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Is there an equivalent to an eidetic memory, with regards to aural memories and sounds?

Asked by Kardamom (23435 points ) February 16th, 2014

One of my friends is a drummer. He’s been playing since he was a teen. Going on 40 years now. He’s in his mid 50’s. He took drum lessons as a youth, but he never learned to read music.Yet he is one of the best drummers I’ve ever heard. He’s played in several bands in which he had to recreate the drum sequences of Ringo Starr (The Beatles), John Densmore (The Doors) Clem Burke (Blondie) and Hal Blaine (studio musician for The Monkees, Frank Sinatra and The Beach Boys and beyond).

When he has to learn new pieces, he takes a day or two and then he’s proficient. He does not need to rehearse day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year. After a few days, he’s got it down pat.

How does he do it? He never learned to read music, and never studied music in school. He was given a set of drums (after begging for them as a youth) given a few lessons, and then he was, for all intents and purposes, a pro.

Would you say that he’s got an eidetic memory? I don’t think so, because that involves someone seeing and memorizing something. This friend of mine doesn’t read music, so he’s not memorizing or even reading, thus seeing, the music.

Is there an equivalent for people who hear things, especially music, who can immediately recreate those sounds, simply because they can hear them, in their mind’s ear rather than their mind’s eye? If so, is there a term for that?

Is he a musical Sherlock Holmes? Or an Aural Savant?

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