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Thread: Pondering whether our very ears can be trusted!

  1. #21
    Moderator jbird604's Avatar
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    Everybody's probably tired of hearing about my weird ear condition, but I just have to give an update from my latest service. Wish I could say it's a lot better or about back to normal. Not yet though. This morning I played the organ like a deaf man. Though I have to trust that most people didn't feel that way.

    At this point, my ears are not just stopped up, but my sense of pitch is totally screwed up. I have a chime that I ring out in the narthex before the service to give the choir their pitch for the introit. I played the chime, and I honestly could not match the pitch vocally. It sounded like two or three different notes playing, and not necessarily harmonics of the chime tone. Actual random pitches.

    Then I pressed the play button on the Smart Recorder remote to start the processional hymn. When the organ began to play, I thought OMG, what a horrible cacophony of shrieking noises! At least I was aware of the rhythm, but I couldn't begin to sing in tune with it, so I marched in mutely. It was the same for the other hymns. The organ sounded like garbage, and I had to keep checking to be sure I was playing the right keys.

    The only time the organ sounded halfway decent was when I improvised on some quiet 8' stops for communion. Those sounds didn't have much of the screech and shriek. But when I hit my FF piston and started the Doxology, I almost fell off the bench. The mixtures sounded like grand ciphers.

    The upshot is that I need to get over this and SOON! And now I wonder if there are actually folks who hear the organ something like this all the time. If so, that would account for some of the outright hatred of the organ on the part of some.
    John
    ----------
    Church: Allen MDS-45 with Allen MIDI-DIVISION-II expander
    Home: Allen Renaissance R-230 with expanded four-channel audio and MIDI-DIVISION-II
    Shop: Bunch of organs in varying conditions, some good, some not...
    Half of an incredible two-man organ service team -- servicing all the major digitals in Arkansas churches
    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Birds...97551893588434

  2. #22
    ff Fortissimo toodles's Avatar
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    In 1993, I started worked as an application engineer at a company that made safety protective equipment. About a month after I started, I had a phone message to call a gentleman at OSHA. Not sure what was going on, I returned the call.

    OSHA's automated answering system started with "to report a death, press...". At that point in life, I decided OSHA was serious business and I gave them a lot of respect from that point forward. Any agency that has to deal with such tragedy has a really tough job.

    The call, though, was to inquire about a product we made, from an inspector. Some company said it would cost too much to install certain equipment to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome on a punch press, and the inspector wanted to get a clear idea of the cost of the equipment. The equipment, of course, cost far less than a lawsuit would have, and even quite a bit less than the medical treatment for the carpal tunnel syndrome would have, should the worker have suffered such injury.

    Prevention is cheap. I have no complaints about OSHA.

  3. #23
    ff Fortissimo Organfella's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jbird604 View Post
    The only time the organ sounded halfway decent was when I improvised on some quiet 8' stops for communion. Those sounds didn't have much of the screech and shriek. But when I hit my FF piston and started the Doxology, I almost fell off the bench. The mixtures sounded like grand ciphers.
    It sounds as though your ears are particularly sensitive to sharp (bright) tones which to my way of thinking would indicate extremely sensitive eardrums. The cause of this could be inflammation around the eardrum or inner ear. Inner ear infection often goes hand in hand with balance problems. Might you consider an examination and hearing test at an ENT (Ear Nose and Throat) specialist? Unles you have already done so. Of course to find the real cause of this is important especially considering it has been evident for some time. One's ears are important - especially in the business you are in. Best of luck!

    Nico
    "Don't make war, make music!" Hammonds, Lowreys, Yamaha's, Gulbransens, Baldwin, Technics, Johannus. Reed organs. Details on request...

  4. #24
    Moderator jbird604's Avatar
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    Two weeks after the problem began, I'm still not back to normal hearing. Better than I was for sure. I am now able to discern pitches accurately, and was able to sing the hymns yesterday at church.

    But my left ear is plagued with persistent tinnitus -- I tell people it sounds like the dial tone of an old land line phone mixed with distant tree frogs. I can only hope this will go away once the infection fully clears and the fluid drains away.

    The result is that my hearing is still somewhat distorted, though not nearly to the extent that it was at first. The organ didn't sound very good to me at church yesterday, still rather harsh. The mid-treble seems overly prominent, the bass weak, and it's just not pleasant at all to me.

    I have to wonder if there are people who hear the organ like this or in some other distorted fashion all the time. If so, it's no wonder some folks don't have any love for this instrument that we all are so crazy about!
    John
    ----------
    Church: Allen MDS-45 with Allen MIDI-DIVISION-II expander
    Home: Allen Renaissance R-230 with expanded four-channel audio and MIDI-DIVISION-II
    Shop: Bunch of organs in varying conditions, some good, some not...
    Half of an incredible two-man organ service team -- servicing all the major digitals in Arkansas churches
    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Birds...97551893588434

  5. #25
    Moderator myorgan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jbird604 View Post
    I have to wonder if there are people who hear the organ like this or in some other distorted fashion all the time. If so, it's no wonder some folks don't have any love for this instrument that we all are so crazy about!
    John,

    At work, our chaplain had similar issues, and he was able to find a hearing aid which cancels out the specific tinnitus pitches he hears (think phase cancellation), and leaves the rest. I would expect the whole process is quite expensive, but can be done. It depends on whether it's s permanent or temporary situation.

    Best of luck with the healing process. I suppose it's a gift in disguise--one I wouldn't wish on anyone. This issue is providing you a chance to hear and experience what some may deal with on a more permanent basis in church, but never say a word. Recently, I had someone speak to me regarding the loudness of the organ. She and her husband had both just gotten new hearing aids, and were wondering if it was the organ or their hearing aids. It gave me an opportunity to let them know it had, indeed, been my playing and not their hearing aids. I figured I'd give the prelude talkers a little competition for once!

    Michael
    Way too many organs to list, but I do have 5 Allens:
    • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony) / ADC-8000DKC
    • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
    • 9 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 4 Pianos

  6. #26
    p Piano Logan's Avatar
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    i've had really weird sensory experiences my whole life. clinical OCD. i can't trust my own perception so i'm always asking for feedback to give me something else to obsess over. it's why i quit playing in front of people for month or years at a time.

    i never knew why sometimes playing was a transcendental experience, and sometimes i would go months without any desire to play because my senses are so dulled. when i'm in a rut, i set up all my keyboards to be aggressive sounding because im not sensitive to dynamics. then my tastes will change polarity and all my amps and keyboards have to be set up with more fundamental and less gain. this also explains why i either ride the pedal constantly or control volume with drawbar settings. there's never any gray area in my mind but i'm trying to become aware of these biases so i can regain a sense of normalcy.
    A city built on rock and roll may be structurally unsound

  7. #27
    Moderator myorgan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Logan View Post
    i've had really weird sensory experiences my whole life. clinical OCD. i can't trust my own perception so i'm always asking for feedback to give me something else to obsess over. it's why i quit playing in front of people for month or years at a time.
    Logan,

    Have you ever experienced Synesthesia? I remember it faintly from my childhood, but have long since suppressed it. However, I am constantly seeking feedback on each performance (not always musical) because I have no real sense of what actually happened. That said, somehow I have an innate sense of what the audience is looking for and can usually meet it.

    Best with your continued struggle.

    Michael
    Way too many organs to list, but I do have 5 Allens:
    • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony) / ADC-8000DKC
    • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
    • 9 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 4 Pianos

  8. #28
    p Piano Logan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by myorgan View Post
    Logan,

    Have you ever experienced Synesthesia? I remember it faintly from my childhood, but have long since suppressed it. However, I am constantly seeking feedback on each performance (not always musical) because I have no real sense of what actually happened. That said, somehow I have an innate sense of what the audience is looking for and can usually meet it.

    Best with your continued struggle.

    Michael
    yeah, i've never been able to understand why sometimes i feel like my playing is human, expressive, and fun. i start dissassociating and get synesthesia (alright guys, from the top! this time more greasy, and make it sound like a penguin with a bad head cold!) and the experience of playing becomes transcendental. i can freely leave my body. i just thought "i'm in rare form! better keep playing what i feel like!"

    and during my ruts, my playing feels cold, mechanical, lifeless. "drummer, give me a 110 bpm shuffle with 33% swing. bassist, vamp on a ii V I and then modulate a whole step down every 3 bars. guitarist! you're going to be playing rubato in 7/8 time. every 56 beats the polyrhythm will line up and we'll make a grand pause. then trade fours on a IV V vamp. i'm sure you guys know this but we'll be in the key of D# at this point and then i'll take a solo because i can play pentatonics faster in that key" then i push people away, wonder why no one wants to play with me, think i need to improve my technical understanding of some aspect of playing, and then obsess over it until i feel like i've learned everything i can.

    i know exactly what you mean about sensing what the audience wants and meeting their expectations! when i'm in a rut, my senses are totally numb so all i can do is analyze what people have liked in the past and try to overdrive it. it's why i can have the same amount of fun playing my console vs playing my nord vs playing a casio. i trick myself to adapt to anything and accept any limitation as a challenge, and i'm only gradually becoming aware of it.
    A city built on rock and roll may be structurally unsound

  9. #29
    Moderator myorgan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Logan View Post
    yeah, i've never been able to understand why sometimes i feel like my playing is human, expressive, and fun. i start dissassociating and get synesthesia (alright guys, from the top! this time more greasy, and make it sound like a penguin with a bad head cold!) and the experience of playing becomes transcendental. i can freely leave my body. i just thought "i'm in rare form! better keep playing what i feel like!"
    ...and you never know which experience you're going to get until you get there, and you're in the middle of it. It's kinda like John's hearing--he never knows what to expect until he's playing in church and hearing the organ and playing. I would imagine he feels as disassociated from the music of the church as we must experience from time-to-time.

    Michael
    Way too many organs to list, but I do have 5 Allens:
    • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony) / ADC-8000DKC
    • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
    • 9 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 4 Pianos

  10. #30
    p Piano Logan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by myorgan View Post
    ...and you never know which experience you're going to get until you get there, and you're in the middle of it. It's kinda like John's hearing--he never knows what to expect until he's playing in church and hearing the organ and playing. I would imagine he feels as disassociated from the music of the church as we must experience from time-to-time.

    Michael

    true, thanks for the encouragement! i'm trying to find a balance between the two. also, i'm kinda disassociating today so i'm not sure if i have a reliable memory?
    A city built on rock and roll may be structurally unsound

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