comments on old research

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comments on old research

Post by Space » Mon Mar 23, 2009 5:23 am

Ok, I know this research is from 2006 but I've been reading it all night (I'm a terribly slow reader) and some parts are seem so obvious to me and I just don't get it.

Most recently the bit about AP'ers identification of musical key. Why is it so hard to imagine that musicians with AP don't possess varying degrees of RP as a result of musical training, nay, simply as a result of being human beings with matured auditory systems? When Aruffo's roommate described how he identified musical key, I had the ol' "duh!" reaction. Yes, the guy has AP but he also has RP. He can hear as he described the functionality of chords in a progression 'gravitating' toward a particular key. He even used the exclusively RP term 'leading tone'. Think about how cumbersome it would be to have to sift through all the absolute pitches in a progression or melody to deduce the key. It would be completely inefficient and artificial.

The AP musician can 'feel' the sense of 'gravity' toward a particular key center just like the RP'er via his/her own natural in-built RP sense. Unlike the RP'er however the AP'er can then identify that same gravity by its chroma. This exactly how I identify keys. If my AP is 'off', I feel the key of the piece as just a locale with no identity. If it's 'on' I feel the same, only the identity is there.

My experience of AP is sort of like a black and white film where various objects have been colored in but the rest remains black and white. Of course this analogy is weak as my experience of RP itself is anything like a black and white picture. The multitude of chord shapes, scale degrees, timbres, etc are all endlessly colorful and fascinating! I'm sure any lover of music without AP would agree :o)

Anyway, I'm sure there are some AP'ers who suck at hearing keys and maybe are so focused on the chroma of pitch they are unaware of relationship and structure most of the time but I can't imagine it's the norm, especially with trained musicians.

I would posit that a child develops AP during the known 'window of time' for it and if musical education continues past that window, the child's RP comes into play and develops to some degree or other depending on the child.
It's like the 'interval equals distance' misunderstanding. The researchers aren't musicians so they just don't get it. If they asked the musicians to describe their perceptual experience of intervals I think it would be clear. It was nice to see Chris point this out.

Oh, and as I listened to the altered triads I realized that I listen differently in different aural situations. When listening to the triads, my ear gravitated toward two perceptions - the whole chord, then the individuals pitches, but never the constituent intervals. I'm starting to realize that, at least in my experience, diad/triad/tetrad/etc., are all 'ads'. An interval is just a two-note chord. I can focus in on the individual pitches of a chord with ease but it's difficult to isolate just two pitches of a 3 or 4 note chord and discern their interval. So anyway, I heard the correctly tuned major chord then what I would classify as an 'out of tune major chord' and a chord that was somewhere between major and augmented (closer to augmented). I guess that would make it categorical. I was aware of the pitches and in one, the C got into B territory but my absolute flatness/sharpness discrimination isn't too clear. The overall chord quality in this case anyway seemed most important. But maybe that was due to Aruffo's prompting. Wish I could be part of the experiment. That would be fun!

That's all for now. I realize this is old research I'm commenting on and as I read on I'll find that nothing I'm saying is new or all that revealing but at least maybe it confirms (if only anecdotally) existing ideas or research.

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