Saturday, May 16, 2009

More on the subject of speed: ear speed. We expect blind children to hear more acutely than sighted children. I suspect this is only because we dumb down sighted hearing by simplifying the notion of what is heard so that we can connect it to visual symbols and to motor responses that leave out the fascinating parts of sound, the invisible parts, the overtones.

Yesterday I witnessed a vivid demonstration of this. A young student, blind since birth, is obviously stimulated by overtones, which he hears and responds to powerfully. His sister is composing a piece of her own. With no knowledge of theory (I don't impose such "right/wrong" perceptions on my students) she fools around, finding sonorities I would never dream of, touching them as if they are alive--which, in her hands and in her ear, they are. The result is entirely unconventional, entirely original, entirely compelling.

Does her piece need to be like everyone else's? like anyone else's?