James D'Angelo
Category: Sound Healing

REVIEW OF FABIEN MAMAN’S BOOK "THE TAO OF SOUND - ACOUSTIC SOUND HEALING FOR THE 21ST CENTURY" - With Terres Unsoeld

Publ. 2011 by  Tama-Do, The Academy of Sound, Color and Movement


Thirty years ago Maman  produced four paperback books on his work and these form the basis for this expanded single volume printed on glossy A4 size paper, profusely illustrated colour photographs and containing 295 pages.  It lays out his philosophy of sound as a healing modality from various angles, delineates his scientific research into the power of sound  and explores his teaching methods. In effect, he have his life‘s work spread out before us.


Founder of  Tama-Do, translated as “The Way of the Soul”, an academy of sound, colour and movement, Maman has had a central theme to his work. That sound, to exert its healing powers, has to be acoustic,  All that he advocates for sound healing derives from the pure overtones and harmonics of the voice and certain musical instruments and tuning forks. All electronic production of sound for him is not only useless but harmful.


2011 marks the 20th anniversary of Maman’s revolutionary sound/cellular experiments, documenting for the first time, under a microscope, the impact of acoustic sound on human cells. This documentation is strikingly represented in full  in the first volume of the book with 123 photos, some taking up almost a full page.  These show the effects on healthy cells. Then there are another 50 smaller photos showing the effects of sound on cancer cells.  The sources of the sounds are the human voice, a chromatic xylophone, vibraphone, double bass, acoustic guitar and tuning forks.  Using a chromatic instrument, one can witness the changing patterns of the cells when the note is moved up chromatically from  F to B. Maman is  satisfied to use the equal tempered scale to see the differences in the notes’ effects and this seems justified in that he is not employing intervals or chords but rather single tones. Beyond their scientific documentation, the photos are beautiful works of art to be appreciated for their own sake.


With its 28 chapters Volume II, Acoustic Sound Therapy, is the main body of this tome.  Here Maman begins by making his case for only acoustic sound and why electronically produced sound is damaging. This subject matter leads him into overtones and their production in the human voice. There is even a page given over to overtone chanting for children.  Also apposite is a page showing decibel levels from a ticking watch at 20db to a vacuum cleaner at 70db to the damaging levels of  a rock concert at 130db to a rocket launch at 180db.


Maman’s approach to sound therapy is certainly grounded in music itself and therefore he does place music theory in the context of the therapeutic potential of sound.. So, for example, he teaches the musical intervals from the unison up through the octave and associates them with types of music  and assigns them qualities. Moreover, he devotes a chapter to musical modes  with particular emphasis on those of Gregorian chant (called the Greek modes here) and various forms of the pentatonic mode  from the Indian tradition. These are given either in keyboard diagrams, musical notation or just letter names, making them easily understandable to the non-musician.


Most interesting to this reviewer is the practice of Kototama , the ancient science of pure sound. It  means “the vibration or energy of the verb“, the verb being the action behind the Soul, the vibration that moves the Soul.  In practice it is the sounding of  five  vowels and eight consonants each of which is assigned a particular quality.  Maman has also conjoined the consonants with the vowels and given musical tones to these patterns. for chanting.


Many sound practitioners who use the voice as a primary healing instrument focus on forms of toning or resonating the chakras.  Maman is no exception. Following the Chinese musical theory based on the spiral of fifths, he assigns particular tones to the chakras beginning with the tone F.  The position of the second chakra, usually referred to as the Sacral or Spleen  is given the name “Tantien” and  an eighth energy point, lying between the throat and the third eye at the back area of the head on top of the spine,  is called the “Bindu”  Using the spiral of fifths as correspondences, the tones cover a six octave range.   Maman also presents further correspondences between the organs of the body, the Chinese elements and tones. 


Both these systems are interrelated to the frequencies of tuning forks which are the main focus of Volume three.  Here, in great detail, is explained how he works with the forks as a form of acupuncture.  Thus the 12 acupuncture command points are assigned the 12 tones of the chromatic scale and colours as they relate to the various organs of the body.   All in all it is an intriguing and intricate system.  So much so that the volume is marked  “For Practitioners only”  Nonetheless, it is well worth perusing as it integrates with much of his teaching on sound healing.


There is much more one could describe in this multi-faceted book, a lifetime’s work from a dedicated master in this field who blends traditional Chinese philosophy, musical theory and  medicine and his  own intuition in applying and adapting these traditions into an integrated blueprint for sound healing.


What is worth extolling is how beautifully this book has been designed.   It is easily readable and uncomplicated. The layout of the text makes it easy on the eye.  It is filled with many helpful tables and diagrams and the use of colour as an educational aid is superb.  One cannot think of any other book on sound and its potential for healing and self-transformation that has the scope and breadth of The Tao Of Sound.   Anyone who purports to have a serious interest in the field should have it as a reference work. Even practitioners who have established methods would benefit from dipping into its pages and use  The Tao Of Sound as a measuring rod for their own work. 


Information on obtaining the book and Fabien Maman’s academy based in California can be found on the website www.tama-do.com


James D’Angelo


15/01/2012

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