The end of your research?

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WildcatShred
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The end of your research?

Post by WildcatShred » Mon Dec 21, 2009 2:30 pm

Chris,

At the end of section 17 you say: "Next, I take a shot at explaining the journey."

Now that we know what perfect pitch "is" and what it "isn't" have you continued to research on how to get there?

Do you have anything to follow up the research already posted on the site?

aruffo
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Post by aruffo » Mon Dec 21, 2009 7:10 pm

No and yes. No, I have nothing new to show. Yes, I know what I want to do next. The magnitude of the undertaking has dissuaded me from taking the first few steps of it until I have the resources (in time, money, or personnel) to make it happen. The front-pager is the "next" which follows the end you quote there.

Short version:
For kids, I already have the We Hear and Play system. I have recieved praise and encouraging reports from parents who use the materials, but I need to mount a practical, structured, well-documented pilot program.

For adults, I need to delve deeply into concept-formation science and find out how to achieve categorical perception of pitch. The real puzzler is how to create a unique, objective, recognizable identifier for each category. How to form unidimensional sound-concepts that can be empirically tested in multiple sense modalities and-- most importantly-- are consistently so in real life?


Which reminds me... I can't now remember if there are any other unidimensional phenomena that we judge categorically. Color is the obvious one... but is it the only example? I can't think of one off the top of my head. Sight (color), sound (pitch)... touch? Taste? I suppose if there is one type of input per sense, only one manifestation of categorical judgment is possible.

WildcatShred
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TRT and Perfect Pitch

Post by WildcatShred » Wed Apr 21, 2010 9:07 pm

Chris,

I've recently developed some hyperacusis and tinnitus. In trying to figure out how to cope with it, I've been reading a lot about Tinnitus Retraining Therapy. While not directly related to the acquisition of perfect pitch, what I'm reading tends to indicate that our brains are generally more reprogrammable than previously thought as adults, especially with respect to our auditory systems. I'm not yet educated enough on the subject to give you much insight but I expect to be in the coming weeks. Do you know about TRT?

aruffo
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Post by aruffo » Thu Apr 22, 2010 6:29 pm

I've never heard of it-- but since I have it myself (fortunately, it's not intrusive, but it is omnipresent) I'll be glad to hear whatever you find out...

WildcatShred
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Post by WildcatShred » Sat Apr 24, 2010 7:17 pm

Well....

The premises of TRT are as follows:

1. Everyone, when subjected to silence for a period of time, will begin to experience ringing in their ears. There is neurological activity going on in the auditory nervous system, even when things are silent. that activity is just coded as silence and interpreted as such within the auditory cortex.

2. Many people experience a ringing in the ears without necessarily having damage to the cochlea, although tinnitus does usually accompany cochlear damage. Even for sufferers of hyperacusis and tinnitus who DO have cochlear damage, the "suffering" is psychological.

3. We crave silence, because we are conditioned to it as children. Evolutionarily, silence is unnatural....our nervous systems are made to interpret silence as BAD, because it usually means a predator is sneaking up on us. Thus, our senses all experience a higher state of awareness in silence. This is why tinnitus occurs in silence in people who don't know themselves to already be tinnitus sufferers, and is more prevalent for those who already experience it.

The difference between people who suffer from tinnitus, and those who have it but do not...is that the sufferer's brain interprets the ringing as a sound that is important, and thus the person grants it their attention.



So.....What is TRT?

An individual is outfitted with a device to wear on their ear for a given period of time each day over a period of 6-12 months which emits a broadband noise (i.e. white noise) at a barely audible volume, such that it does not serve to mask the tinnitus. Also, an individual subjects themselves to noise enhancement 24 hours a day (including during sleep)...where there is some sort of sound occurring all the time in that person's environment. The individual also undergoes psychological counseling throughout the process, as their progress is mapped.

At the end of treatment, tinnitus disappears for many sufferers and for those whom it does not disappear altogether, it no longer bothers them...and they don't notice it unless they intentionally focus their attention on it.

80% of patients report recovery from tinnitus suffering with TRT.





Why does it work?


Well....our brain interprets the ringing as IMPORTANT, and we can't help but be bothered by it. Over the 6-12 months of TRT, the brain remains in a state of higher plasticity without experiencing silence and rewires itself to no longer be aware of the empty signal from the ears.



How do I view this as relating to perfect pitch?


Well.....isn't perfect pitch perception all about convincing the brain that the characteristics of a certain note ARE IMPORTANT and need to be remembered? Isn't the reason we don't keep our perfect pitch as we grow up that our brains are not taught to identify and retain the different characteristics between different notes.

Our bodies (including our brains) are as efficient as possible, so if there is something it doesn't think it needs to be aware of...it generally will not be aware of it.


If TRT can convince our brains that a horrendous ringing sensation in our heads is so unimportant that it no longer even registers with it, shouldn't we be able to convince it that other sorts of signals ARE? This is the good news.


The bad news is that, it is not JUST a cognitive/conscious process....like studying for a test. In order for our brains to be rewired in such a way they have to be CONDITIONED subconsciously and TAUGHT consciously.

BUT....it does appear to be possible that the adult auditory cortex is more plastic than we previously thought.

lorelei
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Post by lorelei » Tue Jul 06, 2010 11:49 am

T
he bad news is that, it is not JUST a cognitive/conscious process....like studying for a test. In order for our brains to be rewired in such a way they have to be CONDITIONED subconsciously and TAUGHT consciously.
Yes! I agree with this completely, as AP is not a completely concious thing for those who have it. Most of the time you don't pay attention to it, like you don't pay attention to "that bedspread is white, the walls are white, the floor is gray, the rug is blue, etc." I think if something can be developed to unconciously wire peoples' brains while they do ear training, AP could be developed. Question is, how?

BigRed
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Post by BigRed » Tue Jul 06, 2010 10:01 pm

I'm not really sure how you would go about conditioning the brain subconsciously. However, any skill becomes a subconscious affair once a certain level of mastery is attained. And once they've reached that point, a person training to further improve that skill may be doing exactly that.

To a certain extent, this effect is already present within APA. And it's probably also present within any training program which allows a fast pace to be maintained.

Sometimes, when I'm flying along at a fast pace, I go into a "zone". It's been happening with greater and greater frequency and duration as I've improved. I've recently restarted the whole game from the very beginning, and in just 3 days, I've gotten back to avenue 140. While in this zone, I do not hear the 3 or 4 note arpeggios in a melodic way, but rather in a harmonic way.

I could tell you whether or not a "C" is present within a particular chord (egg). But I cannot tell you which specific note of the sequence (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th) was the letter "C"! The only way I could accomplish that would be to slow down and actually think about it, thus breaking my zone (and sometimes also my winning streak)!

It's possible that people with AP are in a permanent zone. I believe that they have actually unconsciously practiced this skill every time they've used it. They have relied upon this skill their entire lives (instead of RP, like us regular mortals). To them, it's become so insanely easy to identify notes without a reference that they don't even have to think about it. Which would explain why it is subconscious. It is instantaneous. They have achieved a state of "unconscious-competence"!

However, it's clear that those who have had (and used) AP since childhood have achieved a much higher level of pitch-recognition than I currently possess (at least for now, anyway.) Because of this, they can actually name each individual tone of a chord, without it distracting or confusing them, or messing them up in any way.

Of course, you could always attempt to augment this natural practice process via meditation, trance-like states, hypnosis, playing a recording of a single tone repeatedly during sleep, writing out and vocalizing "Positive Affirmations", ingesting psychiatric drugs, and the like. These methods are about as subconscious as it gets, although a tad outlandish. But I'm not against trying anything which could possibly help. (As long as it doesn't hurt.)
Last edited by BigRed on Sat Jul 10, 2010 10:00 am, edited 5 times in total.

BigRed
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Post by BigRed » Tue Jul 06, 2010 10:39 pm

Relying upon AP as their primary listening method is (in some ways) superior. Sort of like someone who grew up speed-reading (via evelyn wood or some such method) rather than using the "regular" subvocal linear method first for an extended period of time. But I really don't think we're all that different from one another, fundamentally. Hypothetically, all else being equal, everyone posseses the same infinite potential. But all else is not equal: some people have head starts -- and others excuses!

A comparison can be made to those who study any advanced skill for a long time, and began doing so in their childhoods -- Martial arts, speed-reading, typing, polyglotism.

It's possible that the reason everyone who begins late fails, is that they simply give up due to the seeming lack of progress and daunting nature of the task. Perhaps this is because the longer you wait to begin learning something, the longer it takes to learn it -- thus placing "late starters" at a double disadvantage.

And of course, they say things to themselves along the lines of:

"At this rate, I'll die before I make any noticeable progress"
"I don't have time to practice everyday"
"AP is just a party trick"
"I have time to practice AP, but then I'd have less time left to spend on practicing my instrument and/or song composition"
"You gotta be born with it"
"Perfect Pitch is a myth" (it is, actually)
"It simply wasn't meant to be..."
"etc"

And so they move on to what they percieve to be bigger and better things. Marriage, mortgages, job, taxes, dentist appointment, the ball game's on later, I've gotta go to that party this weekend, etc.

OK. I'm digressing, but I can't sleep, so I need to keep on typing. Forgive me. :P

Also, I wonder if the specific part of the brain used for a given task is in any way correlated to the difficulty (real or percieved)?

Brain scans have shown that late and early AP learners use different parts of their brains. The brain maintains plasticity into adulthood. So if difficulty does factor in, hypothetically, those brain scan differences may actually fade over the years, as their pitch recognition skills improve. But as we know, few people stick it out over the long haul, and with the ferocious determination necessary.

I haven't actually looked at any of the studies which compared brain scans, so I'm not sure how much this was factored in? How many people were involved? Were they seperated into different groups based on how long they had been undergoing absolute-pitch training? How much progress they had made? Or was it simply one group of late-learned (partial) AP possessors vs. another group of early-learned AP possessors, without regard to who was a noob, rookie, veteran?

BigRed
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Post by BigRed » Wed Jul 07, 2010 6:24 pm

I really like the following quote, which I found recently at: http://www.fortunecity.com/emachines/e1 ... tnote.html
...[Diana] Deutsch predicts that further studies will reveal absolute pitch-in its imperfect, latent form-inside all of us. "The Western emphasis on relative pitch simply obscures it," she contends. "It's very likely that scientists will end up concluding that we're all born with the potential to acquire very fine-grained absolute pitch. It's really just a matter of life getting in the way!"
Some of the info on this webpage suggests that as your recognition skills improve (and becomes more instantaneous, subconcious, and based upon long-term memory), your brain activity for pitch recognition should hypothetically move to a different area. But it doesn't mention whether or not this has actually been shown to be the case.

When I get a little time, I'm going to do some Google searches for the study(ies) that this article quotes, such as the 1998 study by Robert Zattorre. And the one led by musicologist Laura Bischoff of Shepherd College in West Virginia. Hopefully, I'll find some pdf files, with more of the nitty gritty. I'll let ya' know what I find!

BigRed
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Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 11:04 pm

Post by BigRed » Wed Jul 07, 2010 7:18 pm

BTW: Sorry if the length of the last few posts have made them seem like rants --I simply needed plenty of sentences to get my incoherent ideas across. (I can assure you they were not fueled by passionate emotions, but rather alcohol and insomnia. lol) :P

I think I'll go play APA some now. :D

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

Post by lorelei » Thu Jul 08, 2010 6:56 am

Sometimes, when I'm flying along at a fast pace, I go into a "zone". It's been happening with greater and greater frequency and duration as I've improved. I've recently restarted the whole game from the very beginning, and in just 3 days, I've gotten back to avenue 140. While in this zone, I do not hear the 3 or 4 note arpeggios in a melodic way, but rather in a harmonic way... It's possible that people with AP are in a permanent zone. They have relied upon this skill their entire lives (instead of RP, like us regular mortals). To them, it's become so insanely easy to identify notes without a reference that they don't even have to think about it. Which would explain why it is subconscious. It is instantaneous. They have achieved a state of "unconscious-competence"!
I think it's something along the lines of this, because as soon as you think about it, bam, you know what it is. I also think you're going in the right direction. Don't break your zone. And once this zone becomes more stable, then you can try to think about what specific note of a chord is which note. Get it stable for all your notes.

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