Prince Yuri Lubovedsky

‘One day, out of boredom, I happened to take from the prince’s library a book entitled The World of Vibrations, which gave my thoughts about music a definite direction. The author of this book was not a musician at all, and from the contents it was obvious that he was not even interested in music. He was an engineer and mathematician. In one place in his book he mentioned music merely as an example for his explanation of vibrations. He wrote that the sounds of music are made up of certain vibrations which doubtless act upon the vibrations which are also in a man, and this is why a man likes or dislikes this or that music. I at once understood this, and I fully agreed with the engineer’s hypotheses.

‘All my thoughts at that time were absorbed by these interests and, when I talked with the prince’s sister, I always tried to turn the conversation to the subject of music and its real significance. As a result she herself became interested in this question, and we pondered over it together and also began to make experiments.

‘The prince’s sister even bought several cats and dogs and other animals specially for this purpose. We also began inviting some of our servants, served them tea and for hours on end played the piano for them. At first our experiments produced no result; but once, when we had as guests five of our servants and ten peasants from the village formerly owned by the prince, half of them fell asleep while I was playing a waltz of my own composition.

‘We repeated this experiment several times, and each time the number of those who fell asleep increased. And although the old lady and I, making use of all kinds of principles, composed other music intended to have different effects on people, nevertheless the only result we attained was to put our guests to sleep. Finally, from constantly working on music and thinking about it, I grew so tired and thin that one day, when the old lady looked at me attentively, she became alarmed and, on the suggestion of an acquaintance, hastened to take me abroad.

‘We went to Italy and there, distracted by other impressions, I gradually began to recover. It was only after five years had passed, when we went on our Pamir-Afghanistan expedition and witnessed the experiments of the Monopsyche Brotherhood, that I again began to think about the effect of music, but not with the same enthusiasm as at first.