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Cap'n Refsmmat

Music dysfunction

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I seem to have a problem with music.

 

A few months ago I attended a jazz performance at a local restaurant and was attempting to enjoy the music. While listening, I noticed several things:

 

  • I could only pay attention to one instrument at a time. Listening to the whole band was too difficult.
  • I had no short-term musical memory, so to speak -- by the end of the song I had forgotten the melody.
  • I could, with incredible ease, ignore certain instruments or the music altogether. I'd randomly notice that I hadn't even heard the piano for a minute or two, or just start daydreaming and realize I hadn't heard any music for a minute -- with no conscious effort.

 

My family basically thought I'm nuts for not being able to just enjoy the music, but I started wondering what's going on.

 

Since then, I've noticed that I can easily set an iPod to, say, play everything it has from Gershwin while I complete my homework, and an hour later notice it's done, with no recollection of what occurred in between. It was merely background as I did my work. Actively listening does little better.

 

Is this some sort of musical dysfunction or am I just normal without knowing it?

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^^, Your normal. You just need to focus a little. I used to have your problems. You can improve your focus if you want to :3 Your mind just needs a little exercise. :)

 

Just spice things up, and imagine it, give what you study/ listen to, a "sensual image". (the image or representation or understanding of all the information observed and correlated by all the senses).

 

Pm me if you need more information.

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Is this some sort of musical dysfunction or am I just normal without knowing it?

Well, I wouldn't go so far as to call you normal, but you're certainly not experiencing anything drastically different from the rest of us (if I interpret your post correctly).

 

It sounds like simple desensitization. Our minds will basically filter out consistent/repetitive stimuli so we have more attentional resources for other stimuli.

 

That's how to think about it. Our attention is a limited resource, and if you spend too much in one area (like studying or reading or painting), then you have less to use during that time for other areas (like listening to music, or the news, or your sisters story about her dolls). Once you devote your attentional resources to one area, you have less for others... Attention is a limited and finite resources.

 

Back to the idea of desensitization, we notice this more with noxious smells, and we desensitize to those for good reason. Let's say someone with WAY too much cologne or perfume walks by you... At first, it's overpowering, but literally within seconds, you almost don't notice it anymore. This desensitization is wildly helpful, and your brain basically turns down the volume on those signals so you can concentrate on other things.

 

It's the same with music. You just desensitize, and spend your attentional resources elsewhere. In the example you gave above, the majority of your attention was devoted to homework, so the music didn't get processed as much as it could have been... It was just background. With me, I tend to day dream, or try to think my way through data problems or some other work related puzzle I'm facing that week, and I sometimes I won't even notice music is playing at all. It's not worth the storage energy, so I disregard it unless I am actively trying to listen (and, like you, even then I struggle to stay focused on it).

 

With jazz... There's often no set pattern, so it more easily gets pushed back as "noise" than something with a recurring rhythm or more standardized measures. My best suggestion there is to listen to Cannonball Adderly and/or Dexter Gordon. That will solve all your problems. :)

Edited by iNow

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It's probably nothing to worry about. Most people really only pay attention to the lyrics (or words), rather than the instruments themselves. And I use music to block out noise when I'm working, so I can't be said to listen to it either.


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Consecutive posts merged

You may just be one of those people that doesn't really enjoy music all that much, there's nothing wrong with that in general.

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If you were a musician, this would be a problem. :rolleyes:

 

With regard to the background/homework issue, this is normal. You only remember what you notice: if you're concentrating on your homework, you are not noticing the music (and probably anything else either).

 

As for picking out instruments, remembering melodies, etc., well, some melodies are more memorable than others :rolleyes: If you study music a bit (e.g., maybe take a music appreciation class), you'll find that you understand it a lot more, and will be better able to detect the structure and elements. The more you understand about it, the easier to hear and appreciate it.

 

Try reading "Musicophilia" by Oliver Sacks, and then reconsider whether you have a problem or not :D

 

Enjoy!

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