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Preliminary notice – I completed the writing of « And you sing higher! » on November 27 1997. Today, December 6 2017, I publish it on the web for the first time. Why now? Because in my view, « And you sing higher », it’s a bit as if, 20 years ago, I had anticipated the coming of the « # MeToo Movement »

December 6 2017 dedication : To my daughters Aude and Elsa.

November 27 1997 dedication « To The Honorable Pauline Marois, Ministre de l’Éducation, Gouvernement du Québec » (see at the end of this text her letter dated August 23 1996) and to « The Honorable Paulette Missambo, Minister of State for National Education and Women’s Status of Gabon ».

And you sing higher!

« If there ever comes a time when the women of the world come together purely and simply for the benefit of mankind, it will be a force such as the world has never known ».

Matthew Arnold (1822 -1888)

We all belong to the same earthly emotional group. Emotions fall within the realm of the heart. This is where the meaning of things takes root; in other words, the heart is what gives things meaning.

Within the realm of the heart are a certain number of elements that all of us Human beings have in common. Amazement has no « tradition », compassion has no culture, curiosity and excellence have no language, and courage has no age.

We even have differences in common. For example, in all civilizations, cultures and languages, women’s voices are higher than men’s. In fact, a woman’s voice is not simply higher-pitched than a man’s – it is always higher by the same ratio, the octave.

You don’t need to be a professional musician to understand what an octave is. If you sing a melody whose line, at a certain point, brings you up to a note that is too high for your voice, automatically, instinctively, you will move that note an octave lower.

Similarly, if a melody leads you down to a note that is too low, your voice will jump to the higher octave without you even needing to think about it. Let us call this inherent ability of our auditory perception the «8va Instinct».

Therefore, it is not surprising that, in all musical cultures around the world, the octave plays a key role. In all musical systems, the octave is the only « just  intonation » interval.

A sound that is an octave higher than another vibrates exactly two times faster than this other one. The octave obeys to the universal principle of alterity and thus corresponds, depending on the perspective you take, to the 2:1 vibratory ratio, from higher to lower, or 1:2, from lower to higher.

The symbolic significance of this unique vibratory characteristic which is specific to us, Humans, has nothing to do with the relationship that you might be tempted to establish between the female voice and the number « 2 » on the one hand, and between the male voice and the number « 1 » on the other. Not at all!

In the realm of emotions, there is no hierarchy. What matters is the existence of a relationship of complementarity in which each derives its meaning from the other.

The high octave, « 2 », does exist only insofar as « 1 » does. And viceversa. « 2 » is not a sound; it’s a relation to another sound. Seen in this light, the so-called « 8va Instinct » mentioned above could also just as well be called the « instinct of the both ». And, by extension, as both could be seen as the other with respect to oneself, we end up seeing in all Human beings a true « INSTINCT OF THE OTHER ».

« We cannot do without one another,
and if we try, we lose our will to live »

Lewis Thomas (1913 – 1993)

At birth, all voices are at « 2 ». The vocal cord vibration mode, called the biphasic mode, is the same for a girl’s voice as it is for a boy’s. It’s only at puberty that the male vocal cords switch to single-phase mode, which lowers the voice by an octave.

However, the physical explanation of this change does not explain its meaning. Nor does it explain why in Women, the vibration mode of the vocal cords remains constant throughout their life. However, we do know that, in many spheres of Human activity, a constant often serves as a reference. This leads us to the following observation:

The Female voice is the vibratory reference for the Human species.

Nature is good at what it does. If Life was careful to make the Female voice the vibratory reference for Humanity, it is reasonable to believe that « she » was also careful to provide Humanity with a custom-made tool to respond to it, a tool whose frequency response would be remarkably well adapted to the Female voice.

This tool does exist of course, and it exists even before our birth. This ideal complementary communication tool is our ear. In fact, when a child is born, there is only one part of their body whose physical development is complete: the inner ear.

What is even more singular about the fact that the Female voice is one octave higher than that of a man, is that it is located in a frequency band that our ear is more sensitive to. Thus, another observation can be made:

The ear invites Humanity to refer to the Female voice.

And the invitation isn’t new. In fact, all of us were fetuses once. Our first contact with the outside world, with the other, is through the Female voice.

The source of the self is found only in the other.

In this light, the octave instinct might as well be called the « Instinct of the « 2 ». And, by extension, the two being able to be seen as the other in relation to the self, it is clear that there is a real « Instinct of the Other » in Human beings.

« We cannot do without each other, and if we try, we lose the will to live ».

Lewis Thomas (1913 – 1993)

If Life has taken care to make the Female voice the vibratory reference of the Human species, and this is indeed the case, is it not permissible to deduce, to conclude, to note, to think that « She » will also have taken care to provide our species with a tailor-made tool to respond to it. And this answering tool, it is very early that Life begins to manufacture it, to put it in place, with each heartbeat.

Indeed, when one is a fetus, it is from the twenty-second day, while the nascent ear is still only a very small thin and fragile leaf, it is from the twenty-second day that the heartbeat, with each palpitation, makes the leaf dance, thus producing, what a prodigious ballet, a modulation whose primary purpose is to lead to the creation of what I consider to be the greatest concentration of intelligence in the entire universe: the inner ear.

And it happens that this universal tool of communication par excellence which is the inner ear, it happens that it is already before our birth that Life puts it in place. Let us judge! When a Human person is born, there is only one part of her or his body whose physical development is completely operational: the inner ear.

The ear is born the day the heart begins to beat.
And that prodigious day is the twenty-second day.

The number « 22 » is the number of
the beating Human heart!

The number « 22 » is the number of
the Human heart that loves!

What makes the fact that the Female voice sounds an octave higher than the male voice very special is that it places it in the frequency zone where the sensitivity of our ear is maximum. Logic being, an observation is then essential:

The ear invites us to refer to the Female voice.
Nature invites us to refer to the Female voice.
Life invites us to refer to the Female voice.

The ear invites us to refer to the voice of our Mother.
Nature invites us to refer to the voice of our Mother.
Life invites us to refer to the voice of our Mother.

And the invitation is not new. Indeed, we have all been fetuses. Our first contact with the outside world, with the other, comes from the Female voice.

It is in the voice of the Mother
that the affective memory of Humanity
is most deeply anchored.

Another observation, double, is then necessary

The discovery of the other always passes through the Female voice.
Self-discovery always happens through the Female voice.

But then? IS THE SELF BORN FROM SINGING?
But then? IS THE SELF BORN FROM A FEMALE VOICE?
But then? IS THE SELF BORN FROM A FEMININE VIBRATION?
But then? IS THE SELF BORN FROM A SINGING VIBRATION?
But then? IS THE SELF BORN FROM THE MATERNAL VOICE?

The Female voice still modulates,
has always modulated and will always modulate
the totality of the world’s population.

No stakeholder of what is commonly called the Human species can claim to have escaped the precious Principle of Alterity that the voice of the Mother allows to discover, to experience, to feel, to tame.

The most noble, the most economical, the most reliable and the most effective path that Life has chosen to make us understand that « EVERYTHING IS LINKED », and, therefore, that everything has a meaning, in other words, that everything can be a bridge is the path of the Feminine voice.

Consequently, the vibratory reference of the Human species, the Female voice, the one that sings higher, the one through which the self affirms itself in the discovery of the other, this reference voice is a bridge. And the primary function of a bridge is to be a hyphen, to unite, to reunite, to regroup, to bring together.

« Women have always been a bridge. If we want to see the twenty-first century
and live beyond it, we must model themselves on them»

Joan Martin-Brown (1946 – 2022)

The time has come to listen to what women say.
The time has come to listen to what women sing.

Is the future of Humanity hidden in millions of hearts, those of millions of Women everywhere who, quite naturally, sing higher?

SINGING IS THE MOST NOBLE WAY TO MANIFEST YOUR FREEDOM.