London, Monday July 24th 196l


(Given by Roy Hart on behalf of Alfred Wolfsohn, who was too ill.)


LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, I have the honour to speak to you about the work of Mr. Wolfsohn. In this lecture, I am going to illustrate to you the connection between psychology and the voice.

Mr. Wolfsohn wrote a letter to C. G. Jung on the occasion of his 80th birthday. The Jung Society in Zurich answered this letter and asked Mr. Wolfsohn whether a psychologist who had worked with the Society could come and talk about his ideas and his desire to communicate his experience to the pupils of C. G. Jung. During a talk, this psychologist told Mr. Wolfsohn he could not expect very much from the Jungians and he mentioned the lecture Dr. Jacobi gave concerning the connection between the arts and modern depth psychology in which one branch of the arts is excluded : Music. In the ensuing discussion, the psychologist put this question to Dr. Jacobi "And what happens to us when we listen to the Swiss National Anthem?"

Yes, what happens to us when we listen to music? I shall give you a few random examples of this very fascinating problem. When Tolstoy listened to a Chopin recital in his house, he suddenly couldn't stand it any longer and left the room in tears, shouting "I am a swine! And we need only to look back and remember how, 2,000 years ago, Homer lets Ulysses block his ears, so that he cannot hear the singing of the sirens who change men into swines when they listen to their voices. Or let us think of the fairy-tale about the Lorelei, whose singing drove the poor fishermen to destruction; or of the famous rat-catcher of Hamlin, whose music brought death to the children who followed him. Or let us remember the most prominent figure in the mythology of the 20th century - Hitler - whose drum beating turned his listeners either into corpses or S.S. men. On the other hand, Mr. Wolfsohn never forgot a professional criminal who was a comrade of his in the First World War and who, each time the company stopped for a rest in some village during the march to the French front, used to run to the church and play the organ. Every time Mr. Wolfsohn - who used to follow him - looked, at his face, he was overwhelmed. by his expression which resembled, a saint in the deepest trance. Now in this connection, let me quote from an essay by Bruno Walter on the moral powers of music -

In a lecture he gave on the moral powers of music, Bruno Walters relates the following story:-

"One day in San Francisco a middle-aged gentleman looked me up - unfortunately I have forgotten the name of this extraordinary philanthropist - and told me he was a musician and that he was very interested in the life of prison inmates and that through making a study of their fate, state of soul and possibilities for their future, he had conceived the idea of working on them with the help of music. He succeeded in interesting the director of a penitentiary in his idea and he began to instruct the inmates of this penitentiary in choral singing. He was successful, but only after years of tremendous endeavour. The personal behaviour of the inmates changed fundamentally; not only did their joy and happiness show clearly on their faces during these lessons, but these otherwise hardened and difficult men showed an extraordinary mellowness towards their guards and towards each other. Soon it was enough to threaten them for any misbehaviour by saying they would not be allowed to attend the next choral singing lesson, and this was enough to make them obey.

As far as my visitor was able to follow up the fate of these prisoners, no one who was discharged after this training, fell back into their former vices, although some years had passed since his actual teaching. If I remember correctly, an end was put to his choral singing by a change of directors in the penitentiary. This visitor had come to me - as I suppose he had gone to others - to interest me in his idea and to ask me for help to get him to take up this training again through some influential person and also help to spread this idea. Unfortunately, my endeavours brought no result but I do believe that this philanthropist, who told me about his experiences in prisons, was on the right way. The criminal must be looked at as an anti-social, or at least an asocial human element: ie: society is hateful or meaningless to him. He takes from it with cunning, or by force all that he wants and that is all the relation he has to society. He is, so to speak, alone in the world, locked up in his hard ego and lives in terrible loneliness. My visitor knew of no case where kind advise or admonishing words could penetrate this hardened shell, except in the extreme case of the danger of death. But where the spoken word could not help, music succeeded. They sang chords - some sang B, others sang D, the next group F. As they went on they sang different harmonies. The lonely ones became a social group through chords, which thus created something wholesome. They were - to put it in words - 'socialised' and they felt in an elementary way the beauty of togetherness. It is, therefore, understandable that the result was warmth and a lifting them out of themselves - a new life! "

I return now to the starting point of Mr. Wolfsohn's connection with psychology. Some years ago, when he was in Germany, Mr. Wolfsohn was dealing with the problems of a pupil whose voice was so deprived of expression that it was virtually dead. This was strange indeed, because for years this pupil had wanted nothing so much as to sing. She had studied singing and had possessed a good voice. A severe cardiac neurosis put an end to the singing, but she recovered as a result of a Jungian analysis. Mr. Wolfsohn's attempts to help her recover her voice met with strong resistance in the form of her intellectual preoccupation with psychology - (here one is reminded of the classic case of Socrates who, in a dream, was repeatedly commanded by a divine voice to "go and make music"). His task, therefore, was to discover whether her preoccupation with psychological problems had not killed the indispensable spontaneity of her creative power. Although for certain reasons Mr. Wolfsohn felt a horror of anything connected with psychology, he forced himself to read about its various systems. The more he read, the more he realised that much of the experience he had gained from his own work ran parallel to fundamental principles of depth-psychology and psycho-therapy. His pupil's thoughts on singing, which she wrote down at his request, may help to confirm this point :-

"During a treatment for neurosis of the heart by means of a Jungian analysis, exercises of contemplation were made with me. I was told to concentrate on the inner breath. As I had lived merely in relation to the exterior world up to this moment, this way to the depth was an extremely intense experience for me. I saw pictures which came from another world and I learned of a depth, whence these pictures had their origin. I began to understand that by concentrating my breath on a centre below my diaphragm, a language of pictures came to me which, by contact with the unconscious, enabled a psychical development to take place. When I started to have singing-lessons, I had to concentrate once more on this mysterious centre. When I was told to concentrate my attention to the "whence" of the tune, I felt the starting-point of the sound in the same place. It became clearer and clearer to me that in the development of my voice the same method was used as in the psychology of depth. While being led to the deepest strata, always looking for the starting-point, I remembered that the Indians speak of the first Chakra, the source of life, there, where the snake Kundalini lies coiled and then starts to move."

In this work the singer can penetrate more and more the depths of his body and so achieve a new and until now unknown sound, to which the singer listens as if he were listening to a strange voice. But only if the singer experiences that "it" sings, is the state of childhood in the adult restituted, the real active state of creation in the human being. Only then can he be sure that the "it" in the listener hears too and thus art fulfils the same function as religion which, by touching the depth in the human being, leads to the height.

During the Hitler regime, when Jung was lecturing in Berlin for the last time, Mr. Wolfsohn was naturally most anxious to meet and discuss with him the relationship between psychology - especially Mr. Jungs own interpretation of it - and Music. Here one must not forget that the human voice is Man's most direct expression of Music. When he asked certain people to arrange an interview for him, they laughed and said his time was too limited even for him to see all his pupils and patients. Mr. Wolfsohn was not put off by this attitude and sent him a dream he had had about Jung. In the accompanying letter, he explained that the dream was his 'visiting card' and also the reason why he desired an interview. As the authority on dream interpretation, he should decide whether he considered this dream of sufficient importance to grant him that interview.

This was the dream :-

"I travelled to a foreign country in order to consult Dr. Jung. What I remember of this journey is that I have to cross a pass. I enter a very large house with many school-rooms. In the consulting-room I notice the presence of Kammersanger Richard Tauber who is wearing the blue suit of a candidate of confirmation and he is accompanied by his manager, who apparently has to look after him. There is much bustle, noise and muddle. Dr. Jung comes into the room, looking like a mixture of a doctor (in whose clinic Mr. Wolfsohn was a patient after the last war) and Mr. Wolfsohn's professor of Greek (in whose lessons he read Plato). Tauber is to be the first patient to get treatment. Against all expectation, Dr. Jung addresses me first. Emphatically he asks: "Where are my fees?" I feel very embarrassed and do not think it right to be obliged to pay, after having made so many sacrifices. Dr. Jung sees my surprise and shouts at me :"I usually charge 30 Marks for the half hour - I only charge 15 Marks to you as an exception." I try to shirk payment, while fumbling in my pocket. At last I have scraped together 14 Marks in silver, but I am still looking for the missing Mark, which I do not want to find. All of a sudden I discover that my purse is full of 100 and 1000 Mark banknotes - a fact that comforts me. Dr. Jung says: "Well?" I do not ask his advice, but tell him outright that I had been to consult him once before and that I was feeling better from year to year, while other people were not treated at all elsewhere. "Yes", replies Dr. Jung, "in Switzerland too many people were ill and had to be carried to my place in big lorries - even the safest citizens were sleepless." I do not take any notice of this, but go on talking about myself. Dr. Jung does not even listen, but is only watching for Tauber. At last he interrupts me: "Any other questions?" -Yes" I say, "has Dr. Jung's theory much to do with music?" Here Dr. Jung looks at me with a sly and cunning smile :"Yes, very much, but what did you ask this question for, if not to get your full half-hour's worth?" Dr. Jung says good-bye to me, as if I had not been a patient at all and the conversation had only taken place because of the fees. He addresses Tauber, full of interest. Behind me I hear a voice saying: "Tauber ought to come to you. All Dr. Jung does is to take 500 Marks from him." I go into the street. It is night and it is raining heavily. In the light of a gas-lantern I see an enlaced couple walking in front of me and. I feel with incredible certainty that this is the explanation for Tauber's consultation with Dr. Jung."

There is no doubt for Mr. Wolfsohn about the importance of this dream, which anticipates his future work and was its nucleus and made possible the results to which you will presently listen. But first let me quote a short correspondence between Aldous Huxley and Mr. Wolfsohn, which throws another light on this new kind of voice :-

"Dear Mr. Huxley,

In your book "Brave New World" you wrote the following passage:"..... thirty or forty bars - and then, against this instrumental background, a much more than human voice began to warble, now throaty, now from the head, now hollow as a flute, now charged with yearning harmonics, it effortlessly passed from Gaspard Forster's low record on the very frontiers of musical tone to a trilled bat-note high above the highest C to which (in 1770 at the Ducal Opera of Parma and to the astonishment of Mozart) Lucrezia Agujari alone of all the singers in history, once piercingly gave utterance...." In view of the fact that this is the only passage in the book containing any allusion to the past history of the world, I cannot escape the conclusion that the human voice and its problems hold a strong attraction for you. From this it follows that you are more than likely to be interested if I tell you that your vision has been more or less realised in my work.

To give you a rough idea of this work, I enclose a short synopsis, as well as a few opinions on it. Experts are of the opinion that this work means a revolution in the history of the voice. Under these circumstances you will not find it hard to imagine the difficulties with which it continually has to meet, the more as the results achieved can only be satisfactorily explained by, and in connection with, the at least partial solution of the psychological, biological, medical and philosophical problems involved.

To give you some conception of this, I shall quote one example. The solution of the vocal difficulties of one of my pupils was possible only because I succeeded - in the course of years - in bringing the pupil to a gradual understanding of a single dream of hers : "Aldous Huxley is in prison for connivance in an abortion" In order to arrive at an interpretation of this dream I had, of course to occupy myself with your books and the vision which your artistic imagination created.

Again, as in the case of the pupil with the cardiac neurosis mentioned previously, the problems involved were not of a vocal, but of a psychological nature. It therefore seemed clear to Mr. Wolfsohn that in the case of the pupil who dreamt about Huxley, he would have to study the work of Huxley, just as in the case of the pupil with cardiac neurosis, he had had to study the work of Jung.

Now here is Aldous Huxley's reply to Mr Wolfsohn's letter :-

"Dear Mr Wolfsohn,

Thank you for your kind letter and the most interesting enclosures. What you write about your experience with the training of the voice serves to deepen a conviction which has been steadily forming in my mind during recent years .... namely, that the supposed, psychological or physiological limits to the human being's achievements in every field of activity do not lie where they have been (arbitrarily and with inadequate evidence) placed, but are capable of very great extension, if and when certain conditions of mind-body training are fulfilled. My own experience with, and observation of, the processes of visual education, as developed by Dr. W. H. Bates and his followers have shown very clearly that seeing can be enormously improved by suitable methods (fundamentally psychological in nature), in spite of the fact that the organ, according to orthodox ophthalmologists, is physically incapable of seeing any better. Recently, I have had some experience of, and second hand acquaintance with, the work of Dr. Samuel Renshaw, the distinguished Gestalt psychologist who teaches at the University of Ohio. Using the tachystoscope (a flashing magic-lantern, which projects images for periods ranging from a tenth to a two thousandth of a second), Renshaw has trained many persons to perform feats of seeing normally regarded as completely impossible. He has done the same thing in the field of taste, where he has been able to teach every student in his class to reach a pitch of taste discrimination equal to that of professional whisky or tea tasters. Also in the field of memory, where some of his pupils have surpassed the feats of the "prodigies" who perform on the lecture platform and the music-hall stage. Again, there is the work of the late Luigi Bonpensiere ("New Pathways to Piano Technique", published by the Philosophical Library, with an introduction by myself) This is a method of "ideokinetics", the pupil learning to imagine what has to be done and allowing his Entelechy (in Driesch's phrase) to do it, while putting his conscious will out of the way. A recently published book by the German psychologist, Eugen Herrigel, "Zen, and the Art of Archery" (Philosophical Library, N.Y.) describes very fully an essentially similar technique developed in Japan - a technique which enables utterly incredible feats of skill to be performed, beyond all the ordinarily accepted limits of possibility. In all these cases the principle employed appears to be the same - the principle that maximum proficiency is achieved when activity is combined with relaxation of the surface will and the conscious ego, leaving the way clear for activity by the Entelechy, the Vegetative Soul or, on a yet deeper level, the Atman-Brahman.

If I understand your letter and synopsis correctly, you too are applying this fundamental principle. What we need this time is some place where the people who have been working empirically on various aspects of the basic principle of life... relaxation in activity, or 'getting out of one's own light'... should be able to reset, pool their resources, discuss implications and further developments, co-ordinate efforts. Such a place would have to be set up by one of the great Foundations.. for money is necessary if people are to experience without concern about earning their living. Unfortunately, none of the Foundation directors with whom I have been in contact has yet shown an interest in this most fundamental of questions. However I do not give up...."

It is very interesting to hear from Huxley how Mr. Wolfsohn's work is placed on a parallel to work in other fields and that in every case the breakthrough is achieved through the use of psychology.

Now allow me to show how the vision of the artist is realised. I read again Huxley's description of the Utopian voice :-

".... thirty or forty bars - and then, against this instrumental background, a much more than human voice began to warble, now throaty, now from the head, now hollow as a flute, now charged with yearning harmonics, it effortlessly passed from Gaspard Forster's low record on the very frontiers of musical tone to a trilled bat-note high above the highest C to which (in 1770 at the Ducal Opera of Parma and to the astonishment of Mozart) Lucrezia Agujari alone of all the singers in history, once piercingly gave utterance...."

When Aldous Huxley was asked by Mr.Wolfsohn whether he had thought of a mechanical voice or of the voice in the flesh, he answered that he had had a mechanical voice in mind.


Allow me to repeat this cadenza, because your ears must get a little more accustomed. May I ask you to go beyond the musical aspect of this cadenza and to remember that what you hear is the breaking of the human sound barriers or, expressed in a rather poetic way, the existence of a spaceship which flies through the microcosmos, or a demonstration of the old wisdom of the unity of opposites.


Perhaps you will recall, from a yearbook of an Eranos meeting in Ascona, or from Erich Neumann's book "The Great Mother", the photo of a statue called "Vièrge Ouvrante", in painted wood, French 5th century, kept in the Musée de Cluny, Paris. Erich Neumann writes about it : "In the patriarchal development of the Judaeo-Christian West, with its masculine, monotheistic trend toward abstraction, the goddess as a feminine figure of wisdom, was dethroned and repressed. She survived only secretly, for the most part on heretical and revolutionary bypaths."

Seen from outside, the "Vièrge Ouvrante" is the familiar and unassuming mother with child. But when opened she reveals the heretical secret within her. God the Father and God the Son, usually represented as heavenly Lords who, in an act of pure grace, raise up the humble earth-bound mother to abide with them, prove to be contained in her, prove to be the contents "of her all-sheltering body".

Now suppose the natural voice of this child-woman is an ordinary soprano. Suddenly, her body opens and out of the depth of this opened body comes the male voice, as bass and tenor. Just as the child madonna is one of the forms of the archetype of the Great Mother, so are God the Father and God the Son the archetypes of the father and son idea and, in connection with the child-woman, their animus figures. What we call soprano-contralto on the one side and tenor-bass on the other, are the four essential manifestations of the four main types and they constitute the phenomenon of the voice.

Now Bernard Shaw said once that for him the voice of God appears only in the bass arias of Sarastro, the high priest in The Magic Flute. On the other side, people talk even today about the tenor voice of Caruso and how he sang like a God. And somebody - when asked what he thought the difference was between Caruso and Gigli - said "Caruso is God and Gigli an Angel".

It is only our undeveloped hearing which prevents, us from hearing the existence of anima and animus figures in contrast to our eyes, which are able to discover them in dreams, or in paintings and sculptures. Now I shall play, the famous aria from Pagliacci : "Ridi Pagliaccio " sung in the tenor voice and also a Negro spiritual, sung in a bass voice, by a woman.


Now female and male voice together in Schubert's famous song : "Death and the Maiden" :-


If you study the phenomenon of opera, you will discover that all the characters personify the archetypes in many variations. Take as an example "The Magic Flute", by Mozart. There is the mother archetype, namely the Queen of the Night, as dramatic coloratura-soprano, who is at the same time the personification of the Mana personality, and the Goddess of Darkness. Her counterpart is Sarastro, the bass, the father archetype, the High Priest, the Leader, the personification of the light. The son figure is Tamino, the Tenor, the lover, the hero, the prince, the adventurer, and it is significant that he finds, in the locket in which he discovers his anima figure, the face of the princess, the daughter figure, represented by the soprano. In contrast to the representants of the Spiritual, Tamino and Pamina, are the materialists, Papageno and Papagena (baritone and light soprano) the archetypes Adam and Eve; what Schopenhauer called : mass production of nature. Extracts of all these parts are sung by the same voice you have heard before. What it leads to is the integration of the personality, demonstrated in the voice.

PLAY "MAGIC FLUTE" TAPE (See "Alfred Wolfsohn - his musical ideas"

Three years ago, Mr. Wolfsohn received the following letter :-

"Dear Mr. Wolfsohn,

Would it be possible for me to come and see you one afternoon between 2-3 p.m.? I am having a great deal of trouble with my voice. Three years ago, I had an operation on my vocal chords, due to overstrain and I was told by the surgeon that I would be able to sing again after a rest. But I can sing only a few notes and although I have been told by two other specialist that I will never be able to sing again, I would like to have another opinion"

Although Mr. Wolfsohn was very ill, certain results in connection with the behaviour of orthodox laryngologists moved him to let this lady come to his studio. Unknown to her, he recorded what happened, so you must excuse the bad recording. Instead of describing how Mr. Wolfsohn's work proceeds, it is left to you to iudge for yourselves.


What follows now is the report of a pupil of Mr Wolfsohn's on her development during years of study.


Now, in the case of the lady thought she had lost her singing voice, you have heard how easy is the transformation from the speaking to the singing voice. This is because. There is no basic difference between speaking and singing.

Now as regards the spoken word:- Laryngologists of the modern school, who work on psychosomatic lines, are making increasing use of psychology. A leading authority in this field. Dr. Paul J. Koses of San Francisco, writes about the new concepts of vocal analysis, taking as a case illustration "the school-teacher's voice": -


(Reorientation of Concepts and Facts in Phonetics, by Paul J. Moses, M.D. (Associate Clinical Professor, Div. of Laryngology (Speech and Voice Section), Stanford Univercity School of Medicine, San Francisco. Dr. Moses goes on to say in his paper on the Castrato Voice:


Folia Phoniatrica - "The Psychology of the Castrato voice", by Paul J. Moses

Allow me to show you the connection between the hermaphroditi voice of the baroque and the new kind of voice of our time. In his letter to C. G. Jung, Mr Wolfsohn sent, as a contribution to Jung's work on psychology and alchemy, the following dream of one of his pupils :-

"I dreamt that I was going with A.W. through a very big city. We were not going for a walk, but I believe we were on our way to a concert, because I remember singing afterwards. From afar, we saw a very broad street, grey, covered with asphalt. The houses were grey on both sides and I could see a stream that looked yellow to me, running along one side of this street. A.W. said to me : 'Remember, and have a good look at it, Marita, this, is the only stream in the world that runs on the left side of the street, it is the gold stream!

At once I had the feeling that this was of great importance to me and had a deep symbolical meaning behind it, although from afar it looked like yellow water. When we got near enough we saw it was pure liquid gold running along, covering half the street, amidst all the grey of this city, gleaming and very bright. A.W. said :


Now, listen to a product of modern alchemy, reciting a poem by T. S. Eliot, entitled : "Rhapsody on a Windy Night":-




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