[Menvi-discuss] blind musicians with perfect pitch

Jared Rimer - MENVI webmaster menvi-webmaster at menvi.org
Sun Sep 17 12:23:16 EDT 2017


You are definitely not rambling.  Even today, I've still got perfect 
pitch, and my father baught my sister's children recorders.  I have a 
hard time telling what notes those are, as I haven't played recorder 
since I learned it in elementary school, but I can tell perfect pitch on 
a piano or string instrument.  I did remember that you can't blow too 
hard on the mouthpiece of the recorder or it'll squeak.  I think I had 
one of those notes, but i know too, that there are different tuned 
recorders, and each one has different notes for the wholes you need to 
hold down.  Thanks for posting, and feel free to participate at any time 
you wish.

Jared Rimer
Music Education Network for the Visually Impaired
bridging the gap between the blind and music education

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On 9/17/2017 2:48 AM, Beth Smaligo via Menvi-discuss wrote:
> Hello to the discussion group,
> It's been fascinating reading the latest chatter about blind 
> professional orchestral musicians. I'm solid as far as musical 
> comprehension, but as far as execution I wouldn't make the cut for an 
> orchestra now, although I played in a junior orchestra for fourth 
> through eighth graders in seventh and eighth grade. Contra the 
> stereotype, I do not have perfect pitch, at least not anymore. I have 
> always been painfully self-conscious about disclosing what I am about to 
> say, but as it's nothing remotely inappropriate to post publicly, I 
> might as well ditch the introversion and open the floodgate. It would 
> probably have come up one day since my mother, an extremely gifted music 
> educator and informal advocate for blind equality, might have eventually 
> posted as such. It seems apparently that I had perfect pitch until age 
> 7. I cannot recall what that must have been like, nor can I imagine it 
> now hard, as I try, but I must have had it because if you asked, and 
> sometimes when I was younger even when not asked, much to my chagrin at 
> the time, both of my parents would say to certain people and retell me 
> that upon a key being randomly brushed up against or deliberately struck 
> I would immediately invariably pipe up with unerring accuracy its note. 
> We'll never know how I lost it, and I have my limitations (OK I opened 
> the floodgate, but I will not be a research subject), but my mom has 
> this theory that I also discovered that I was different, as in how being 
> blind separated me from the other kids around second grade time because 
> the others didn't absolutely have to run up and touch everything 
> anymore, or at least not nearly as much. This "discovering that I was 
> different," as she terms it, we think psychologically traumatized me, 
> and one of the damages was the loss of this mysterious gift of automatic 
> ability to name notes. I think also in consequence my reliance on 
> braille music is such that I could use some formal ear training. I'd 
> love to learn to improvise in an American folk style kind of way, and I 
> really appreciate jazz, though my tendencies are definitely classical. 
> I'm sorry: perhaps it is that I've just rambled on in a sort of 
> self-pity, though this has certainly not been my intention. I think a 
> lot, often too much, and when I journal privately, I find that my 
> entries are seldom short or without detail. Some of this is also the 
> result of the expansive writing and clarity drilled into an English 
> literature and communication double major (that was my undergrad 
> degree). Anyway, I recently had an almost video game-like dream like a 
> fantasy world recently (and I've had variations of this dream over the 
> years) in which one of the powers I could acquire along the Path to 
> Success in whatever fantasy world my dream had made up, nonspecific as 
> it was that I could ever remember upon awakening, was perfect pitch. I 
> guess then in my dream, and only in those particular fantasy-world 
> dreams, could I have perfect pitch. I've tried, never successfully, to 
> identify random notes by clumsily banging random keys on a piano and 
> recording and then playing back said recording, but only playing back 
> after a day or two so as not to be able to recall, even if unable to 
> identify notes by name, at least the relative non tune I'd "played." Am 
> I making any semblance of sense? Someone was all means please tell me 
> bluntly if I've just confused an entire discussion list with gibberish 
> and made a total idiot of myself. I'm feeling rather foolish posting 
> this. I'll go back to mostly monitoring; over and out.
> Elizabeth [Beth] A. Smaligo, B.A., M.A.
> Sent from my iPhone
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