DUDE. Check out this article from Fast Company. Right now! Go on, I’ll wait.
Okay, in case you cheated, here’s the gist:
Most of us assume deaf people can’t register sound, let alone enjoy Rachmaninoff. Wrong. A conceptual device from German designer Frederik Podzuweit taps into the deaf’s ability to feel music.
Music for Deaf People is a collar that converts auditory input into vibrations, triggering the same sound-processing brain regions in those with full hearing. So instead of listening through your ears, you effectively listen through your skin. The collar has a special membrane substance, which responds to electricity, dispatching the vibrations of whatever you’re playing – be it Sinatra or Sepultura – to your neck, shoulders, and collarbone.
Everyone has that iconic image of Beethoven with his four legless pianos, plumb on the floor so that he could sit in front of them and feel the vibrations as he played. What do you think that collar would have done for him? Tripled his output? I mean, it’s not like he could have possibly improved, but composing might have been easier. Then again, given that so much of Beethoven is fueled by the sturm und drang of his setbacks, would his music have been the same?
Does this even really count as listening to music? Or is it too far removed? Which is not to say that it wouldn’t be a perfectly legitimate way for a deaf person to enjoy music, but it could require its own designation. Composers might even go so far as to create music designed specifically for electrical vibrations, spawning a brand new genre: felt music. Thoughts?
Also, my mother never enjoys Rachmaninoff, and she can hear just fine. ZING!