The boy who knew too much: a child prodigy

This is the true story of scientific child prodigy, and former baby genius, Ainan Celeste Cawley, written by his father. It is the true story, too, of his gifted brothers and of all the Cawley family. I write also of child prodigy and genius in general: what it is, and how it is so often neglected in the modern world. As a society, we so often fail those we should most hope to see succeed: our gifted children and the gifted adults they become. Site Copyright: Valentine Cawley, 2006 +

Friday, May 13, 2011

Ainan's evolving taste in music.

A couple of days ago, Ainan piped up:

"I would like to hear the music of Schoenberg.", he said, without any preamble.

"Why?", I asked, curious, for I was not personally familiar with Schoenberg and had never spoken of him, to Ainan, or anyone for that matter.

"Because it is mathematical.", he replied, as if, most oddly, that was justification in itself.

For the next couple of days, he asked, repeatedly, to be able to listen to Schoenberg's music. He tried iTunes - and pronounced it "useless". He tried Youtube - and found he couldn't download it, on our interminably slow Maxis connection. He raised the topic with us, perhaps hoping we would run out and buy some. Finally, late tonight, he found a solution: Wikipedia. There are samples of Arnold Schoenberg's music, on a Wikipedia page.

Ainan listened carefully to the pieces even as a radio in the background unsuccessfully tried to distract him. He played each through carefully. At one point, he observed: "I can hear the rhythm." He listened to this strange twelve tone music, in which all notes are given the same weight and appear with the same prevalence, with great relish. Finally, he said: "I like it." That is all the comment he gave or needed to give - since economy with words is his typical style.

He went to bed content that he had finally heard Schoenberg.

It was interesting to have watched him, with regards to Schoenberg. I rather think that the fact that Schoenberg's work is mathematical in design, heightened Ainan's interest in it. Perhaps the invocation of mathematics gave it greater respectability for him. Either that,or he was curious as to whether he could sense the mathematical nature of it, himself. Either way, he was happy to have heard it.

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 1:02 AM 


Blogger virginiagunawan said...

Thanks for sharing this story with us. Now I know where to listen to Schoenberg's music. I enjoyed it.

7:02 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Good. I am ever curious as to the path Ainan's curiosity takes him. It is much less predictable than one might suppose.

9:13 PM  

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