The Music

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What’s Going on with this Music, Anyway?

The music of Through a Dog’s Ear builds on the ground breaking psychoacoustic research of Dr. Alfred Tomatis (1920-2001). Known as the “Einstein of the ear,” Tomatis discovered the extraordinary powers of sound as a “nutrient for the nervous system.” His therapeutic discoveries redefine modern psychoacoustics — the study of the effect of music and sound on the human nervous system.

These recordings are psychoacoustically designed to support you and your dog’s compromised immune or nervous system function. When the immune or nervous system is heavily taxed, a natural reaction is to self-limit the amount of auditory or visual stimulation coming into the system. However, the “nutrients” of sound are needed the most when life energy is at a low ebb or when neurodevelopmental (including sensory) issues are present. To facilitate maximum sound intake while conserving energy output, the method of simple sound has been created.

The Psychoacoustic Rationale Behind Dog’s Ear Recordings

Auditory cognition in humans, as well as in dogs, is complex. When exposed to music, our brains methodically analyze every interval, rhythmic nuance, instrumental density, and melodic turn. When we’re young and healthy, we have abundant cerebral processing power to attend to many streams of sensory stimuli — be it sound, sight, touch, or smell. However, as we age, sensory tolerances decrease. When life energy is at a low ebb or when neurodevelopmental issues are present, music and sound can be a valuable source of arousal responses. However, the intricacies of conventional music often are too much for a depleted system to take in; music and sound may become mentally distracting, annoying, and even painful. This may lead to the individual retreating from auditory stimulation, therefore being deprived of sound’s beneficial vibrating effect.

The over-arching psychoacoustic theory informing Through a Dog’s Ear is summed up in just two words — simple sound. This term refers to the process of minimizing intricate auditory information found in most music. The music of Dog’s Ear is intentionally selected, arranged and recorded to provide easeful auditory assimilation. Three primary processes are used to accomplish this effect:

  1. Auditory Pattern Identification. To create less demanding arrangements, melodic and harmonic complexity has been considered and edited based on the desired relaxation or arousal response. Complexity encourages active listening; simplicity facilitates passive hearing. The recordings for dogs favor passive hearing as we believe that many of our canines suffer from over-stimulation.
  2. Orchestral Density.It is far less stressful on the nervous system to differentiate fewer instrumental colors than to interpret a full symphonic score. Therefore, solo piano provides a source of rich, full spectrum frequencies; additionally, duos and trios create a pleasing variety of easily assimilated orchestral colors.In our two years of clinical testing, the solo piano arrangements scored the highest in every category for the deepest canine relaxation.
  3. Resonance and Entrainment. To enhance mind/body states conducive to healing and wellness, the natural principles of resonance (tone) and entrainment (rhythm) are applied to every composition.

The following questions/answers further explore the terminology used above.

What is ‘active listening’ and ‘passive hearing’?

Auditory pattern identification and orchestral density techniques facilitate the middle-ear processes of active listening or passive hearing. Active listening takes place when the auditory mechanism is fully engaged. This occurs when we cannot find a pattern in the soundtrack, or when we are truly focused on listening. Conversely, the state of passive hearing transpires when we hear sounds around us but don’t pay conscious attention to them. On Essential Sound, passive hearing techniques facilitate relaxation; active listening techniques stimulate the nervous system.

What is resonance?

Resonance is the impact of one vibration upon another, i.e., something external sets something else into motion, or changes its vibratory rate. The palpable vibration of a sound wave has resonant effects upon each of us. According to Dr. Tomatis, high sounds tend to charge the nervous system, whereas lower sounds tend to discharge the nervous system.

What is entrainment and why are beats per minute important?

Due to the natural process of entrainment, the heartbeat, breath, and brainwaves speed up or slow down to match an external periodic rhythm. Fast rhythms excite our pulses, as well as our canines; slow rhythms calm us all down.

A final thought about this music and your furry buddy:

The music of Through a Dog’s Ear use psychoacoustic techniques that naturally trigger the relaxation or arousal response. Therefore, when first using these recordings, consider the level of relaxation or stimulation of your canine’s nervous system that best serves the situation.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with the music; it cannot hurt you or your dog. If you find that your dog becomes agitated while listening, simply turn the music off or switch to a slower or faster CD. Your dog’s body will tell you what it needs… just be observant.

People have asked us why we created this music. One of the simple answers–as funny as it sounds–is to keep your dogs off drugs (Just bark no!!!). While not a magic bullet for every canine issue, properly arranged music can have a very deep effect on you, your family, and your canines. Inexpensively and without ongoing side effects… healthy nervous function can prolong life and we believe this music is a component of that endeavor.

Bottom line, the music of Through a Dog’s Ear is an extremely effective tool to speed up or slow down the nervous system using the most beautiful music in the world!



Dog’s Ear CD SeriesCD Composition Titles –
Musical Tips for Behavioral IssuesSound Suggestions from the Pros
Music Testimonials

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