Health and Wellness

The Not So Secret Life of Music From Plants

By Jessica Pignataro

It is not a sanguine red colour that courses through the veins of the latest talent we present to you. It’s green! Type: Chlorophyll. When we think of composers, usually Debussy, Chopin and Handel, come to mind. Now consider nature sounds. Enter the literal garden party of paradise with plants as the orchestra.

Many will never forget the first and only time they saw Stevie Wonder without his iconic sunglasses on. It was in his 1979 music video, The Secret Life of Plants which was a documentary inspired by the 1973 book of the same name which he produced the soundtrack for.

With his dazzling smile he roamed on the other side of the veil of an endless vista of sunflowers and other flora singing an ode to the wonders of the plant world. Making them the stars of the show, celebrating their sentience and mystical life giving qualities. It was mesmerizing. If you connect with plants or simply find contentment in a lovely green space or a walk through the woods, you know the feeling. The way nature sounds, smells, the way the air tastes.

Around the same time during the burgeoning new age movement “Plantasia” was released (a musical composition designed for the pleasure of house plants) which was an utter flop at the time of release – how could it possibly compete with the emergence of glittery disco? Plantasia was very recently re-issued on vinyl, on a green disc that of course is now a much sought after gem for collectors of all kinds.

Aside from the novelty aspect to it all, there are many well publicized findings in the ways plants respond to various genres of music. Plants, it turns out, absolutely love classical music. Results consistently have shown that they flourish and their growth is accelerated by the world of sonatas and strings. Contrarily, plants seem to suffer from more abrasive sounds produced by heavy metal and rock music. The distortion just doesn’t quite do it for them. They noticeably ail after prolonged periods of exposure. Volume is a factor as well. In defense of those that consider the leather clad fenders in overdrive to be masterpieces – do not feel slighted, it depends on the way your brain is wired… plants just listen differently.

Plants “listen” through their stomata. These are the mouths of the plants so to speak that dilate in response to certain frequencies and pure tones engage the most response. The types of pure harmonic tones that are produced in classical music which are the most effective in stimulating opening of the stomata cause an increased intake of nutrients which result in growth and overall vitality. This is the math. If plants simply prefer Bach to Slayer, we can never know for sure. What we do know is that humans love nature and its natural sounds and evidently so does nature.

Do plants scream for help when they see scissors approaching or sulk when neglected? They do perk up when they hear anything at 200-300hz – the frequency of running water. They noticeably thrive in healthy environments and falter in toxic ones the way we do.

Some chuckle at the idea of plants having feelings, never mind making music, and go so far as to reduce all findings to scientific notation and quackery. Let them. One doesn’t have to be the type to hug trees or play a chess game with a tiger lily to sense the animism, spirit and observe the forms of cognitive function from this most intelligent and omnipresent network of plantae that predate us homo sapiens by at least 360 million years. They likely know a thing or two.

If you have ever watched BBC Earth or any of the many nature specials that magnify the marvels of the plant world and the advanced communication they engage in, it’s hard to not be in awe and equally question any stiff upper lip about the subject as rhetoric.

Nonetheless, it’s quite a lush time for the revival of plant music (by and for plants) in unprecedented ways. Despite the usual great divide by the conventional scientific world and the expansive minds of plant neurobiology since the age of Charles Darwin, the space in between is a fertile bed for plant species to share their dreamy oxygenated sounds as they bring us into their secret emerald green kingdom.

The development of more accessible gadgetry that can interpret the biofeedback of plants into the harmonic sounds is causing a wave in a bio starved society wanting to connect with the enchanting and unpretentious melodies of these leafy stars. Plant music is back, it never left - daffodils were always throwing their pansies. It’s just that we are listening now more than ever and it’s no surprise why.

Pioneers in this field such as Stefano Mancuso, Director of the International Laboratory of Plant Neurobiology and Professor at the University of Florence helped carve a path for platforms such as Calm Radio so that we may share these one of a kind performances with you.

Using delicate custom apparatuses, instrumentation is hooked up to plants and modulated into an amplified signal for the listener. It’s an ethereal experience that we recommend you give a try. The serene sonic journey of this genre of relaxation music is unlike anything else.

Check out our organically produced Music From Plants channels with Maestro Eric Harry, featuring: Arrowhead Vine, Fiddle Fig Leaf Tree, Croton Tree and Prayer Plant. Enter the secret life of plants.

Click here to learn more about the benefits of plants in your home and office environment.

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