Tag Archives: Science

What Musicians Can Tell Us About Dyslexia and the Brain

A team of researchers at Hebrew University in Israel tested the language abilities and basic auditory perception of 52 dyslexic musicians.

What did they find? On most tests of auditory perception, the dyslexic musicians scored as well as their non-dyslexic counterparts, and better than the general population. Where they performed much worse was on tests of auditory working memory, the ability to keep a sound in mind for a short time (typically seconds). In fact, the dyslexic musicians with the poorest working memory tended to have the lowest reading accuracy. Those with better working memory tended to be more accurate.

Isaac Asimov on Education and Computers in 1988

If you don’t know who Isaac Asimov is then go education yourself. He coined the term Robotics, beat the Lord Of The Rings Trilogy, and wrote a bunch of stuff. He also seemed to pretty much predict what we have today. He has some interesting ideas about education that we should pay attention to. He would have been in his 90s now if he had not died of HIV which he had contracted during a triple bypass surgery in 1983. He would be amazed to see what we have done.

Brain Scans and Music

Unlike the other scientific article about music, this article is rather interesting….

In new findings, researchers at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders say they have located the region of the brain — the medial prefrontal cortex — that lights up when musicians improvise. It’s the same area we all use when we’re talking about ourselves — who we are, what makes us tick.

At the same time, he and a colleague found, improvising musicians turn off the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, a portion of the brain linked to planning, careful actions and self-censoring.

Scientists With Too Much Free Time

I wonder why things like this get funded.

John Coltrane and other famed jazz saxophonists hit piercing high notes that amateurs can’t by expertly changing the shape of their vocal tracts, research now reveals.

No shit Sherlock. It’s called having chops. Practicing for a long time.

Untangling this mystery has proven hard, since it is challenging making precise acoustic measurements inside the mouth during playing.

You think? Really? No way.

“It’s wet in the mouth and the acoustic conditions in there are really variable, and it gets really loud in there during playing,” explained researcher Jer-Ming Chen, an acoustician at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia.

No, you think?
Can I get a grant to do pointless research like this? Jer-Ming Chen, why not focus on IMPORTANT SCIENCE? Oh, maybe creating renewable energy, or creating a cure for cancer? No? Too hard? Is that why you had to spend time on this “science”?

Chen added that for pro saxophonists to reach these notes, “they say they have to hear the sound in their head, to kind of get a mental image of the sound. This suggests they have some muscle memory with this tuning. I think that means anyone can learn how to do this, but you need to put in a lot of practice to get that same muscle memory.”

A scientific study which “proves” the obvious. I give you a nice “golf clap” for this. Now go freaking do something worthwhile with science. Geeze.

Resurrecting Performers Via Computer Performance

The NYT has an article entitled ‘Play It Again, Vladimir (via Computer)’ that discusses efforts to transform old recordings into new, computer played performances, by determining how the previous performer made the sounds and redoing it. Further efforts attempt to distill the ‘style’ of a performer and play other scores with the same style. As can be expected, musicologists argue over whether or not the new musical artifact is really ‘a performance’.

Next up, using the genes of dead artists to make current performers, like NSYNC and all those American Idol persons better.

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