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Therapeutic Effects of the Solfeggio Frequency Scale and Binaural Beats

James Odell, OMD, ND, L.Ac.

A sound wave has five characteristics: wavelength, time-period, amplitude, frequency, and speed. While amplitude is perceived as loudness, the frequency of a sound wave is perceived as its pitch. The total number of waves produced in one second is called the frequency of the wave. Thus, the number of vibrations counted per second is called frequency. Here is a simple example: If five complete waves are produced in one second then the frequency of the waves will be 5 hertz (Hz) or 5 cycles per second. Every musical note is associated with a unique frequency. A high pitch sound corresponds to a high-frequency sound wave and a low-pitch sound corresponds to a low-frequency sound wave. Amazingly, many people, especially those who have been musically trained, can detect a difference in frequency between two separate sounds that are as little as 2 Hz.

The Solfeggio tones or frequencies have a history that dates back centuries. Early in the 11th century, an Italian Benedictine monk, Guido of Arezzo, was looking for ways to teach melodies and harmonies to monastic choirs. One of his methods was a mnemonic tool, called the “Guidonian Hand.” Notes were associated with places on the fingers and palms. Once mastered, a choirmaster could point to his hand to inform singers of the next note. This was a new way to teach music — but Brother Guido continued to innovate.

Finding a way to express a musical scale, he created staff notations to teach chants and hymns. Guido’s original notations were “UT RE MI FA SOL LA,” derived from the first syllable of each half-line of the ancient “Hymn to Saint John the Baptist,” descended from an even more ancient work by Horace, an 8th-century BC Roman poet.

This scale of six notes (C, D, E, F, G, A), the ancestor of our “do re mi fa so la ti,“ evolved into the modern diatonic scale. In 1600 in Italy the open syllable “Ut” was changed to “Do” at the suggestion of the musicologist Giovanni Battista Doni. A seventh note, “Si” was also added sometime afterward (from the initials for “Sancte Iohannes”) to complete the seven-note diatonic scale. In Anglo-Saxon countries, “Si” was changed to “Ti” by Sarah Glover in the 19th century so that every syllable might begin with a different letter.

Before this system, the chants were passed down by rote and it took the monks nearly a decade to learn all of them. With only minor changes, we still use Guido’s system of sight singing and musical notation today. In a sense, Guido is the father of modern ear training and sight singing.

Solfeggio tones were used extensively by singers throughout history to learn chants and songs more easily. Today we know the Solfeggio scale as seven ascending notes assigned to the syllables Do-Re-Mi-Fa-So-La-Ti. A major or a minor scale (the most common scale in Western classical music) has seven notes, and so the Solfeggio system has seven basic syllables. Again, the original scale was six ascending notes assigned to Ut-Re-Mi-Fa-Sol-La.

Thus, the Solfeggio “frequencies” are based on an ancient 6-tone scale. Each frequency of the 6-tone scale is believed to have a certain mind-body effect that is physical, spiritual, and emotional. Sound is an excellent method for evoking deep stimulation at a cellular level as sound can travel five times faster in water than in air.

The A C Major scale is made up of these seven notes: C, D, E, F, G, A, and B (often continuing to a C, an octave above the first one). If we were to sing this major scale on solfege, the C would always be sung as “Do”, the D would always be sung as “Re”, and so on.

The whole scale looks like this in Solfeggio:


do re mi fa sol la ti

In other octaves – for example, an octave above or below – the Solfeggio syllables stay the same.

SomaEnergetics by David Hulse

Moving further into sound therapy, we can explore how Solfeggio frequencies can affect mind-body physiology. “SomaEnergetics” is a series of sound therapy techniques developed by David Hulse, a brilliant sound therapist using the ancient Solfeggio frequencies. ( Hulse describes these frequencies as “sacred tones” and serve as a "vibrational bridge" to holistically re-integrate the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects of the individual, as well as all of humanity - collectively. The following are the original frequencies (ascribed mind-body “intent” or effects) as described by David Hulse.

DO – 396 Hz. Intent: turning grief into joy, liberating guilt and fear. This frequency liberates energy and has beneficial effects on feelings of guilt. It cleanses the feeling of guilt, which often represents one of the basic obstacles to realization, enabling the achievement of goals in the most direct way. The DO tone releases you from the feelings of guilt and fear by bringing down defense mechanisms. 396 Hz frequency searches out hidden blockages, subconscious negative beliefs, and ideas that have led to your present situations. (Associated with Root Chakra)

RE – 417 Hz. Intent: undoing situations and facilitating change. The next main tone from the Solfeggio scale produces energy to bring about change. This frequency cleanses traumatic experiences and clears destructive influences of past events. When speaking of cellular processes, tone Re encourages the cell to function optimally. 417 Hz frequency puts you in touch with an inexhaustible source of energy that allows you to change your life. (Associated with Sacral Chakra)

MI – 528 Hz. Intent: transformation and miracles (DNA repair). Tone Mi is used to return human DNA to its original, perfect state. This frequency brings transformation and miracles into your life. The process of DNA reparation is followed by beneficial effects – increased amount of life energy, clarity of mind, awareness, awakened or activated creativity, and ecstatic states like deep inner peace, dance, and celebration. Tone Mi activates your imagination, intention, and intuition to operate for your highest and best purpose. (Associated with Solar Plexus Chakra)

FA – 639 Hz. Intent: re-connecting with family and balancing, relationships. It enables the creation of a harmonious community and harmonious interpersonal relationships. Tone Fa can be used for dealing with relationship problems – in one’s family, between partners, friends, or social problems. When talking about cellular processes, 639 Hz frequency can be used to encourage the cell to communicate with its environment. This ancient Solfeggio frequency enhances communication, understanding, tolerance, and love. (Associated with Heart Chakra)

SOL – 741 Hz. Intent: solving problems, expressions/solutions. It cleans the cell of toxins. Frequent use of 741 Hz leads to a healthier, simpler life, and to changes in diet towards foods that are not poisoned by various kinds of toxins. Tone Sol cleans the cell from different kinds of electromagnetic radiation. Another application of this sound frequency is solving problems of any nature. The fifth frequency of the Solfeggio scale also leads to the power of self-expression, which results in a pure and stable life. (Associated with Throat Chakra)

LA – 852 Hz. Intent: awakening intuition, returning to spiritual order Tone La is linked to your ability to see through the illusions of your life, such as hidden agendas of people, places, and things. This frequency can be used as a means for opening a person up for communication with the all-embracing Spirit. It raises awareness and lets you return to spiritual order. Regarding cellular processes, 852 Hz enables the cell to transform itself into a system of a higher level. (Associated with Third Eye Chakra)

Additional research conducted by Dr. Leonard Horowitz claims to have revealed three more Solfeggio frequencies:174 Hz, 285 Hz, and 963 Hz. When added to the six original Solfeggio frequencies, they create three perfect triads of notes: 3 x 3 = 9. 9 being the sacred number of completions.

The following are their assigned effects according to Dr. Horowitz:

TI – 963 Hz. This tone awakens any system to its original, perfect state. According to Dr. Horowitz, this frequency re-connects the individual with the Spirit or the non-vibrational energies of the spiritual world. It enables us to experience Oneness – our true nature. (Associated with Crown Chakra)

174 Hz. The lowest of the tones appears to be a natural anesthetic. It tends to reduce pain physically and emotionally. 174 Hz frequency gives organs a sense of security, safety, and love, encouraging them to do their best.

285 Hz. This frequency helps return cells and tissue to their original blueprint or form. 285 Hz influences energy fields, sending them a message to restructure damaged organs. It also leaves the body rejuvenated and energized.

Binaural Beats and Solfeggio Frequencies

The Binaural Beats technology was discovered in 1839 by the German physicist Heinrich Wilhelm Dove (1803-1879) and tested on the encephalograph by the American biophysicist Gerald Oster (1918-1993) in 1973 at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. The Binaural Beats uses are carried out by blending them into music or other sounds. This procedure represents a recent discovery in the music therapy field as well as a new brain training technique studied and tested in many research centers and universities.

A binaural beat is created when two tones are played in each ear, one tone at a slightly lower frequency and another at a slightly higher frequency. The brain interprets the difference between these two tones as a third tone, which you hear as your dominant brainwave frequency. This is called a third tone of a binaural beat. Binaural beats have been studied in a variety of contexts, including relaxation, focus, sleep, and stress relief. Studies on anxiety and depression show that binaural beats can reduce symptoms of these psychological disorders. They can also help with ADHD, PTSD, and other disorders. Studies on learning and memory found that binaural beats improved performance on tasks such as working memory span or verbal learning ability.

Binaural beats can easily be used with Solfeggio frequencies to accelerate and enhance their healing effects. Since the binaural beats are best perceived at carrier tones between 400 and 500 Hz, it’s recommended to combine these tones with the solfeggio frequencies of 396 Hz and 417 Hz. You can use other solfeggio frequencies as carrier tones for individual ears. For example, if the left ear hears a 174 Hz solfeggio frequency and the right ear hears a 184 Hz frequency, your brain will perceive this as an alpha tone (relaxation tone) of 10 Hz. Binaural beats are thought to have 5 different ranges and effects:

  • Delta (0.1-4Hz) meditation, healing, pain relief, deep sleep, unconscious mind.

  • Theta(4-8Hz) deep relaxation, creativity, meditation.

  • Alpha (8-14Hz) stress relief, relaxation, flow states, learning.

  • Beta (14-30Hz) focus, cognition, analytical, solutions, active and energetic.

  • Gamma (30-100Hz) creative thinking, enhanced cognition, memory recall and attention to detail.

One of the most acclaimed benefits of using binaural therapy is that it can promote better sleep and is beneficial for individuals with chronic insomnia or other ailments that affect their ability to sleep peacefully.

Solfeggio frequencies are still not as well-recognized in scientific sound-therapy circles as binaural tones. When comparing binaural beats vs. Solfeggio frequencies there are some notable differences.

  • Binaural beats origin is attributed to the physicist Heinrich Wilhelm Dove in the year 1839 and the most noted origin of the Solfeggio scale is attributed to the Italian monk Guido of Arezzo in the 11th century.

  • The intended frequency of binaural beats is perceived by the brain whereas the frequency of a Solfeggio tone is perceived by the ears just as it is played.

  • Binaural beats are created using two different frequencies and a third (ghost) frequency is perceived by the brain of the listener while Solfeggio frequencies contain one intended frequency which is achieved by tuning.

  • It is necessary to use headphones for binaural beats to be effective but when listening to Solfeggio frequencies any method of listening is effective.

  • Binaural beats have a frequency range that is associated with our 5 brainwave states while Solfeggio tones are most referred to as the 6 main Solfeggio frequencies.

Sounds and words are much more than just a method of communication. They are tangible forces that have a direct effect on physiology and wellbeing. The study of quantum physics shows that the human body and the entire universe is made up of tiny pieces of vibrating matter, hinged together by gravitational and electromagnetic forces. Exposing the body and brain to certain musical frequencies can encourage healing from within and raise the frequency of the body to promote health, vitality, and spiritual enhancement. There are many other ways to maximize exposure to beneficial frequencies. Music therapy is one of the most pleasant and effective. There are numerous examples of Solfeggio frequency music on YouTube. This link has several.


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