lucytuned lullabies
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Historical Background

During the 1980's Charles Lucy was exploring alternative musical tuning systems He wished to find a way to produce music which would sound extremely consonant and produce the harmonies, which he knew lay beyond the limits of Western twelve-noted tuning. He was directed to the writings of John 'Longitude' Harrison (1693 - 1776), by Mr. Chew, a curator at the Science Museum in South Kensington, London, England, who told Lucy that John 'Longitude' Harrison had proposed a tuning system derived from the mathematics of pi. Lucy found copies of Harrison's eighteenth-century books in the ClockMakers' Library in the City of London, and following Harrison's description modified instruments to play the tunings exactly as John Harrison proposed . Lucy continued his research with many different musical instruments and computer applications to develop a tuning system which nowadays is known as LucyTuning.

London Sunday Times Nov. 1987

PERFECT tuning has long eluded the world's musicians: like the yeti its existence is assumed but so far never authenticated. For centuries the 12 standard intervals divided an octave have left players struggling with an imperfect harmonic jigsaw. Violinists, with wide freedom to control their instruments, make constant tuning adjustments. But pianists and guitar players, working with a more rigid mechanical framework must steel themselves to accept sounds which sometimes come out slightly wrong. Today, at London's Barbican Centre the curtain is being raised on the Lucy scale, an attempt by a computer-literate guitarist to build on the work of an 18th-century clockmaker. The aim is to remove the fundamental artistic obstacle which forces instrumentalists to play an A sharp as if it were a B flat, when all their instincts shout that they are different. Charles Lucy, the scale's inventor who often busks on London's Underground, said: "If this catches on, the public will have an alternative system to create music: much more harmonious, much more consonant." The deficiencies of the conventional 12-tone scale had worried Lucy for years. But his attempts to straighten them out proved fruitless until he discovered the work of John Harrison (1693-1776), inventor of the marine chronometer. After squeezing 20,000 pounds out of the government, Lucy devoted himself to perfecting "the really true scale of musick". It was Harrison's work on the subject, enshrined in the City at The Clockmakers' Library, which put Lucy on the right track. "I took his numbers and equations and worked them through on the computer." Harrison's discoveries showed that the closest approximation to perfection required the division of a scale into 19 or 25 parts, as opposed to the classical 12. Applied to a guitar, the Harrison/Lucy solution means providing 19-25 fretted divisions. Although careful to point out this is just one of hundreds of variants proposed throughout the ages, Lucy admits: "The difference is, this one seems to work." The Barbican guitar weekend is the acid test.

Darrel Mayers, The Sunday Times, 29th November 1987.

Later Developments

As he explored the musical system further, Lucy realised that this tuning system also generated extremely low pitches caused by the beating of "harmonics". These same frequencies can be found in the brainwave patterns which are demonstrated by ECG machines during relaxation and sleep. This seemed to explain why listeners often described LucyTuned music as making them feel extremely relaxed.

A short video (by Charles's son, John) illustrating this history and the concepts can be found in the Videos section of this site.

LucyTuned Lullabies (from around the world) are unique recordings, which help relaxation and sleep, particularly for young children. LucyTuning generates beats and frequencies, which match the brain's own frequencies, can induce particular brainwave patterns and their corresponding states of consciousness, as has been observed in many laboratories all over the world.

When Charles's son was born, Lucy was doing musical research in Hawaii, and found the 1967 book “Lullabies of the World” by Dorothy Berliner Commins, in his local library in Hilo. Having LucyTuned instruments and computers readily available, Charles began to experiment with them as a way to calm his newborn.

The complete story of LucyTuning, further research findings, and the technical specifications may be found at:

The Recordings
The original LucyTuned Lullabies (from around the world) album of eight lullabies, was produced in 1994, with James Sanger, at James's studio, which was then in Bournemouth, England.

Ten years later, James and Charles recorded Lullabies II at James's “state-of the art” studio at Barneville-Carteret in Normandy on which Aide Burrows, of the British band My Architects, plays a LucyTuned twelve-string guitar.

You can find a short video of Aide rehearsing his part of the Montenegro lullaby “Lully, Lully, Lully” whilst sitting outdoors under the now-famous "Walnut Tree" of the Keane song from the Hopes and Fears album which had been produced by James in the same studio, a short time earlier.

Now you can benefit from LucyTuned Lullabies (from around the world):

During pregnancy. (Gestating babies are able to perceive sound from 16 weeks).

When children or adults wish to relax or sleep.

For general relaxation or meditation.

To encourage concentration and better productivity, particularly when preparing for examinations or sport competitions.

To enhance creativity and imagination.

To enhance emotional understanding and bonding between sexual partners during the act of love.

For music education. To develop intellectual faculties at an early age.

To help treat bipolar disorders such as depression or anxiety, or calm hyperactivity.

To enhance your spiritual abilities, and reach out to your inner self.

Sir Simon Rattle said:

"All the recent research shows that children exposed to music from an early age develop better language and reading skills and a generally heightened ability to concentrate and therefore learn. So music is not just good for the soul - it can actually promote the literacy and numeracy targets at the heart of the new agenda." Sir Simon Rattle of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, on the need for music in schools. The Observer - Feb 98.

There are many links to other music, sleep, baby and related sites on the links page.

LucyTuned Lullabies, The Drive Co-op, 8 The Drive, London E17 3BW, United Kingdom
Phone (Mobile UK): +447957581667 Skype name = lucytune | Learn