Have you ever paid attention to the background sounds and noises in a natural environment – as opposed to a city environment? If you have really got into it, you may have found that it is an excellent meditation – one way of stopping that incessant voice in your head that keeps on its chatter, bringing up all manner of stuff that causes shifts in moods that are often counter-productive to equanimity. The night-sounds are particularly loud and go on virtually ceaselessly through the night, as the crickets, cicadas, frogs, night birds and other nocturnal critters get their cycles going. And if you’re like Java or me, you will find a kind of rhythm and music in the sounds as you try to separate the cacophony into the individual parts. The natural ‘orchestra’ has all the elements of the conventional one, with crickets diminuendo-ing and fading out whilst the cicadas’ crescendo and the staccato-timpanic call of some frog species serve as cue for the Fish Owl’s bassy hoot solo. It really is quite a trip and we find it pretty musical and entertaining, often remarking on a particular sequence in wonder at the beauty of it.

Then just the other day we come across this piece that added another chunk towards fitting it all together so that it makes a little more sense of this theory we have about vibrations.

As Charles Q. Choi has written in his ‘Special to LiveScience’: ‘Earth gives off a relentless hum of countless notes completely imperceptible to the human ear, like a giant, exceptionally quiet symphony, but the origin of this sound remains a mystery. Now unexpected powerful tunes have been discovered in this hum. These new findings could shed light on the source of this enigma’.

Investigators, we are told, suspect that this ‘music’ could originate from the ‘churning ocean’ or the ‘roiling atmosphere’ and further investigations from listening posts in the very quiet Earth-Listening Research Station at the Black Forest Observatory in Germany, with supporting data from Japan and China, led to discovering that the oscillations making up the ‘music’ are shaped like ‘rings’, which added to the earlier analysis that the oscillations that made the hum were ‘spheroidal’. So now they have discovered two sets of different oscillations – and who knows how many more are yet to be discovered?

It’s all very interesting to Java and me, as we tend to find rhythm and music in most natural systems – whenever we are clued in enough to give a close listen, that is. And as we listen to Gustav Holst’s Planets Suite, Java’s got his doob going and is working on his symphony of night sounds.