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Acquired musical savant syndrome

There’s a story on “Snap Judgment” on NPR about Derek Amato, who on his 40th birthday dove
into shallow end of a pool, hit his head, had a concussion. Afterwards, he
could suddenly play the piano, at a very high level, after never playing before.

Amato was diagnosed with “acquired musical savant syndrome”, and with
synaesthesia (he sees the music in patterns of black and white). He can’t read
music, just hears the tone, and without understanding how translates the
patterns he sees in his mind into his hands.

He says he’s been told there are about 30 AMS people in the world; he thinks he
may be the only one who got it through traumatic brain injury.  I have a slight connection to another AMS: Tony Cicoria.  Tony attends the same adult piano camp I do — Sonata, in Bennington, Vermont — though he goes a different month than I do so I’ve not met him in person.  He became AMS after being struck by lightning.

Here’s a link to the NPR story on Amato.

And to a Science HD video on YouTube, which confirms, he really can play, quite

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