Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Music Of The Heart

My Anatomy and Physiology book uses 75 BPM as the average baseline at rest for a healthy adult. I think that corresponds to an interval of about .8 seconds between each heart beat. The approximate interval between the "lub" and the "dub" sounds is .3 seconds, which is measured according to approximately where they fall in an ECG reading.

If you look at the third picture down, which is a visual explanation of a typical ECG, the "lub" occurs just after the S (called the QRS complex, at about the 0.25 mark second), and the "dub" occurs toward the end of the "T wave" (at about the 0.55 second mark). 0.55 - 0.25 = 0.3. And the difference between the lub/dub interval and the interval of the overall heartbeat is 0.5 seconds. Mathematically and musically, this sets up a very interesting relationship among the intervals.

0.3 + 0.5 = 0.8. This sounds like basic math, but that is the beginnings of not only a Fibonacci series but a Fibonacci series governed by the golden ratio. 0.5 divided by .3 equals approximately 1.618. This is a commonly used practical approximation in architecture. 0.8 divided by 0.5 also = (approximately) 1.618, which is the golden number.

In other words, the music of the heart appears to be governed by a semi-magical irrational number found at the river's mouth of much of nature and good art. The first picture is of Palladio's Villa Rotunda. The second is a drawing of it over-layed with my geometrical exploration. Through that drawing, I discovered that the golden ratio is the hidden heart beat that holds the building together.

I wonder if, when we meditate, our heart rate decreases in such a way that the interval between each beat is about 1.3 seconds (which would be next in the Fibonacci sequence after 0.8)! For anyone keeping track, that would be about 46 beats per minute.

Also, my Anatomy and Physiology book talks about a sort of ideal blood pressure of 120/80. this is SENSED as a pulse pressure of 40; it makes a ratio of 2:3. When converted into musical notation, this ratio is a harmonic fifth. This ratio is,in practical application, also often commonly used as a visual or sensible approximation of the golden ratio.

It appears as though beautiful artifacts and pieces of music appear as such because they resonate with our heart, quite literally!

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