The Voice of Reason

This will be an exploration into the construct known as the “Voice of Reason”. There are several unique one of a kind aspects coming through this structure. As with all musical instruments one will need to rise with the challenge.

On first observing the “Voice of Reason,” one sees a very simple wooden box with metal strips affixed to the top.  On closer inspection, holes can be seen on the top as well as the sides of the box.  The “Voice of Reason’s” most obvious application is as a rare musical instrument. This construct also serves as a prosthetic device, working from within a Sensory Maze. It is an apparatus for the stimulation of the senses. Visually, the unique beauty of the exotic woods and simple look of the instrument belies the multiplicity of the sounds which emanate from it. In my system of playing the fingers and thumb of only one hand will be used to strike the metal strips. On this tactile side, the other hand is holding the box as one senses the wood’s rich texture. In addition turbulence is being felt on those finger tips as they cover and work the sound holes. These are some of the components we will explore while defining this maze. Now, the task of focusing the notes begins.

The most unique aspect of this instrument lies in its ability to focus notes. This activity will result in the production of fundamental tones, hollow tones and groupings (Chords). A less evident use of this structure comes from the built in prosthetics, leading to movements toward opening another dimension. The free tones coupled with the ability to go in two or more directions on a scale at the same time, are other unique applications achievable.

Now, let’s review some history of the instruments in this family. Among the ancient mediums of the world are the instruments known as Mbira, which are a sub-classification of the idiophones. They have been known all throughout Sub-Saharan Africa. These instruments were the widest spread musical constructs in the world. This class of musical instrument was made out of what was available in the area. For example on the Savannah they could have been made from a gourd. In the forest, wood was utilized. These mediums are known by many names throughout Africa. Among the best known of these are the Mbira, Sanza, Kalimba and Daize.

Being among the first sophisticated musical instruments in the world, their makers used these constructs to help transcend to their spirit worlds. The individual makers, known as Griots, would preside at special events such as weddings, funerals and celebrations. They would play and sing songs retelling the history of the tribe and more. Since there was no written language, these individuals had a special status in the tribe. Being the keepers of their tribe’s history and a medium to the spirit world, they were placed near the King in importance.  Now that we know a little about the historical significance of the Mbira we can better understand the transcendent properties inherent in our construct.

It is time to explain how one comes to facilitate a “Voice of Reason”.  In 1965 I had a near death high-speed collision into a car on my motorcycle. Among the many injuries I had sustained at that time was a total paralysis of my right arm and hand. Also my left wrist had been broken. Shortly after an unsuccessful setting of my wrist it was reset and operated on with a pin inserted in an attempt to correct an increasing problem. Later the pin was removed. As time went on my paralyzed right arm was fitted with two different braces through the next six years and also received an operation rerouting a tendon to help improve functionality as I slowly regained mobility.

In 1969 I met my first soul companion. We went on a trip to California to retrieve a lost shipment of African artifacts.  My brother had collected these artifacts on his seven-year sojourn in Ghana West Africa.  Returning back to Iowa I found the shipment was a virtual treasure chest.  One of the amazing items from the container was an old sardine can with a piece of wood on it; there were metal stripes affixed to that wood. This seemingly extraordinarily crude device showed me that I could still play music despite my physical disabilities.

All through my school years I had played saxophone and sang in choruses. My mate had similar experiences and was at that time working on her Masters degree in music while holding the position of first chair flutist in the city symphony. After seeing my enthusiasm with the little can, she decided to help me conduct research in African ethno-musicology and gave me invaluable support in my efforts to build my own version of this instrument. After the instruments were completed, her flute carried the melody of the Voice of Reason base lines.

In the beginning of this effort I found myself in a unique position. First, I wanted to create a musical instrument but I had no instrument building experience. Second, I had no wood working experience. Third, since I had very little use of my hands, how was I to functionally build this?   Plus I would not be able to use my right thumb to play the keys in the traditional style. Not to mention that there was no feeling in that thumb. This is why my first drawings incorporated sympathetic strings inside the box on the order of the “Viola D’amor”. My goal was to find some way to produce the intricate passages achievable with two hands while using primarily one.

I found a master guitar maker to study with. As I started to build my instrument I surmised that the chamber, when improved, coupled with the proper sound holes could establish a desired result. Also, I could again play with a wind principle system similar to my saxophone.

As I opened myself to the collective consciousness I was able to construct several different prototypes (Voices). They are Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Baritone, Bass and Double Bass. These voices have a variety of configurations in the key arrangements, from a five note pentatonic set up to a twenty-seven note chromatic tuning. The keys are held to the sound chamber by a wood brace and allen screws, making the quick adjustment or replacement of any key possible. The key thickness and widths vary with the different voiced instruments.

Let us now look at how one differentiates between the classifications of instruments. Idiophone, aerophone and membranophone are some examples of these groups. The distinctions between them derive from the initiation of turbulence, or sound waves. Put another way, what caused the tone? With this sub section of the idiophone family, plucking is the initiator. Plucking a strip of metal produces the start of the sound wave.

The “Voice of Reason” is included in the idiophone family. The metal strips are to be plucked by the thumbs (traditional style) or the fingers and thumb of one hand (my style). The tuning of keys is achieved by pulling or shortening the distance from the bridge to the front end of the key, thus raising the pitch. Conversely by pushing on the key lowers the pitch.

Another important musical classification one needs to understand is the aerophone, which produces vibrations by the force of air against air. This would be through a chamber or across a reed into a chamber. Please understand that a musical instrument may only belong to one classification. However the “Voice of Reason” attempts to bridge the two.

The “box shaped” instrument, is one of the major traditional types of idiophones in the world. This has been the prototype for our construct. A wind (aerophone) principle has always been inherent in the box-chambered instruments. Which have, since the first Kalimba’s, been overlooked or at best used as an after thought?  However it was apparent that this turbulence was a distinct and separate entity coming through the ancient instruments.  By literally creating a box flute, this function is now available.  Incidentally the “Jew’s harp” is the only other musical instrument working from a metal strip and a high quality mutable sound chamber.

We shell now center on how our instrument is set up. What distinguishes the “Voice of Reason” from any other construct in the world is its high fidelity and superior response to its sound holes.

Picking up the “Voice of Reason” one notices that the wood, in which the box is made, is very dense and colorful. Vermilion, Rosewood and Ebony are some of the woods chosen for my purposes. These woods are from the category of exotic hard woods and are the most visually beautiful and dense of the woods in the world. The other qualities of these exotic woods are their amazingly strong acoustical resonance. This resonance quality opens the door for what we will now explore.

There is a force (energy) created by plucking a metal strip on top of the box. This is the idiophone principle being activated! With the plucked idiophones, the manipulation (sequencing) and striking of the keys is the major emphasis of one’s activity.

However with the “Voice of Reason”, one has also the vibrations from the keys being transmitted into the acoustical chamber. The concept which we are speaking of here is containment, or the conservation of energy. The intention is to keep as much of the force (vibrations) in the chamber as possible at all times. So now it becomes ones task to conserve this force of energy, while manipulating both the keys and sound holes. We are focusing at this point with the wind or aerophone principle.

The holes that are placed on the top and sides of the chamber are one’s tool for this activity. I have created sound holes, which are to be used as one would use the keys of a flute or saxophone. The side holes are beveled to accept the fingers in a smooth fashion. This feature allows for the manipulation of the sound holes by just sliding the fingers back and forth. Once a key has been struck, each movement on the sound holes, opening or closing them by small increments, causes an individual tone to be sounded or brought to focus.  The fingering system for the “Voice of Reason” has been charted (exhibit #1) to show in more detail what is happening.  One sees how the lower (longer) the note (key) is, the more the sound holes are to be closed down.  Conversely, the shorter (higher) the key (note) is, the more the holes are to be opened.

This technique of fingering I call focusing, being the single most important maneuver to remember in working the Voice within the “Voice of Reason.” There is a note of caution. One does not want to loose contact with the sound holes. This will happen if one lifts the fingers from the holes, allowing more of the force to escape than needed.

By using the sound holes, in consistent increments opening or closing them in relationship to the playing of the keys, whether going up the scale or down to focus our chamber to a given note, one will be able to objectify four major forces. First by bringing the sound of a note to its fullest (strongest) volume within the box you may produce the maximum fundamental tone.  Similarly a Hollow tone will be achieved when the weaker partials of the cycling vibration are focused within the chamber. A third force comes from the groupings of notes which may now be worked with. This force occurs when two or more keys are struck in close succession or together (chord). Then by using a combination of fundamental & hollow tone focusing maneuvers, one may cause any or all of the notes to sound at one’s choosing. The manipulation of these groupings opens the way to full separation of the two principles at play (within the chamber) coming from the idiophone (plucking of the keys).

Since we have now touched on the basic principles and concepts of the “Voice of Reason,” one may now approach combining these aspects.  The Free Fundamentals (clear energies) will be the result. They are produced in the box after groupings are formed, and have a relationship to multiphonics.  These fundamental possibilities are presented from the force of the many partials emanating from the plucked keys. Partials are the components, which make up a (Fundamental) note.

The Clear Energy tones are  formed as partials combine from the groupings to create still other notes. For example, the present day concert piano will have on occasion three strings next to each other that the hammer will hit to make one note.

Our apparatus accomplishes this differently by creating fundamentals from the partials manifesting and focused within the chamber.

The additional importance of this phenomenon lies in the knowledge that a selected fundamental being focused in the box may have no physical counterpart (key) on the instrument. These Free Fundamental notes usually manifest one, two or more octaves below the actual keys that are present on the instrument. Most of the free fundamentals formed are even beyond the range of the chamber and would not be audible if played in a conventional way from a single key. These notes are most times (subliminally) not consciously noticed. But they do register as fundamental notes on an electronic tuner.

The “Voice of Reason” requires continual dexterity both subtle and gross. The first application occurs when the keys are struck. Then the next use of this function is while using the sound holes to move in parallel or in a counter direction to the direction of the scale being played. Each of these functions may be combined or performed simultaneously in opposition. This form of counterpoint can only be produced from the “Voice of Reason”.

As one plays a base line, once again energy forms in the chamber. Turbulence from the groupings causes free fundamentals to start manifesting. From this base line comes what I call the Melodic base line (function). That is the melody that is being focused from the base line. The melody at this point is an independent entity, within parameters!

Beyond the fore mentioned extrapolations of the base line function, what may be achieved?  Let us leave the initial pattern (base line) coming through the instrument.  This needs to be well understood.  The established base line pattern will continue to be played. But the sound holes will be producing other sequential patterns from those notes.  Even though the base line fundamentally may no longer be heard it is still the engine, the premise, and the foundation for any subsequently focused melody!  “The surf is up,” as one creates any pattern from the energy whirling in the box. One is now truly surfing on vibrations (standing waves).

One thinks of the ability to synthesize as a modern concept. However that essence has been with us for centuries, in the box styled instruments. But until my modifications the process has been subtle or dormant. The synthesizing ability exists when rapid and multiple focusing maneuvers are employed, creating the vibrato. One may establish a warping of time aura (stepping out of phase). The stepping out of phase will allow one a view of the opening through which one manifests wellness.

Many alternate melodies may be achieved, all carrying their own meter and seeming independence.  These melodies establish themselves with such strength that the original base line, or for that matter any previous melody, drops from consciousness.  So as the dropping from consciousness occurs, it is time to review the subtle side of one’s maneuvers.

Since all existence is in vibration and each essence vibrates in its own rate, one then understands a musical note vibrates at a given rate per second. For example the western tempered scale has “A” oscillating at 440 times per second. When one measures the cycles of the color hue reddish orange, it is found to be 40 octaves above “A”.  Restated, the musical notes are lower frequencies of the colors.  It is important to understand what colors one is playing.

The Ultra Sonic Core is the term for the interior of the spine and makes up one’s central nerve system. As one is conceived, the core begins to vibrate, radiating from the head through the hands and feet. Nodal points are spread all along these channels. These are the meridians used to tune one’s energy.  The major points, or chakras, are the focus of manipulation in the art of Acupuncture and Acupressure. In those practices, blocked energies are released by working particular centers, regulating a flow.

The seven major chakras also have several correspondent aspects. Each chakra has a rate of vibration, and therefore color, a tone and more. Now one begins to understand the inter-relationship, which exists in our mutable universe. So then one comes to utilize the “Voice of Reason” to mediate through desired channels.

Let us work through an example. The first chakra is located near the base of the spine. It is called the root chakra. The slowest vibrations emanate from this area. Earth is the correspondent entity. And red is the hue. To reach this area one will play slowly with long tones. “G” will be the tonal center. Any chord will be rooted around the “G” key center.  Also little or no vibrato will be used.

The next example will be the fifth nodal center. It is attributable to the throat area having the color frequency of blue. The student will need to play at a lively pace with more moving passages than held tones.  “C#” is the tonal center with a noticeable vibrato added. The use of groupings and counter melodic base line functions should be employed.

The “Voice of Reason’s” unique base line and melodic base line functions are to be exploited in this exercise. One allows our sensory maze to now facilitate fully as a prosthetic device. Through this interdependence one may access inter-dimensional activity.

To recap, vibration (sine wave) is the mode used by the “Voice of Reason” to establish its position. As a base line is again initiated, there is an established (safe) aura (environment). As the “melodic” base line appears, the base line drops from one’s conscious.  However, that essence of the base line is still constantly being presented, allowing the conscious self at this same time to move freely with the fundamentals that are the new melodies!  One is opening channels for exploration.

The free fundamentals are the other major forces contributing to the aura. This is the audible clear energy, which exists mostly unnoticed in a subliminal energy form. A chart has been included (exhibit #2) showing the free fundamentals which are produced from specific groupings.

Please understand above all, the “Voice of Reason” is a high quality musical instrument capable of transmuting (synthesizing). At times percussion dominates, or it resembles a piano, a horn, xylophone, Kalimba or chimes and so on.  In the ancient times, before his instrument’s creation, the Mbira maker lacked a medium to help him transcend.  So too in these times have I, in my need, opened to the collective conscious and received the understanding to make our Sensory Maze.

While traveling this path, the “Voice of Reason” has been instrumental in bringing my arm and hand back from paralysis.  This was done first through the stamina required to make the instrument.  Then after completing the instruments, the sound holes continually required finite movements from the fingers of the right hand in the effort to achieve competency.  Third, the Voice (sine waves) energy as described above, manipulated the meridians.

May we take a moment for a short aside?  After each of the prototypes were manifested there was an interim period where one learned to play that version. I was always amazed at how long it took me to understand; if in fact I do even now, the details built into any particular Voice.  It is as if one person constructed it and then presented it to the other, who then was to learn how it was to be played.  Some how the understanding of what was required in the making of each version was always complete, even down to the angle of the keys.  Consequently, I have made only one modification in the last twenty years.  Actually I found myself often saying, “Oh that’s why this is this way!”

Through the many accomplished extrapolations on the road to wellness, the need to facilitate in other disciplines has occurred. Among the other activities, I have coupled wood with gemstones, which resonate as “subtle body aura pieces”. Also I have lathed wooden drinking vessels that modulate the bouquet of the liquid inside of its chamber.

This has been a brief overview of my efforts to manifest ancient concepts from the ether into present day applications.

Mr. Lloyd Strayhorn who is an Astrologer, Numerologist and the author of “Numbers and You”, has said it best as he interviewed me on the New York radio station W. L. I. B. Quote:  “The Voice of Reason is the instrument of the Twenty First Century.”

Two of the several establishments in which the “Voice of Reason” has been located are the Museum of African Art, which is part of the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C., and Musica Rara in London, England, a subsidiary of the classical music-publishing house Musica Rara, and one of the oldest stores specializing in the selling of rare musical instruments.

Now the energy becomes yours to explore the multiple facilities of the “Voice of Reason”. My hope is for one to be able to take the instrument into its furthest dimensions. Some very beautiful music will be the result. I also bid you to seek out information such as the writings of Walter Russell, as well as the subtle body and healing arts.  This will help with your intention.

Stay well!


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