The strange power of music
The Wired recently featured an article on Oliver Sacks: Earworms, Stevie Wonder and the View From Mescaline Mountain. Dr. Sacks discusses the amazing power music has on all of our minds (and what it’s like to be a Jewish atheist on some really hard drugs).
Absolute pitch [the ability to identify a note without hearing a reference tone] is pretty rare in the general population — maybe 1 in 10,000 have it. In professional musicians it’s 1 in 10. But in those born blind, musicians or not, it’s nearly 1 in 2. A third of all musical savants are blind. You can be blind without being musical, but there is a correlation.
Does sight somehow impair absolute pitch?