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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000325.txt from 2004/10

From: "Lelia Loban" <>
Subj: [kl] Flutophones
Date: Sun, 10 Oct 2004 17:24:18 -0400

Edwin Lacy wrote,
>From Leila Loban:
<<<I know it was 1953 because my brother
was a large but not yet crawling baby when
the rest of the family tried out this novelty.
The intonation was so appalling that none
of us could stand it. My baby bother, who
turned out to have absolute pitch, screamed
and thrashed as if he had a million fleas in his
diaper until we stopped passing the Tonette.>>>

>This is very fascinating to me, as I have always
>been interested in the phenomenon of absolute
>pitch. The generally accepted wisdom seems to
>be that what is involved is absolute pitch
>MEMORY. If that is true, then it would be
>unusual for a small child, who presumably had
>not yet been made aware of the relationship
>between the pitches of our musical system
>and their note name designations, to exhibit
>this trait.
>How did his pitch perception manifest itself in
>his later years? Is he now a musician? Did he
>have familiarity with the piano keyboard at an
>early age?

I think memory is exactly how my brother fixed his pitch before he was a
year old, the same way babies learn to recognize familiar faces and voices.
Mom is a former pro contralto and voice teacher. She gave up her career
before we were born, but she sang and sang and sang around the house when
we were kids. She has absolute pitch. It runs in her family. My brother
heard her intonation constantly from the time he was in the womb. He also
heard a lot of other music, both live and recorded, at home.

He had serious talent and a fine voice. He sang and played recorder,
clarinet, bass clarinet and guitar through high school, but he didn't like
to practice. I also suspect that absolute pitch turned out to be more of a
curse than a blessing for him. I remember him constantly complaining about
the piano, the clarinet and various people, especially his sister, playing
out of tune. He quit music completely in college, except for a brief
flirtation with bagpipes in adulthood. Yes, bagpipes. Apparently
something that was way, way out there on a different tuning system bothered
him less than a slightly out-of-tune modern piano!

Leila is my evil twin, btw. She plays the clarinet much better than I do.

Lelia Loban
America can do better: Kerry and Edwards in 2004!

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