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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000660.txt from 2002/05

From: w7wright@-----.net (William Wright)
Subj: Re: [kl] Color and pitch? (Was perfect pitch)
Date: Wed, 29 May 2002 18:50:09 -0400

<><> Christina Alexander wrote:
One trumpet student who had learning difficulties made huge all round
scholastic improvement after realising that music was just "a kind of
painting". Math was easy when she understood music and music was her
painting with sound.

I feel a strong connection between language and music. Other people on
this list have dismissed the idea by citing evidence that language and
music are processed in different areas of the brain. However, if
sounds can be linked with colors in some people's minds, why can't
sounds be linked with language in other people's minds? A few
(comparatively speaking) nerve fibers from one area in the brain to
another could be all that is required.

The fact is that all types of thought use (cannot proceed without) cross
talk between sensory areas in our nervous systems. Math and spatial
perception is an obvious and documented example. In philosophy, some
goals are "higher" than others. In rational discussion, "I see what
you mean." "I feel that you are wrong." And so forth.

I hadn't thought of this before, but I know a grade school student who
can't read or write music on a staff because of damage from a brain
hemorrhage. The child has no problem with reading and writing "A0, B0,
... A1, B1, ..." and finding them on the keyboard; but finding them on a
staff doesn't work. Lines and spaces don't "make sense" to the child.
(This is such a revealing phrase: "make sense.") So the therapist is
teaching the child to think of the spaces and lines as colors. The
bottom line is brown because it is the "earth", the next line up is
green because "grass grows on the earth", and so forth up through blue
(the sky) and orange (the sun). On the surface, this appears to be a
simple memory aid by association. [hmmm, a thought is "on the
surface?"], But could this strategy work at a deeper level? Perhaps
it is a 'learned synesthesia'? How does color help the child to
associate spatial coordinates with notes when the same child can't
associate spatial coordinates with letters?

Your example is really interesting. Thank you.

Cheers,
Bill

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