Why rhythm issues are better than pitch issues

Last week, I asked the music directors group on twitter @MusictheatreMD if they'd rather music direct someone with no pitch or no rhythm.

Everyone felt strongly about the issue, but Steve Gilbertson had the strongest argument, stating that the lack of pitch is an actual defect in processing pitch, while rhythm is innate.

He shared a wonderful article on music deafness, called Amusia. Symptoms  "include the inability to recognize familiar melodies, the loss of ability to read musical notation, the inability to detect wrong or out-of tune notes, the loss of ability to sing, write musical notation, and/or play an instrument."

I looked for the equivalent defect in recognizing rhythm, but only one case was found, just a couple months ago!

Here is the article on that special case, which still says that "babies recognize simple musical beats within days of birth, possibly reflecting the operation of an inborn neural timekeeper."

Oh, and the result of the twitter group? It was a tie, but it turns out that it is much easier to deal with poor rhythm than poor pitch!

Photo from http://badpitch.blogspot.com/2008/12/man-bites-dog-newspapers-outlive.html

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