June 15, 2013

"In the literature, perfect pitch is talked about as a fixed ability, so it was quite surprising to find..."

"... that as little as 45 minutes of de-tuned music could temporarily shift note categories.... What this points to is the malleability of the human brain. Relatively brief exposure to flattened music is able to rearrange what was thought to be a very long-term and stable note category. This is a great example of how our immediate surroundings and perceptions can change the way in which we view the world."

What are the other things in the category that that is an example of?

23 comments:

Carnifex said...

That Zero is to be worshipped as godlike?

Smilin' Jack said...

MTV recognizing rap as "music."

wyo sis said...

Optical illusions.

Howard said...

It explains how Christians have become so judgmental and self-righteous over the years to the point that they have become fat, sleek, smug Romans. Their ignorant arrogance allows them to believe they have created all of the enormous wealth and fought tooth and nail for the unprecedented freedom they were born into and actively seek to deny to the other.

Howard said...

The senses in general. Says Libtardpedia:

Humans have a multitude of senses. Sight (ophthalmoception), hearing (audioception), taste (gustaoception), smell (olfacoception or olfacception), and touch (tactioception) are the five traditionally recognized. While the ability to detect other stimuli beyond those governed by the traditional senses exists, including temperature (thermoception), kinesthetic sense (proprioception), pain (nociception), balance (equilibrioception), acceleration (kinesthesioception)[citation needed], and various internal stimuli (e.g. the different chemoreceptors for detecting salt and carbon dioxide concentrations in the blood), only a small number of these can safely be classified as separate senses in and of themselves. What constitutes a sense is a matter of some debate, leading to difficulties in defining what exactly a sense is.

Howard said...

Beer goggles

Palladian said...

So-called contemporary "liberalism".

Mumpsimus said...

"...our immediate surroundings and perceptions can change the way in which we view the world."

Gee, no shit. Deep Thinking at the BBC.

Bob Ellison said...

Perfect pitch is dear to me. I prefer the term "absolute pitch". I have a strong sense of it and way more ideas and conjectures about it than anyone reading this will likely abide.

But the article is correct: it's all relative, and the most perfect among us can be led astray from A440. It really is a lesson about how humans perceive things like hunger, beauty, cold, and music.

bagoh20 said...

Another one is how we have grown comfortable - at least online - with people being entirely rude in a personal and offensive way. It's dangerous, because the other day I met someone new and I said: "Nice to meet you, ya stupid uneducated leftist fuck face." Then I caught myself and had to apologize to the officer. No, he wouldn't let me out of the ticket, as Reuters would report it "unexpectedly".

KLDAVIS said...

Living in New Jersey, you quickly get used to the smell...

David Davenport said...

What constitutes a sense is a matter of some debate, leading to difficulties in defining what exactly a sense is.

However, the clear fact that that sentence is a tautology is not a matter of debate.

Tyrone Slothrop said...

I remember a scholarly study from the early seventies (natch) that showed how certain visual paradigms could be banished by the use of hallucinogens, specifically mescaline. The brain uses a type of shorthand, filling in data with preconceptions based on experience, saving itself a lot of processing work. For example, we see shadows on snow as being gray when they are actually blue. Mescaline circumvents this shorthand, allowing one to see the blue shadows.

bagoh20 said...

" Mescaline circumvents this shorthand, allowing one to see the blue shadows."

This is too important to just take someone's word on it. Do you know who I could contact to replicate this study on my own?

Jason said...

I got 99 problems but a pitch ain't one.

Jason said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
madAsHell said...

Hendrix always played a half note down from the standard guitar tuning. YouTube shows him tuning his guitar between songs. He did it by ear.

There is no advantage to playing is such a tuning. I've always figured it was his own private Idaho.

Scott M said...

The smell thing is more a clogging of those particular receptors though, isn't it? Less inner-brain machinations than mundane nose mucus stuff, isn't it?

Jason said...

There are several advantages to tuning a guitar down a half step:

1.) Makes the strings easier to bend

2.) Suits his voice.

3.) A guy like Hendrix who played hard and bends a lot would break fewer strings.

4.) Maybe he liked the sound.

MikeR said...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Checker_shadow_illusion
Unlike other optical illusions, my knowing the trick doesn't help one bit.

Bruce Warren said...

Smoking pot.

Snorting coke.

Etc.

All change the way you perceive the world around you. Allegedly. Not that I would know.

Bruce Warren said...

"Hendrix always played a half note down from the standard guitar tuning."

Similar tuning gave Black Sabbath its unique sound. They had to tune down due to the fact that the lead guitarist (whose name escapes me at the moment) had lost the tips of his fingers in an accident.

Of course, drug usage by their audience also gave them a unique "sound". Allegedly. Not that I would know.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

I have "absolute pitch," though it's not as reliable as it used to be. I think partly that's a consequence might be a consequence of aging, but another component is being exposed to a variety of pitch standards.

In classical music A440 isn't universal. Even standard modern-instrument orchestras use varying standards, generally inching upwards in quest of greater "brightness" and brilliance (ISTR that the Vienna Philharmonic uses A446!).

But if you're involved with period-instrument performance at all, you're forced to confront many different pitch standards. A415 is the standard "Baroque" pitch, roughly a half-step below A440, and used mostly in late-17th- and early-a8th-c. music, with some major exceptions. A430 has become the standard "Classical" pitch, about a quarter-tone below A440 and used in late-18th- and early-19th-c. music. "French Baroque" pitch is conventionally A392, which is about a whole tone below A440.

And then you have other weirdnesses. 17th-c. Venetian pitch was above 440, while 17th-c. Roman pitch was lower than 415. (We know this from surviving organs and wind instruments, mostly.) Some German cities used a dual system, with two standards called Chorton and Kammerton, one a whole step away from the other. (It's not uncommon to find in (say) a Bach cantata that the wind parts are in Chorton and the string parts in Kammerton, so that the former are in a key two steps flatward from the latter.

As you can see, if you're marinated in the A440 standard, getting used to this can be bewildering. The first time I tried to play at A415, it was flatly impossible for me. I'd be playing a part in D minor, and hearing it in C# minor, and the only way I could do it at all was to sight-transpose everything and scrunch my hand into such a position that I was fingering as though I were in C# minor. Which worked, sort of, until I forgot and used an open string, which of course wasn't where it should have been.

I got used to it, eventually, but one consequence is that my notion of where A is has become a little more flexible or less reliable, depending on how you look at it. (I never got used to A392, though. I can't play in it, and can tell the key of French Baroque recordings only by locating the open strings by timbre and working backwards from there...)

I should add that IMO there's no special "gift" to absolute pitch. It's just a matter of being exposed to a fixed pitch standard at an early age. I started the violin at 4, and since the first thing you do when you practice is to tune your instrument using an A440 pitch pipe ... well, 'nuff said.