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Subject: Re: Serious Question
From: John Rahbeck <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:[log in to unmask]
Date:Mon, 24 Apr 2017 16:44:14 -0400
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Well to add more interesting trivia to the discussion, here are some facts  
and observations. It has been documented that people with brown eyes have 
faster  relflexes than people with blue eyes. Is it possible that this plays 
into  the equation? I have also noticed that as a general rule, the thicker 
the vocal  folds and the larger the voice, the more difficult it is to 
trill. This however  is not a documented fact, but rather a general observation. 
Another fact is that  some vocal folds are more flexible than others. It all 
requires plasticity and  fine motor control that varies from one human to 
the next. I would tend to  suspect that people with more lyric voices and 
exceptional fine motor control  will have an easier time learning to trill, and 
that those with larger voices  will with extra work also develop a trill 
provided they have that exceptional  fine  motor control, so I agree that the 
potential to develop a trill is  inherited, but requires effort and 
technique to achieve one, so technically  speaking, I agree with Marilyn Horne, 
though I understand where Joyce di  Donato was coming from. No one is born 
trilling. It must be  learned. There is some evidence that exceptional fine motor 
control of the  vocal folds is related to the FOXP2 gene. It also turns on 
language ability  and is intertwined with the tongue, lips and voluntary 
breathing. In other  words,  the potential to do a trill is most likely a 
genetic trait.
John Rahbeck
 
 
 
 
In a message dated 4/24/2017 12:26:16 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time,  
[log in to unmask] writes:

Actually  the truth is more complex. 

On perfect pitch, the research is pretty  clear. Perfect pitch is inherited 
by nature, but it also must be nurtured. If  you do not "activate" it in 
early years, it never developed. So it's a bit  misleading to say "You are 
either born with it or not."  

As for a  trill, I do not know any research on this. Again, at the very 
least, it would  seem more likely that IF the underlying ability is inherited, 
you still  require training. But is the premise correct? I do not know of 
any research or  evidence suggesting that the ability to trill is an inherited 
quality. That  doesn't mean it is not: maybe no one has studied it. But I 
would pose the  question to Donald: What is the evidence that the ability to 
trill is nature,  not nurture?

Andy Moravcsik
Princeton, NJ

-----Original  Message-----
From: Discussion of opera and related issues  
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Donald Levine
Sent:  Monday, April 24, 2017 15:13
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re:  Serious Question

Perfect pitch, like a perfect trill or as Zinka  Milanov remarked, a 
pianissimo, isn't something easily acquired.  You are  either born with it or not. 
 You can be taught to get close to a trill or  sing softly, but true trills 
and true pianissimo's are born - they are not  made.  Same with relative 
pitch vs perfect pitch.  Perfect pitch is  something you are born with.  My 
mother, much to my chagrin when I sang  for her, had perfect pitch.  I had 
good relative pitch which is more the  norm, I think.

Donald

On Mon, Apr 24, 2017 at 4:36 AM, Idia  Legray <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> To follow up from my  last post; obviously anyone with half an ear can 
> hear when the  orchestra is playing one note and the singer is singing 
> something  else.  I am only talking about the subtle 
> "almost-on-the-note"  which lacks the precision to be determined as 
on-pitch.
>
> An  interesting anecdote which might bring a smile and a nod to  
musicians:

> When driving on a highway we sometimes come to certain  parts that make 
> the same sound every 2 seconds or so.  I ask my  mate "what is that 
> particular note?" and of course he is immediately  able to identify it. 
> I get the greatest kick out of that. Driving to  New York there are 
> often many A-flats.
>
> I don't think  perfect pitch is something that one can acquire by 
> practice (kind of  like a trill, although Marilyn Horne successfully 
> debunked that  theory).  You're either born with it or you're not.
>
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