Can a plant’s sounds heal other plants?

Jean Thoby, our french partner, a nursery gardener that owns the botanic garden Plantarium, made many experiences and he says ”Yes, the sound of plants promotes the growth of other plants. We have been able to highlight not only at the Plantarium, but also at neighboring producers, that the sound of plants via plants regulates the living beings so that they are not more pathogenic.”

Can Music of the Plants affect the plant’s growth?

Salvatore ‘Camaleonte’ Sanfilippo has found over and again that given the same conditions in terms of light, nutrients and care, plants that make music grow more than those that do not. To test this hypothesis, we took two cyclamens, grown from the same batch of seeds, and planted them in the same pot and then looked after them in the same way. The only difference was that one of them was connected to a musical device, while the other one was not. After a few weeks, the plant that played music had more leaves that were much bigger than those of her sister.

What stimulated this experiment was the casual observation that an Impatiens Sultanii, which used to accompany me on tour to give presentations and concerts, had grown bigger than another otherwise similar one that we had acquired at the same time, but which was always in our greenhouse. After a year, the plant that played music and travelled with me had grown twice as big as the other one. It was more complex, and had more leaves and buds. Another interesting observation is that the ‘musical’ plants tend to have more flowers, which often open just a few hours after the plant has performed.”

(from “Music of the Plants” book)

A story of a plant that doesn’t want to sing

Salvatore “Camaleonte” Sanfilippo told us a story. “Generally a trained plant sounds practically all the time, with various oscillations during the night and the day, as a sign of their vital activity, but there are circumstances that may disturb the plant so much that the

plant or tree may stop making music altogether. One day I had to give a presentation on the plants to a group of English secondary school students accompanied by their teachers. I had

got the instrumentation ready in a nice greenhouse, and my little plant was

already ‘trilling away’ as usual. At a certain point the boys and girls came trooping in with an attitude of absolute lack of interest in their surroundings. A few moments later the plants fell silent. I pretended that nothing had happened, and began telling them what the project was about. In the meantime I moved the sensors of the device to another plant, hoping it would react, but to no avail. Finally, I had to say to the students and the teachers that the experiment had failed. The young people began filing out, and when the last one was out of the room, one of the plants resumed ‘singing’. I was greatly surprised, as was a teacher who had stayed behind, who said, ‘I’d say the experiment has been a great success. The kids exuded such boredom and disinterest they must have affected the plants negatively.’ I believe that teacher was right.”

(from “Music of the Plants” book)

What to do if the plant doesn’t sing?

Most probably the contact between the clip and the leaf could be poor so you need to moisten it. Water increases the electrical conductivity.

Also you need to check that the device is switched on and the sensor cable is plugged in the correct socket of the device.

Apart from these technical reasons sometimes the plant does not want to play. The plant enters into an in-depth contact with its surroundings and the people inside the room or its vicinity and perceives our emotions. Lack of interest, aggressiveness or sense of distrust unavoidably affect the harmony of the atmosphere and thus the plant’s behaviour.

How to start the improvisation with a plant?

According to our experience the plant has difficulty following a musician if he plays too fast or with virtuosity. We suggest to start to play with a note at a time and with a slow tempo. After the chemistry with the plant is established you can continue with a faster rhythm of more complex chords. This is something that needs to be built with constant practice and patient. Like a music group needs to play together for a long time to acquire confidence the same applies to plant-human duet.

How to play together with plants?

When getting ready to give a concert of live plant music, Secchi explains, “it’s essential to enter into harmony with the plants, but not to expect to always get the same notes.

It’s unusual for our vegetable counterparts to be that predictable. A capacity for technical and emotional empathy on the part of the musician brings quality to the concert performance and makes it something truly unique and virtually unrepeatable. When making music together with a plant using the device that we use today, there are certain factors that, as a musician, I will normally take into consideration to obtain good results. Since it is possible to preselect various musical scales, from the technical point of view I find it useful to choose, or at least know, the scale being set on the device at any given moment. This helps me to understand which tonality the impulses from the plant will be translated into, to be able to prepare myself accordingly, including in terms of the instrument I intend to use, normally a keyboard. If on the other hand I decide to use the thrill of surprise as my only inspiration, I prefer not to have this information.

(from “Music of the Plants” book)

Do plants have different sound during different times of the day?

Roberto ‘Cigno’ Secchi says that “Another very evident variation is that the same plant can sound very different at different times of the day.

Some plants seem to be more active in the evening, others in the morning, and every plant emits a different and distinctive sequence of notes that does not seem to be linked to its size or type.

Often we find that little plants in pots will sing uninterruptedly all day long with clearly noticeable differences in style depending on the time of day.

(from “Music of the Plants” book)

Do different plants play different music in relationship with human being?

Roberto ‘Cigno’ Secchi, a musician, composer and passionate researcher into musical forms, has been interacting with different types of plants for years, leading him finally to produce an album of this music. He says: “In putting together the Music of the Plants CD, I made a selection from the different recordings with a very wide range of plants: from roses to pines, from rosemary to ficus plants, from walnut trees to simple blades of grass. So often we human beings try to interpret everything in terms of our own logic, but when we relate to the plant world, even more so than the animal world, we need to think according to an utterly different logic, one that is quite unknown to us.

We find that there is a great difference between the sounds produced by plants when they are alone and the sounds they make when human beings approach them with the intention of establishing a relationship, even without necessarily touching them.

Roses, for example, respond very well in terms of harmonic variation, and of emotional contact with people, and will produce more or less repetitive sequences that a human musician can easily join in with. Another fascinating point is that, and it can easily be heard in the Music of the Plants CD, while apparently differing only in colour, red roses play completely different notes from white roses, as if they were from planets light years apart. Chestnut trees, Birch trees and Rose-mary bushes, also, emerge as completely unpredictable.

(from “Music of the Plants” book)

Music is different if we touch

Plants can feel us. Plants can understand us. As demonstrated by Clive Baxter’s experiments, plants can feel our emotions and thoughts.

So no need to touch the plant to interact with her and to change the music!

On other hand if you touch the leaf you interfere with your own electromagnetism. The device most probably will detect it and change the music.

Is Music of the Plants good for children?

We have a wide experience of Music of the Plants played with children. We have noticed that the music is more lively and dynamic in the presence of children. They are excited by exploring this magical world of plants and it seems that they are re-discovering something that they already know.

During a few experiences in schools, sometimes the plants stopped playing when the enthusiasm of the children was too intense or they came towards the plants too fast. Plants like a more gentle and for sure a more safe approach from humans.

Can Music of the Plants increase personal contact with the Plant’s Consciousness?

Contact with the intelligence of plants allows us to understand ourselves and the world around us more deeply. Studies show that plants in the home and in the workplace help reduce stress and increase productivity, improving the attitude of workers, reduce operating costs and improve air quality. A direct connection with nature motivates us to create a world in which the environment does not need to be protected because it is an integral part of who and what we are.

Can Music of the Plants enhance wellness and recovery?

Science tells us that having plants and trees nearby, both indoors and outdoors, significantly improves our physical, mental and emotional well-being. Doctors and holistic practitioners are studying the effects of plant music in many areas – including homes, hospitals, workplaces – to better understand how plant music reduces recovery time and helps overall healing.

Is the music of the plants relaxing?

Listening to Bamboo inspires creativity, relaxation and well-being. Our studies have shown that listening to 20 minutes of plant music induces the same psychological and physical benefits as 2 hours of deep meditation. You can play it while you work, in moments of relaxation and as a pleasant, stimulating background for your children’s activities.

Can plants be trained?

It has also been in our experience that trees and plants that have become experts in interacting with humans and in controlling the music device can ‘train’ other trees, helping them to learn quickly.

Salvatore ‘Camaleonte’ Sanfilippo explains that “at the beginning of our research, with a device similar to the U1, the plants produced very casual signals or did not produce great variation in sound, since they didn’t realize at first that they were the ones in control of the device. When subsequently they came to understand that this is so, the variations became ever more complex and melodic, and it almost seemed that the plants took great pleasure in listening and being listened to. We also trained plants to be ‘plant teachers’ having discovered that plants are able to transmit their knowledge and experience in a short space of time to other plants placed close to their ‘aura’, i.e. within their field. This is what enables us to hold high quality ‘Concerts of the Plants’ in any part of the world. (from “Music of the Plants” book).

Can plants learn to interact with humans?

Plants demonstrate that they can learn to interact with humans. At first, the plants ‘simply’ realize that the sounds emitted by the device are a consequence of their electric activity then they learn to modulate it to change the sounds.

More expert plants, eventually, use the sounds they modulate to interact with humans and create a real form of communication. When they interact with musicians for example, they sometimes even repeat the same scales, the same tunes and the same notes.

We have several extraordinary experiences singing with a plant. First of all we need to establish a meditative atmosphere and get in deep relationship with the plant, after that if we sing a long and repetitive note the plant can reproduce exactly the same frequency. That demonstrates that the plant can hear the sound and has the “intelligence” to understand how the device’s algorithm works and emit the same sound. That’s incredible!

Does a plant have memory?

On this question, an experiment by professor Stefano Mancuso is very relevant. He set out to test the hypothesis that plants have a kind of memory and can modify their behaviour based on such recall. Mancuso and his team carried out a study of the plant Mimosa pudica, a small plant frequently used in experiments for the speed of its reactions to stimuli.

So fast that such changes can be perceived easily also by human senses. In an interview published in the science section of the newspaper “Corriere della Sera” on 15th January 2014, Mancuso explains, “We trained the plants to ignore a non-dangerous stimulus, letting the pot in which they were growing fall from a height of 15 centimetres, repeatedly. After several repetitions, the Mimosas stopped curling up their leaves, saving valuable energy in the process. Cultivating the plants in two separate groups, with different levels of light, we were able to show that plants grown with less light, and thus with less energy available, learn faster than those that have more light, as if they didn’t want to waste resources. The plants retained the memory of this experience for more than 40 days. We are yet to understand how and where the plants store this information and how they retrieve it when this is necessary.”

Furthermore, the researchers found that some plants learn more quickly than others, leading them to hypothesize that there may be individual differences between plants of the same species, and that some plants may have better memory than others.

Indeed, work carried out by Dieter Volkmann at Bonn University has shown that pea plants placed horizontally were able to first perceive, and then remember, the direction in which their roots had to grow in order to find nutrients. They retained this memory for approximately five days, and also in this case, not all the plants had the same ability to remember, suggesting that this was not an innate or pre-programmed response.

In the instance of the Music of the Plants then, can there be plants that learn how to make music better and more quickly than others, so that they can go on to become ‘music teachers’?

Our experience over the years, plus the results of years of experiments, seem to confirm this. (from “Music of the Plants” book).

Can plants hear their own produced music?

Among the numerous senses already discovered in plants, the possibility that they have something similar to our sense of hearing is becoming more and more accepted. The hypothesis that plants are able to hear is currently being investigated by Monica Gagliano and Michael Renton, researchers at the University of Western Australia and authors of a study published in the May 2013 issue of the scientific journal BMC Ecology. What they have found is that plants are not just able to ‘smell’ chemical substances and ‘see’ the light emitted by their surrounding plants, forms of communication already noted, they can even ‘hear sounds’ emitted by other plants.

A source of acoustic energy that has special importance for plants is, of course, the sound produced by insects, especially those that might attack them. A study presented at the Conference of the Entomological Society of America in November 1993 by Heidi Appel and Reginald Cocroft of the University of Missouri states that the vibrations caused by feeding insects can actually trigger the plant to emit chemical defences. Plants of Arabidopsis thaliana previously exposed to the recorded sounds of a caterpillar chewing on them triggered chemical defenses at higher levels when they were later attacked by real caterpillars.

It has been discovered that root growth produces a sound. This has been seen to be fundamental in helping the roots themselves explore the surrounding terrain and take the best growth path by acting as a kind of “radar”. Furthermore, this underground signal communicates and “speaks” to the other plants by transmitting the needed information.

How did this research start?

Everything was born with a question that the founders of Damanhur asked themselves, over 40 years ago: “What if plants could interact in a sentient way with the environment and therefore also with human beings? What if it were possible to communicate with them, perhaps through emotions transmitted with music?”

At the end of the 70s Oberto Airaudi, founder of Damanhur, and his fellow researchers, researched bioelectric processes that are conducted by plants, trees and flowers. They discovered that the conductivity is a core indicator of the life force of plants generating key pathways for water, minerals, and other nutrients within trees and flowers. It is this electronic process that is sensed by the unique, innovative device that Damanhurians use in their experiments on the consciousness of the plant world.

Damanhur’s extensive research demonstrates how living organisms respond intelligently to their environment, and is confirmed by an earlier U.S. based study by scientists whose findings are detailed in a book entitled The Secret Life of Plants. Plants respond in very sophisticated ways to both physical and intellectual stimuli. The data derived from these studies demonstrates that Plants communicate with each other through shifts in their conductivity – shifts that, until now, humans were not able to detect or understand.

They discovered that the electrical behavior of plants could be captured using a probe, electrodes, and a device. This combination of electronic components “translates” the signals being conducted by living Plants into musical sound. The pulse streams of each organism are unique, with each Plant manifesting its own individual biological ‘signature sound.’

How does it work technically?

The device that utilizes the revolutionary technology to convert the energy of plants and translate it into music contains a unique software, microcontroller, synthesizer as well as other electronic hardware. It attaches to the plant via two probes, one of which attaches to a leaf and the other by a small metal rod inserted into the soil close to the roots of the plant.

The device allows a plant to play music based upon its health, environment and general demeanor.  This is achieved by monitoring the Plants instantaneous resistance.  Depending upon the level of resistance, different notes and cadences are played, from the selected music type, allowing the plant to actually play the music.

On certain occasions, the plant’s resistance creates a spike, indicating an excited state.  This can occur due to external influences such as touch, watering, moving, etc.  Sometimes the plant can spike its resistance independently.  Whenever a spike occurs, it causes a change in notes, which may be more to the plants liking.

Because plants themselves are complex entities, their internal electrical pulsations are at the same time strong and subtle.  Our technology is capable of responding to both large and small electrical changes, and translating them into musical sound.

Thus, the device essentially becomes a musical instrument, which is played by the plant, through the plant’s electrical variations.  The natural shifts in the plant’s energy impact the quality and timbre of the music played by the plants.  The device used in translating the plant’s electrical variations into music captures and expands these complex electrical variations and translates them into different musical sounds. For example, the same electrical variation stream can be made to sound like string instruments, an organ, a brass ensemble, or the elements of a rainforest.  Regardless of the channel selected, the underlying musical progression is unique to the plant, and helps create a feeling of well-being.

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