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Bards of Avalon

The Sound of COVID-19

The Sound of COVID-19

It’s Thursday night, 8pm. It’s a balmy Spring evening. The atmosphere is peaceful, tranquil. Suddenly, the silence is abruptly shattered with the roar of thunderous clapping, banging of pots and pans, whooping, whistling, bells ringing. It’s our thank you to NHS staff and all key workers during this time of COVID-19 and we’re moved to tears.

Credit goes to Annemarie Plas for introducing this weekly event.She had discovered a similar initiative in Holland where friends applauded health workers which proved very uplifting and wondered if it would work here.Now, thousands of people who had been urged to stay at home, whose lives changed dramatically in a very short space of time had the opportunity to express themselves.Denied contact with family, friends, work colleagues and others, they found unity and connection in this community music making.

One of our sound therapy teachers, Jonathan Goldman, came up with the formula:


Here, we had a very clear intent of expressing our gratitude for NHS staff. For many, it was profoundly moving.

People have been making sounds in community for aeons, it’s one of the most important features about being human. Many indigenous and spiritual traditions have sound practices, whether they involve voices, instruments or both. Gareth Malone has illustrated this with his community choirs. Choir members often comment on the life-affirming, positive benefits of singing on their health and wellbeing.

In addition to expressing appreciation, clapping is employed in various traditions to cleanse and purify energy. For example, shamans may clap around a person, home or land. If the sound is muffled they will keep clapping until the claps sound clear. In Feng Shui, tingsha chimes are often used to clear space so that the energy or “chi” can flow more freely. Consider how church bells in the UK have been used both to warn of dangers e.g. fire,invasion etc and for celebration as with weddings. Again, intent is key.

While there is much debate about the nature of COVID-19, one fact is undeniable: a pandemic of fear has spread across the world. People have responded to this fear and uncertainty in different ways and certainly sound is helping.

When the news first broke about the impact of COVID-19 in Italy, a heart-warming story emerged that people were singing to each other from balconies to lift their spirits:

Meanwhile in Australia, Allison Davies, a music therapist was concerned about the impact of the fear on children so she recorded this singalong song to help them feel safe:

Humour can be one of the best ways of dealing with challenging situations. The lockdown has stimulated creativity and spawned a variety of parody songs such as Chris Mann's “My Corona” - and Brent McCollough's “Staying Inside”

Each disease has a specific frequency, a sound. When we’re working with a client, we can hear dissonance in the cells and express that through our voices. It may not sound harmonious or pleasant, however what is important is that the disease wishes to have a voice, to be heard.

What is the sound of coronavirus? Well, some scientists have translated coronavirus spike protein into music, revealing more about its structure:

Since the lockdowns began, people are noticing more bird song and it’s not simply because it’s Spring. The constant hum of traffic, aircraft and industry has been stripped away. Some find the lack of sound eerie, others a welcome break from the incessant noise of modern life. Now is a time for listening, particularly to the virus which has transformed our lives.



Since this article was published, David Gibson of The Sound Healing Research Foundation has developed a plan to find the VoicePrint for the coronavirus. The plan is to first identify the pattern in the voice. A blind test will be undertaken to see if those who have the virus can be identified and then do clinical research to see if a remedy might work. You can find more information on the link below:

Bea Martin and David Johnson

Bards of Avalon


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