Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Deep Science: Dive Song

Here is where science meets music & diving in human prehistory and today

[Caution: Do not attempt tests without ENT physiology background]
Eureka!! Another discovery at THE-ARC!
Harmonic intervals in sound & structure

The ossified skeletal ribcage and/or vertebral column may
have originally evolved partly as a sound receiver, where
calcium (critical for hearing in inner ears) accumulated
in the cartilage for better hearing. Note the parabolic
rib cage and aerial antennae-like vertebral column, this
Pre-Homo-sapiens condition is primitive and continued in
early Homo sapiens via very thick dense bones and
occiput. Consider the very dense bones of the sirenians,
which were mistakenly thought to be deaf, but are now
known to have good hearing.

Obviously the skeleton is primarily structural now, but
that may have been a result of initial sound improvement.
Now from Synergeo group:

The oral clicking is something I've researched, it most
likely goes back at least 20,000 years, and IMO much
further back in time. The Khoisan peoples (including many
different tribes Hottentots, Hazde, !Kung, ...) use
clicks as consonants, and likely consonants are derived
from clicks IMO. Khoisan has 4 tones and 4 clicks, while
Chinese has 4 tones but the 4 clicks have derived into
consonants, other languages have largely lost both the
tones and clicks, replacing them with various sounds.

Dive-Song hypothesis suggests that while in seawater,
our ancestors communicated via humming (the person at
the surface) and clicking (the person at depth seeking
lobsters, clams, sea urchins). Parallels in clicking
include dolphins, sperm whales, walruses, seals, and
croaker fish and snapping shrimp, while parallels in
humming include blue whale (whalesong), walruses,
manatees. I don't know if sea otters vocalize under
water, but they do at the surface.

This is part of the reason why I was interested in the
12 & 31 links, to see if harmony and the Ico/VE
splitting related to bones. Sound travels far far better
through water than through air, IF the ears are adapted
to water-bone conduction (seawater in nose and middle
ears, but soft palate valve closed).

Here's a neat thought: Have you noticed that the spinal
vertebrae and the ribs extend out quite similarly to
some kinds of antennae, like TV aerial antenae? What is
the difference between a parabolic dish antenae, a single
straight antennae and a branched antenae on a roof?

-O Dish antenae
______ Pole antenae
->>> Aerial antenae

<<<<<= Rooftop aerial ../|\.. If sound is transmitted along the ribs to the nerves and if vertebrae transmit sound to spinal column via electrochemical paths and set to the brain... Now think of Bucky Fuller's geodesic domes, "radomes" which housed radar receivers in the arctic, with a fiberglass shell exterior and a metal antennae inside the dome, the fiberglass allowed transmission through the walls. So does dolphin skin and fat and so does human fat and skin, while bone deflects sound waves. The only thing that stops sonar in the body (I think) is air bubbles (in the bone and soft tissue). Ancient divers allowed water into the middle ear when diving via the nostrils, while keeping the soft palate closed, this equalized the ears & sinuses while reducing buoyancy during dive, and using the surface water means that the sinuses and middle ears had warmth even during a deep cold dive. Whales instead have middle ears with blood vessels which fill with blood, which again allows sound transmission. If one subscribes to the idea that the sphere is sort of the base in nature, and that all other shapes derive from it, and therefore relate to it both regarding physical matter and forms of energy (sound waves, light waves), then the 31 and 12 "coincidences" fit patterns. The 31 and 12 positions aren't speculation, they are fact. But interpreting them as correlative is speculative. I followed 2 rules: 1) the basal (simplest) form in nature is the sphere 2) the basal (simplest) structure in nature is the tetrahedron. With 2) being a subset of this: The (4 sided) tetrahedron, (8 sided) octahedron and (20 sided) icosahedron are the only structural forms in the universe. All other structural forms are multiples of or are derived from these primary structures. [paraphrased from Bucky Fuller's Synergetics] Beyond that, humans are not spherical, but note the roundedness of the tips of the fingers, the tip of the nose, etc. What about hair? Primitively, hair is round per cross section. Among Central Africans, far inland from seashore diving, frizzy/curly hair developed via natural selection as a way to prevent blood sucking body lice (which can spread typhus) from attaching their eggs to frizzy hair. So, hair is dead and like skin sells eventually are disposed of, so hair can grow long (due to strong protein strands). Feathers tend to maintain roundness because they have blood flow. Sound is spherical, expanding from a source point, like light. Human embryogenesis is initially spherical and divides the egg according to symmetrical rules 1/2, 1/4, ... Being a naturalist, I like to see how nature operates.

This link ties together some things of note: primes, nucleus magic numbers, equilateral sphere division into 31 (structural 5 fold icosahedral) and 25 non-structural 4 fold cuboctahedral), sine waves on 4 levels (remniscent of a snake's sinusoidal propulsion), etc.

The 31 spinal pairs, with an anterior spherical skullcase, in the human species, does indeed seem significant. The sphere is the simplest form (sea turtle egg (sphere) is more primitive than chicken egg (ovoid) because it wasn't selected against like the chicken egg (which had gone through a cliff-nesting stage where spherical eggs
were less likely to survive).

The human skull (sphere-like) is more primitive than most other animals, it is less prognathic or out-of round, in part due to food aquisition methods which don't require special features (saber teeth). The spine and vertebrae are derived from the skull, they once were the propulsion mechanism, as the tail of the zooflagellate is.

An animal that moves much in water (eel) typically has a rounded cross section and lengthened axis. However, an animal that moves little or not at all tends to be more sphere like (sponge). The method of food gathering and digestion would affect greatly the form of the body.


nucleus sphericity and magic numbers

Skull & spine

It would seem that the coalescence at 12 and 31 might be insignificant coincidence, but if musical sound structure, spatial form structure, and human embryogenetic primary skeletal structure are all viewed simply as energy cycles in the continuum of mass to/from energy, then it is not surprising.

The difficulty with attributing universal significance to any feature of the European harmonic system is that it is contingent upon the nature of the dominant instruments of the musical culture. In western "art" music, the bowed string and blown wind instruments (including the human voice) dominate. Because their vibrations are forced (energy is continually provided) these produce sounds with harmonic partials,
as a consequence of which harmonic intervals (those with frequency ratios that can be expressed in small integers) sound acoustically smooth. In musical cultures where the dominant instruments are tuned percussion (notably Javanese and Balinese gamelan) other intervals sound smoother and different scales (e.g. the pelog and slendro scales of the gamelan, which sound very unfamiliar to Western ears) make use of them.
For further discussion see:
Much of this essay is concerned with musical analysis. However, the acoustic arguments outlined above are given more fully in Chapter 4 and in the books by Benade and Sethares (see References).
Ken Moore

Thanks Ken, interesting. Forced air and vocalizing sends sound forward to the listener via convection I guess (more so in dry, cool air?), while gamelans, bronze bells and gongs and nasal song/humming are less directive and more diffused (more effective in humid, warm air conduction?).

Tropical Asians use their hands in dancing much more than their feet, and speak with many ng- sounds; Northerly Westerners attend to steps and body movements while dancing, with hands for grasping partners, and rarely initiate words with ng- sounds.

Seems like climate plays a significant part in these various styles.


Sarah Mohd Shukor said...

dd, u r simply full-wit-info head. u can relate it to almost evrythg. to medical aspect, to music, to math etc..wah...

yup..the clue is 'dive song'. the title tells evrthg alrdy :)

"the Dude" said...

Haha, Dr. V. (colleague) wanted to change it to Diving Hypothesis, tapi aku sangat suke Dive Song, sebab music connection. Anyway, hope to hear more from you after exams finished.


"the Dude" said...

The link to the 31 equal harmonic intervals and 31 prs of nerves, well I need to fix the links. maybe this will work?