Is there something to this claim?

Ideas and innovations in Indian classical music
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sankark
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Joined: 16 Dec 2008, 09:10

Is there something to this claim?

Post by sankark »

An interesting meld of music and material science?

https://twitter.com/i/status/1788865294406201555

Nick H
Posts: 9389
Joined: 03 Feb 2010, 02:03

Re: Is there something to this claim?

Post by Nick H »

Even I have have seen and tapped on musical stone pillars: I wonder how many temples, etc have such things?

"They are not hollow." A musical thing does not have to be hollow. So all that reasoning seems, to me, to be rubbish.

Just My Opinion: no doubt, an architectural/structural wonder. But the real thing seems to have sparked an excess of imagination.

I'm not a scientist with deep knowledge of musical material science: we need Uday to comment!

uday_shankar
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Joined: 03 Feb 2010, 08:37

Re: Is there something to this claim?

Post by uday_shankar »

sankark wrote: 11 May 2024, 09:55 An interesting meld of music and material science?
No, mostly an attempt inject lofty mystical narratives behind a simple ordinary phenomenon, in an attempt to project that "ancient" (i.e., 12th century AD) Indians were on to some spectacular, deeply mystical knowledge not known anywhere else. Don't get me wrong, I find the musical pillars cute and interesting and I have been tapping them wherever I find them right from my college days. They are there in Hampi and in Tirunelveli district and that may hold a geological clue. But unfortunately they haven't inspired enough detailed scientific studies (scientific papers studying this phenomenon are few and far in-between). Clearly the composition of the rocks especially the iron content seems to hold the key. People have shown that such rocks could be created artificially by heating them above 2500C. If the so-called ancients did that, they have left no clue. So it is better to assume they found naturally occurring musical rocks. It is a testament to their immense diligence they were able collect suitable number of stones that could be reshaped (what happens to the frequencies when you reshape them? The frequency changes. It becomes sharper typically), hung in sequence, etc to produce musical scales. Hats off, but it is no greater a wonder than the fact that the amazing sculptures of Belur, Halebidu, Hampi, Ellora exist at all. Such shraddha is beyond the imagination of "moderns".

One clue about the naturally occurring musical rocks may be that the geological conditions were similar in Tirunelveli and Hampi when the rocks were formed. Who knows ?

As for the lady in the video talking of "Cymatc" patterns without explaining clearly what they are, it is another silly attempt to sound high falutin. Nowadays they are called Chladni patterns. At one point in the video they flashed a series of Chladni patterns on the screen with clearly electronically generated space age sounds that had nothing to do with pillars. Yet another attempt to confuse the viewer with voodoo.

Lastly, I link below a short video about the ringing rocks of Pennsylvania, which is a simple, back-to-the-basics, voodoo-free attempt to look at the phenomenon of musical rocks

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wpiMl8OO-AA

uday_shankar
Posts: 1469
Joined: 03 Feb 2010, 08:37

Re: Is there something to this claim?

Post by uday_shankar »

Such rocks are everywhere:

Here's a good sober look at the singing rocks of Montana:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pJAcJPDIqsE

The Gaval Dash singing stone in Azerbaijan:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SLwlokFJDrM

More from Azerbaijan:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lEf9cNoYd4k

Singing steps of Darasuram:
(unfortunately we can't hear them nowadays, thanks to them being protected from vandals)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jI_GpM14wZM


This is very interesting. The Dan Da of Vietnam, the lithophone. VERY MUSICAL. But not sure if really stone
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=trTDTCixA_c

Nick H
Posts: 9389
Joined: 03 Feb 2010, 02:03

Re: Is there something to this claim?

Post by Nick H »

I love Rock Music!

On day, I was walking on a beach of granite boulders, and found a place where they made semi-musical sounds when I made them knock together.

The temple where I played, the musical components were carved out of one pillar. On pillar was the "instrument" with several cut out vertical pieces like strings. Don't know how well it was tuned, but I guess thickness/length determined frequency.

Thanks, Uday, for the down-to-earth confirmation.

These singing stones are quite wonderful. Problem with people is that they think that making stuff up makes something more wonderful. It doesn't.

sankark
Posts: 2347
Joined: 16 Dec 2008, 09:10

Re: Is there something to this claim?

Post by sankark »

uday_shankar wrote: 14 May 2024, 15:58
sankark wrote: 11 May 2024, 09:55 An interesting meld of music and material science?
No, mostly an attempt inject lofty mystical narratives behind a simple ordinary phenomenon, in an attempt to project that "ancient" (i.e., 12th century AD) Indians were on to some spectacular, deeply mystical knowledge not known anywhere else. Don't get me wrong, I find the musical pillars cute and interesting and I have been tapping them wherever I find them right from my college days. They are there in Hampi and in Tirunelveli district and that may hold a geological clue. But unfortunately they haven't inspired enough detailed scientific studies (scientific papers studying this phenomenon are few and far in-between). Clearly the composition of the rocks especially the iron content seems to hold the key. People have shown that such rocks could be created artificially by heating them above 2500C. If the so-called ancients did that, they have left no clue. So it is better to assume they found naturally occurring musical rocks. It is a testament to their immense diligence they were able collect suitable number of stones that could be reshaped (what happens to the frequencies when you reshape them? The frequency changes. It becomes sharper typically), hung in sequence, etc to produce musical scales. Hats off, but it is no greater a wonder than the fact that the amazing sculptures of Belur, Halebidu, Hampi, Ellora exist at all. Such shraddha is beyond the imagination of "moderns".

One clue about the naturally occurring musical rocks may be that the geological conditions were similar in Tirunelveli and Hampi when the rocks were formed. Who knows ?

As for the lady in the video talking of "Cymatc" patterns without explaining clearly what they are, it is another silly attempt to sound high falutin. Nowadays they are called Chladni patterns. At one point in the video they flashed a series of Chladni patterns on the screen with clearly electronically generated space age sounds that had nothing to do with pillars. Yet another attempt to confuse the viewer with voodoo.

Lastly, I link below a short video about the ringing rocks of Pennsylvania, which is a simple, back-to-the-basics, voodoo-free attempt to look at the phenomenon of musical rocks

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wpiMl8OO-AA
thought so. thanks!

nAdopAsaka
Posts: 965
Joined: 20 Jul 2020, 17:05

Re: Is there something to this claim?

Post by nAdopAsaka »

inject lofty mystical narratives behind a simple ordinary phenomenon, in an attempt to project that "ancient" (i.e., 12th century AD) Indians were on to some spectacular, deeply mystical knowledge not known anywhere else.

it is certainly possible to “disparage” the mere resonances produced in solids , or even hollow objects , such as flutes or percussive drums, as simple ordinary phenomenon..

The mere production of organized packets of sound frequencies, such as by bird-song or dolphin-keening or khayAl
or by some AI machine/parrot , cannot claim any elevated place in human or animal or machine endeavor.

But the amalgam of Word and Idea to musical scales and meters and thence to worship, practised as nAda-upAsana in kritis and mantras by the ancient Hindus (and some modern ones) is spectacular.

And it is a unique millenial tradition not known anywhere else.

shankarank
Posts: 4074
Joined: 15 Jun 2009, 07:16

Re: Is there something to this claim?

Post by shankarank »

As noted in the twitter thread, the Madurai Meenakshi temple has them and I have played them. Nellai-appar temple in Tirunelveli as Uday noted has those Pillars.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TQmFM_6n8Vk

Nick H
Posts: 9389
Joined: 03 Feb 2010, 02:03

Re: Is there something to this claim?

Post by Nick H »

i think it would have been Madurai where I experienced them as a tourist.

thenpaanan
Posts: 641
Joined: 04 Feb 2010, 19:45

Re: Is there something to this claim?

Post by thenpaanan »

uday_shankar wrote: 14 May 2024, 15:58
sankark wrote: 11 May 2024, 09:55 An interesting meld of music and material science?
No, mostly an attempt inject lofty mystical narratives behind a simple ordinary phenomenon, in an attempt to project that "ancient" (i.e., 12th century AD) Indians were on to some spectacular, deeply mystical knowledge not known anywhere else.
(Some excellent material elided for brevity)
Let me try to give a somewhat different take on this question. It is somewhat related to music and resonance but not in a standard way.

Some decades ago I found myself walking on one of the suspension bridges in New York city when I noticed a maintenance crew working on the bridge. I am not trained as a civil engineer so I had no idea what bridge maintenance entailed but I noticed them carrying a gigantic hammer. I picked up enough courage to approach the crew to ask them what they were doing. After some initial brush offs, the crew agreed to answer my questions because I was what they called, with obvious disdain, a "college-educated" engineer. :D

Anyway, my curiosity was with the massive hammer that they were toting around and so I asked. The answer was simultaneously surprising and not surprising. As the crew explained it, a key indicator of the health of suspension bridges is the state of the cables, these enormous twisted/braided metal cords that hang down from the top of the pillars to the center of the bridge. But because the cables are so big and so long it is not easy to check or test if there is a problem especially if the symptom is not visible externally. And most times crews don't want to spend days on each bridge checking every nut and bolt in every inspection. Instead they have a rough and ready way to check the health of each cable system.

The crew demonstrated it to me. One of the men took the hammer and gave one of the cable joints an almighty whack. At first it was not at all obvious what the purpose was. It did not look the hammer could do anything at all to the bridge. Then the crewman said "son, listen to the sound". It turns out that the purpose of the whack is to listen to the frequency and sustain of the sound that comes from the bridge. It is not very loud, quite faint but quite audible if you listen carefully, and it lasts a very long time (several minutes in the audible range). The crew explained that if there was something wrong with the cables the sound would be subtly different but they are trained from experience to spot the difference. This could be because there is a lot of rust inside the cables or that the tension in the cables has changed for some reason (because of shifting of the pillars, or lengthening of the cables due to vehicle load on the bridge, etc). Unfortunately (or not) there was no cable on that bridge to demonstrate what that would sound like since all the cables were apparently in good shape.

These guys were using the same principle as the musical pillars but for a very pragmatic mundane use. My musical training helped me understand the principle but all the same I could not help but marvel at the ingenuity of these guys. Simple if approximate solution to a very complex problem. I learned a basic lesson in engineering from a couple of hard hats that day! #respect

-T

Nick H
Posts: 9389
Joined: 03 Feb 2010, 02:03

Re: Is there something to this claim?

Post by Nick H »

Thank you! That reminded me of wheeltappers, who established the integrity of railway-carriage wheels by hitting them with a hammer and listening to the sound.

Which reminds me of doctors tapping our bodies and listening to the sound. A genuine diagnostic procedure: I'm sure there must be some who still do it, but it seems more usual to be sent for scans and x-rays these days.

So, from bridge cables through train wheels to our own bodies, we find worlds of sound! And sound that communicates something.

(I might have said this earlier. It is such an amazing and wonderful world, I really do wonder why people have to invent crazy theories. When the actual reality can be so much better!)

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