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Showing posts from August, 2018

Prevalence of congenital amusia. - PubMed - NCBI

Here is the study that puts amusia at 1.5% of population, not the more commonly cited 4%. It does look like a solid study and I appreciate the point noted below; if there's one thing more frustrating than not being able to sing, it's being told that the reason for this is "you're not trying hard enough".

Prevalence of congenital amusia. - PubMed - NCBI:
"the deficit is not attenuated by musical training"

Can anyone learn to sing? For most of us, the answer is yes

Another article that glosses over the obstacles that congenital amusiacs face. Why not direct people to a suitable test so they can benchmark their ability? Also, the 1.5% figure cited might be low.
Can anyone learn to sing? For most of us, the answer is yes:
"Do you have a pair of vocal folds that can produce sound? Can you tell the difference between a higher note and a lower note? Good news! You and about 98.5% of the population absolutely can be taught how to sing."

Tone deaf? Why you can still hit the right notes

I have mixed feelings about this article - the explanation of amusia is not wrong and the tone is encouraging (pun intended), but it still leaves the impression amusiacs don't try hard enough, and fails to address the struggles faced by amusiacs.
Tone deaf? Why you can still hit the right notes | Pursuit by The University of Melbourne:
"Tone deafness, also known as amusia, is a recognised condition that means someone cannot distinguish between different pitches or tones in music, and cannot hear that their voice isn’t rising and falling with the melody when singing."

Reduced sensitivity to emotional prosody in congenital amusia rekindles the musical protolanguage hypothesis

This article examines "sensitivity to emotion in speech prosody in a sample of individuals with congenital amusia, a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by deficits in processing acoustic and structural attributes of music".

Reduced sensitivity to emotional prosody in congenital amusia rekindles the musical protolanguage hypothesis:

Tone Deafness: A Broken Brain?

This 2013 article in the Atlantic states: "People who are tone deaf -- unable to hear differences in pitch and tone -- aren't just awful singers. At the most extreme, they're unable to perceive music, period." This may sound a little harsh, but it reflects common attitudes to those of us with tin ears.

Tone Deafness: A Broken Brain? - The Atlantic:

Amusia research papers

Amusia in general, and congenital amusia in particular, have attracted a lot of attention from researchers over the last 20 years or so. This article lists some sources to explore, with more being added as time permits. Note that some papers will appear in multiple collections:

Google Scholar is a great place to start - I like to use the Chrome browser for this, with the Lazy Scholar extension. Here are the results for: congenital amusia in Scholar.

Several articles are listed in this page from Goldsmiths, a part of the University of London: Music, Mind and Brain Publications.

The EBSCOhost database of university dissertations: amusia results.

JSTOR is a massive research repository, some of which are free to access: amusia results in JSTOR.

More of Recent findings on Amusia – Music Psychology

Recent findings on amusia – Music Psychology: Some fascinating research: "Using both behavioural and brain imaging (DTI) studies she showed that controls can learn the structure of the new music quite well after minimal exposure (30mins) whilst amusics did not."

Phonological processing in Mandarin speakers with congenital amusia

Phonological processing in Mandarin speakers with congenital amusia. - PubMed - NCBI: "this study tested the performance of native Mandarin speakers, both with and without amusia, on discrimination and imitation tasks for Cantonese level tones, aiming to shed light on this issue."

Recent findings on amusia

While is is great to see so much research on amusia, these academics REALLY need to listen to people who have the condition. Note the arrogant ableism of this professor: "told us for years that he didn’t believe there was such a thing as amusia and that all these people needed was proper exposure to music to allow them to perform like anyone else."

Day 4 – Recent findings on amusia – Music Psychology

I can assure that "these people" are not lazy. We are not uninterested in music. And singing lessons cannot teach us to sing.

The unsung story of amusia – The Brain Bank North West

A good introduction to amusia: The unsung story of amusia – The Brain Bank North West:

"The term amusia was coined back in 1888 by a doctor called August Knoblauch, following the first diagnosis of the condition 10 years earlier."

Are You Tone Deaf? | Psychology Today

Amusia often causes stigma. See: Are You Tone Deaf? | Psychology Today:

"In fourth grade music class, Sister Regina told me not to sing. “You’re distracting the other children,” she said in front of the whole class. “Just move your lips, but don’t make any sound.”"