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Musical ability and hallucinations

Jack Campin 10 Jan 18 - 06:05 AM
Richard Mellish 10 Jan 18 - 06:40 AM
Doug Chadwick 10 Jan 18 - 08:49 AM
Jackaroodave 10 Jan 18 - 10:47 AM
punkfolkrocker 10 Jan 18 - 10:55 AM
Jackaroodave 10 Jan 18 - 11:13 AM
Mr Red 10 Jan 18 - 12:03 PM
Jos 10 Jan 18 - 12:05 PM
Mr Red 11 Jan 18 - 07:08 AM
Phil Cooper 11 Jan 18 - 09:26 AM
punkfolkrocker 11 Jan 18 - 09:44 AM
Donuel 11 Jan 18 - 01:46 PM
punkfolkrocker 11 Jan 18 - 01:55 PM
Helen 11 Jan 18 - 02:25 PM
GUEST,Dave Hunt 12 Jan 18 - 10:51 AM
Mooh 13 Jan 18 - 08:56 AM
Jackaroodave 13 Jan 18 - 09:23 AM
John MacKenzie 13 Jan 18 - 12:39 PM
Helen 13 Jan 18 - 03:17 PM
Mr Red 14 Jan 18 - 04:51 AM
GUEST,ripov 15 Jan 18 - 07:11 PM
leeneia 15 Jan 18 - 10:21 PM
Mr Red 17 Jan 18 - 03:39 AM
Jackaroodave 17 Jan 18 - 08:23 AM
GUEST,Some bloke 17 Jan 18 - 11:25 AM
Jos 17 Jan 18 - 12:43 PM
Jackaroodave 17 Jan 18 - 02:01 PM
Jos 17 Jan 18 - 04:00 PM
leeneia 17 Jan 18 - 05:04 PM
Jackaroodave 17 Jan 18 - 05:12 PM
GUEST,NightWing, who is at work at the moment 17 Jan 18 - 10:45 PM
leeneia 18 Jan 18 - 01:42 AM
Jos 18 Jan 18 - 02:41 AM
Mo the caller 18 Jan 18 - 08:44 AM
Mo the caller 18 Jan 18 - 09:05 AM
Dave the Gnome 18 Jan 18 - 09:33 AM
Nigel Paterson 18 Jan 18 - 11:49 AM
leeneia 18 Jan 18 - 12:19 PM
GUEST,ripov 18 Jan 18 - 06:47 PM
GUEST,ripov 18 Jan 18 - 06:59 PM
BTMP 19 Jan 18 - 11:40 AM
leeneia 19 Jan 18 - 05:10 PM
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Subject: Musical ability and hallucinations
From: Jack Campin
Date: 10 Jan 18 - 06:05 AM

This is a pretty strange connection. Musical ability makes you less likely to hear voices:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/12/171211140832.htm


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Subject: RE: Musical ability and hallucinations
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 10 Jan 18 - 06:40 AM

Playing most kinds of musical instrument requires strong co-ordination of the movements of one's left and right hands; which of course are controlled by opposite hemispheres of the brain. That means a lot of traffic across the corpus callosum. Whether good connections are a cause or a consequence of playing ability remains to be seen.


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Subject: RE: Musical ability and hallucinations
From: Doug Chadwick
Date: 10 Jan 18 - 08:49 AM

There are a fair number of mediocre players/singers around who have voices in their heads telling them that they are really good.

DC


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Subject: RE: Musical ability and hallucinations
From: Jackaroodave
Date: 10 Jan 18 - 10:47 AM

A friend of mine, classical flutist and jazz-blues sax player, tells me that when he listens to singing he hears it as music, not lyrics. I suppose you could call this hallucinatory. He was a biology major in college, so I don't imagine his left-side brain is unresponsive. Has anyone else heard or experienced the like?


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Subject: RE: Musical ability and hallucinations
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 10 Jan 18 - 10:55 AM

Spare a thought for all the surviving Psychedelic rock acid casualties...


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Subject: RE: Musical ability and hallucinations
From: Jackaroodave
Date: 10 Jan 18 - 11:13 AM

Actually, I was going to mention in my posting above that I experienced music visually when tripping on morning glory seeds, but thought that might be a little too much thread drift for one post.


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Subject: RE: Musical ability and hallucinations
From: Mr Red
Date: 10 Jan 18 - 12:03 PM

And how many times have you had problems starting a song because the last singer/song/tune is dominating?

On the same spectrum as hallucinations and earworms. I submit.


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Subject: RE: Musical ability and hallucinations
From: Jos
Date: 10 Jan 18 - 12:05 PM

I usually hear the sound of a singer's voice as music, and let the words just drift over me. I have always seen music as colours and shapes, and some singers voices produce tastes (Max Bygraves = suet pudding; Jim Causley = gooseberries and custard). The Bee Gees unfortunately make me feel nauseous. It isn't necessarily a comment on their singing, it's just the effect their particular sound has on me.


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Subject: RE: Musical ability and hallucinations
From: Mr Red
Date: 11 Jan 18 - 07:08 AM

synesthesia.

What colour is a perfect 10?


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Subject: RE: Musical ability and hallucinations
From: Phil Cooper
Date: 11 Jan 18 - 09:26 AM

I know a couple people that don't necessarily hear the words, but hear the whole texture of a song. That doesn't mean they don't appreciate the singing. One of the people, a good hammer dulcimer player played with us for thirteen years, saying he never listened to the words. Yet if he suggested a song for a set, it was invariably one that went over well, so I think the words seeped in somewhere.


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Subject: RE: Musical ability and hallucinations
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 11 Jan 18 - 09:44 AM

Mostly, I don't listen to lyrics, but appreciate the voice as an integral instrument in a songs musical arrangement.

But, I quite often hear great singers I wish were singing in a foreign language
because their lyrics are so jarringly crap, I can't help notice,
and it drags me out of the magic transfixed state of the song's construction and performance.

This particularly applies to late 60s / early 70s rock bands.

My wife however, is my opposite and listens to, easily memorises, and sings along with lyrics, good or crap.


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Subject: RE: Musical ability and hallucinations
From: Donuel
Date: 11 Jan 18 - 01:46 PM

My wife can identify songs in a second and knows all the lyrics.
She can normally not match a pitch.
I am a reasonable cello bass ukulele player and novelty fiddler mandolin auto harp and McDonalds straw oboe player without any command of lyrics. However I am an excellent door stop.


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Subject: RE: Musical ability and hallucinations
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 11 Jan 18 - 01:55 PM

Donuel - that's an odd coincedence..
My wife has an uncanny memory for lyrics, but she must be the only Welsh woman who is tone deaf and can't sing in tune,
Also she has never bothered trying to play an instrument properly....
[ yet her niece entered eisteddfods...]

I can have a go at getting a fair sound out of most string instruments,
and can probably stay in tune singing;
but haven't the memory or confidence to sing.


I envy couples who can harmonise and perform together as a duo.


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Subject: RE: Musical ability and hallucinations
From: Helen
Date: 11 Jan 18 - 02:25 PM

That's funny Doug Chadwick. That was the thought I had when I read the thread title:

"There are a fair number of mediocre players/singers around who have voices in their heads telling them that they are really good."

I know a lot of managers at work with a similar problem.

I can't focus on lyrics, don't remember most lyrics, and find some lyrics are a real distraction. My main focus is on the music. Someone once told me that they were surprised that I liked a particular song in a hip-hop or rap or some other genre, because the lyrics were so violent against women. (Sorry, it was many decades ago. I can't remember the artist or the song title. It might come to me later.) I told him I just liked the music and couldn't focus on the lyrics long enough to hear what the song was about, no matter how many times I listened to it, even after he commented on it.

I'm not sure if my dyslexia is related to my inability to hear lyrics.

Back on topic, when I am stressed and start playing music, I get in the zone and then everything else recedes and I emerge from the music session refreshed and calm. I suppose it is like a meditative state, or the current buzzword "mindfulness". It doesn't surprise me to read that musical ability correlates with less auditory hallucinations. There have also been studies on how well children who play a musical instrument perform in relation to other school subjects and capabilities.

Interesting!

Helen


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Subject: RE: Musical ability and hallucinations
From: GUEST,Dave Hunt
Date: 12 Jan 18 - 10:51 AM

I DO listen to the words...to me that is the most important part of a song and as a lot of the singers I like are singing unaccompanied that makes sense. About sixty years ago I studied piano - got up to grade six, but then stopped, now I can play the right hand melody but have totally forgotten how to read the left hand for chords. I have played melodeon for about 40 years and learned hundreds of tunes by ear, I never bothered to learn to play from the dots - consequently I'm very quick at picking up tunes to join in with in sessions. I also have an excellent memory for song words ..I sometimes surprise my wife by singing something as we drive along and she'll say "'I've never heard you sing that one before" and I'll perhaps work it out that it's been lying dormant in my brain for thirty or so years...but still all there - maybe minus a few words - but as I sing it a few times they gradually come back. I was a resident singer in several folk clubs from 1963 onwards, so one tends to learn a huge number of songs to avoid boring the audience - as well as for the pleasure of singing them!


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Subject: RE: Musical ability and hallucinations
From: Mooh
Date: 13 Jan 18 - 08:56 AM

I have a very difficult time hearing the actual words through the music. They get pushed aside by melody and harmony. Songs I've heard a thousand times won't necessarily be familiar lyrically when I make an attempt to read the lyrics. There are exceptions, but it's been generally true my whole life, in spite of an upbringing of vocal lessons and a lifetime of choral experience.

Actively listening to music can put me in a physically non-active state where I daydream about and around the music, almost euphorically and interpretively, like a personal Fantasia (the 1940 Disney animated movie). There is a line between dreams and hallucinations, maybe more of a divide, but if that ever collapses I might be in trouble.

I've never heard voices that weren't my own conscious thought...yet. If music in any way assists the brain in avoiding mental illness, I'm medicated every day.

I've probably bought it up before, Music, The Brain, and Ecstasy by Robert Jourdain, though just a little out of date now, is a very good read.


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Subject: RE: Musical ability and hallucinations
From: Jackaroodave
Date: 13 Jan 18 - 09:23 AM

Interesting, Mooh. That sounds just like my friend's account. (10/18 10:47 post). I'll look for the Jourdain book.


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Subject: RE: Musical ability and hallucinations
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 13 Jan 18 - 12:39 PM

So many with delusions (of adequacy)


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Subject: RE: Musical ability and hallucinations
From: Helen
Date: 13 Jan 18 - 03:17 PM

It's funny. I've been thinking about not hearing or remembering lyrics since reading this thread, and one lyricist whose lyrics I do hear is Cole Porter

Since reading the Cole Porter thread I have been hearing the words of the song as an earworm. Although, if I can look lyrics up and see them written out - i.e. the visual cue - I have more chance of remembering some of them.

As an aside, I can't understand the lyrics of a lot of recent pop songs, but that might be because they don't all enunciate as well as the singers of previous eras, but also because some of their thought processes when writing the lyrics seem to be a bit scrambled, in my opinion. But that is another thread topic, I guess.

John MacKenzie, a lot of managers and some of my peers at my workplace have "delusions of adequacy". Thanks for the terminology. I'll try to resist throwing it around willy nilly and getting myself into trouble.


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Subject: RE: Musical ability and hallucinations
From: Mr Red
Date: 14 Jan 18 - 04:51 AM

As a poet & song writer I listen to the words when I can hear them. Some performers prefer a loud cuitar to a rounded performance.

But poor construction, fit and word choice does jar. It takes away from the enjoyment. in those circumstances I mentally see a better way, which dominates the perception.


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Subject: RE: Musical ability and hallucinations
From: GUEST,ripov
Date: 15 Jan 18 - 07:11 PM

I've always found that the ladies remember the words and men remember the tunes; but it may not be good to mention this apparently non-pc observation (which appears to be supported by previous posts) in the present political climate.

Like Mr Red I find it difficult to play something with a tune when following several blues numbers which require one or more capos per guitar.


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Subject: RE: Musical ability and hallucinations
From: leeneia
Date: 15 Jan 18 - 10:21 PM

zHi, Jack. To get back to the study that you linked, the heart of the study was this:

Researchers...identified 38 healthy individuals aged between 18 and 63 and tested their propensity to hallucinate, musical aptitude and measured their detailed brain structure using an MRI scanner.

The researchers observed that participants with higher musical aptitude showed lower hallucination proneness. More importantly, the research revealed musical aptitude was positively associated with corpus callosum integrity whereas hallucination proneness was associated with lower integrity in the fibres connecting the two hemispheres of the brain.
==============
I have my doubts about this study.

1) If people are healthy, they don't have hallucinations.

2) How does one measure "proneness to hallucinations"?
3) 38 is a small number of subjects.
4) What if I have high musical aptitude but never had a chance to
   play an instrument?

It makes sense, however, that activities which strenghthen the corpus callosum make for a better-functioning brain. I wish them well.


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Subject: RE: Musical ability and hallucinations
From: Mr Red
Date: 17 Jan 18 - 03:39 AM

Can someone delineate the distinction that makes hallucinations any different from the more generic synesthesia?

Other than is being more specific.


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Subject: RE: Musical ability and hallucinations
From: Jackaroodave
Date: 17 Jan 18 - 08:23 AM

Mr Red,

I'd say synesthesia was a species of hallucination--well, unless only some synesthesia is hallucinatory, and some is simply perception: e.g. sound waves are actually visible to some people, or light waves audible.

But even then, hallucinations and synesthesia would intersect; synesthesia wouldn't be generic, would it?

Or did I misunderstand the question?


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Subject: RE: Musical ability and hallucinations
From: GUEST,Some bloke
Date: 17 Jan 18 - 11:25 AM

Didnt Synanthesia sing Rolling and Tumbling?

Interesting theme here about not listening to the words. Many traditional songs have a custom of unaccompanied in order to concentrate on the words. The words being the equivalent of a museum or documentary to allow you into the minds of ancestors.

Two hands working together for a common aim reduces hallucinations? Good job I need both then eh?
??


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Subject: RE: Musical ability and hallucinations
From: Jos
Date: 17 Jan 18 - 12:43 PM

I believe that synaesthesia is simply, for example, the visual part of the brain responding to stimulus from nerves linking it to the ears as well as the eyes, thus sounds being perceived as colours and shapes - nothing hallucinatory about it. It just makes life richer and more enjoyable (well, usually).


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Subject: RE: Musical ability and hallucinations
From: Jackaroodave
Date: 17 Jan 18 - 02:01 PM

Well, Jos, and Red, I can see the point (It's blue, and in the key of A minor;-))

That's certainly my naive understanding of my own synesthetic experience, which was under the influence of a hallucinogen. (I saw the succession of musical stimuli as cascading jewel-like streams that completely filled my visual field.)

The Random House dictionary defines "hallucination" as

"a sensory experience of something that does not exist outside the mind, caused by various physical and mental disorders, or by reaction to certain toxic substances, and usually manifested as visual or auditory images."

But in a way, that's question-begging, because a) colors and sounds per se only exist inside the mind anyway, and b) those who've experienced synesthesia throughout their lives would certainly dispute its categorization as the result of "disorders."

On the other hand, I had a visual experience with nitrous oxide that consisted of Mandelbrot fractals continually generating themselves more and more complexly--again, extraordinarily vivid and completely filling my visual field.

To me, there's very little difference between the two experiences. One just came from an internal stimulus, perhaps a memory, perhaps an intuitive understanding of the generating principles. Both involved visual interpretation of non-visual mental patterns--due to the influence of hallucinogens. So for me, there's not much distinction, but I understand how for others there may well be.


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Subject: RE: Musical ability and hallucinations
From: Jos
Date: 17 Jan 18 - 04:00 PM

Jackaroodave, your experiences sound quite wonderful. I am a little jealous, though not enough to try hallucinogens myself.
I have had synaesthesia for as long as I can remember. As a small child I would discuss with my sister what colour different letters and numbers were - for me, S is bright red, A is a clear green, J is dark pink, W is orange and H is pale blue ... and 3 is blue, 4 is yellow, 5 is an orangey red, and so on. Hers were all different (apart from S, as far as I remember). It never occurred to us that there might be people who didn't see letters and numbers in colour.


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Subject: RE: Musical ability and hallucinations
From: leeneia
Date: 17 Jan 18 - 05:04 PM

Are these colors that you actually seem to see, or are they associations in your mind?

When you look at this:

S S S S

Do you see red letter or black?


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Subject: RE: Musical ability and hallucinations
From: Jackaroodave
Date: 17 Jan 18 - 05:12 PM

I envy you, Jos, not having to eat a pile of truly nauseating morning glory seeds for the experience.

Your account reminds me of Rimbaud's symbolist poem "Voyelles" (Vowels), found with its translation here:

Rimbaud, "Voyelles" translation

Rimbaud, of course, did a lot of psychological "experimentation."

Theophile Gautier, an influence on the Symbolists, was also interested in the poetics of synesthesia, writing a poem titled Symphonie en Blanc Majeur (Symphony in White Major), which itself does not otherwise employ synesthetic imagery.

Slight thread drift, but I wonder about the reverse influence, of synesthetic brain connections--natural or induced--on musical or poetic creativity.


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Subject: RE: Musical ability and hallucinations
From: GUEST,NightWing, who is at work at the moment
Date: 17 Jan 18 - 10:45 PM

I was able to access the actual paper, rather than merely the abstract in Science Daily.

The graph of their results does not visually appear to show much correlation. The connection is "statistically significant", but not terribly compelling.

The measure of musical aptitude was a test called "Advanced Measure of Music Audiation" (AMMA, in one place it's spelled "Audition") "Short melodies performed on a piano were played in pairs and participants had to state whether the two melodies are the same, tonally different or rhythmically different."

The measure of hallucination proness was a test called the "Revised Launay-Slade Hallucination Scale" (LSHS). It "is a widely used self-report measure of hallucination proneness. It is sensitive in detecting auditory verbal hallucinations (AVH) in a healthy population. The 12 items of the LSHS scale describe clinical and subclinical forms of auditory and visual hallucination-like experiences." Note that term: "self-report". The people being tested judge themselves.

I was amused to see that the participants "were non-musicians (had less than 10 years of professional musical training)". I thought of myself as a musician a long time before I had "10 years of professional musical training". I won't comment whether that was right or wrong; only that it seems like a fairly high bar. I would be interested to see the actual levels of "professional musical training)" the participants actually had.

BB,
NightWing


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Subject: RE: Musical ability and hallucinations
From: leeneia
Date: 18 Jan 18 - 01:42 AM

So the musical test had nothing to do with corpus callosum, which is involved in co-ordinating the hands and the two halves of the brain with one another.

Speciouser and speciouser.


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Subject: RE: Musical ability and hallucinations
From: Jos
Date: 18 Jan 18 - 02:41 AM

leeneia, when I see a letter S in black and white on a page, I see it in black and white. If I see it printed in blue or green, I see it in blue or green. When I think about S without seeing it on a page, I see it as red (except just now, of course, when I was thinking about it being printed in black or blue or green). The lower case s is also red when I visualise it in my mind.


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Subject: RE: Musical ability and hallucinations
From: Mo the caller
Date: 18 Jan 18 - 08:44 AM

Hmm. So I tried to 'think about S' but I was mostly hearing the sound in my mind, had to look hard for the shape which was very faint in the background.

And when listening to choral music I do like to know what words they are singing (and what they mean, so a translation in the programme is vital). Can't concentrate properly otherwise.


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Subject: RE: Musical ability and hallucinations
From: Mo the caller
Date: 18 Jan 18 - 09:05 AM

Like Dave Hunt 12 Jan 18 - 10:51 I have difficulty reading Bass clef when not actually sat at a piano. But over on the Mnemonic's thread (tried to make clicky - it didn't work) From BobL's piano teacher in the 1950s:
Every Good Boy Deserves Favour (notes on stave lines in treble clef)
Great Big Dogs Fight Anything (ditto, bass clef)


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Subject: RE: Musical ability and hallucinations
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 18 Jan 18 - 09:33 AM

I hallucinate that I have musical ability every time I pick up my accordion...

DtG


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Subject: RE: Musical ability and hallucinations
From: Nigel Paterson
Date: 18 Jan 18 - 11:49 AM

Oliver Sack's book: 'Musicophilia'(Tales of Music & the Brain) is a brilliant dissertation covering many of the above posts. Ref: Vintage ISBN: 978-1-4000-3353-9 Can't recommend it highly enough.


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Subject: RE: Musical ability and hallucinations
From: leeneia
Date: 18 Jan 18 - 12:19 PM

Thanks for the explanation, Jos.
Mo, I agree with you.
Nigel, I will look for 'Musicophilia'.


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Subject: RE: Musical ability and hallucinations
From: GUEST,ripov
Date: 18 Jan 18 - 06:47 PM

Mo - it's good to have both, but I get really cross with the BBC at the proms, because they only put up subtitles of the translation, making it almost impossible to sing along with the performer. And it must appear total nonsense to deaf people who lipread!


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Subject: RE: Musical ability and hallucinations
From: GUEST,ripov
Date: 18 Jan 18 - 06:59 PM

I've never experienced music as colours, but as a teenager made a sound to light gadget that ran off the gramophone. It was a common concept back then, and has developed tremendously since, particularly in the disco scene; suggesting that many who don't experience the effect directly still get enjoyment when it's reproduced.


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Subject: RE: Musical ability and hallucinations
From: BTMP
Date: 19 Jan 18 - 11:40 AM

I've always thought that music returns to individuals different forms of satisfaction. Some love lyrics, some the musicial progressions and chord patterns. And the various levels of musicianship, while sometimes irritating, should be nurtured by the better musicians, and for the less gifted, they should have some level of resolve to improve their skills to hopefully obtain a higher degree of satisfaction. In the end, all jam participants should get their 'fix' from music, however that plays out.


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Subject: RE: Musical ability and hallucinations
From: leeneia
Date: 19 Jan 18 - 05:10 PM

"I've always thought that music returns to individuals different forms of satisfaction."

I agree BTMP. How else could other people actually enjoy forms of music which don't even seem like music to me? The music must be activating different parts of the nervous system in different people.

Take jazz. Except for Dixieland (which I suspect is pretty traditional), jazz either bores or irritates me. It seems to have nothing to say.


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