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The Perfect Fifth

The perfect fifth is the name for a very special interval in music. The effect of this sound on people is deeply balancing.

An interval is the distance between two sounds. Most people are familiar with the musical scale as below:









Each of these syllables represents a sound and the sounds keep getting higher as it is sung from left to right. Each of these syllables can also be given numbers and letters to represent the sounds, like this:

























Musical sounds were given the names of letters eons ago so that it would be easier to describe these sounds and understand their combinations.

Notice that in the series of sounds above, number 1 or the first sound is called the letter C and number 5 or the fifth sound in the series is called G. They are 5 letters apart or 5 numbers apart. The distance between these two sounds is called a 5th .

In the Middle Ages, it was realized that certain combinations of sounds, especially when you hear them at the same time, sounded more harmonious than other combinations. An anonymous early author discussing these sounds called the harmonious ones ‘perfect’ and the name stuck.

Perfect intervals are the unison (or the same sound), the 4th (number 1 or C and number 4 or F for example), the 5th (number 1 and 5) and the octave (number 1 and 8, for example).

It is interesting to note that these perfect intervals are also the ones with the simplest mathematical ratios.

In these modern times, we have another way to look at the perfect 5th. That is, the patterns the specific sounds create on the oscilloscope.

Sound travels like a wave and that is how it looks on the oscilloscope. The first picture below is how the note or sound C (number 1) would look like. Its frequency is measured at 256 Hertz.

base wave of 256 Hz

In the next picture, the wave or sound for G (number 5) is added. Its frequency is measured at 384 Hertz. It is the green wave below. Notice how 3 of the green waves take exactly the same amount of space as 2 of the blue waves. Mathematically, this is a ratio of 2:3.

secondary wave at 384 Hz.

When we listen to these two sounds together, their combined sound has three different levels of loudness shown by the high, middle and low peaks in the red wave below.

sum of the 2 waves of the Perfect Fifth

When this picture is condensed on the oscilloscope, the waves show the balance in these three levels below. This balance we see in the waves is also characteristic of its sound.

sum of the 2 waves of the Perfect Fifth

The Ancient History of the Perfect Fifth

On his website, in an article called, “A Beginner’s Guide to Sound Healing with Tuning Forks,” Dr. John Beaulieu states that the fifth note has played an important role in many ancient teachings: 

“the Chinese philosoper Lao Tzu referred to the fifth as the sound of universal harmony between the forces of Yin and Yang. In India, the fifth is believed to create a sound through which Shiva calls Shakti to the dance of life. Apollo, the Greek God of Music and Healing, plucked the fifth on his Sacred lyre to call dolphin messengers to Delphi where they channeled messages to the oracles. The Alchemists called the interval of a fifth crux ansata and considered it to be a transition point where matter crossed over into spirit. The crux ansata, also called the anak by the Egyptians, is a still point where the earth ends and our ascension into spirit begins. For them the number five was numerologically the perfect combination of even (two) and odd (three) representing the unity of heaven and earth.
Sounding the perfect fifth is a general sound tonic. Some of the sound healing benefits of the fifth are: alleviates depression; enhances joint mobility; balances Earth with spirit; directly stimulates nitric oxide release that is anti bacterial, anti viral and enhances the immune system, balances the heart, pituitary gland and sphenoid bone, balances sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system.”

The Science

the perfect fifth tuning forksThe perfect fifth tuning forks tuned specifically to 256 Hz and 384 Hz, stimulates your cells to produce nitric oxide.

Your cells always produce this chemical, but when you are stressed, when you are tired, or when you are overwhelmed with daily challenges, the production slows down.

Research conducted by Dr. John Beaulieu, music therapist and naturopathic doctor and Dr. George Stefano, neurologist showed that these frequencies stimulated the production of nitric oxide in the body’s cells within 30 seconds.

Here is a list of just a few of the physical benefits when your cells are producing and releasing nitric oxide.

  • Relief from stress, more energy and stamina.
  • The autonomic nervous system is balanced, better clarity of mind, less depression.
  • Nitric oxide strengthens the immune system.
  • Circulation is improved.
  • We have better digestion.


If you want to experience what these forks sound like, click below to listen to a recording of perfect 5th tuning forks. If this sound resonates with you, and you wish to purchase your own set, they are available on our website here: LINK

How to Use the Perfect Fifth Tuning Forks

I have received several questions about how to use the Perfect Fifth tuning forks. Here are my responses to some of the questions I have received:


How do I tap them?
If you have your own set of these tuning forks, you also need something to tap them on to get a good sound that lasts about 30 to 45 seconds. I recommend a soft rubber activator. We have a couple of different kinds on our website.

Hold the forks by the stem only, one in each hand. If you touch the fork, or vibrating part, you will stop the vibrations.

Tap them firmly on the activator to get them to vibrate. You can also tap them on your knees. But if you’re a practitioner using them in sessions, this can get a little hard on your knees after a while.

If you tap too hard, you will activate the higher overtones of the forks rather than their fundamental frequencies.

I recommend that you never strike them together – doing so can permanently damage the forks, and can change the frequency at which they vibrate.


What is the best way to listen to them?

Hold one fork in each hand and once they are sounding, hold one to each ear. Don’t place the forks too close to your ears at first. Start about 6 to 8 inches away from your ears and move them closer until the sound is clear and not too loud.

If the vibrating part of the fork touches your hair, it will stop vibrating. You will need to move your hair away from your hears.

After several seconds, switch the forks so that each ear is now listening to the other fork. Another option here is to hold them by your ears until they stop vibrating and you can no longer hear the sound. Then switch the forks and tap them again to listen.

Each ear listens from a different side of the brain. Switching the forks can help to connect the hemispheres of the brain.

If I have been rattled by something in my day, I find this technique really helpful to settle me down again. You can keep them on your desk at work, at home in the kitchen, on a shelf in your living room. Keep them handy. Remember that it only takes about 30 seconds for the sound to stimulate the production of nitric oxide in the body.

Using them once a day is likely all you will need.


Will they help me sleep?

The sound of the tuning forks will bring the nervous system back into balance. I am certain that each of us has our own definition of what balance means to us.

I recommend that you find out how this type of sound therapy works for you. Does the sound help you relax? Does it energize you? Is your response different in the morning compared to the evening?


What should I be thinking when I am listening to them? When is the best time to listen to them?

When you work with any kind of sound therapy or sound healing, make sure that you have a clear intention of what you want the sound to do. Intention is the most important part.

Listening to my set of Perfect fifth tuning forks is part of my morning routine, like brushing my teeth. It helps to set up my day with focus and clarity.

If at any time during the day, I get rattled or emotional, the sound helps to calm me down. If I am not feeling well, I use them more often throughout my day to boost my immune system.

These are examples of only a few ways you can use them throughout your day.


How long should I listen to the sound?

Sound therapy or sound healing of any kind is extremely effective. However, use it in moderation.

Sound affects us right down to the cellular level and sometimes our body needs time to process the effects of the sound. Overuse of sound healing can lead to stress on the nervous system.

Using the Perfect 5th forks once a day for one or maybe two taps is usually all you need. Follow your intuition if you feel you need a ‘boost’ during the day.


How do I get my own set?

You can download a free 5 minute recording of the Perfect Fifth tuning forks in our store. Load it on your computer or mp3 player to listen to whenever you like. Click here to order the download.

If the sound resonates with you, and you would like your own set (listening to an mp3 recording will never be as powerful as playing them for yourself), they are also available in our store. Click here to order your own set.

Stay tuned for next week’s article where I will share about the Otto Forks. Their effectiveness for reducing stress in seconds is just as profound as the Perfect 5th forks. They just work a little differently.