What I learned from playing musical duets with plants
Music has the ability to open many gateways of communication, and we all know this very well.
It makes us dream; it evokes feelings and different kinds of states in us; it heals; it lets us express ourselves.
As a Musician and Sound Healer, I know this aspect of music very well. But what I have come to know through my experience with the Music of the Plants has more to do with myself and my ability to listen.
When one engages in a musical dialogue with a plant, one enters a different level of awareness. Or should I say, “one should enter” for the dialogue to even take place?
Music of the Plants
The device for the music of the plants, a real musical instruments for our green friends, is based on a variation of the Wheatstone bridge, where one or more fixed resistances and a variable one are used to measure variations of impedance (electrical resistance). In this case, what is being measured is the electrical resistance in the living tissues of plants. These variations can then be transduced into a variety of different signals, including MIDI for digital musical instruments, such as synthesizers.
Fluctuations in the electrical potential of tissues can be measured in every living being. In animals and humans, these can also be related to different emotional states.
When we listen to music coming from a plant, we can get an idea of the reactivity of the plant to its environment and its ability to communicate and learn.
The Music of the Plants provides a fascinating new field of exploration and research around the topic of plant consciousness. On one hand, hearing sounds produced by a plant offers a direct feedback of the state of the plant in its environment, something that anyone who has a beloved plant can enjoy. On the other hand, it allows musicians and music lovers to deepen their ability to listen.
As journalist–activist Professor Michael Pollan puts it in the foreword of Mancuso and Viola’s book “Brilliant Green: the Surprising History and Science of Plant Intelligence”:
“Most people who bother to think about plants at all tend to regard them as mute, immobile furniture of our world – useful enough, and generally attractive, but obviously second-class citizens in the republic of life on Earth. It takes a leap of imagination over the high fence of our self-regard to recognise not only our utter dependence on plants, but also the fact that they are considerably less passive than they appear, and in fact are wily protagonists in the drama of their own lives -and ours.”
I have improvised music countless times in my life, alone and with other musicians. I am far too used to the human response—to a call or to respond in a human way to a call. But when I sit close to a plant with one of my instruments, my experience in this regard is not really useful. With a plant, I need to allow myself to slow down, first of all in my mind, and sink deeper. So many aspects of a plant’s life happen on a different timescale.
When I am sitting there, I need to open a different space to allow myself to perceive the interaction. And when the signal comes, it often comes in a different way than I expected. If I am not fully present and attentive I will miss it. I will miss the opportunity to learn more about communication, more about life.
And when I do catch that moment, then I feel very grateful for everything I can learn in that glimpse of deeper connection.
Copyright 2017/18 - Simone Vitale
More about the Music of the Plants HERE