function of pitches/ training system

Comments and questions about AP Avenue.
Axeman
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function of pitches/ training system

Postby Axeman » Tue Jul 14, 2009 5:21 pm

If pitches are essentially and fundamentally like colors and phonemes, and this explanation of how colors and phonemes are learned is reasonable, then absolute pitch learned by the same processes and mechanisms would demand the same embodiments, namely, environmental objects and melody-words. Perhaps the reason these types of sounds have been considered is that they are indeed, obviously, the sounds you'd want to use-- but they've never worked to teach absolute pitch because training systems have used them inappropriately. If I'm going to develop a training system that works, I need to figure out how to use environmental pitches and melodies in a way that has never been thought of before.

I am taking another stab in the dark here. It seems to me that if environmental sounds and melodies were part of the process of acquiring AP then the function of each pitch is quite artificial and arbitrary. Therefore the function of the pitches in any training system would have to be invented seeing that any real function is not that apparent. The system would have to invent functions that were novel enough to be significant to adult (or other) learners - something like part of a code or series of codes for instance. Another may be to make the pitches correspond to keys that unlock doors or secrets in a game or something with appropriate rewards attached to unlocking and also with repetition of key codes throughout the game.
I read somewhere about the system, used in Japan, of telling people what train stop they are at. It used melodies as signals as a kind of background cue. Kind of like web pages that are designed with particular colour backgrounds to coincide with topics of interest within the site so that the surfer is being guided along the right track almost without thinking about it in any overt kind of way. This may have some kind of use in ear training systems too I'm thinking. Maybe as part of a game there could be environmental signals happening at random at various stages, maybe a bird in a tree whistles a tune (the tune could imbed a note that is being worked on the same way that APA does) as a character is walking along, or a train whistle blows or whatever, then this is incorporated into the clues to unlock specific codes using specific pitches.

Axeman
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Postby Axeman » Tue Jul 14, 2009 5:36 pm

I'm getting carried away now! Imagine using number series codes as a system. Using the duo-decimal (base 12) number system with each pitch representing each of the 12 digits, there could be various tests conducted whereby the listener would have to figure out the series code or the next term in the series. The function of the pitches relates to the series function.

aruffo
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Postby aruffo » Tue Jul 14, 2009 9:53 pm

It seems to me that if environmental sounds and melodies were part of the process of acquiring AP then the function of each pitch is quite artificial and arbitrary. Therefore the function of the pitches in any training system would have to be invented seeing that any real function is not that apparent.

I agree completely.

The trick-- and where I've let my mind rest and stew for the time being-- is figuring out how to make the association self-reinforcing. There must be some way to verify the accuracy of identification without reference to anything outside the "system" of association. For example, in your subway-stop example, a person who thinks "ah, that's my stop" will immediately discover that this is not the case-- without having to hear any other melody to confirm or compare. The mental image of the "correct" subway stop, which is not what is immediately in view, and which has itself (obviously) no melodic component, provides the necessary verification.

It occurs to me that your example may be pointing out a distinction that may not have been made before, between what's usually done-- take a guess and learn if you're wrong-- than what may be desirable, which is to make a choice for the purpose of being right. Similarly, with post-office forms; if you use the green one for international customs and the brown one for delivery confirmation, you will be thinking "international customs" and select a green form as a consequence; you won't see "green" and then decide that it means international customs.

I've also been doing some brief research lately on facial recognition-- one group of writers made the interesting point that failures to identify a familiar face are never based on not recognizing the face. You recognize the face perfectly well-- but the identity of a face is based in its associations (what the person does, how you know them, where you met them, etc) and not at all in what the features look like. The features are merely a clue to identity.

Axeman
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game ideas

Postby Axeman » Tue Sep 15, 2009 11:45 pm

I am just thinking out loud here. Function of pitches could be associated with tasks to be performed such as unlocking a door or fitting a shape into a gap as in the falling brick game that uses pentoniminoes and other polyominos.

What about a game that involves going from room to room, floor to floor (like a hotel or other complex) by unlocking doors using pitch keys, melodies or chords. Inside the room there could be activities to do all based around the pitch assigned to that room. So in the Games Room for example (assigned to a particular pitch) you could play darts and other games and each hit on the board has its corresponding sound. Meantime there is ambient music playing in the background also in the assigned key helping with chroma identification and...

The trick-- and where I've let my mind rest and stew for the time being-- is figuring out how to make the association self-reinforcing. There must be some way to verify the accuracy of identification without reference to anything outside the "system" of association. For example, in your subway-stop example, a person who thinks "ah, that's my stop" will immediately discover that this is not the case-- without having to hear any other melody to confirm or compare.


Other rooms would have their own associated activities and ambient music too.

Axeman
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Using what we know

Postby Axeman » Fri Oct 23, 2009 9:03 pm

The principal difficulty in finding effective concepts is that adults' understanding of sound is not embodied and integral (a bell is F-sharp) but causal and dissociated (a bell produces F-sharp). This means that an adult will not naturally recognize a meaningful difference between two bells that produce different pitches, or between two identical melodies in different keys.(From the main page)

Is their any merit in using this tendency as a tool to help train the ear? I am thinking that you could force the adult to listen for a pitch or melody's uniqueness by for instance taking a well known melody e.g. the current Melody Trigger for C in APA and cutting a bit out at the middle beginning or end. Then the job of the player is to choose from a number of possibilities the best fit. So the question could be just one pitch or a little bit of a melody or sequence of notes.
I hear some one saying that it would be too obvious because of key considerations but it could be mixed up somewhat with context considerations as well. Like for instance, you may have two right anwers in that they are in the right key but if the melody in question was trying to give a mood of say sadness then one would fit better than the other. this links to Chris's idea about music being or signifying emotion.

The pursuit of this observation leads to the question: what does music mean? What is a "musical idea"? What do you "say" with music?

I do have an answer. Although I couldn't begin to conceive the cosmic mystery of what does music mean to humanity? I have a firm opinion of what music, as a language, will communicate: emotion. I've said as much as this before, and I believe I've also clarified my statement to assert that music communicates emotion directly, unambiguously, and objectively. It is a critical mistake to believe that musical communication occurs solely when a listener is made to sympathetically feel an emotion, just as it would be incorrect to believe that you can understand my words only when you agree with me. You can comprehend what I write without adopting my ideas as your own; you may disagree altogether, but you will understand what I'm saying.

You could also mix in other variables like rhythm, timbre, texture and dynamics.

aruffo
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Postby aruffo » Sun Oct 25, 2009 7:23 pm

Hm..! There's something in that. After all, BI_ can be big, bid, bill, bit... each of them presenting an entirely different meaning. Although the specific meaning in each case is its relative function, if that relative function could be associated with the absolute key, some absolute learning might occur.

Axeman
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Music as emotion

Postby Axeman » Fri Jan 29, 2010 8:02 am

Just finished a reading about music and emotion by Nick Zangwill called Music Metaphor and Emotion. (Sorry can;t find the link - email nick.zangwill@durham.ac.uk ). This article talks about the difference between the aesthetic features of music and the emotion metaphors that we use to describe them. It suggests that music is not really emotion but that our response to its intrinsic aesthetic value is described by emotional language i.e metaphorically. His theory describes how we can listen to what we call 'sad' or 'angry' music and yet still derive pleasure from it. The literal emotions of sadness grief etc are not a part of the music just like the sky cannot really be angry even though we cal it that at times, but our response to the aesthetic substance of the music is to describe it as such.
Here are a few quotes because it is 1:45 am and I am not doing the article justice.
The aesthetic metaphor thesis can allow that listening to music causes feel- ings of pleasure and displeasure—sometimes in- tense and ecstatic pleasures and displeasures, and metaphors can describe what generates such plea- sures. Such pleasures and displeasures have the
music as their intentional objects, and such plea- sures are the grounds of judgments of taste (or aesthetic value) about music. However, such plea- sures and displeasures are quite different from emotions, such as anger or pride, which emotion descriptions would describe if taken literally. For, except in very unusual cases (such as when I am the composer), anger or pride would not have the music itself as its object, unlike genuine musical experience; and anger or pride involves normative relations to other mental states, such as beliefs and desires, that genuine musical experience lacks.


If listening to music yields these feelings of plea- sure in the beauty of the music—pleasure that is of an especially valuable sort—then it is understand- able that we value it. And, if substantive features of music are those that make it beautiful, then it is understandable that we value those substantive features and our experiences of them.

The nature and value of music will elude us so long as we are mired in emotion. Once we are liberated from emotion we can see music as a world quite unto itself, a world with features that we describe with emotion metaphors, which may give the music a value that we can experience with intense delight and even ecstasy.

Axeman
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Postby Axeman » Thu Apr 25, 2013 6:24 pm

There is a demigod in the Maori pantheon called Maui (also common across the pacific) who communicated often with his friends the birds. I was thinking that for him to communicate effectively he would have to produce absolute bird calls. This would be equal to giving function to the pitches of his vocal calls in that he would be relaying real messages to specific birds in their respective languages. So that if he spoke to the kereru (wood pigeon) he would be using a certain range of pitches in certain combinations and to the tui a different set. The apparent correctness of the pitches he used would be deduced from whether or not his friends performed the tasks he asked.

Relating this to the train example above... if instead of taking the train to your desired destination and upon hearing the right melody given you realised you were at the right destination, if instead, you had to produce the right melody to be transported there, say, by teleportation, then you would have the same effect as Chris described above. Your immediate view would confirm the correctness of your pitches.
This is the same as operating the computer apps by whistling or singing a a pitch.
I think in a computer program you wouldn't need to be able to produce the actual pitches vocally but the character would produce it (so that it could be heard by the user also) at the push of a button to achieve certain meaningful outcomes.

riham
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Postby riham » Sat Nov 15, 2014 1:09 am

In a perfect world, yes. Intervening factors yet unknown could stall best-laid plans.


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