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Hi all,

Would you mind participating in a small experiment:

Take one of the posted Granger tunes and listen to it with headphones (the melody is stereo separated to one side). Then reverse the headphones so that the melody is on the other side.

Please send me a message on the private line (so as not to bias others), and report whether it sounds better on right side, left side, or no difference.

I can't tell you the purpose without biasing the experiment, and if you participate please don't research the subject intellectually (google, texbooks, etc.) as that will also cause a pre-bias.

After I have some results, I'll explain.

Thanks much,






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PS ~ if you do find a difference, can you try to rate on some kind of subjective scale: BIG difference = 5; not much difference = 1.

I'll not reveal anyone's answer, at least not attributed to the source. And, if you do answer - I'll try to give you a quick interpretation. If not, you'll have to wait for a write-up.

I reckon the interpretation will be "You have wax build up in your left ear..." :-)
Closing it out - short experiment. Thanks to those that participated!

OK, we only have a very limited data set, so I'll try to be concise for a change. If you are interested in researching for yourself, I'd suggest 'neurobiology' + 'vocal learning' as beginning search term (if you use 'vocal learning,' alone you'll get lots of offers to teach how you to sing).

The general interpretation, as I understand it, is that 'performance musicians' process music through both ears, and both sides of the brain (classically, left = targeted analytical, right = holistic & emmotional) while casual listeners normally only process through the 'emmotional' right ear (they still 'hear' equally well on boths sides, but only process one). My 'hypothesis' was that if there is little or no difference between listening on the right and left sides, you are probably already a 'musician' in that you have effectively connected the analytical language centers on the left side of the brain with the emotional tone recognition on the right side. The two areas actually share a lot of space in the front center of the brain and are already linked to some degree; to think of them as being separated is greatly simplified model (just as 'left' and 'right' brain is way over simplified). Casual listener's who have not worked to connect the two sides, tend NOT to enjoy melodies[a] heard with the left ear only. In fact, some may think it is almost random noise - like someone is talking to them but without information content.

Our limited results:

(1) None of the participants prefered to listen to the melody with the left ear (No Derek, I don't believe everybody builds up more wax in the left ear, but functional deficiencies, e.g., differential partial hearing loss, tinnitus, Ménière's disease, etc. should be considered in a detailed analysis). no lefties seems to confirm the general theory.
(2) There is not really enough data to test my hypothesis, but I could make a limited case for a trend that indicates that those those with long prefessional experience, or active social learning (regular Jamming) tend to notice less difference between the two sides. However, there was only one participant that that rated the difference '0'. Others might be something on the order of, 'I can't tell you why, but I do prefer the right side'. Others, (me, no long expereience and mostly a closet player) might be more the order of 'definitely the right - it simply doesn't sound good, or interest me, on the left'.

So, I hope you all find this entertaining, and that it is a fun and simple little test that may (or may not) help you evaluate where you are at in your musical career, and perhaps even what things you should emphasize to make the most progress.


[a] Here I refer only tonal music or 'tunes'. Songs, which introduce language into the process, may be quite different.


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