I love music.

I write about the music I like and have purchased for the benefit of better understanding it and sharing my preferences with others.

Hearing inside your head

A friend of mine recently shared the experience she had when listening to a story on NPR about deaf people who can actually hear. No, they don't hear the world around them, but their brains make up songs and sounds when their mental circuitry is underutilized. Making up for no hearing, in other words. She expressed joy at hearing this because she thought, well, maybe Beethoven could really hear his own music after all! In thinking about this, I meditated on the concept of hearing sound, and more specifically music, in your head. I have composed many pieces of music in my head. I never wrote them down, I cannot repeat them, but I have had the ability to sit down, concentrate, and make up complete pieces of music in my head. The problem with me, it seems, is that the sound is not quite as rich, or dimensional as it is when you actually hear real music. Something less than monaural, something less than mono and black and white. But the friend was convinced by the story that deaf people have a better, more dimensional experience, than I ever could. I have no doubt Beethoven could hear the music he wrote in his head. He was a genius, no matter what, but he found a way to communicate the passion of his creativity with others by transcribing his musical ideas. The question remains, however, was it "as good" as authentic hearing with ears. I doubt it. To me, that isn't the sad part. The sad part is that he may never have been able to confirm for himself by hearing it with his own ears.

BWV 1048

Nigel on Bach