Speaking Chinese


Thinking about how removed Westerners are from the vitality of tone, I wonder whether the reason so many Orientals are showing up in our music schools is that their languages are intoned -- for them, pitch is never abstract, but always connected to direct inter-personal interaction.
The studies that Westerners do about perfect pitch and the Chinese are, in a way, off-mark.  Rather they should be studying the connection between intoned speech and visceral response to tone minus speech.  I am thinking of Gregorian and Hebrew chant:  In the days and cultures where there was daily exposure to intoned prayer response to tone would have come from and spoken to a completely different level of reality/experience than it does for most modern secular Westerners.


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