Ear for music



Musical hearing

is a set of abilities necessary for composing, performing and actively perceiving music. Musical hearing implies high subtlety of perception as separate musical elements or qualities of musical sounds (height, loudness, timbre), and functional connections between them in a musical work (fretful feeling, sense of rhythm).
Among the various types of musical ear, allocated according to different signs, the most important are:
absolute hearing – the ability to determine the absolute height of musical sounds, not comparing them with the standard;
relative hearing – the ability to identify and reproduce pitch-related relationships in melody, chords, intervals, etc.;
internal hearing – the ability for a clear mental representation (for example, by musical notation or from memory) of individual sounds, melodic and harmonious constructions, whole musical pieces;
intonational hearing – the ability to hear the expression of music, to reveal the structures of communication laid in it.
The development of musical ear is a special discipline – solfeggio, but the ear for music is developed primarily in the process of musical activity.

Ear for music


At different ages, people hear music in different ways.

It’s true. The child is able to distinguish the sound with a frequency of up to 30,000 vibrations per second, but in a teenager (to twenty years old) this figure is 20,000 oscillations per second, and by the age of sixty it is reduced to 12,000 oscillations per second. A good music center provides a signal with a frequency of up to 25,000 vibrations per second. That is, people older than sixty can no longer appreciate all its advantages, they simply will not hear the full breadth of the range of sounds.

It does not matter at what age to begin to train your ears.

Wrong. American researchers have found that the greatest percentage of people with absolute hearing is observed in those who began to study music between 4 and 5 years of life. And among those who started playing music after 8 years, people with an absolute hearing almost never occurs.

Men and women hear the same music.

In fact, women hear better than men. The range of frequencies perceived by the female ear is much wider than that of men. They more accurately perceive high sounds, better distinguish tonalities, intonations. In addition, the female hearing is not dulled before the age of 38, and for men this process begins with 32 years.

The presence of a musical ear does not depend on the language spoken by the person.

Wrong. This was proved by a researcher from the University of California, comparing the data of 115 American and 88 Chinese music students. The Chinese language is tonal. This is the name of a group of languages ​​in which, depending on intonation, the same word can acquire several (up to ten) values. English is not a tonal one. The subjects studied absolute hearing. They had to distinguish between sounds that differed by only 6% in frequency. The results are impressive. 60% of Chinese and only 14% of Americans coped with the test for absolute hearing. The researcher explained this by saying that the Chinese language is more melodic, and the Chinese are accustomed to distinguishing a greater number of sound frequencies from birth. Thus, if a person’s language is musical – with a high probability he will have an absolute musical ear.

A melody, heard at least once, is stored in our brains for life.

It’s true. American scientists have discovered a zone of the cerebral cortex, responsible for musical memories. This is the same auditory zone of the cerebral cortex, which is responsible for the perception of music. It turns out that it is enough for us to hear at least once a melody or a song, as it already exists in this auditory zone. After that, even if we do not hear the melody or song heard, the auditory zone can still extract it from its “archives” and lose it in our brain “from memory”. The whole question is how deeply this melody is hidden.Favorite and often audible compositions are stored in short-term memory. A long-heard or heard rarely melodies are deposited in the “closets” of long-term memory. Nevertheless, any event or sound sequence can suddenly cause our memory to extract these forgotten melodies from their “bins” and to lose them in our brain.

Ear for music

Musical hearing is inherited.

This opinion has existed for a long time and is widespread. But only recently scientists were able to scientifically justify it. The researchers found that people without musical ear in the lower frontal gyrus of the right hemisphere contain less white matter than those who perceive and reproduce melodies well. It is possible that this physiological feature is genetically determined.

Animals do not have a musical ear.

They just hear the music differently. Animals perceive much more audio frequencies. And if people are able to catch up to 30,000 vibrations per second, then dogs, for example, record a sound having a frequency of 50,000 to 100,000 oscillations per second, that is, even ultrasound is captured. Although the animals have a sense of tact, however, our pets can not perceive the melody. That is, they do not combine chord combinations of sounds in a certain sequence, called a melody. Music perceives animals only as a set of sounds, some of which are regarded as signals of the animal world.

Musical hearing is an ability that is given from above and which can not be developed.

Wrong. Those who entered the music school probably remember that they were asked not only to sing, but also to tap the melody (for example, with a pencil on the table top). It is explained simply. Teachers wanted to assess the presence of the incoming sense of tact. It turns out that it is the sense of tact that is given (or not given) to us from birth, and it is impossible to develop it. And if a person does not have it, then the teachers of music can not teach him anything. By the way, the percentage of people who lack the sense of tact is very small. But all the rest can be taught, including a musical ear, there would be a desire.

Musical hearing is a rarity.

Wrong. In fact, any person who is able to speak and perceive speech, has it. After all, in order to talk, we must distinguish between sounds in height, volume, timbre and intonation. It is these skills that are included in the concept of musical ear. That is, almost all people have a musical ear. The only question is, what kind of musical ear do they have? Absolute or internal? The highest stage of development of musical ear is an absolute hearing. It is revealed only as a result of playing music (playing a musical instrument). For a long time it was believed that it was not amenable to development, but now the techniques for developing absolute hearing are known. The lowest level of hearing development is the inner ear, not coordinated with the voice. A person who has such a hearing can distinguish melodies, reproduce them from memory, but not sing. The absence of a musical ear is called the clinical level of hearing development. Only 5% of people have it.

Ear for music

Those who have a musical ear can sing well.

It’s true, but only partly. To sing well, there is not enough to have a musical ear. It is also necessary to be able to control your voice, vocal cords. And this is a skill that is acquired in the learning process. Almost every person can hear a falsity in singing, but not everyone can sing it himself. And often those who sing, it seems that they are singing without hypocrisy, but those around them notice all their mistakes. This is explained by the fact that each person listens to himself with his inner ear and as a result hears not what the others hear. So a newcomer may well not notice that he does not fall into the notes. In fact, in order to sing well, it is enough to have only a harmonious hearing. This level of development of hearing is considered one of the lowest.This is called the ability to hear a melody and play it in a voice. And yet, its development is possible even with the initial lack of such ability. That is, to engage in music, and achieve this result, 95% of people can. And the more engaged in music, the more will develop and the musical ear. Up to absolute – there are no limits to perfection. The main thing is to have a desire and not to doubt your abilities!



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