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Tuning a piano ‘moulds the mind’

Tuning a piano ‘moulds the mind’

Read the whole article on BBC News:

Science & Nature

Tuning a piano ‘moulds the mind’

Piano

The changes occurred outside of auditory brain areas

Tuning a piano also tunes the brain, say researchers who have seen structural changes within the brains of professional piano tuners.

Researchers at University College London and Newcastle University found listening to two notes played simultaneously makes the brain adapt.

Brain scans revealed highly specific changes in the hippocampus, which governs memory and navigation.

These correlated with the number of years tuners had been doing this job.

The Wellcome Trust researchers used magnetic resonance imaging to compare the brains of 19 professional piano tuners – who play two notes simultaneously to make them pitch-perfect – and 19 other people.

What they saw was highly specific changes in both the grey matter – the nerve cells where information processing takes place – and the white matter – the nerve connections – within the brains of the piano tuners.

Investigator Sundeep Teki said: “We already know that musical training can correlate with structural changes, but our group of professionals offered a rare opportunity to examine the ability of the brain to adapt over time to a very specialised form of listening.”

Other researchers have noted similar hippocampal changes in taxi drivers as they build up detailed information needed to find their way around London’s labyrinth of streets.

Prof Tim Griffiths, who led the latest study, published in Neuroscience, said: “There has been little work on the role of the hippocampus in auditory analysis.

“Our study is consistent with a form of navigation in pitch space as opposed to the more accepted role in spatial navigation.”

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PERFECT PIANO

PERFECT PIANO

PERFECT

A concept of perfection…

expands from the philosophical to….

the legal to…

the grammatical to…

mathematical to…

biological and also to the musical.

In music exists…

the perfect interval-

octave fifth fourth and perfect unison.

Of course the piano tuner is perpetually in pursuit of the perfect tuning

for each and every tuning as a mission and lofty goal

Regardless of definition,

resorting to words like excellent, complete, exact, without flaw, pure, absolute, expert, unmitigated, having all,

the tuner focus is on that endeavor to bring nearer to perfection

improving as fully possible to be unblemished and faultless…

whether it can be said that this condition exists or does not.

But certainly to be ‘most’ perfect and always more perfect as modification can provide

for all purposes,

although there are some that feel words that modify as

more, most, nearly, almost and rather should not be combined with perfect…

since perfect is an absolute,

a yes-no condition that cannot be said to exist in varying degree.

Perhaps then a piano tuner

is with qualification the ‘perfecter’ or the ‘perfectest’

to account for all varieties available or imaginable and ideal for all purposes

PERFECT PIANO

Being complete

without blemish

satisfying all

is then also

the goal of

recording

and sampling

piano

SOUND ON SOUND

Jan 2008 volume 23 issue 3

attempts to describe this perfection in the well covered topic

‘PERFECT PIANO’

Recording a real one? Chosing a sampled one?

As is suggested ‘Read this first’ and travel into the thought process behind that pursuit of

‘Perfect’

as only SOUND ON SOUND could cover

Topics such as what type of mic to use, sample libraries, ambient techniques,

horizontal and vertical dispersion,

spaced stereo and getting an even sound are covered here.

If you need to consider where to set up the piano and mic position

this article is for you to really help narrow down choices in your quest for

the perfect!

by Ear

by Ear

[youtube id=”w1dDFjuu_To” align=”center” mode=”lazyload” autoplay=”no” aspect_ratio=”16:9″ maxwidth=”999″] When any piano tuner you might meet exclaims that he or she is an aural tuner or tunes a piano only “by ear”or uses only the ear with a tuning fork the imagination could run wild thinking what “by ear” could or might mean.

Certainly this master piano tuner laughs thinking how back then when my education stressed traditions and hand me down thinking on the topic of aural tuning which then made a dent in my brain, has now for me been revised as I see in reality more than clear that for tuning a piano I use my arms , back , fingers, legs, eyes, brain, yes basically most all of my body. In other words to be a piano tuner you need all you can get!

Take away a piano tuners arm give him a back injury remove a foot or sever his auditory cortex and the tuner will no doubt be greatly impaired forever compensating for the lack of what might be described as the proper equipment. Yes removing ones eyesight can no doubt be compensated for, but for the sake of argument this tuner feels it would be easier to tune a piano in this day and age without ears than without eyes

Now to return to “by ear ” this video short is in a nut shell the basic workings of the ear- brain and chain of events any listener experiences moment to moment without really to much thought. After a quick view of this well done video short the mechanics of the ear and hearing sound in general seems, well, straight forward. So regretably the piano tuner that thinks with that pride “I tune only by ear” is certainly not looking at the big picture and may find at some point that a worn out elbow or shoulder, without benefit of modern day repair, has suddenly ended his once misplaced pride and well meaning dedication to the service

As for any piano tuner that exclaims that he or she tunes a piano only”by ear” with all the pride they can muster, reporting they feel or experience the soul or passion , or would never use anything but their ears because that has heart, at that point in time really fail to appreciate the rest of the god given equipment that makes the human being a marvel and a wonder without which, piano tuning would be almost impossible

This world offers much to consider that helps all human beings along our way, but without reverence for the big picture, the total package that makes the human condition unique, the myopia of the prideful piano tuners exclamation I tune”by ear” not only is mostly at that moment an exercise in deception but for the most part an overwhelming deafening silence!

WILLIAM McCORMICK REMEMBERED

piano_tuning_master_kitts11.jpgI was hired as a piano tuner-technician upon completion of my schooling at Westchester Universities All-Steinway School of Music and Bostons North Bennet Street School, AN EDUCATION IN CRAFTSMANSHIP, by William McCormick serveral years after he purchased Jordan Kitts Music.

Although I worked for “Kitts” for only three years my core skills were honed at Kitts as I “cut my teeth”, piano tuning back in the day. Kitts is where I was allowed to work and thrive under “Bill” McCormicks newly established leadership.

I will always remember Bills genuine concern the following morning after I had broken my nose in a parking lot mishap one rainy night early on at the beginning of my time at Jordan Kitts Music. In those days Bill and everyone at Kitts were world class.

Bill once said that to much love for the piano product can get you into trouble, but so can too much attention to the numbers, a left brain right brain tug of war. Perhaps this sort of thinking enabled him to collect the talent to lead the piano music industry to a loftier goal, the bar being raised just a notch higher.

A guiding light, Bill will be missed but remembered for the stamp he has left upon the music industry

WILLIAM McCORMICK REMEMBERED Overall rating: ★★★★★ 5 based on 6 reviews
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