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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
CapriUni Tone deaf & what about rhythm deaf? (33) Tone deaf & what about rhythm deaf? 20 Sep 11


I've always had a good ear for tones and pitch -- at least, when I was a kid (or so some who heard me sing back then told me).

My poor mother, on the other hand, was borderline tone deaf ... She'd get most of the notes in a song right, but then she would hit one note in a song, and it would be off -- and I say "poor mother" not because of this quirk, but because of how I, as a toddler, reacted to her attempts. Imagine trying to croon a loving lullaby to your child, only to have her put her tiny hand over your mouth and command you to stop singing, shouting: "Wrong note, Mommy!"

According to Wikipedia (salt to taste), there are various forms of Amusia (with tone deafness being the most well-known), and there may be a genetic component (The Wikipedia article focuses on the most extreme forms, where people can't distinguish between different pieces of music at all. My mother was far from such a desperate strait, and loved music, and singing despite my protestations -- thankfully, I grew more accepting as I got older).

As for me, I've always had trouble with rhythm -- especially if I had to try and create one. I can hear the different rhythms in a song, and can recognize the differences, and can sort of reproduce them in word form [Bum-ditty, bum-ditty ... that kind of thing]. But as soon as I try to interact with the rhythm (clap along, dance, that sort of thing), it all goes plthplthplth! For most of my life, I've blamed that on my poor gross muscle coordination, and how much extra whirring goes on in my brainbox when I have to try and clap and keep from tipping over same time.

But a couple of weeks ago, I found a music-and-ear training game online, for kids (From the Public Broadcasting Service) Chuck VanderChuck's *something something* Explosion (Warning: it's flash-animation heavy, and does not include folk or blues in its curriculum). One of the games on the site is dedicated to hearing and deciphering rhythms, and picking a match, by clicking with your mouse. I thought, since mouse-clicking would eliminate the coordination problem, that might be a good place for me to start practicing learning rhythm.

It did not help. Each sample requires the player to choose one of four options -- it takes me about five or six guesses to get it right.   Every time. It seems, when the moment comes to choose, that the pattern gets scrambled, in my brain, and I lose track of where it begins and where it ends. It kind of reminds me of what I've read about dyslexia (how the letters get switched around in certain combinations), and it also reminds me of my mother, who was very musically astute when it came to listening, but lost her place when she tried to sing.

And I was wondering if anyone else has run into that (or other "quirky" manifestations of musical 'deafness), along the way.

Also, if anyone wants me to join their band -- whatever you do, don't hand me the tambourine! ;-)


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