An Interview with Jonathan Goldman
by Tae Darnell for Etherean
Q: You’ve been involved in helping bring awareness of sound healing to the public since the early 80’s. Your latest recording “CHAKRA CHANTS” just won the 1999 Visionary Awards for both “Best Healing-Meditation Album” and “Best Album of the Year”. Do you think this is an indication of a trend toward greater appreciation of the use of sound as a healing modality?
A: I like to think so. When I first began in this arena, there were only a handful of recordings that focused on using sound and music for healing. Nowadays, the market seems to be glutted with them. But unfortunately, many of the ones I’ve encountered that claim to be therapeutic, at least from my perspective, are not. Or, if they do demonstrate therapeutic possibilities, they are not very listenable. I’m extremely honored that enough people thought that “CHAKRA CHANTS” was not only a good album for healing and meditation, but that it was also a good album period.
Q: What do you think is so different about “CHAKRA CHANTS”?
A: Most of the recordings that I’ve created have been very cutting edge. “DOLPHIN DREAMS” which I made for the birth of my son Joshua many years ago, was the first recording that ever featured dolphin sounds. I had initially wanted my son to have a dolphin assisted water birth, but when I discovered that unless we moved to the Soviet Union or New Zealand that wasn’t possible. So, using my knowledge of sound, I created this energy–the morphic field, if you like– on a recording. Such a sonic experience simply wasn’t available, so I created it. The same is true about my other releases.
In the early 1980’s, I first began researching the relationship between sound and the chakras and the more I delved into the subject, the more overwhelmed I became. There were literally dozens of different systems of using sounds that seemed to be successful for resonating and balancing the chakras. But very few of these systems were in resonance with each other. It made for a lot of confusion for me, and also a lot of skepticism. And brought me to the realization of “Frequency+ Intent = Healing” , a very important sonic formula that first appeared in my book HEALING SOUNDS.
Q: Frequency + Intent? What does that mean?
A: Frequency is a way of measuring sound and for me is a metaphor for the actual physical sound itself. Intent is the energy behind the sound. It was the answer that came to me after becoming totally frustrated by seeing that few, if any, of the different systems of chakra resonance agreed with each other. It didn’t make sense. Then my -inner guidance came forth with the “Frequency + Intent = Healing” formula, and suddenly, I could understand how different notes or chants or mantras could all effect the same chakra. It came from the intention of the person creating the sound.
With “CHAKRA CHANTS”, I actually combined a number of different systems for chakra resonance that had never been put together before. In truth, like many of my other recordings, it was an experiment. I really didn’t know if the Sacred Vowel Sounds could work with the Bija Mantras or a harmonically related diatonic scale or Shabda Yoga Sounds or any of the other elements that I wanted to try. Thankfully, they did. I think that the combination of these different systems is one of the reasons why “CHAKRA CHANTS” is so effective. If one of the systems is not in resonance with a listener, there’s a good chance that another is in resonance. Also, I was very conscious of the concept of intention. With my background and training, I was able to concentrate on a specific chakra I was working with and hopefully, put this intention into the sound that I was creating.
Q: You mention resonance a number of times. Could you define it?
A: Well, resonance is simply the natural vibrations of an object. Everything is in a state of motion. From the electrons moving around the nucleus of an atom to planets moving around stars in distant galaxies–there is movement everywhere. And if there is movement, there is vibration and there is sound. This is an ancient understanding that modern science is beginning to accept.
Our body is in a state of vibration. Every organ, every bone, all our different tissues, all our different systems, like the nervous system of the circulatory system, these all create sounds. An analogy I like to use is that the human body is like this wonderful orchestra that is playing an overall harmonic of health. When we are healthy, we are in sound health. But continuing with our analogy, what happens if the second violin player in this orchestra looses their sheet music? They begin to play out of tune, out of harmony, out of rhythm. Pretty soon, the entire string section sounds bad. Soon after, the whole orchestra begins to sound off. With this analogy, this would be what we perceive of as disease!
Right now traditional medicine has the approach of either feeding this string player enough drugs so they simply pass out or cutting this players head off with a surgical instrument–which works at least to get them out of the scene. But what if it were possible to give this string player back their sheet music? What if it were possible to project the correct resonant frequency back into the part of the body that is vibrating out of tune? This is the basic principle of using sound to heal. And it is one of the concepts behind the energy of “CHAKRA CHANTS”.
Q: How so?
A: When I worked with these different systems, whenever a sound was being recorded, my intention was that not only would it resonate a particular chakra, but that it would help balance and align it. This is important because I believe that energy went into the recording and then was received by the people listening to it. I also believe that “CHAKRA CHANTS” is an interesting musical journey. While chanting a mantra in one key for an extended period of time may be effective, for most people, this type of recording becomes tedious and difficult to listen to. I wanted to avoid this type of experience. There are over 48 different tracks-on “CHAKRA CHANTS” -most of them vocal–and while it’s sometimes subtle, there’s actually a lot happening in the recording. Most people find it quite an extraordinary and powerful sonic experience.
Q: Getting back to my first question, do you sense a change in the field of sound and music healing since you first began nearly 20 years ago.
A: Certainly. More and more people are becoming aware of the power of sound and music to heal and transform. More people are looking for music that will help put them into balance and more people are starting to consciously create music that will do this. It can, hopefully, only continue to get better and better.
Q: You’ve worked with Tibetan Monks, Hindu Swamis and Shaman from different traditions, among others. Does any one group really have a handle on sound healing?
A: I think they all do. And no one does. All different aspects of the Creator.
Q: You have two non-fiction books–HEALING SOUNDS and SHIFTING FREQUENCIES. Now, you have just produced THE LOST CHORD, an adventure novel revolving around sound. Why a novel?
A: Because it hadn’t been done before. I like creating things that haven’t been done. Way back before I got into sound healing, back before I was a professional musician, I was a writer. Wrote my first novel when I was 15. So, the energy of creative writing has been in me for a long time. Like most of the things I’m involved in lately, THE LOST CHORD was divinely inspired.
Q: How so?
A: I awoke from a dream. And in the dream, I was writing a novel. I didn’t remember anything about the story itself, I just knew that it was a very “pop” easy to read story. And as I was awakening from the dream, I heard a voice say “Get yourself a Power Book!” I didn’t have a clue what this was, but a week later, I had a fully loaded used lap top computer. And I just began to write. It was like taking dictation. Two months later THE LOST CHORD was completed.
Q: THE LOST CHORD, is set in Boulder, Colorado. It’s about a computer program that produce a series of frequencies which are both highly addictive and create interdimensional portals. It’s told from the viewpoint of a blues guitarist named Christopher Shade. You played lead guitar in bands for many years. How real is the book and how much of Christopher Shade is you?
A: The information about the power and effects of sound is real. The scientific material and the spiritual experiences in THE LOST CHORD are based upon fact. Except for the actual creation of the Lost Chord itself. Most of that information is correct as well, but I threw in a couple of total fabrications in case anyone wanted to try and create it.
Q: Could you create it if you wanted?
A: I wouldn’t, if I could. But I can’t. Although I must admit that when I lead groups of people in sacred chanting, coupling vocalization with visualization we come very close to some of the energy of the Lost Chord. And this idea of humans working with combined consciousness being able to better create the Lost Chord, is definitely in the book. So is the concept of scientific technology versus spiritual teaching and practice. There’s a lot of important material about sound as a healing and transformative modality in those pages that lots of readers who may get turned off by text type books will be able to read and enjoy.
Q: And are you Christopher Shade?
A: Perhaps in another dimension or a parallel life or something, he may be an alter ego of mine. Because he’s very real. But no, he’s not me. Shade cracks me up. I think he is very funny. A total spiritual skeptic who finds himself in incredible situations that he can’t get out of. And Shade keeps denying what’s going on. He just wants to get back to playing guitar in a blues band. But he can’t because he’s going through spiritual awakening and there’s no turning back.
Q: Shade uses the Lost Chord and meets Shamael, the Angel of Sound. Is this being also a total invention of yours?
A: Actually, Shamael is a little known angelic entity who is regarded in some very esoteric traditions as being the “divine herald” and “master of heavenly song”. He is a being I have often encountered in meditation and altered states of consciousness. But never through the Lost Chord.
Q: How would you define your novel? Is it science fiction? Fantasy? Mystery? Metaphysical?
A: All of the above, and hopefully more. First and foremost, it’s an adventure which has within elements of science fiction, fantasy and metaphysics. And music. And sound healing. And shamanism. In truth, as I was writing the novel, I realized that there was the potential of both entertaining and educating the reader. Perhaps, also assisting in the process of enlightenment, if that is possible through books.
Q: Quite a tall order. Anything else?
A: I really just wanted to have fun writing THE LOST CHORD. And I figured that if I had fun writing it, maybe someone else would have fun reading it. Thus far, that seems to be the case. I’ve been getting wonderful response from readers who really have enjoyed it. Some are calling it “THE CELESTINE PROPHECY of Sound”. We’ll see.
Q: Any new recording projects?
A: Sure “THE LOST CHORD: The Recording”.
A: Well, I’m going to take some of the ideas and knowledge about psycho-acoustics that I write about in the novel and apply them to this new recording. But unlike the Lost Chord frequencies in the book, which is generated totally by computers, this will feature lots of real time human vocals and human instrumental players. It will be totally safe. And totally listenable. It’ll be based on sacred ratios and feature toning and chanting and should be just a lovely experience for anyone. Perhaps also, “THE LOST CHORD: The Soundtrack to the Book”, with different musical compositions to depict different episodes of the story. It’s an exciting concept. We’ll see what happens. There are all sorts of possibilities. You never know.
Q: Thank you.