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21
Nov 03
Fri

Savantism

Another great Wired article. This one’s on autism and prodigious savants. Interesting observations on the link between music and maths, and between tonal languages and perfect pitch (what they call “absolute pitch”). A friend back in high school had perfect pitch – he also got his piano LMus in Year 11 or so. We’d hum notes to him and he’d immediately tell us what note we were humming. He was also an incredible thespian and debater who could come up with intricately structured speeches at the drop of a hat without ever needing palm cards or notes of any kind. There was one occasion, I am told, where, during a play, he had finished reciting a few lines that were in verse/rhyme. There was a mishap backstage, which resulted in a delay in the next actor appearing… so to stall for time and without skipping a beat, he ad libbed a few more lines in verse so much so that the audience didn’t realise that he was actually improvising. Scary stuff. How much normality would you trade for a “dash” of autism?