“But at that moment a nightingale in the wood suddenly uttered two low contralto notes. Half a minute later it gave a tiny high trill and then, having thus tried its voice, began singing.”
Anton Chekhov, Agafya
Miss Katherine, the character of the Chekhov’s story, is called Kitty by her parents.
” ‘And now, Kitty, play us something,’ said Turkin to his daughter.
Some one raised the top of the piano, and opened the music which was already lying at hand. Katherine struck the keys with both hands. Then she struck them again with all her might, and then again and again. Her chest and shoulders quivered, and she obstinately hammered the same place, so that it seemed as if she were determined not to stop playing until she had beaten the keyboard into the piano. The drawing-room was filled with thunder; the floor, the ceiling, the furniture, everything rumbled. Katherine played a long, monotonous piece, interesting only for its intricacy, and as Startseff listened, he imagined he saw endless rocks rolling down a high mountainside. He wanted them to stop rolling as quickly as possible, and at the same time Katherine pleased him immensely, she looked so energetic and strong, all rosy from her exertions, with a lock of hair hanging down over her forehead.”
Ionitch by Anton Chekhov
“Music brings healing to both the mind and the body. Don Campbell, founder of the Institute for Music, Health and Education states that all forms of musical intonation with one’s voice affects mood and memory. Much has been studied regarding the Mozart effect and its benefits for memory and concentration. Campbell says, nothing rivals toning. Making elongated vowel tones for extended periods, is soothing to the mind and dates back to the chant of the early Christian Church. The Ahhh sound evokes a relaxation response, while an Ee or Ay is the most stimulating of the vowel sounds and helps with concentrating and the releasing of pain and anger. Oh or Om can increase skin temperature and relax muscle tension. Liturgical chant has these sounds and the ison is one elongated sound that gives an ethereal quality to the music. These intonations affect the temporal lobes (the temporal lobes lie underneath the temples and are associated with emotion, facial recognition, and spiritual experiences) and it is not by accident that music and chant has been associated with spiritual practice. Campbell writes about people who tone on a regular basis for 5 minutes a day: I have witnessed thousands of people relax into other emotions, and free themselves from physical pain. . . . I have seen many people apply toning in practical ways, from relaxing between a dreaded test to eliminating symptoms of tinnitus or migraine headaches. . . . Toning has been effective in relieving insomnia and other sleep disorders. . . . Toning balances brain waves, deepens the breath, reduces heart rate, and imparts a general sense of well-being. St. Basil the Great writes, Soothing hymns compose the mind to a cheerful and calm state, and as St. Augustine puts it, to sing is to pray twice.”
Healing the Mind: The Nexus between Contemporary Psychology and Eastern Christian Practice by Erik Bohlin, M.A., LMHC