Better Ears

Jul 31, 2020

Credit SC Public Radio/Mary Noble Ours

Every musician will tell you that there are some musicians who just seem to have better ears than others do. We’re really talking about the brain, rather than the actual organ of hearing, but in any case from the same sounds others hear, some people are able to extract more information, and they’re able both to process and to store that information faster, more accurately, and more efficiently. Yesterday I talked about ear training courses for musicians, and rigorous training can certainly lead to the development of great skills in hearing, great refinements. But individual differences do remain. Take perfect pitch, for example, also called absolute pitch. Play any note on the piano for a person with perfect pitch and he can tell you what note it is. Ask a person with perfect pitch to sing a B-flat, or a C-sharp, and he can do it. Some have it, some don’t. And training has never been able to fully explain it.

This has been A Minute with Miles – a production of South Carolina Public Radio, made possible by the J.M. Smith Corporation.