CD, 59 minutes, 10-page booklet
Joshua Leeds and Lisa Spector – the team that brought forward the clinically tested Through a Dog’s Ear music series – continue their ground-breaking bioacoustic work, now with cats! Through a Cat’s Ear, released June 11, 2013, combines music and sound therapy techniques, specifically designed for feline anxiety issues.
Play Music for Calming at a very gentle volume and play it often. We want your cat to become very familiar with this music. It doesn’t need to be played continuously, but we suggest one to three times a day for the first month.
Why Music for Cats?
As a music producer, I’ve studied psychoacoustics—the effect of music and sound on human beings—since 1986. In 2003, concert pianist Lisa Spector inquired about adapting human sound therapy for dogs and thus inspired my research into canine acoustic environments. Subsequently, the acclaimed audio series Through a Dog’s Ear was born. Through tonal and tempo selections, and simplification of solo piano music, Lisa and I discovered effective solutions for many canine anxiety issues.
Since the 2008 release of Through a Dog’s Ear music, requests for music specially designed for cats have been constant. As a research-based organization, we’ve demurred; there has been scarce scientific examination of music and sound with cats. However, recent research by Dr. C.A. Tony Buffington (2011, Ohio State University) caught my attention. While studying feline interstitial cystitis (a leading cause of euthanasia), researchers discovered a primary cause of this ailment: stress! Change in the cat’s physical environment—strangers, different food, additional animals, loud noises, illness, etc.—is a major contributor. Cats prefer their homes to be stable and consistent. Acute feline stress turns into chronic irritation, manifesting in disease and behavioral challenges.
Through a Cat’s Ear, Volume 1 is designed to reduce stress in a chaotic or unsettling environment. My sonic toolkit originates from sound therapies with neurodevelopmentally-challenged humans in which tone, tempo, and pattern are considered. Frequency ranges have been adjusted to a cat’s auditory range and a new technique called sonic anchoring is included.
– Joshua Leeds, Producer
What is Going on in this Recording?
Sonic Anchoring is experimental. Our goal is to create a mental and emotional sense of safety that arises from familiarity. We accomplish this through a recognizable sequence of notes. The music on Through a Cat’s Ear is repetitious by design. Of fifteen tracks, six interludes are melodic fragments from Bach’s “Rondo Espressivo.” While people hear these interludes as repeating melodic intervals, cats may categorize this information as a familiar frequency matrix. As much as cats are hearing the music, they are feeling a sequence of vibrational frequencies. Like sensory information we instantly recognize—a favorite taste or aroma, our best friend’s voice, a mother’s touch— familiar sensory cues can have a profound and calming impact on the nervous system while providing psychological security.
Frequency Modulation (FM) can be defined as the alteration of sound. To further focus the therapeutic impact of Cat’s Ear, we’ve removed higher frequencies from the re-arranged piano music. FM also takes place in the mid- and low-frequency ranges. Through progressive modulation, “arousing” frequencies are reduced and “soothing” frequencies are increased.
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