Music lyric deaf

  • beaujangle

    Posts: 1701

    Jan 04, 2013 11:43 AM GMT
    I'm pretty sure I don't have a hearing problem in general but I've noticed that I have problems understanding the lyrics in many songs. Except for the obvious ones like the chorus which is repeated several times. This can be pretty frustrating.

    I know there's such a thing called 'tone deaf' but is there a condition called 'music lyric deaf'?

    Any of you guys have the same problem?
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    Jan 04, 2013 1:38 PM GMT
    My thought: The brain decodes speech into peaks and valleys of energy. When we sing speech, those peaks become longer in duration and are sometimes changed by their spectral content as well. Why wouldn't it be confusing to listen to and decode? It's similar to listening to compressed speech. If you know what you are listening for it's easier and apparent what is actually being said (I.E. having the lyrics in front of you on paper).

    But there's other things out there...

    Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD)
    -There's as much evidence for it as there is against it, but the problem is there is no gold standard for diagnosis. It cannot be distinguished between other disorders like ADHD and/or a cognitive impairment. Assuming there was a gold standard, sensitivity is up there but the specificity is only ~.70. There's no proven remediation as well. Some of the deficits that CAPD presents itself as is the inability to perform dichotic listening tasks and understand prosodic cues.

    We do have much evidence to support the fact that changes in the Central Auditory Nervous System (CANS) occur early on (~age25) and is more accelerated in males than females. By the time we reach age 30 processing becomes slower and less acute. This can and does account for the complaint 'I can't hear well in noise' regardless of hearing loss and/or cognitive function.

    I have negative feelings toward the conditions called 'tone deaf' and 'perfect pitch'. For these conditions to be present we wouldn't be able to process speech from multiple speakers. The auditory system is extremely adaptable in detecting fine differences between frequencies (hence the name deltalimen).
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    Jan 04, 2013 4:15 PM GMT
    beaujangle saidI'm pretty sure I don't have a hearing problem in general but I've noticed that I have problems understanding the lyrics in many songs. Except for the obvious ones like the chorus which is repeated several times. This can be pretty frustrating.

    I know there's such a thing called 'tone deaf' but is there a condition called 'music lyric deaf'?

    Any of you guys have the same problem?

    Is English your native language?
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    Jan 04, 2013 4:35 PM GMT
    Here's a way to test that.

    Listen to Ella Fitzgerald sing almost anything (except scat). Her diction was flawless. If you understand every word you're not the problem, the songs you're listening to are.

  • FireDoor211

    Posts: 1030

    Jan 04, 2013 4:48 PM GMT
    deltalimen saidMy thought: The brain decodes speech into peaks and valleys of energy. When we sing speech, those peaks become longer in duration and are sometimes changed by their spectral content as well. Why wouldn't it be confusing to listen to and decode? It's similar to listening to compressed speech. If you know what you are listening for it's easier and apparent what is actually being said (I.E. having the lyrics in front of you on paper).

    But there's other things out there...

    Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD)
    -There's as much evidence for it as there is against it, but the problem is there is no gold standard for diagnosis. It cannot be distinguished between other disorders like ADHD and/or a cognitive impairment. Assuming there was a gold standard, sensitivity is up there but the specificity is only ~.70. There's no proven remediation as well. Some of the deficits that CAPD presents itself as is the inability to perform dichotic listening tasks and understand prosodic cues.

    We do have much evidence to support the fact that changes in the Central Auditory Nervous System (CANS) occur early on (~age25) and is more accelerated in males than females. By the time we reach age 30 processing becomes slower and less acute. This can and does account for the complaint 'I can't hear well in noise' regardless of hearing loss and/or cognitive function.

    I have negative feelings toward the conditions called 'tone deaf' and 'perfect pitch'. For these conditions to be present we wouldn't be able to process speech from multiple speakers. The auditory system is extremely adaptable in detecting fine differences between frequencies (hence the name deltalimen).


    What an amazingly well educated answer.
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    Jan 04, 2013 6:41 PM GMT
    Are there many of today's songs whose lyrics you really want to know?

    Even with a 10% hearing loss in my right ear, I find most of the lyrics of songs written today are incomprehensible or bland, given the heavy use of instrmentation. I stopped listening to moden rock 'n roll around 1985, when one song sounded pretty much like another.

    Thak God for singers like Adele, Christine Perra and Lady Antebellum, as well as a few others who don't mess up their songs with instrumentation that assaults the senses and make any good lyrics incomprehensible.
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    Jan 04, 2013 6:42 PM GMT
    eagermuscle saidHere's a way to test that.

    Listen to Ella Fitzgerald sing almost anything (except scat). Her diction was flawless. If you understand every word you're not the problem, the songs you're listening to are.



    Excellent advice and excellent choice of a great singer!!
  • beaujangle

    Posts: 1701

    Jan 04, 2013 10:26 PM GMT
    eagermuscle saidHere's a way to test that.

    Listen to Ella Fitzgerald sing almost anything (except scat). Her diction was flawless. If you understand every word you're not the problem, the songs you're listening to are.



    Thank you very very much for this. I now know that I don't have a 'hearing problem'. I can hear like 90% of the words, which is pretty good. Phewww, what a relief!

    But I still feel frustrated because there are quite a number of songs that I just don't seem to hear the words. I think it's due to the various distractions like the musicality, the effects, etc. Or just the way they are sung ...
  • beaujangle

    Posts: 1701

    Jan 04, 2013 10:31 PM GMT
    Is English your native language?[/quote]


    No, it's not but I've lived in the west for a number of years.

    Oh why do you ask; is it because there's a connection?
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    Jan 04, 2013 10:34 PM GMT
    beaujangle said


    No, it's not but I've lived in the west for a number of years.

    Oh why do you ask; is it because there's a connection?

    I mean it happens with people who aren't native English speaker. It happens to me.
    But as you say you have lived in the west of number of years so in your case there could some other reason.
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    Jan 05, 2013 12:37 AM GMT
    Usually when you go back and listen to a song a year or two after you first heard it you kinda understand it a bit more.
  • MidwesternKid

    Posts: 1167

    Jan 05, 2013 1:47 AM GMT
    Its the artist and how they choose to pronounce words.
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    Jan 05, 2013 5:12 PM GMT
    It's a problem because english is not your mother tongue. I have lived in USA for a number of years as well, and I also have trouble knowing lyrics of english songs while they are playing. I never face such problems with Hindi songs no matter in what hindi accent and/or at what speed the words are being pronounced.

    So the problem in not hearing, it's because english is not your mother tongue.
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    Jan 05, 2013 5:22 PM GMT
    whatever3009 saidIt's a problem because english is not your mother tongue. I have lived in USA for a number of years as well, and I also have trouble knowing lyrics of english songs while they are playing. I never face such problems with Hindi songs no matter in what hindi accent and/or at what speed the words are being pronounced.

    So the problem in not hearing, it's because english is not your mother tongue.


    No no, english was my first language and is my only language and I have trouble understanding some lyrics every now and then but I don't think it's a hearing problem.

    Sometimes it can be the accent of the singer or how they pronounce words.
    Other times when a singer tries to sing a particular word, the vowel might be a little difficult to sing so they say it in a different way to hit the right note or sometimes its a stylistic choice.
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    Jan 05, 2013 5:43 PM GMT
    Eager, thank you very much for that. That was terrific.
    eagermuscle saidHere's a way to test that.

    Listen to Ella Fitzgerald sing almost anything (except scat). Her diction was flawless. If you understand every word you're not the problem, the songs you're listening to are.

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    Jan 05, 2013 6:03 PM GMT
    Contrast that with "Informer" by Snow.....


    A licky boom-boom down....
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    Jan 05, 2013 6:17 PM GMT
    That's why Lyric Videos comes in handy icon_lol.gif