Ear Psychology

The The Ear and the Voice: Workshop presented on December 5th, one of the exercises given to participants explored the perceptual difference between the left and right ear. They aren't the same! But of course, I didn't tell participants this. That would be leading the witness. Instead, I simply had them execute the exercise one by one, and then let them tell each other what they perceived. 

To a man (the participants were all male), everyone had near identical perceptions; the right ear seemed higher, brighter and more present, while the left ear—in comparison to the right—hugged the body,  and was lower and darker. 

Interesting, no? 

These perceptions point out what Tomatis observed, which is that the right ear processes higher frequencies faster. Why is this important to the singer? There are several reasons actually, but if we are going to talk about the tonal product, the most important matter is clarity and ring. If we are going to talk about the manner in which the singer navigates the world of sound, there is the need for the right ear to lead (which has been discussed on these pages at length). And if we are going to talk about the difference between the ears in terms of their innate psychological setting—and they are different in this regard too, we have to talk about the difference between the Editor and the Achiever. 

The Editor sits back and comments on everything that is happening, while the Achiever is too busy being engaged to think about such things. The Editor is discursive in nature and excels in picking things apart to make them better—a very necessary aspect which has everything to do with analysis, while the Achiever revels in living in the moment, doing the deed, and walking the talk. The Editor thinks about love, while the Achiever is in love—a huge qualitative difference. 

While we need both the Editor and the Achiever to learn how to sing, it is the Achiever that needs to be in the drivers seat.

Guess which psychological aspect Tomatis observed as being expressed in each ear?