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Music and Life

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Old 14-04-12, 08:17 AM
Tarantella Tarantella is offline
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Default Music and Life

Today I awoke with almost no hearing in my left ear, with raging ringing and 'feedback' when listening to any noise. I am frightened because my ears have been intermittently misbehaving for the last 2 years or so.

At the moment I have Schubert's "Moments Musicaux" and it sounds blurry and indistinct to me (it sounds like I'm under water!). What of my recently acquired Bang & Olufsen sound system? Worse, what would life be like without hearing; without music, in particular? I've stared grimly at Beethoven's framed image on my music-room wall many times today, contemplating the enormity of HIS problem. This explains so much to me, today of all days, about his demeanour as a result of deafness. In just one day I've ranged from fear, despair and becoming angry at a visitor for speaking too loudly (and not having my problem!) but, above all, contemplating the possibility of a future without good hearing - for music. (I hope I'm only panicking and my fear is unjustified, but only time will tell.) In the meantime, events like this put our lives into perspective because we reappraise the things we take for granted. For me hearing music - and not merely talking about it, playing and analysing it and sharing it with others - is fundamental to my life's joy. Fundamental and indispensable.

I invite others to describe how they would consider a life without music. What does it mean to you?

Last edited by Tarantella; 14-04-12 at 08:24 AM. Reason: prepositions
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Old 14-04-12, 08:53 AM
ReinerTorheit ReinerTorheit is offline
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Get to an ear specialist as soon as you can.

90% of the time these cases are linked to excess wax build-up in the ear cavity, but it's worth getting a diagnosis to put your mind at rest. Excess wax can be syringed out - or you may have to use an ear-cleansing solvent if it is severely embedded. Either way, it's a simple procedure to remove
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Old 14-04-12, 09:02 AM
Tarantella Tarantella is offline
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Thanks for the advice. Can you provide an answer to my question about the importance of music in your life? I think it a question well worth asking. (Perhaps its too personal for you; I don't know.) Put it another way: what would it mean to you if you knew you weren't able to listen to music again, for any reason? (People have had to do this many times - when they're sick, imprisoned in solitary, in a war, working, handicapped or any other circumstance.) We know about the power of music therapy, but what studies might have been done to show the effects of the deprivation of music.

Last edited by Tarantella; 14-04-12 at 10:35 AM. Reason: Re-phrase
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Old 14-04-12, 11:39 AM
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Ditto what Reiner said about seeing the quack. I had my ears syringed about 6 weeks ago. Before that, for about a week, I put a few drops of cosmetic grade Argan oil in them to soften the wax so the hot water from the syringe would eject it. Everything worked fine and I now hear about 30% better.

What would I do without music? I wouldn't like it much but I've always loved silence. Plus I suffer from "earwigs" -- bits of music which get in my head which I can't get rid of. Or, more accurately, music I love which is already in my head which goes "live" and then into a "loop."

But so much of the noise I hear I hate. For example, where I am now there's a loon yelling in the street, plus pop music (tedious, three chord rubbish) coming from someone's radio (I'm working outside today). Then there's the rumble of central London traffic and the endless banging and crashing of London building and renovation work as the property developers make their cash. I could do without all that. What's the point of hearing it?
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Old 14-04-12, 12:06 PM
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Plus I suffer from "earwigs" -- bits of music which get in my head which I can't get rid of.
Liquid paraffin will clear 'em

Or Messiaen.
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Old 14-04-12, 02:11 PM
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I once performed a concert to deaf people! Not kidding. Some had a little bit of hearing, and some were complete.

See, thing is, the ear is not the only part of our bodies that can interpret sound waves - our entire bodies are vibrating membranes. Just ask Evelyn Glennie.

In other words - there is no way to completely escape music! So, have no fear. Although the ppp dynamic will drop off the radar. (btw, we were a brass ensemble, so, ideal for this circumstance - we played loud!)

But, there is no way to escape Jack Hammers either...sorry Phil.

btw, do you know how the deaf audience showed their appreciation? Rather than clap, they waved their hands in the air! Silent applause. Quite a sight.
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Old 14-04-12, 04:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Tarantella View Post
Put it another way: what would it mean to you if you knew you weren't able to listen to music again, for any reason? (People have had to do this many times - when they're sick, imprisoned in solitary, in a war, working, handicapped or any other circumstance.)
In most those circumstances you could sing.
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Old 14-04-12, 05:31 PM
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Herzeleide, I'm unsure what your answer is if you suggest somebody could sing. That would never suffice for me as it wouldn't compare with my typical experience with music.

Phil, I take the point about ambient noise but I was really referring to the kind of music that most people on this forum talk about. (I've just woken up to the ears buzzing and ringing - oh, god, "Hannah and Her Sisters"! - and would be glad of silence itself right now!). But silence indefinitely? Very lonely.

Glennie is a sublime artist. Was she always deaf? In the film, "Mr. Holland's Opus" he performs music for his deaf son and other handicapped people. The response is a little as you describe, Scott. But I found it intriguing all the same. Lights were used to denote tones, if I remember correctly. But it was the NEED to hear which was compelling...

I recall an experience I had whilst in Vienna last year, which demonstrates the NEED to have music in the 'theatre' of war. We were at the Austrian Military Museum and looking through exhibits from WW1. On a lonely little shelf there was a violin which had been fashioned roughly from some local timbers by Austrian troops. I stared at that violin and observed to my husband, "even in the desperation of war there is a sense of overwhelming humanity when you see people 'reverting to type' and behaving as they did during peacetime". It was extremely moving, and I suppose there would be evidence elsewhere of other nations using music during war.

Last edited by Tarantella; 14-04-12 at 06:06 PM. Reason: "You're a very lucky boy. My father wouldn't let me play the wiolin" (Shine).
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Old 14-04-12, 09:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Tarantella View Post
I recall an experience I had whilst in Vienna last year, which demonstrates the NEED to have music in the 'theatre' of war. We were at the Austrian Military Museum and looking through exhibits from WW1. On a lonely little shelf there was a violin which had been fashioned roughly from some local timbers by Austrian troops. I stared at that violin and observed to my husband, "even in the desperation of war there is a sense of overwhelming humanity when you see people 'reverting to type' and behaving as they did during peacetime". It was extremely moving, and I suppose there would be evidence elsewhere of other nations using music during war.
One of my favorite stories about the need for music in War is the premiere of Shostakovitch's 7th Symphony. I have not the time to post original words, so hear is part of the Wiki entry:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symphon...hostakovich%29

(setting:during the 900 day siege of Leningrad, 1942)

Much had to be done before the Leningrad première could take place. The Leningrad Radio Orchestra under Karl Eliasberg was the only remaining symphonic ensemble. The orchestra had survived—barely—but it had not been playing and musical broadcasts had ceased. Music was not considered a priority by Party officials. Political appeals took a significant part of the broadcast time. Even then, there were hours of silence because of the lack of agitators.[30] As for the city itself, Leningrad surrounded by the Nazis had become a living hell, with eyewitness reports of people who had died of cold and starvation lying in doorways in stairwells.[8][31] "They lay there because people dropped them there, the way newborn infants used to be left. Janitors swept them away in the morning like rubbish. Funerals, graves, coffins were long forgotten. It was a flood of death that could not be managed. Entire families vanished, entire apartments with their collective families. Houses, streets and neighborhoods vanished."[32]

The official hiatus on musical broadcasts had to end before the symphony could be performed. This happened quickly, with a complete about-face by Party authorities. Next was reforming the orchestra. Only 15 members were still available; the others had either starved to death or left to fight the enemy.[33] Posters went up, requesting all Leningrad musicians to report to the Radio Committee. Efforts were also made to seek out those musicians who could not come. "My God, how thin many of them were," one of the organizers of the performance remembered. "How those people livened up when we started to ferret them out of their dark apartments. We were moved to tears when they brought out their concert clothes, their violins and cellos and flutes, and rehearsals began under the icy canopy of the studio."[34] Orchestral players were given additional rations.[8]

Before they tackled Shostakovich's work, Eliasberg had the players go through pieces from the standard repertoire—Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov—which they also performed for broadcast. Because the city was still blockaded at the time, the score was flown by night in early July for rehearsal. A team of copyists worked for days to prepare the parts despite shortages of materials.[35] At rehearsal, some musicians protested, not wanting to waste their little strength on an intricate and not very accessible work. Eliasberg threatened to hold back the additional rations, quelling any dissent.[36]

The concert was given on 9 August 1942. Whether this date was chosen intentionally, it was the day Hitler had chosen previously to celebrate the fall of Leningrad with a lavish banquet at the Astoria Hotel.[37] Loudspeakers broadcast the performance throughout the city as well as to the German forces in a move of psychological warfare.[35] The Soviet commander of the Leningrad front, General Govorov, ordered a bombardment of German artillery positions in advance to ensure their silence during the performance of the symphony; a special operation, code-named "Squall," was executed for precisely this purpose.[34] Three thousand high-caliber shells were lobbed onto the enemy
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Old 25-06-12, 12:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tarantella View Post
Thanks for the advice. Can you provide an answer to my question about the importance of music in your life? I think it a question well worth asking. (Perhaps its too personal for you; I don't know.) Put it another way: what would it mean to you if you knew you weren't able to listen to music again, for any reason? (People have had to do this many times - when they're sick, imprisoned in solitary, in a war, working, handicapped or any other circumstance.) We know about the power of music therapy, but what studies might have been done to show the effects of the deprivation of music.
First of all: I hope by now you have found some relief from your hearing problem. If earwax isn't causing it, you may have a case of tinnitus (ringing in the ears) in which case you should get yourself to a specialist ASAP. About life with no music: it stinks. Fortunately though, we have been doing some informal studies with our own HDAudioPlus mp3. What it is essentially, is a forensic sound recovery and restoration process. Aside from enabling awesome mp3 music files, we have tested the music out on several deaf and severely hard of hearing individuals for their feedback. Amazingly enough, one fellow who lives in Australia and has been 90% deaf since his teens (some idiot clapped his ears hard-destroying both eardrums!) reported that after listening to HD+ he was able to hear music again for the first time in 20 years! More studies need to be done on this, but it certainly seems promising.
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