I've been pondering the role of audiating since it came up. I'm not pondering whether it can be done, because I audiated long before I ever knew there was a word for it. For me audiation happened primarily with the types of music I commonly encountered. If it was atonal with little happening diatonically, I don't think it would have worked. But with other music, I'd look at the page and hear the music off the page. I could sing what's there, like you can read a text out loud, because I was hearing it anyway. In fact, I thought that's how people read music. So yes, I'm familiar with audiating.
But I am not familiar with the idea of audiating as a means of memorizing. Something else seems to be going on here.
It's sight-singing ........
I'm never surprised when I first actually hear a piece
To me it's like someone saying that he reads the script of a play, "To be, or not to be, that is the question." and then he listens to the actors, and he is not surprised that the actor says "To be, or not to be, that is the question." Why would you even expect to be surprised? I'm not catching the point. But more importantly, I'm not catching the role of this for memorizing.
Well, to push the analogy to theater, I am capable of reading a script, which is like audiating spoken words. But this does not make me good at memorizing. Or as a singer, where you must memorize melody plus lyrics. I don't see the role.
The only thing that I CAN see, is that this audiation is being compared to something that works less well. (Like, what is its significance?)
I'm still exploring while trying to get a picture. I'm thinking that this audiating is replacing something that has worked less well.
If you do it often enough it's better than sight-reading at the piano though it frequently reduces the 'sound picture' to a simpler level but it's enough to recognise themes, melodies and chord movement and you can build the picture deeper over time.
In what way is audiating better than sight reading? In order to achieve which thing, which can be better done than sight reading?
My sight reading used to be mixed with audiation. I heard what was on the page, and I played what I heard. I actually switched to learning real sight reading, where you see F# and play F# knowing that it is that black key which is F#. This gave me a greater degree of accuracy, and let me wend my way through more complex pieces. So I'm coming from the opposite end.
So I'm still trying to understand this. I'm thinking that maybe sight reading can be an unmusical activity, where you type out the notes and hear them afterward as pitches, but they don't coalesce as music. If that is what is happening, then I can see that audiating will give you the music as music. In that case it would be "better than sight reading"
So I think I'm beginning to follow.
But I miss less when audiating because I look more closely at the score than when listening to a piece and I can catch smaller details or make better sense of what I see.
THIS may be the clue.
Unraveling this from bottom to top I see this possibility:
- Sight reading is the act of typing out the notes by knowing F# is that black key, or the next note is that note a major 3rd up from the last one. It's not being heard as music. On the other hand, if you want to hear it as music, recordings may not be a perfect solution, because you may not be able to hear all the details. When you audiate (like a singer?), however, you are able to hear the details in a musical way, and for this audiating is a better solution than a sight reading without the music inputting itself, combined with recordings where the music whizzes by too fast to catch all of it.
So now I see the role of audiating. As so often with music, it would have to do with where a person finds himself.