[Harp-L] Dogs, Wireless, and Modes

The Iceman icemanle@xxxxx
Sun Oct 28 09:54:25 EDT 2018

As far as perfect pitch, I knew someone that had it, and it was interesting
to hear him be able to say, "Oh, that's an F#", but I don't necessarily
think it gave him that great a musical advantage. He was a great musician
though, and what he also had a very good sense of (and which can definitely
be learned) is relative pitch, knowing which interval is being played.
Whether or not "perfect pitch" can be learned might very well depend on the
individual. We all have about eighty billion neurons, and they're all
connected a little differently in all of us. What might throw a wrench into
the concept of "learning" perfect pitch is whether you're really learning a
pure pitch or recognizing the timbre of the instrument when it's playing a
given pitch .Neuroscientists still don't know exactly what happens when we
learn something, and there are certainly a lot of different combinations of
pathways and associations that one could devise to remember which notes to
play.   Slan, emily

I'd say it does give a musician a great musical advantage. 

To the onlooker, calling out "Oh, that's an F#" seems like more a parlor trick, but to the musician it is the ability to actually "see" the notes unfolding in real time and unlocks so much in understanding - for example, have YOU tried to transcribe a solo? How long did it take you? Did you have to slow down and start/stop the music many times in grabbing a note here and there?

As has been seen by some of the responses to this thread, there are those that choose to believe it is not possible to teach it and they love to find others who agree with them - scientists in laboratories, etc, thereby creating their own echo chamber. Sometimes these scientists miss the entire point in pursuit of having a paper published on the basis of a rigid and sterile approach.

A parallel type of experience might be in going way back to the early 60's to see how psychedelics were eventually put into the laboratory setting with the scientists who administered them and then watched the subjects "freak out" in that sterile environment - all bare white rooms with scientists staring at them, in a manner of speaking. The conclusions they drew from this were very different from those that approached psychedelics in a more natural setting and a more reverent attitude. I guess both contradictory conclusions can be argued as being valid, depending on the outcome you wish to see. (Watch the opening scene in the movie "Pineapple Express" for a humorous example of this).

"My laboratory has tested human strength, muscle mass, bone density, and has concluded that it is impossible for a 120 pound ordinary woman to pick up an automobile". oops, now how do I explain that instance when an ordinary 120 pound woman ran over and picked up that car by its bumper to free her child who was caught under the wheel???

There are those that drink from the cup of "clinical laboratory results". There are some who believe, open their minds up to amazing possibilities, spend the time and energy and find something used to great success, outside of that laboratory, and that works great for them. 

I choose the latter group, myself, but it's a free country, so choose what you will!

Regarding "whether you're really learning a pure pitch or recognizing the timbre of the instrument when it's playing a given pitch" - I know that at first it was easier for me to "color hear" the pitches on a piano (my main instrument), but slowly and eventually this ability moved beyond piano and became broadly based pure pitch - bass notes, violins, singers, etc. It was a slowly evolving and unfolding experience. After I stopped putting a lot of energy and focus into this ability and just let it "simmer" below the surface, I began to notice (over the years) how it began to spread out on its own.

To those that insist that it is not possible, I leave you to your opinion while I enjoy the beautiful "colors" that flash through my mind while listening to music. Just so you know, I'm having more fun than you are!

-----Original Message-----
From: Emily Keene <esalisburykeene at xxxxx>

More information about the Harp-L mailing list