Ingenious Minds

Anyone watching this new show on Science channel? We just watched the episode about the savant piano player and I have to say that I’m skeptical as all hell. He takes a blow to the head and can now play the piano like a seasoned expert - despite never having touched the instrument before? We aren’t born with “How to play the piano” knowledge locked in our brains as far as I know … so how is this even remotely possible?

Piano is pretty easy to grok as far as instruments go. If for whatever reason, he was granted better recall, I can see someone picking it up almost immediately. Plenty of people have played the piano by ear, it’s just an acceleration of that process.

I don’t doubt there’s some TV exaggeration in his story. :)

The claim is that he knocked his head (hard), recovered, and then could sit down at the piano and crank out top shelf music. He can’t read music, he just “sees” it float past his eyes and his fingers sort of work on their own. It smells like utter BS.

That does smell like BS. But you should look up synethesia. It’s somewhat related and pretty cool as well. I’ve heard a few stories of prodigies in math, music, and language being synethetes (sp?)*. The music floating in front of his eyes sounds kind of like that.

*I wish I could remember his name, but one in particular I recall became one after a severe seizure as a child. He could pick up languages (even complex ones) very fast, could multiply very large numbers in his head using colors/shapes from his synethesia… etc.