Ear Fatigue Syndrome and Recovery

Cello Player

Cello Player.

The wireless speakers strewn about The Shed burble from their niches most of the day.

Some days I think I’ve divined the secret of much jazz that I listen to: Play only the notes that are not hummable. I say “listen” with temerity because I’m not always paying attention to the sounds, but they’re there.

I know it’s the whining of a music sissy on my part to pine occasionally for a predictable interval, or a chord that I could finger if I wanted to, but it reflects a certain saturation point from which I must recover.

That point slips up on me, and usually comes after several hours of play from my Pandora radio station based on, say, John Abercrombie, or Tom Harrell, or Christian Scott.

When I realize I’ve crossed the line into improvisation-induced irritability, I usually fall back on a playlist of folk or pop tunes that I can pay little attention to until my ears recharge and jazz-love returns.

The folk and pop lists don’t include just songs I’ve heard a lot; but, even in the unfamiliar ones, when a musical phrase starts I can usually finish or at least add to it predictively. Is that what “tuneful” means? Is there such a word?

If there were a heaven, mine would consist of a gathering of friendly, articulate experts in various fields — in this case music — whose brains I could pick to repair the yawning gaps in my understanding of virtually everything.

[Copyright (c) 2018 James Mansfield Nichols. All rights reserved.]

About JMN

I live in Texas and devote much of my time to easel painting on an amateur basis. I stream a lot of music, mostly jazz, throughout the day, and watch Netflix and Prime Video for entertainment. I like to read and memorize poetry.
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