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May 20th, 2009
Physics of Sound
Cellist Michael Fitzpatrick on Vibrations
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Michael Fitzpatrick: One of the research endeavors that I took was to look into the ideal sound wave rate, the idea of a vibrato wave, of oscillation, and there was a study that analyzed the great musicians of the past 20th century: Caruso, Heifetz, Casals, and they all have a vibrato wave or rate that was about 7 or 8 cycles per second.

So you have this—ning, ning, ning, ning—ning, ning, ning, ning– ning, ning, ning, ning—and the physicist will attest to that we are entrained to the vibration that is dominant in our environment sonically.

So I was then curious to know if somehow this was a deeper universal rhythm that they were tuning into. If you can tap into that universal pulse, if you can get that to come out of the instrument that other people would experience that directly.

You hit that pulse right on, then—whatever word you want to use—you can experience peace of mind, enlightenment, or just deep listening

  • Jackie

    ning ning ning ning

  • Brian David Hardin (

    This frequency helps us to turn off our “mind”, and connect to our “heart”, “soul” and the earth frequencies. Theta brain waves occur between 4-8 Hz. This is the frequency range that our brain enters in mediation. The earth has a basic vibration frequency of 7.83 Hz which is the lowest-frequency (and highest-intensity) mode of the Schumann resonance, a set of spectrum peaks in the extremely low frequency (ELF) portion of the Earth’s electromagnetic field spectrum. Schumann resonances are global electromagnetic resonances, excited by lightning discharges in the cavity formed by the Earth surface and the ionosphere. .
    Interest in Schumann resonances extends beyond the domain of geophysics where it initially began, to the fields of medicine, art and music, and to bioenergetics, acupuncture, and psychobiology.
    You ROCK! Thanks for sharing your gift with the world!

  • BernhardStopper (

    Artists like Roger Norrington or Ton Koopman, refusing vibrato on string instruments (unfortunately there are not many singers avoiding vibrato in classical or opera music yet) gave me back my passion for classical music.
    Vibrato is good to hide intonation imerfections, and was refused alredy by Mozart, who find them awful. Vibrato make me associations of old women funeral choir. Just awful.

  • Bluegreen

    Singing with or without vibrato is related to the time in which music was composed (renaissance); that’s why you like Ton Koopman.
    Me, I prefer a voice with the right kind of vibrato because a voice without it comes close to resembling a teakettle.
    Correct me if I’m wrong but it seems to me that even a voice without vibrato does vibrate but not so that you can hear it. The vocal chords must vibrate in order to produce sound. But, I am no scientist…

  • yendor

    Love that James Taylor

  • Raanan Eylon

    There would seem to be a connection between natural vibrato when we sing,which is around 7 vibs. per second, and the Schumann Resonance.
    Vibrato is how we subconsciously transfer information/expression.It is one of the great human languages,enabling us to transfer lots of info during a short span of time.

  • Pamela Fitzpatrick


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