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I'm going tone-deaf..

Melissa 06 Dec 11 - 06:11 PM
Melissa 06 Dec 11 - 08:22 PM
GUEST,leeneia 07 Dec 11 - 10:14 AM
Crowhugger 07 Dec 11 - 10:52 AM
Melissa 07 Dec 11 - 11:17 AM
Lonesome EJ 08 Dec 11 - 01:31 AM
bubblyrat 08 Dec 11 - 04:18 AM
mikesamwild 08 Dec 11 - 06:21 AM
GUEST,leeneia 08 Dec 11 - 09:55 AM
Melissa 08 Dec 11 - 10:47 AM
GUEST,leeneia 08 Dec 11 - 04:14 PM
Crowhugger 08 Dec 11 - 04:21 PM
GUEST,999 11 Dec 11 - 02:52 AM
maeve 11 Dec 11 - 02:53 PM
Melissa 11 Dec 11 - 03:00 PM
Crowhugger 11 Dec 11 - 03:37 PM
Melissa 11 Dec 11 - 06:24 PM
gnu 11 Dec 11 - 06:44 PM
Melissa 11 Dec 11 - 06:46 PM
gnu 11 Dec 11 - 08:53 PM
Melissa 11 Dec 11 - 09:12 PM
Melissa 18 Jan 12 - 03:54 PM
Crowhugger 18 Jan 12 - 04:15 PM
Melissa 18 Jan 12 - 04:26 PM
Melissa 18 Jan 12 - 04:30 PM
maeve 18 Jan 12 - 06:32 PM
Melissa 18 Jan 12 - 06:41 PM
Melissa 28 May 12 - 08:45 PM
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Subject: I'm going tone-deaf..
From: Melissa
Date: 06 Dec 11 - 06:11 PM

After years of wondering about tone-deafness, I seem to be getting the opportunity to learn firsthand. I don't particularly need sympathy or advice..just thought I'd post in case anyone besides me is vaguely interested in the subject.

My process:

It's going in slices.
First, I had a surgery that left me with an exhausted, inconsistent voice that was a lot of work to use. I had no volume, but on good days, I could hear pitch well enough to change keys and do a very little bit of singing. It would have been awful to hear, but the surgery was to fix my arms and I was using guitar for rehab.

Recently, I found that I can not anticipate chords anymore.
When I sing, I can tell that I'm Far Off..but can't figure out how to change my voice to match what I am aiming for..can't really tell WHAT I'm aiming for.
Apparently, my ears are very closely hooked to my voice as far as music goes. I was surprised (horrified!) about that.

I don't like the way music sounds anymore.
It sounds like noise. The way I hear harmonies and instruments working together has changed.

You know how you run a melody through your head..sometimes just because it's nice and sometimes because of earworms?
I can't do that.

You know how one song hits a trigger in your ear/mind and reminds you of another..so that if you sit around singing, you can just go and go and go because music just sort of links to itself if you let it?
That's gone.

I pick up an instrument intending to play whatever I've thought of (since it's rehab, I'm sticking to stuff I know easily) ..and the melody isn't in my head anymore.

I grew up in a musical family.
This is the first time music has been hard for me and I certainly didn't expect my ears to follow my voice downhill.

Weird.
I feel like Algernon.


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Subject: RE: I'm going tone-deaf..
From: Melissa
Date: 06 Dec 11 - 08:22 PM

Does this always happen when voiceboxes are damaged?


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Subject: RE: I'm going tone-deaf..
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 07 Dec 11 - 10:14 AM

These are strange symptoms. I think you should see a neurologist.


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Subject: RE: I'm going tone-deaf..
From: Crowhugger
Date: 07 Dec 11 - 10:52 AM

Agree totally with leeneia. Letting it go uninvestigated seems the high risk approach vs getting it thoroughly checked by someone who has an open mind about it. The seeming relationship between voice and hearing issues may be merely co-incidence of timing, not cause and effect.


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Subject: RE: I'm going tone-deaf..
From: Melissa
Date: 07 Dec 11 - 11:17 AM

The part about the process coming on in segments was meant to be the mildly-interesting part..


I'm not going untreated.
My surgery wasn't too long ago and I was just released by the neurosurgeon in August. Everybody recuperates at different rates and some folks don't have any trouble with their voice afterward..it was/is reasonable for me to give myself a fair chance to recover naturally.
You're right, Crowhugger..it could be coincidental. The ENT will surely be able to sort it out and IF it's coincidence, I'll pop this thread back to the surface after my appt with him..unless I am so completely uninterested in music by then that I don't think of coming back to wrap up the thread.


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Subject: RE: I'm going tone-deaf..
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 08 Dec 11 - 01:31 AM

Sorry to hear it Melissa.


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Subject: RE: I'm going tone-deaf..
From: bubblyrat
Date: 08 Dec 11 - 04:18 AM

I wonder how old you are , Melissa , as it could have some bearing ( don't mean to pry !) . I am finding it increasingly difficult, as I get older ( I am 64) to tune my guitar by ear rather than using pitch-pipes or those dreadful electronic gizmos that many "artistes" insist on leaving grotesquely clamped onto their guitar headstocks.Uggh ! Anyway, I read somewhere recently that some notes become harder to "hear" as one ages. I don't yet have any problems with remembering tunes per se , but I DO have a problem with singing ; I THINK that I am singing something perfectly well, but everyone says that I sound AWFUL and ,well, "tone deaf" , to be honest ! That's hard to bear for anyone who is as musically involved as I am .And I don't have any ENT probs apart from old person's ear-wax !


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Subject: RE: I'm going tone-deaf..
From: mikesamwild
Date: 08 Dec 11 - 06:21 AM

I went to our local Carols at Worrall and was convinced my pitch had gone . Then I found out it was a woman who always sings half a semitone out and we all felt the same ! I nearly gave up.


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Subject: RE: I'm going tone-deaf..
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 08 Dec 11 - 09:55 AM

I think you should print out your first post and show it to the ENT when you have your appointment.

For example, "I don't like the way music sounds anymore. It sounds like noise. The way I hear harmonies and instruments working together has changed."

It's hard for me to believe that this has anything to do with your voicebox.


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Subject: RE: I'm going tone-deaf..
From: Melissa
Date: 08 Dec 11 - 10:47 AM

I'm under 50, bubblyrat. The rest of my hearing seems to be perfectly fine..I can still hear the furnace ticking, cats crunching food several rooms away, gravel cracking when people drive by. As far as I can tell, the only hearing I'm having trouble with is my musical ear (which I'm not entirely convinced is purely ear work..suspect it's not just about the sound)
If it was age related, I think it would happen slowly enough to not notice (IS that how it works?) This has taken about a month.
Ha, I think it's ugly to leave a tuner clamped on while you play! (Besides, mine buzzes and aggravates me when I leave it on)

mikesamwild..I've played with guys whose instruments are off pitch quite a bit (often geezerly fiddlers) and ALWAYS end up trying to tune my guitar because I think it's me. I've never broken a string doing that, but I have come home with some mighty sharp ones after a night of tuning up that flat spot!
That's really not all that fun sometimes..glad it turned out to be a not-quite-on lady instead of the rest of you turning tonedeaf..

leeneia, does that honestly seem like something a musician would forget to mention to the ENT? I'm more concerned about my epiglottis than this (at the moment) but I am pretty sure I'll remember that I detest whatever damn blaring christmas music they have in the lobby.

Thanks LEJ.
It's somewhat awful, but maybe it'll reverse..


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Subject: RE: I'm going tone-deaf..
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 08 Dec 11 - 04:14 PM

Since the average visit with a doc lasts about ten minutes, and doctors routinely interrupt patients within twenty seconds, it can't hurt to take some paperwork along in order to make sure the doc actually hears your concerns.


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Subject: RE: I'm going tone-deaf..
From: Crowhugger
Date: 08 Dec 11 - 04:21 PM

Well all the best of luck in getting it resolved, Melissa. Being the sort who takes small mercies where I can get them, I'm very glad you find it "somewhat awful" and not "devastating."


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Subject: RE: I'm going tone-deaf..
From: GUEST,999
Date: 11 Dec 11 - 02:52 AM

I try to learn something new each day.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tone_deafness


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Subject: RE: I'm going tone-deaf..
From: maeve
Date: 11 Dec 11 - 02:53 PM

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tone_deafness


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Subject: RE: I'm going tone-deaf..
From: Melissa
Date: 11 Dec 11 - 03:00 PM

huh..does that say I was either born amusical or that I had a head injury?


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Subject: RE: I'm going tone-deaf..
From: Crowhugger
Date: 11 Dec 11 - 03:37 PM

Um, yup that's how I read it. And I believe EVERYTHING I read in wikipedia [said with my fingers crossed behind my back].

I know wikipedia is a popular reference but it's not exactly credible; at most use it to find keywords. Search tip for medical info: adding the word 'professor' to your search criteria rules out some but not all junk sites, and brings sites to the forefront that would otherwise be way down the list. Then actually go to sites with maybe NIH or a reputable-university-name.edu in the URL. However, even if it says the same thing, you still have no *useful* information.

For that, please go to your doctor. S/he will know how to take and interpret your history, a crucial step that's lacking with internet self-diagnosis. Better yet, forget the internet until AFTER seeing your doc, and use it to gather info about what you were told, still skipping wikipedia.

(BTW I do think wikipedia is great for what it is, a giant info-chat room: Everyone who thinks they know something and thinks their sources are good can write an article that will then be taken as fact; it can be updated by other chatters who think they know more than the author. That's a cool project, just not my idea of a reliable source.)


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Subject: RE: I'm going tone-deaf..
From: Melissa
Date: 11 Dec 11 - 06:24 PM

999's bright idea of browsing online (funny that I didn't even think of poking around the internet to see if I could learn something about it!) has sent me browsing online..and it looks like wiki is saying the same thing as both reputable-seeming and junk-like sites.
You're apparently either born with it or it follows head trauma.

The ENT I'll be seeing was chosen by the nurse who set up the appt for me. She said he will scope my throat during my initial appointment if he thinks it needs done..which kind of creeps me out, but it's a relief to my poor broken glottal flap thingy.
Maybe he'll be set up to do tone deaf testing.

It seems odd that my music-memory still works. My timing is still good and I can fake well enough to seem like I'm still musical. That's a pretty weird thing to fake!

I can still hear whether tones match or are higher/lower.
I played with a group last weekend and couldn't hear whether I was matching everyone else..I relied on my eye and memory instead of my ear and instinct.

Here's an online test I ran across (and did not do..I don't have a headset)
are you tonedeaf too?


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Subject: RE: I'm going tone-deaf..
From: gnu
Date: 11 Dec 11 - 06:44 PM

I shall take tests as soon as I am able to do so. I KNOW this is part of my recent problems. Thanks.


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Subject: RE: I'm going tone-deaf..
From: Melissa
Date: 11 Dec 11 - 06:46 PM

You're recently tone deaf, gnu?


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Subject: RE: I'm going tone-deaf..
From: gnu
Date: 11 Dec 11 - 08:53 PM

The operation I had on June 2 cleared up problems with my right ear to a certain extent but I am still having problems with my left ear. Essentially... I have been tone deaf since about 2005. When yer ears get blocked up with chronic infection from the parotid glands... gee, I dunno.... I am not a doc. All I know it that I can't hear shit some days. I used to be able to sing fairly well. Not so much after my vocal cords were cut up, but I could sing some songs.


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Subject: RE: I'm going tone-deaf..
From: Melissa
Date: 11 Dec 11 - 09:12 PM

Are you on a waiting list to get in to an ENT, gnu?


I was going to think it was pretty damn weird if yours came from having a crickled ulnar nerve since that's how my grim descent started..


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Subject: RE: I'm going tone-deaf..
From: Melissa
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 03:54 PM

Just checking back to say that the ENT believes my problem is probably from my vagus nerve being strained during surgery.

My tonedeafness seems to be slowly reversing. Music sounds more musical to me now and I've been able to learn/play a few songs I never tried before.
Still no singing (although I do have enough volume/air now) I still sound tonedeaf when I try.


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Subject: RE: I'm going tone-deaf..
From: Crowhugger
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 04:15 PM

I'm delighted to know it is slowly reversing!!

When you say you sound tonedeaf when you try to sing, I just wondered: Is that how it sounds to YOU or to OTHERS?


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Subject: RE: I'm going tone-deaf..
From: Melissa
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 04:26 PM

To me.
I'm too self-conscious about it to sing outside of the house.


I was trying to sing some old tv themes at a family gathering a while back so my sibs could remember the shows..and they were surprised enough at my singing that they politely ran away and quit talking about childhood tv shows. So, I'm pretty sure it's not just my perception.
They watch me with morbid fascination when I've got an instrument in my hand now..


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Subject: RE: I'm going tone-deaf..
From: Melissa
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 04:30 PM

The ENT ran a scope and showed me pics of my voicebox..one side is flappy. I can talk now and have fairly normal inflections (which is new within the last couple weeks) I can raise my voice or speak quietly--but I sure can't sing.


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Subject: RE: I'm going tone-deaf..
From: maeve
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 06:32 PM

Patience, Melissa. You're making great headway. You might look up some of Alice's singing threads- looking particularly for warm-ups. I'm happy for your progress!


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Subject: RE: I'm going tone-deaf..
From: Melissa
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 06:41 PM

Alice's singing threads have a LOT of really good stuff in them! I poke my eyeballs around in them whenever I think of it..and always see things I've missed. I figure when (if) my voice is really starting to come back, that's where I will find what I need.

ENT talked about a couple things that could be done to perk my cords and he gave me the option of being forwarded to a vocal specialist in a couple weeks if I'm not doing as well as I think I should.
I was pleased with that ENT visit (but the scope was not pleasant and the pics were ugly!)

I don't know that I'm making particularly great headway, but at least I seem to have caught an upswing and I have a good string of doctors to pester whenever I feel feisty about proactivism..


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Subject: RE: I'm going tone-deaf..
From: Melissa
Date: 28 May 12 - 08:45 PM

Update:
I can sort of carry a tune now..almost (but not consistently)
My range is embarrassingly tiny and so is my breath, BUT, I got my crack back! I think I'm going to be able to yodel again when/if these improvements keep coming..

whew


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