Monday, April 6, 2009

The Effects of Music on Plants

Many studies have been conducted on communication with plants. Not only do plants react to human touch, but they are listening to us. You might wonder: how do plants hear? Well, they don't have ears. Plants seem to have another way of listening, though, perhaps through some sort of a universal vibe...

Consider Dr. T.C. Singh who, in 1950 when he was performing experiments on hydrillas with the encouragement of Professor Julian Henry Huxley, was excited to discover that the raga, a devotional song rising out of South Indian tradition, did in fact have a "religious" effect on the plant species-- among other physical growth, the hydrillas' stomata per unit area was 66% higher than in control plants. Singh since has conducted his raga experiment with various other types of plants, including economic ones such as radishes and sweet potatoes, and believes that he has "proven beyond any shadow of doubt that harmonic sound waves affect the growth, flower, fruiting, and seed-yields of plants." It is interesting how this relates to the ancient myth of Lord Krishna, the eighth and principal avatar of the Hindu deity Vishnu who induced plants to blossom by singing ragas to them.

Other studies have shown that Bach's sonatas work as a nutrient supplement for plants, and those that listened to George Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue" 24/7 sprouted earlier than those kept in silence. The following video on an experiment conducted by Dorothy Retallack reveals the music that plants prefer:



In the late 1960s, Retallack created two distinct environments for her test plants that varied only in one element: one group of plants listened to semi-classical music, and the other listened to hard-rock.

The plants that listened to composers of the eighteenth and nineteeth century including Haydn, Beethoven, Brahms, and Schubert, seemed to move toward the speaker and draw strength from the melodius sound. Those that listened to Led Zeppelin, Vanilla Fudge, and Jimi Hendrix, however, drank more water, but grew less, and eventually stopped growing. No wonder my plants are dead. :(

It appears to be the quality of the music that determined the fate of the plants, and while most people were impressed with Retallack's study, one rock musician expressed concern: "If rock is doing that to my plants, man, I wonder what it's doing to me?" I doubt he has anything to worry about -- plants are more likely just extremely sensitive to certain sounds.

I am currently reading a chapter entitled The Harmonic Life of Plants in "The Secret Life of Plants" by Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird, which is where I discovered most of this information. It is so interesting to learn about the effects of music on plants. I am intrigued by the research that has been conducted in this area, and perhaps one day when I have the time, will conduct my own study on my plants at home.

39 comments:

  1. this is seriously amazing! I always thought that the idea of plants' health due to talking to them was just that people who would talk to their plants also obviously take good care of them and so they would grow better! This is actually crazy that sounds actually can affect the physical aspects of plants. Fantastic post!

    ReplyDelete
  2. 先告訴自己希望成為什麼樣的人,然後一步一步實踐必要的步驟。........................................

    ReplyDelete
  3. 以簡單的行為愉悅他人的心靈,勝過千人低頭禱告。........................................

    ReplyDelete
  4. 先告訴自己希望成為什麼樣的人,然後一步一步實踐必要的步驟。........................................

    ReplyDelete
  5. 死亡是悲哀的,但活得不快樂更悲哀。.................................................................                           

    ReplyDelete
  6. 好文章就值得回響,如果可以常常看到您的更新,應該是件很幸福的事情~~...............................................................

    ReplyDelete
  7. 我們必須先有哭泣,才有歡笑;也必須先感到人生的悲哀,然後才感到人生的快樂。................................................................

    ReplyDelete