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Singing Caves

creative story regarding acoustical anthropology - , I recommend the two new edited books on Maya cave archaeology by Jim Brady and Keith Prufer.
"Aw, Papa- there's chill in the air."
"Out with ye lad, and mind you don't wake Worta. We needn't be havin' her taggin' along."
"But why we risin' before the light?"
"Hush lad. I'll tell ye when we're strappin' the mare to the cart."
At the stable, Liam resumed conversation with his son. "Tis the dark before the winter solstice. We must be at the 'Basin Reflector' afore the sun's rays strike inside."
"Why cain't Worta come?"
"You know how she's tetched. She only larned to speak when she was three, throws fits, and the echoes at Newgrange are like to spook her."
Paddy huddled in his woolen cloak beside Liam. Liam was listening, so Paddy did the same. It was still dark with frost sparkling like stars on the ruts. "Son, you have the hearing ear; it's why I be takin' you with me on this business. We must record the events of the year for future generations. I'll need you to play the bodhran while I'm singing the story."

The Neolithic Research Committee approached David Lubman. They had learned of his work defining acoustical signatures at Chichen Itza. At the Mayan pyramid of Kukulcan, or Quetzecoatl, clapping hands had mimicked the primary song of the Quetzal bird. The Committee in the passage tomb at Newgrange had undertaken an ambitious project. They hoped to mimic the 110-Hertz frequency of the male baritone. Standing waves in the 'Basin Reflector' superimposed on one another and other acoustic curiosities had been observed. Members of the team included a bodhran drummer, a zither player, and a singer in the Old Language - Gaelic. The Committee explained that they were searching for patterns elicited by the sounds in the chamber. They hoped Lubman's expertise as a mathematician and acoustical consultant would reveal the patterns.
David addressed the Committee Chairman, Dr. Prakeesh, "Why do we have the musicians along?"
"They are not ordinary musicians. The zither player can create any fundamental scale with all of its overtones. We do not expect Stone Age man to have used the equal tempered scale or middle C as their fundamental note. Your job will be to digitally confirm when the musicians have identified the maximum resonance in the chamber."
"And?" David prompted.
"The Gaelic singer and the bodhran player will then sing and drum within the identified scale. It does not matter so much what they sing as it is the intent and repetitive drone."
"Research, too complex for now, confirms that trained singers emit associated electromagnetic fields. We hope to use these as a key to unlock the recorded stories in stone at Newgrange. At the moment this happens, the singer will go into trance and sing, much as a New Age channel, the images as they appear to his mind's eye."
"Intriguing, but not very scientific, if you ask me."
"Actually, that is an important point, Dr. Lubman. We wish you to suspend judgment as much as possible in order not to project observer bias."
Dr. Lubman wasn't completely adverse to mystical experiences, but neither did he wish to jeopardize his scientific credibility. "Dr. Prakeesh, if it is as you say, my instruments will also detect when random singing changes to this 'story in stone' that you suggest will appear."
"Thank you, Dr. Lubman. Allow me to introduce you to our musicians.

It was a bit of a tight fit within the passageway leading to the 'Basin Reflector'. Earlier research had indicated that incense and smoke would allow standing sound waves to become visible as they vibrated particles in the air. The musicians hoped to use this as a cue to match the zigzags and concentric ring markings on the chamber walls. Candles and incense were lit.
The zither player struck a note and followed its echo within the chamber. Tentatively, he explored one scale, but observed too much dissonance. He repeated the scale using a different fundamental note. Signaling with a nod, the singer invoked images of winter solstice, a green earth, a time when nature soundscapes were restored to humankind. The bodhran player catching the spirit, used counterpoint to accent the voice and zither, providing them structure.

"I saw within the fabric of time, our days were numbered. The iron hand was to drive us from this world imprisoned within harsh sounds of the trolls. Orcs rollicked and Mordor beckoned. Cold mornings and the lowing cattle were changed for comfort. Comfort changed into a nightmare of iron-made sounds. Walls were square, the golden ratio of truth forgotten except in a few remnant places on the planet. Still a song remained. The Law could not be broken until all was fulfilled. The TruthBearer would return. Illusion conquered, joy would revive the humble."

These were in essence, the words sung in Gaelic with a poetry and meter unmatched in the English language. Dr. David Lubman did observe a change in the acoustical signature of the singer. Of course, Skeptics would never believe, but then this message was not for the Skeptic, but rather the TruthSeeker.