Sunday, August 26, 2012

Music and Touch

That music touches us is more than a turn of phrase. I think most people have at some time or other physically felt the pounding of bass instruments and drums. Our ears "feel" sound waves in their specialized way and the rest of our body can feel some sounds in a non-specialized way.

A famous exponent of this idea is Evelyn Glennie.

Glennie has been profoundly deaf since the age of 12. This does not inhibit her ability to perform at the international level. She regularly plays barefoot during both live performances and studio recordings in order to "feel" the music better.

Glennie contends that deafness is largely misunderstood by the public. She claims to have taught herself to hear with parts of her body other than her ears.

In this recent story about a young man getting some new hearing aids and fully hearing music for the first time, there's this detail in one of the photo captions:

Chapman prefers to listen to music on his bed with his foot on the bass amplifier to help him hear the music, through touch. Chapman claims the experience of hearing music for the first time ignited a new sensation in his brain, much like a first kiss.

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