “those others”.
N.O.W. strips away “otherness” to reveal commonality. Here’s how.
Consider what happens when one N.O.W. speaker produces a C note with a vibratory frequency of 256 Hz, and the other N.O.W. speaker produces a D note with a vibratory frequency of 288 Hz. The difference between these two adjacent notes is 32 Hz –– a “sub octave” C note of the original 256 Hz note (proceeding downward from 256 by octave division, we have the series 128, 64, 32).
If the notes C and D where to be simultaneously played on a piano keyboard the complexity of the overtone series of the two individual notes would clash and create a discordant mess of sound. On the other hand, C and D played simultaneously by N.O.W. creates another C note, related to the first, but shifted downward by 3 octaves. C and D simultaneously heard together when produced by N.O.W. feels “right” because their differences are reduced (though elimination of discordant overtones as would be heard in the same piano notes), AND greater emphasis is brought to an underlying “sameness” when the two notes are sounded together (the “sameness” of the sub octave C32 produced from the difference between C256 and D288).
Whew. If your head is spinning you can either go back to the top and take this derivation of “right relationship” in sound one sentence at a time until you absolutely understand what is being said. Or …
… you could just trust me, listen to N.O.W., and feel what what right relationship feels like. And btw, there are many “right relationships” being presented by N.O.W. –– just as the world presents many opportunities for right relationship when we let the discordant overtones of “difference” fall away and practice recognizing harmony with others.