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The Monochord Singing Chair: Resonance in Music Therapy, by: Joanne Loewy  DA, LCAT, MT-BC,  Louis Armstrong Center for Music and Medicine

The Monochord Singing Chair: Resonance in Music Therapy, by: Joanne Loewy DA, LCAT, MT-BC, Louis Armstrong Center for Music and Medicine

The Vibrational Singing Chair from feeltone, has served as an important instrument to the patients we serve at The Louis Armstrong Center for Music and Medicine at Beth Israel Medical Center in our Music Therapy program.

 I've appreciated that I have the ability to tune the strings and have used consonant intervals which have been made profound in octaves, fourths and fifths. Most often, I have tuned the chair strings in octaves.

Monchair - Vibrational Chair

How do we use the Monochord Chair in our Music Therapy program?

For several years, we kept the chair in our clinic and it served as a warmup for many patients and staff that entered the Center.

For doctors, nurses, and others, it was immediately an eye-catcher, because the wood is attractive and resembles nature. Posed in the corner reception area of the clinic, many would ask: “What is that chair?” As we described it as a “vibration chair, used for healing”, staff would ask: “May I try it out?”

Music Therapy Sound Chair

For one nurse manager, the chair-try became a bit of a ritual. On stressful days, she would come to the Center and request that I work with her - which I was more than willing to do, stealing several ‘in-between’ patient moments for her. Her complaints were of head-pain “migraines.” I used the highest strings and lowest strings on an “ee” vowel breath release - tonal vocal holding, my voice blanketing her pain and slowing the rhythm down of the pulsating head pounds that she described.

There are numerous patients who have benefited from the breath glissando release sounds I use accompanied by the string glissando from low to high and then absorption… where the strings resonate and saturate through the warm wood into the body. In a general way, this warmup takes only about five minutes and creates “flow” and a sense of “homeostasis”, “self integration” or “synchrony between the body-mind-spirit” as one of my pianist musician players often says.

There are two patients who have particularly benefited from the vibration singing chair (also known as the monochord chai or MonChair.

One was an opera singer who used the chair for neuropathic pain. Her pain was constant and she described it as “radiating from her neck to her fingers and toes.” At stressful times, the pain was so severe that she would come to our sessions with flat affect, and white coloring. Once she would remove her coat, tears would fill her eyes: “I am in horrible pain-ALL of the time.” The medication was not taking affect, and her hands were twitching and eyes were squinting.

For severe pain, the vibration chair has had a profound effect. Starting with low solo tones, and a ‘tighten and release’ muscle relaxation, which focuses on each part of the body, provides a means of access. Directing the tones then, from dissonant strings into consonant intervals, my method of tonal intervallic synthesis (Loewy, in press) is confirmed through the relief this singer describes. 

We invoke an image of flow- often water, but sometimes the movement of a tightly wound ball of rubber bands (her image) each being cut away, toned interval by toned interval, to the soft, malleable sponge inside. This soft sponge is her core-and right in the chair then, we begin vocal warmups. Softly, smoothly and on long tones of supported vibrational air. And then she reports: “I am pain-free….I am ready to sing now….”

MonChair Monochord Singing Chair

Surprisingly, a 9-year-old young man, who is on the autistic spectrum with pervasive developmental delays asked one day: “Can I sit in that chair?” “Why sure…” I replied.

He removed his shoes, knowingly (not sure how he knew) and closed his eyes. “I am breathing to the tones” he said. “I see” I replied. 

“Imagine you are in your favorite place…” It became from that session on (about a year into our therapy), his favorite opening ritual. At first, many weeks were the same. “I am in the woods…” “I see grass…” “I see trees…” “I feel the wind…” We began to add nature’s sounding instruments which made subtle blends on the blanket of stringed tones. The remarkable part of this ritual were the adages each week. Sometimes there were journeys with animals, and at other times, there was sleep. Slide whistles were birds that blended his breathing with the strings. Once there was thunder with a small hand drum. About half of the time however, was sleep…not deep sleep, but what I perceived as a meditative state. I had not expected this from a 9-year-old, who was usually hard to keep still or induce into a comfort place. I had experienced him flitting from one activity to the next.

The monochord singing chair seemed to provide a place of comfort and trust, and most of all a place where the energy would sustain his body enough to evoke an explorative trusting way of being. From the meditations, our sessions would move into fully sustained interactive attention for the remaining minutes which lasted until we closed, a total of 30 minutes. 

The effects of the singing chair were not in any way what I would have ever considered using for a child with PDD who had hyperactivity.

We have recently moved this amazing instrument to our in-patient hospital music room.

We are beginning to quantifiably and qualitatively measure its affect on pain and recovery. We are grateful that the monochord singing chair is so often a part of our treatment regimen and we look forward to collecting data on its use with patients of all ages who are experiencing severe pain.

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Our latest version of the singing chair is the Monchair, which can double up as a space saving office chair with multiple functions. (And it can be ordered with cushions in a variety of different colors to choose from!) 

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This Kalimba is pleasing to the eye because of the cut & quality of the cherry wood. The size is perfect for small hands such as mine. I particularly love the Terra Tuning & fell instantly in love with this Kalimba that reminds me of a music box when played.
I also received the Aqua B5 Hokema Kalimba which is equally as beautiful as the Terra.
The Aqua Kalimba completes my Aqua Elemental Soundscape bundle. I cannot say how much I have loved jamming with my set.
This B5 Kalimba may be small, but its sound output is excellent & the tone is perfect. The B5 Kalimba can also be paired with the matching Koshi Chime & easily played. I think that I prefer the size of the B5 Kalimba & would highly recommend it for sound & ease of play.
Thanks & best wishes to the WPWT team.

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All that I can say is that I love my Koshi Chimes. Each Elemental Chime is unique & complete in its own light tinkling playful sound & becomes even more beautiful in the complexity of two chimes paired together. I particularly enjoy the calming quality of Aqua & Aria. I also like the joyfulness & energy of Ignis & Terra as they are played together. I bought the Koshi Chimes because they were highly recommended for their durability & because they never go out of tune. I also like the earthiness of the color of bamboo. One day I might like to pair Koshi Chimes with a pop of color from matching Zaphir Chimes.
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The packages arrived in a timely manner and packaged with care. The instrument had the richest tone and a divine frequency, I look forward to using this for sound journeys.

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Customer service was yet again excellent. My question was answered promptly by email. Items were mailed promptly & in excellent condition upon arrival. I purchased my Aria Chime & was thrilled by its beauty & by how easy it was to learn to play. All I need to do is slightly move my arm to emit the best sound. Please do not sling your chimes from side to side as it will sound chaotic. There are instructional videos on Youtube that will teach you how to play your chimes correctly. I did purchase a companion Hokema Kalimba in the same key to play with the Koshi chime. The chimes & kalimba do sound beautiful when played together by 2 people. I personally feel that it would be better for me to play 2 Koshi chimes together as it is easier as my coordination is just so so so. I will be adding more Koshi chimes to my growing collection of musical instruments from WPWT. As always I am pleased with my purchase.

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Easy to set up and very sturdy

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You are not limited to playing minors & majors together. Both the Terra (C Major) & Ignis (G Major) sound well together- so light & happy.
The instruments are well made & sound amazing.
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Great music therapy and sound healing tool

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Zenko Element (432hz) Elemental Waterscapes Collection *D Minor)

I first learned of this instrument through Kalani Das of World Drum Club during his Tuesday night video on Youtube & his special guest, Joule L'Adara of We Play Well Together as they were demonstrating the Water Elemental instruments in D Minor & making all of the instruments sound so beautiful. I have purchased a Diatonic C Major tongue drum that Mr. Das recommended in the past that I have been well pleased with so I was confident in the workmanship. I purchased both the Tinka Tong, my preferred instrument, & the Baby Turtle at the same time. The little Zenko tongue drum sounds exactly as it does in the videos on Youtube. The notes are crystal clear & bell like without the annoying reverb. I much prefer the sound of 432 hz as the sound is pleasing filling me with intense pleasure. The carrying case is well made. I really like this instrument paired with the Tinka Tong as it is like PB&J. My Mother ,who is a stroke victim, was able to place the Baby Turtle in her lap while reclining & play beautifully with me for nearly an hour the 1st time that we played together. Now I must give a shout out to Gabriele who promptly responded to my emails, texts, & phone call. Gabriele was courteous & extremely helpful. My shipment went out quickly & arrived via UPS earlier than expected in a well packaged box. I look forward to a long relationship with this company. The employees really worked hard to meet my needs & I am thankful.

Tinka Tong (Aqua) 432Hz - Elemental Soundscapes Water Collection D Minor

I first learned about this instrument through Kali Das of World Drum Club on his Tuesday night video on Youtube and his special guest, Joule L'Adara, of We Play Well Together as they were demonstrating the instruments of the Soundscapes Water Collection in D Minor. I have previously purchased a Diatonic C Major tongue drum that Mr. Das recommended. This drum was very much enjoyed so I was confident that this Tinka Tong was of excellent workmanship & it is. The videos on Youtube of Feeltone & We Play Together demonstrating these instruments are well worth watching as well as the instruments sound exactly as they do at my home. I purchased both, the Zenko Elemental Aqua (Baby Turtle) & The Tinka Tong in D Minor. Both sound great together; however, I prefer the Tinka Tong as it was love at first sight. The Tinka Tong is visually appealing & unique in sound. I like the new design & size of the instrument. While I have no formal music training, I was able to play well immediately. While there are only 6 tongues, there are a never ending amount of melodies & rhythms to be played. Best of all, there are no wrong notes. Warning: the use of this drum is highly addictive as a feeling of pleasure & calm will wash over you. I played with my Mother who is a stroke victim with Aphasia; however, she was able to follow my rhythm at times as she played the Zenko Element. Her musical ability was excellent as she plays the piano. We enjoyed playing for nearly an hour. Music is so beneficial as it yields a total brain workout. I also have to give a shout out to Gabriele (whom I have contacted via email, text, & phone) for her prompt response to my inquiries & for all of the assistance provided. I ordered my items after business hours on a Friday night. Instruments were mailed out the following Monday & arrived earlier than expected via UPS.

lovely

This chime (Ignis/red/g-major) makes absolutely captivating sounds, I really love it. I initially made the investment for a meditation workshop I was leading with college students— many of them said that the 7 or so minutes I spent moving around the room with the chime was the very best ("most magical") part of a very enjoyable weekend. I am excited to fine more ways to share it with others! My cats like it too :)
I love the We Play Well Together business model and ethos, and look forward to bringing them more business.

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I am a musician. When I was 14 years old I started playing classical guitar. I’m 66 now. I have had a lifelong love of stringed instruments.
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And now its now.
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As a musician i have seen many hand made instruments. I am very impressed by the ‘luthier’ skills of the people at Feeltone. The instrument is tight. No buzzes. And it looks beautiful. I am looking forward to many years of sound experimentation!
I would also like to the Gabrielle of WePlayWellTogether. She was very helpful. She answered all my many questions promptly and with a positive spirit.
Cool instrument. Nice lady!
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A GREAT INSTRUMENT

I love my sansulas very much. This instrument has allowed me to explore music. The Deluxe has such great sound! This is a great company to work with!

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Sansula Repair program
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I just love the tones from this li’l instrument…

…i had enjoyed the Sansula app on iPad for several years and finally got around to buying one. What took me so long!?!!? DOH!!
WPWT took excellent care of this customer, quickly fixing a holdiay rush shipping boo-boo.
I love the instrument as well as the vendor.
THANKS!

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