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Topic: The Musical Mind & Savantism

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  1. #1

    Arrow The Musical Mind & Savantism

    I have the honor of knowing about some of the work of
    one of the world's foremost authorities on savantism,
    Dr. Darold Treffert, through his daughter, Joni Stine.

    Joni was kind enough to send along this link to me,
    which I believe most every musician will find fascinating
    in its implications about the musical mind:

    http://www.wisconsinmedicalsociety.o...verklighetens/

    This is a rather lengthy video clip; but well worthwhile
    for those who have a few moments to watch.

    Best,


    David
    www.DavidSosnowski.com
    .

  2. #2

    Re: The Musical Mind & Savantism

    That was a fascinating look, Mr. Dave. Thanks for posting the link.

    Kim Peek has a magnificent memory and I can barely remember what I had for lunch today.

    Regards,

    Larry
    Larry G. Alexander
    www.alexandermusic.com

  3. #3

    Re: The Musical Mind & Savantism

    Fascinating.!!

    The Ancient Greeks thought of Memory as a Goddess (Mnemosyne) and the mother of the 9 Muses.

    It is interesting to think of the value of facts, that are divorced from strong emotional content.

    Memory can have a creative function, as well as being a useful data storage and retrieval device.

    I first learned of Bach's birthyear (1685) from a book while sitting in a public library.

    The book was very old and brown...and also smelled old and brown, I was surrounded by looming towers of old brown books. These towers came to represent the pillars that supported the citadel of civilisation. The gift of knowledge passed down from our ancestors.

    Bach's birthday could be said to represent to me, that Grace and Beauty should be preserved in this world. That the looming brown towers of learning, do not imprison, but can be the keys to a larger world.

    Also knowing Bach's birthday is a 3 for 1 deal, because Handel and D. Scarlatti were born in the same year. ( So it is a kind of fact-bargain. )

    It is the emotional content of this, that has lodged it in my memory, what is extraordinary about Kim Peek, is that his phenomonal memory of facts seems utterly divorced from any emotional content.

    Quite choosy my memory though.
    Bach's birthday..........no problem.
    My own phone number..............er.... just a minute.......I think I have got it written down.....somewhere.

    regards Joe

  4. #4

    Re: The Musical Mind & Savantism

    Quote Originally Posted by joaz

    My own phone number...
    My car keys and wallet both conspire regularly to elude
    my memory of their locations; the latter of which is
    doubly troublesome, as the only way I remember my
    phone number is to look in my wallet.

    Curiously, I have a remarkable memory for completely
    useless trash... the entire menu of the local Chinese
    take-out, verbatim; the complete Shakespeare sonnets,
    for which, despite their just acclaim by others, I have
    no undying affection; street addresses from forty years
    ago for people I no longer even remember...

    I think perhaps we all remember vast quantities of
    information and enormous expanses of experience in
    literal depth; but that it becomes subsumed into the
    subconscious fabric of our minds.

    And in that, what I find most astonishing about the
    workings of Mr. Kim Peek's extraordinary mind is his
    virtually instantaneous access to that which entirely
    evades the rest of our best efforts to retrieve.

    David
    www.DavidSosnowski.com
    .

  5. #5
    Senior Member fastlane's Avatar
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    Re: The Musical Mind & Savantism

    I know someone who is autistic and does the birthday one and also all baseball stats. He has the same speech mannerisms.

    The brain becomes more like a computer database than a normal functioning mind.

  6. #6

    Re: The Musical Mind & Savantism

    Quote Originally Posted by etLux
    My car keys and wallet both conspire regularly to elude
    my memory of their locations; the latter of which is
    doubly troublesome, as the only way I remember my
    phone number is to look in my wallet.

    Curiously, I have a remarkable memory for completely
    useless trash... the entire menu of the local Chinese
    take-out, verbatim; the complete Shakespeare sonnets,
    for which, despite their just acclaim by others, I have
    no undying affection; street addresses from forty years
    ago for people I no longer even remember...

    I think perhaps we all remember vast quantities of
    information and enormous expanses of experience in
    literal depth; but that it becomes subsumed into the
    subconscious fabric of our minds.

    And in that, what I find most astonishing about the
    workings of Mr. Kim Peek's extraordinary mind is his
    virtually instantaneous access to that which entirely
    evades the rest of our best efforts to retrieve.

    David
    www.DavidSosnowski.com
    .
    The solution for you is this. Establish a place for each. Then never ever put them in any other place. When I come into the house I place my keys on the kitchen table. Once my mother decided to hang them up where we keep other keys. I spent an entire afternoon looking for them and never once thought to look there, even though other keys are kept there. I had to call my mother to ask her where they were. Whe things are out of place I become manical about finding them. For me it's the loss of precious time.

  7. #7
    Senior Member rwayland's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    California Redwoods
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    2,937

    Re: The Musical Mind & Savantism

    Quote Originally Posted by etLux
    I have the honor of knowing about some of the work of
    one of the world's foremost authorities on savantism,
    Dr. Darold Treffert, through his daughter, Joni Stine.

    Joni was kind enough to send along this link to me,
    which I believe most every musician will find fascinating
    in its implications about the musical mind:

    http://www.wisconsinmedicalsociety.o...verklighetens/

    This is a rather lengthy video clip; but well worthwhile
    for those who have a few moments to watch.

    Best,


    David
    www.DavidSosnowski.com
    .
    Well, because of my slow connection, I did not have time to download or view the clip, so I read Dr. Treffert's book, "Extraordinary People" because it was faster. I found the book fascinating, and will probably read most of it again soon.

    I am puzzled a bit about things he did not mention, such as the hand-ear-eye co-ordination required in the musical savant prodigy. And no mention that I recall of the perfect pitch problem resulting from the change of the pitch standard from A 435 to A 440, around 1917. More puzzling to me would be how the musical prodigy would develop using Arabic or Asian scales/music.

    Richard

  8. #8

    Re: The Musical Mind & Savantism

    Very interesting clip and thread, David.

    For me, I find that my memory serves me pretty well. although I have the idea that it's some kind of bascet that once full, can't take any more some times (in times of pressure, or anxiety), but other than that it works pretty nice in it's own way. Exaclty like George Sands, anybody touching my things, keys, or papers, will result in me wating half a day trying to find them.

    Everything is linked to a certain position, which for my wife is nothing close to tidy, but I can't help it. I know that I will find all my DVDs from music magazines in the toilet. I read them there, while doing, what I do there. It only makes sense that they stay in there. Not for my wife though...

    Davind, what I do for not loosing keys, wallet etc, is that I keep my lovely mobile phone with them, always charged. So when my wife "misplaces" them, I just dial myself. Lovely little trick...

    I do believe that most things in life can be trained, and have our parents/enviroment/school to blame for what we are. Some could have a fraction of Kims memory with lots of practice. But that one person would also posses the ability to use it creativily, which is completly different to what Kim does (as it appears at least).

  9. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Wilton, NH
    Posts
    2,450

    Re: The Musical Mind & Savantism

    Quote Originally Posted by GeorgeSands
    The solution for you is this. Establish a place for each. Then never ever put them in any other place. When I come into the house I place my keys on the kitchen table. Once my mother decided to hang them up where we keep other keys. I spent an entire afternoon looking for them and never once thought to look there, even though other keys are kept there. I had to call my mother to ask her where they were. Whe things are out of place I become manical about finding them. For me it's the loss of precious time.
    Yes, that happens all the time! Why would anyone put it where it is supposed to go instead of my totally illogical place where I know it is?!

    Memory is weird. I once returned to a town that I had been to once in my life: back when I was 10 I rode through town 1 time, me sitting in the back seat. 30 years later I knew the town as if I had lived there my whole life - well almost - I sometimes get lost in my home town! I knew this strange city better than I place I have known my whole life! There have been times when I have suddenly thought of a song I haven't heard in years, played it out on the piano to discover that not only do I have every note correct, but it is in the right key - and yet - I might suddenly hear something out of context I am currently studying and listen to the whole thing before I realize it is something I've only heard 10,000 times in the last week! I remember whole conversations, including facial expressions from 20 years ago, word for word, but if you meet me in the hall at work and ask for something be sure to send an e-mail - I WILL NOT remember when I get back to my desk.

    Oh well, as joaz said, Kim Peek seems to be missing the emotional component of memory, something that is very important to most of us, particularly those of us with an artistic bent...

    Anyway, interesting clip.
    Trent P. McDonald

  10. #10

    Lightbulb Re: The Musical Mind & Savantism

    Quote Originally Posted by trentpmcd
    Yes, that happens all the time! Why would anyone put it where it is supposed to go instead of my totally illogical place where I know it is?!

    Memory is weird. I once returned to a town that I had been to once in my life: back when I was 10 I rode through town 1 time, me sitting in the back seat. 30 years later I knew the town as if I had lived there my whole life - well almost - I sometimes get lost in my home town! I knew this strange city better than I place I have known my whole life! There have been times when I have suddenly thought of a song I haven't heard in years, played it out on the piano to discover that not only do I have every note correct, but it is in the right key - and yet - I might suddenly hear something out of context I am currently studying and listen to the whole thing before I realize it is something I've only heard 10,000 times in the last week! I remember whole conversations, including facial expressions from 20 years ago, word for word, but if you meet me in the hall at work and ask for something be sure to send an e-mail - I WILL NOT remember when I get back to my desk.
    This is just the difference between short-term and long-term memory. You decide to do something, then your wife asks you a question, and your first thought is completely gone. Zip.

    What I find more unsettling is how unreliable long-term memory is. Think of the most memorable event that ever happened in your family more than 10 years ago. Write it down, exactly as you remember it. Then compare notes with your siblings, parents, whoever else was involved. You'll be surprised how different everyone's recollection is. And if you have old movie footage of the event, you'll be even more surprised at how inaccurate everyone was.

    Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go find my keys so I can put them in their special spot...
    ==============================
    Grant Green ||| www.contrabass.com
    Sarrusophones and other seismic devices

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