Some observations about APA

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Bouchu
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Sep 20, 2011 5:55 am
Location: Finland

Some observations about APA

Postby Bouchu » Tue Sep 20, 2011 1:38 pm

Hi all. I have been interested in AP as long as I can remember. I do not possess much musical talent, (as evidenced by my slow progress in learing to play the guitar), but believe that it is beneficial to practice a skill one is not good at. When things are not easy or do not come natuarally, much more attention must be paid to the learning process itself and the various learning methods.

With this in mind, I downloaded the APA demo and started practising. It took a while to get a hang of the game, but then strange things started to happen:

After playing APA for two days, about two hours a day, I began to feel the C:ness of the C in the sound samples. It was a physical feeling - whenever I heard a C, I briefly felt as I had suddendly fallen downwards, like in a roller coaster. The C did not sound like a tone, it was someting else, an entity, and it instantly triggered a physical experience. There was no guesswork involved, a C just stood out. I think I made it to Avenue 5 until things got too complex and I somehow fell back to guessing and getting things wrong.

Later that day, I went for a ride in my car. Listening to the sound of the car engine, the tires and the wind, I suddendy became aware of C, playing in my head, more to my right ear than my left, somehow superimposed on the white noise of tires and wind and the roar of the engine. I was a very strong feeling, not tinnitus, but something else, a vibrant, luscious, beautiful C, just splendidly sounding itself there in my mind.

I was exhilarated and a bit puzzled too, and turned on the radio. A station was playing classical music, and at some point among the stream of music, a C major chord stood out. I was absolutely certain, and still am, that it indeed was a C major chord. The C was still playing in my mind as I reached my destination, and proceeded directly to a keyboard that fortunately was there. And sure enough, the tone indeed was exactly C, I could verify it with the keyboard. Playing just the C's in different octaves was tremendously pleasant.

Later that day, the feeling subsided, and in the following days it became very difficult to make any progress in the game. I has been a month since, and the C:ness has not come back, but I have since played the game intermittently. I am currently in Avenue 14 and can discern the C fairly reliably in many chords too.

Here are some thoughts as to what neural phenomena could have triggered the feeling of C playing in my head. I am sure all of you have at some point in your lives done something repetitive, that is both monotonous, but has some variety within that monotony. An example would be picking blueberries (like I have done in many occasions), or maybe sorting laundry rolling past on a conveyor belt (like a friend of mine did in a summer job). Now, when I went to bed and closed my eyes, I could see an endless amount of blueberries and shrubs drifting past my eyes, always similar, but always different at the same time. Likewise, my friend saw laundry rolling by. This phenomenon is annoying, but it also goes away quickly.

Now, could it be that my initial strong reaction to APA was analogous to the visions of blueberries and laundry? APA is both repetitive, the C tone stays the same, but there is enough variety to keep the mind from getting bored. Maybe this combination of repetition-but-variety does something to the brain, that then repeats the patters it has been exposed to even after the original stimulus is gone.

Is there a connection to AP in the phenomenon I described? Possibly not, but the experience definitely encouraged me to experiment further with APA.

aruffo
Site Admin
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Joined: Tue Dec 14, 2004 12:09 pm
Location: Evanston, IL

Postby aruffo » Thu Sep 22, 2011 9:41 pm

I empathize-- that happened to me with A-flat at one point. But it is elusive, as you say. I must figure out how to get it to stay!

josh
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Sep 17, 2011 2:25 pm

Postby josh » Fri Sep 23, 2011 10:32 am

aruffo, do you keep any kind of journal on the effect using APA has had on you? Especially musically? Since you're probably the longest user, it'd be interesting to see what someone might expect over the long haul. I've heard a lot of short term reports, but I haven't run into anyone saying that this sort of practice has had a sustained effect on making music.

Axeman
Posts: 151
Joined: Wed Jul 20, 2005 4:20 pm
Location: New Zealand

Postby Axeman » Fri Sep 23, 2011 6:58 pm

I have had a similar experience. When I went to work once in a factory making kitchen modules the foreman was into classical music and would have nothing else on the radio while we were working. the first few nights i dreamt classical music. It was a beautiful thing. all the melodies were perfect. It was just like listening to the radio.
When I first played APA i had the same experience of the C note jumping out at me in lots of different things I heard around me. It still happens with the G note quite often with me too. I think that is a note that a lot of guitarists get used to hearing and the apa game only reinforced that with me. Also the bell / horn at school where i work now is G and when I teach the recorder one of the first few notes is the same G so that note is always being reinforced for me.
An exercise that Bruce Clark's guitar method recomends for developing listening skills or what he called pitch memory was like this:
take a note and play it once while listening to it until it dies away. then go make a coffee or do some exercises then come back and see if you can sing it. According to my guitar teacher who studied with Clark, he could hear what pitch a door creaking would make.

aruffo
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Location: Evanston, IL

Postby aruffo » Fri Sep 23, 2011 10:14 pm

I don't currenlty keep a journal, no. The PhD program I've been in put massive skids on the AP work. Things are looking up, though. I've finally submitted an AP-themed manuscript to Music Perception and am working on a follow-up.

Bouchu
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Sep 20, 2011 5:55 am
Location: Finland

Re: Some observations about APA

Postby Bouchu » Tue Oct 18, 2011 1:45 pm

A quick update: I trained very intensively with APA, straining to hear the C in the more complex chords.

Then I quit for several weeks. What was odd was that during this break, the C note started occasionally jumping at me from songs, and the phenomenon gradually became stronger and stronger as time passed. It was very apparent with long violin-like sounds. It was as if my brain was rewiring itself after a strong stimulus.

I have begun training with APA again, let's see what happens.

[/i]

beppeguitar
Posts: 8
Joined: Mon Nov 03, 2008 4:25 am

Postby beppeguitar » Mon Jan 02, 2012 11:48 am

I just wanted to say that I had the same experience of Bouchu.
I've been using ETC for four years.
That experience, in any case, didn't came from APA,which greatly helped me with relative pitch, but from my cellular phone. At least I suspect so.

What I did was setting the ringtone to a D played by the piano. After a few
weeks, I tell you, I was hearing the sound in my head. But that became
concrete when I was listening to the radio. I clearly heard a D coming
out from a Dire Straits song. I've been struggling for years to gain perfect
pitch and that was the closest experience I had.
When I changed ringtone that feeling went fading away, but having tried almost all method around (even random experiments, like that), I can
say that I triggered something and it was working. Partially, temporarily,
but working.

RockofStrength
Posts: 31
Joined: Thu Jan 07, 2010 11:55 am

Postby RockofStrength » Mon Jan 16, 2012 8:29 pm

I have noticed as well that ringtones become extremely recognizable in an absolute sense. It's probably because that automatic recognition is deemed necessary by the subconscious mind.

lorelei
Posts: 221
Joined: Sat Mar 20, 2010 7:36 am

Postby lorelei » Mon Jan 16, 2012 11:33 pm

I have noticed as well that ringtones become extremely recognizable in an absolute sense. It's probably because that automatic recognition is deemed necessary by the subconscious mind.

That often happens to me as well. At one point, I had Ravel's bolero as my ringtone, so anything that started on a C octave (sometimes even everyday noises like squealing of brakes or car horns) got me thinking my phone was ringing... I would get weird looks sometimes.

beppeguitar
Posts: 8
Joined: Mon Nov 03, 2008 4:25 am

Postby beppeguitar » Mon Mar 05, 2012 3:47 am

What happened to the constant search for the holy grail? I am guitarist, and I was given so much inspiration by the absolute pitch articles.
It's a lot of times that I read "days of future present", when I connect to the site, hoping, that there is something new.
I've been training for years, and no way I'm giving up. I don't have it, that's for sure, but something in my hearing is getting better. And in june I'll be a certified conservatory musician.
I hope that Chris is going to resume his search.

aruffo
Site Admin
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Joined: Tue Dec 14, 2004 12:09 pm
Location: Evanston, IL

Postby aruffo » Tue Mar 06, 2012 2:57 am

Oh yes. Dormant for a long time as I pursue my PhD, but definitely not forgotten.

beppeguitar
Posts: 8
Joined: Mon Nov 03, 2008 4:25 am

Postby beppeguitar » Tue Mar 13, 2012 2:54 am

Glad to hear that. Looking forward to hear some news.


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