Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Tuning a piano Tunes the brain

Here's an interesting BBC Article on research about the effects of piano tuning on the brain. Evidently there are changes in the hippocampus reminiscent of what happens with taxi drivers, whose brains "grow on the job." Of course this appeals to me as a former pizza+airporter driver (who never had the benefit of a GPS, just handy maps and sometimes a good dispatcher), and as somebody who has spent a lot of time fooling around trying to tune a guitar. However, what really struck me, and got me thinking about magic, was this distinction between "pitch space" and navigation in the usual sort of space. "Our study is consistent with a form of navigation in pitch space as opposed to the more accepted role in spatial navigation." I would be interested to see the results of studies on the brains of experienced ceremonial magicians, who get a lot of training in the navigation of ritual space. Same goes for practitioners of the ancient, medieval, and renaissance arts of memory (...too bad we can't study their living brains--unless anybody knows a good neuro-necromantic ritual).

I'd love to get perspectives from any perspectives on this notion of occult training in navigating ritual space. How does it compare to learning to get around in the real world, or in the spaces of harmony?

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