Schumann Resonances, Op. 82


The Schumann Resonances are a series of standing electromagnetic waves in the extremely low frequency (ELF) portion of the earth’s electromagnetic field spectrum that exist in the cavity between the earth’s surface and the ionosphere. The German physicist Winfried Otto Schumann predicted their existence in 1952, which was confirmed a few years later by measurements. In the 70’s it was discovered that the Schumann Resonances correlate with human brain waves.

The main Schumann Resonance frequency hovers around 7.83 Hz with slight variations. According to a number of people, starting a few years ago, this frequency has been on the rise. A number of researchers, however, maintain that it isn’t the frequency of the waves that is increasing, but rather their amplitude, their amount of charge, as a result of phenomena such as higher solar activity. One way or another, this increase appears to have quite an impact on human consciousness and well-being, and it may well be the underlying cause for the general feeling that time seems to be speeding up.

The composition Schumann Resonances is about this process of intensification. It depicts stages of ‘adaptive stress’ on the one hand and moments of bliss on the other, that people may experience, and it culminates in a musical depiction of a state of higher awareness that will eventually be reached, at least in my view.

The thematic material is derived from music by the Schumann that all classical music lovers know: Robert Schumann. One of the themes I took from his work is the theme from his song Aus alten Märchen winkt es:

Aus alten Märchen winkt es
Hervor mit weißer Hand,
Da singt es und da klingt es
Von einem Zauberland…

 From old fairy tales one is beckoned
With a white hand,
Where there is a singing and sounding
Of a magical land… 

I furthermore forged the main themes from the first and last movements from his late set of piano pieces Gesänge der Frühe (Songs of the early hour) into one theme. The Gesänge were written a few months before he succumbed to both the final stage of syphilis and the heavy doses of mercury he had been subjected to as a treatment for this. As I see it, this treatment, reinforced by his tendency to seek refuge in alcohol, severely damaged his aura, leaving his soul open to contact with entities, both benevolent and malevolent, from the astral plane. To me, his Gesänge der Frühe, and especially the outer movements, sound somehow distinctly ‘otherworldly’, and that’s why I chose material from this particular composition.

Unsurprisingly, the composition Schumann Resonances starts slowly. The music very gradually gets faster and faster, along the way depicting several feelings having to do with adaptation difficulties prior to reaching a higher state of awareness; such as exhaustion, dizziness, depression and not being grounded. These episodes are alternated with moments of inspiration and upliftment. Eventually, a new and blissful state is entered, where the ultra fast tempo that has been reached coincides with more or less the slow tempo of the beginning.

Youtube (electronic recording):