"The music is masterfully done and is very good for healing and meditation ... the compositions stir up creativity and have profound effect upon and within the body and psyche."
Della Richmond, Friends Review
"I really like the deep tones, with your violin ... it sets you into a relaxed state fast. I will use your lovely, healing music with my reflexology sessions."
Deb DePaul, Reflexologist / Nurse. Jaffrey, New Hampshire
"Once again I am surprised and stunned by the quality and subtle perfection of your work. I have listened now two times your Tonal Therapy and it is soothing, calming and healing both for soul and body (at least for mine:)...I will not use it for a specific healing purpose, rather just for relaxing, dreaming or simply enjoying it as a great work of art..."
"Many thanks for all, your music is wonderful: not only tonal therapy, but a tonic for each day..."
Heidrun Zywietz, Internet Customer, Berlin, Germany
A Message from Alex Johnson
"I made the album Tonal Therapy because people who have heard the more mellow styles of my music have often commented on how soothing and relaxing it was. They said they used it for massage sessions, soaking in the hot tub, meditation, reflexology sessions, guided imagery or meditations, etc.
My musical influences and training are wide in scope, from classical violin to heavy metal. The music on Tonal Therapy developed out of a new style I created using influences from classical western violin and eastern Indian music. North Indian classical music has been a big influence on me ever since I was a teenager, and much of its character comes out in my violin playing. Two of the pieces on Tonal Therapy exhibit my "East Meets West" style, and feature my friend David Brunn on Tabla, along with myself on violin.
The pieces of music on Tonal Therapy are a collection of music pulled from 3 of my earlier releases, as well as 2 cuts of music with my Indian style violin. It has always been difficult for people to categorize my music.
The three releases I selected these music pieces from are:
The Traffic Jam Suite
Music For Earth Orbit
In addition to those releases of mine, the album contains two cuts from the "East Meets West" group I was previously in called Jivan Gita. The release was finished, but never promoted for various reasons, and it was titled "Instant Ecstasy". I particularly liked these two cuts from that release (On The Verge, and From The Heart) and thought they were appropriate for this album.
To find out more about my musical influences and a more detailed bio just click here to visit my bio page.
If you click on the links above for each of my music releases you can learn more about them as well. I am in the process of re-releasing those albums on CD, and they will be available over my website soon.
I hope you enjoy Tonal Therapy, and that you will share this music with your friends, clients or colleagues.
Thanks for your support."
The primary instrument used on Tonal Therapy is violin.
I began playing classical violin at the age of 10, and have made some observations about the violin over the years.
The range of tones, and the character and quality of tones that are produced by a violin have always seemed to me the most diverse and expressive of any instrument. Of course I love piano, all other stringed instruments and woodwinds... I have listened to solo music and music highlighting just about every kind of instrument ever made, so I have a very healthy appreciation for just about all instruments.
But the violin sings out to me. It always has.
One key factor in this love of the instrument for me is that the violin is one of the most interactive of all instruments.
Let me explain this a bit further.
I have noticed that at the most basic level musical instruments can be broken down into two categories:
1: Instruments that the fingers of the hands actually influence the tone directly by touch (stringed instruments, drums played with the hands, etc.)
2: Instruments that are one step removed from using the fingers. That is, like the piano where a key actually hits the string to cause the vibration, and nowhere in the process is a human hand involved in the production of the sound, other than manipulating the instrument in a mechanical manner. (piano, saxophone, percussion, etc.)
Of course any instrument can be expressive if played properly. But it is my feeling that the most expressive, the most "intimate", music is made by any instrument where the human hand actually controls the sound.
* With the violin it is vibrato that ads expression and character.
* With the violin it is sliding up and down of the fingers on the string that ad expression and character.
* With the violin it is the minute variations of intonation that can ad expression and character.
* With the violin the slightest tremble in the hands can be heard very clearly.
A smoothness of execution can be one of the most flawless and seamless characters of a well played violin.
So I feel that the expressive qualities of the violin are surpassed by none. For melody, I feel the violin is the sweetest, and most profound.
EASTERN MUSICAL INFLUENCES
Eastern music has fascinated me since I was a young teenager.
My first exposure was an album titled "West Meets East" with Ravi Shankar on Sitar and Yehudi Menuhin on Violin.
After hearing this album I went out and bought all of the Ravi Shankar albums I could find, and tried to find other Sitar albums and other Indian music. (At that time I had not actually heard eastern violin, only western.)
Since I had been playing violin and had many classical music records with violin solos and features, of course I was attracted to this "West Meets East" album.
In fact, one of the reasons I began playing violin (at the age of 10) was because I saw a concert at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra with Yehudi Menuhin playing violin on the Beethoven Violin Concerto, and he impressed me quite a lot. After I saw that concert, and the fiery performance on violin that he gave, was when I asked my father for a violin for my own.
So my introduction to eastern sitar and classical music was actually via a western classical violinist. The interesting thing about it is that I actually liked the "eastern" parts of the album better than the "western", that is, I liked the traditional eastern music that was featured on the album more than the "mixing" of the violin and sitar.
I think what I liked most about eastern music when I first heard it was its "otherworldliness"... it had a whole different feel to the music, much more contemplative, a drawn out and somewhat introspective nature.
Something about the sitar sounds, and the style and composition of the music, seemed very exotic, and put me in a different mood than most western classical music.
Eventually, as I studied eastern philosophy and religion, the whole nature of the music began to sink in, and sunk its roots deep into my subconscious (and conscious) mind. The tonality of it, the long melodic musical phrasing, and the whole pace and structure of the music, all lent to my feelings about its unique musical character.
It was years later, in Seattle Washington, when I met David Brunn, with whom I eventually formed an "East meets West" band called Jivan Gita.
David was primarily a keyboard player at the time I met him (in the late '80s) and after I played some music with him on various projects (with David on keyboards and synthesizers) he began studying Indian tabla drums.
David eventually went on to study tabla with some of the great masters of the instrument in India, such as Zakir Hussain, Akram Khan and others. Through this he was exposed to many of the greatest Indian classical musicians in India, including Shujaat Khan and Sultan Khan.
It was through David that my knowledge and experience of Indian classical music really expanded. (He also taught me about India, but that is another story.) Through him I learned about Indian violin music, and the great L. Subramaniam, who is an incredible violinist.
The violin tones that I have heard in eastern violin music is something I like very much as well. Often there is a kind of an "airy" tone, an "open" sound which has kind of a real "natural" feel to it... more like a gut string type sound. (In fact, that is also why I really enjoy the Sarangi, which is another ancient stringed instrument used in Indian classical music.)
Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoy the music of Tonal Therapy.
- Alex Johnson