Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Understanding the Art of Memorization through a Medieval Singing Tool

In an age of sheet music, pianos, and electronic keyboards, the study of a nearly extinct technique for learning how to sing might seem unwarranted. But Jesse Rodin, an assistant professor of music at Stanford, believes that an antiquated teaching tool reveals much about a faculty that has arguably been neglected in this era of instant access to information: memory.

The Guidonian Hand was a musical staple of medieval clergymen, choirboys, and composers. A map of notes arranged on the hand, it was used to help aspiring singers remember how musical notes relate to one another. Had you watched a church choir perform 500 years ago in France, the Low Countries or Italy, you could be certain that the singers had used the Hand, at least in their formative years.

Click here to read this article from the Science Blog