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Author Topic: Music and CW  (Read 12507 times)
AK7V
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Posts: 249




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« Reply #15 on: July 10, 2011, 06:17:11 PM »

Former professional orchestral musician here.  Morse isn't music, although the internal rhythm developed in music training (or natural to some) would probably help with timing.

I think a lot of musicians make good CW ops because they know how to practice.  They know that mastery takes time, they have realistic expectations, can be disciplined when doing seemingly monotonous things (scales, Morse practice), and they can detect and appreciate incremental improvement.

Another thing good musicians do is learn to teach themselves.  We determine what methods work best for us (repetition, association, breaking things up, slowing them down... whatever it may be).  Most learning and skill building is done away from the teacher, and the teacher's main goal is to show the student how to identify problems and teach themselves.

Musicians also like to "perform."  In the Morse world, this means getting on the air and giving it a go.  Musicians know they tend to rise to the ability of those around them, so getting on the air and working proficient ops, even if you're not quite there yet, makes you better.  Being able to accept that you will make mistakes, and taking it in stride, speeds up learning in this "immersion on the air" training.

So bottom line, IMO, is that it isn't musical talent that helps someone with Morse.  It's the attitudes and methods of learning skills that musicians have exhibited for years which transfers directly to learning and using Morse.
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PA0BLAH
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« Reply #16 on: July 11, 2011, 03:07:01 AM »

I have heard the story, often.

K7QO the fastest american  telegrapher, as youngster learning the code because his QSO partner refuses to QRS, which motivates him to become the fastest, hi. He gave a good explanation of the supposed fact mentioned in this topic.

He says that the required tedious longterm exercising that is required for CW is an item of someones personallity and that item is required to perform music and also to perform high speed CW.

Personally I hate music, and I am pretty good in decoding CW just for the reasons AK7V gave. Nowing how tostudy, appreciating small advances taking fall backs..





« Last Edit: July 11, 2011, 03:12:26 AM by PA0BLAH » Logged
N2EY
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Posts: 3849




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« Reply #17 on: July 11, 2011, 05:57:07 AM »

AK7V absolutely nailed it. I think one could take his post, change all the "music" references to "Morse", and it would perfectly reflect the truth about learning and using Morse Code.

Even though I am not a musician, I can add one or two small pieces:

Musicians understand that what they do involves a whole set of skills. Performing alone is very different from performing with a group. Hearing one particular part among many, reading music, changing key, following a leader are all different skills too. Playing in front of an audience is different from playing without one.

And a musician can be very good at some things and not so good at others.

Most of all, musicians recognize that being really good requires lots of learning and practice for 99% of people. And that the reason it may look easy is because someone has put in enough practice to really develop the skills.

73 de Jim, N2EY
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AK7V
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« Reply #18 on: July 11, 2011, 08:51:27 AM »

Something I forgot to mention explicitly that I think is crucial when learning Morse... Musicians learn to immediately "let go" of mistakes.  If you play a wrong note, you don't make a face, dwell on it, think about what you did wrong -- you immediately "let go" and continue with the performance.  When learning to copy Morse, you need to do the same thing.  If you miss a letter or word, "let it go" and concentrate on the next one.  If you think about it past errors, you'll miss what's coming next, and that will snowball into frustration.

This is not a natural procedure for most people.  It takes practice.
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N2EY
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« Reply #19 on: July 11, 2011, 10:01:01 AM »

Musicians learn to immediately "let go" of mistakes.

Excellent point! And not just their own mistakes.

I've seen this in action in musical theatre rehearsals. Actor dropped a line or a whole verse in a song, and the musicians covered it on-the-fly. And did it so well that only those who knew the show already recognized what had happened.

People often refer to such things as "talent", and talent is certainly a factor. But as you say, there's a lot of learning and practice involved.

73 es TNX de Jim, N2EY
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WB6UBK
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« Reply #20 on: July 22, 2011, 07:20:37 PM »

I can't carry a tune in a dump truck. But I love cw and I have had many compliments on my fist, both bug and straight key. Go figure.

 73 de wb6ubk
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K8AXW
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« Reply #21 on: July 22, 2011, 09:41:44 PM »

Well.... after reading all of these posts I find that I'm different.  I've found that code is sort of an action/reaction thing.  If anything, it's closer to shooting a gun than playing music.

For example, your brain hears a sound, your fingers react.  Of if you head copy... you hear a sound....which a CW character is....nothing but a specific sound, you 'see' a word forming.

Same with shooting.  As the gun sights line up on a target the finger automatically applies the final  few ounces of pressure.  Actually, there is a shooting sport call "Reaction Shooting" where the shooter simply reacts to a fast changing target situation.

No doubt this discussion will continue through time and you musicians might be right.  But as one who was trained for 6 months, 44 hours a week by the military and has been a ham for 55 years using CW..... I have to vote for "action/reaction."

BTW, I have no musical talent at all..... I don't know one complete song!
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N5MAV
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« Reply #22 on: July 25, 2011, 08:15:33 AM »

AK7V is right on the money!  I'm a bass guitarist and the last three years of my part-time career have been the most intense.  With more stage and studio time than I've ever experienced, I'm seeing new things happen.  I'm EXTREMELY visual and memorized scales and chords by pattern.  With more playing I'm better able to hear pitch and tone and my playing has stepped up.  My practice sessions are short and focused when learning new pieces.  I stay sharp on the set list by listening while driving, etc.

I've studied code for about a month and had my first QSO this weekend at a blazing 5wpm or so.  I focus on hearing letters but when I'm on the air I still see the patterns when the code is coming too fast or I hit a blank.  On-air jitters doesn't help.  My training involves getting on the air to lose the nerves and learning to write letters by sound.

The shooting correlation has some merit, too.  Sometimes the code passes from my ears through my pencil without my noticing.  That works well until I hit a character that I have to "visually" work out.  Smooth is fast, fast is accurate.

I started with G4FON and also use lcwo.net.  I started listening on the air as much as possible because, like musicians, CW operatiors have their own sound and it's tough to understand when you're used to one or two sources.

Just for kicks, here are some of my musical sound-alikes:

L: The turnaround in "Rocky Mountain Way"
Q: Main riff in "Alligator" by The Foxboro Hot Tubs (Green Day)
Y: Wildflower by The Cult
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AK4KZ
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« Reply #23 on: July 25, 2011, 08:31:39 AM »

Y: Wildflower by The Cult

I'm never going to be able to hear that song that same again :-)

73,
Chris / AK4KZ
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NK6Q
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« Reply #24 on: July 25, 2011, 10:49:28 AM »


Just for kicks, here are some of my musical sound-alikes:

L: The turnaround in "Rocky Mountain Way"


Makes sense; Joe Walsh is a ham.
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K8AXW
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« Reply #25 on: July 26, 2011, 10:37:48 AM »

I've continued to read the comments on this forum and as I did, it took me back many years when I was in a class of 35-40 students learning code. 

After switching from pencil to the mill and if everyone was on the same speed tape, it did indeed sound like 'music!"

It sounded exactly like Riverdance! LOL  However, back then we didn't know what Riverdance was.... or it simply didn't exist.
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K7GLM
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« Reply #26 on: July 27, 2011, 12:24:25 PM »

Same here about Symphony #6, although Fantasia ruined it for me.  It's hard for me to hear it without picturing little cartoon nymphs and centaurs scampering around.

And if you're truly cultured, you can hear the William Tell Overture and NOT think of The Lone Ranger.
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KJ4DHI
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Posts: 39




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« Reply #27 on: August 05, 2011, 12:25:46 AM »

I bet you could find Joe Walsh out there on CW, and as far as musicians go, they don't come much better. Now that's a QSL I'd love to have on the wall.
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DAVER
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Posts: 62




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« Reply #28 on: August 13, 2011, 08:50:52 AM »

As a lifelong amateur musician it did seam pretty simple to pick up sending cw anyhow. I've only ever used a paddle and keyer keep in mind. I specifically wanted to use a paddle to learn just b/c the muscle memory was already there from playing guitar. I'm not a drummer, but it seams like the diddle and para-diddle system also correlates to cw. I found it fun using letters as the rhythmic base for phrases on the guitar while improvising. Not sure that helps CW at all but it can make for some fun improv.

Dave, KD2AKC
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KU5Q
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« Reply #29 on: August 17, 2011, 12:04:49 PM »

AK7V is right on the money!  I'm a bass guitarist and the last three years of my part-time career have been the most intense.  With more stage and studio time than I've ever experienced, I'm seeing new things happen.  I'm EXTREMELY visual and memorized scales and chords by pattern.  With more playing I'm better able to hear pitch and tone and my playing has stepped up.  My practice sessions are short and focused when learning new pieces.  I stay sharp on the set list by listening while driving, etc.

Got any You Tube clips up of ur playing we can view?
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