Written by Tim Falconer
Publication Date May 14, 2016
Author and journalist Tim Falconer — a self-confessed “bad singer” — is one of only 2.5 percent of the population that has been afflicted with amusia, ie: he is scientifically tone-deaf.
Bad Singer chronicles his quest to understand the brain science behind tone-deafness and to search for ways to retrain the adult brain. He is tested by numerous scientists who are as fascinated with him as he is with them. He also investigates why we love music and deconstructs what we are really hearing when we listen to it. Throughout this journey of scientific and psychological discovery, he puts theory to practice by taking voice and breathing lessons with a voice coach in order to achieve his personal goal: a public display of his singing abilities.
A work of scientific discovery, musicology, and personal odyssey, Bad Singer is a fascinating, insightful, and highly entertaining account from an award-winning journalist and author.
TIM FALCONER is an award-winning journalist and author of three books of nonfiction, including Drive: A Road Trip through Our Complicated Affair with the Automobile and That Good Night: Ethicists, Euthanasia, and End-of-Life Care. In 2010, he won a Canadian Institutes of Health Research journalism award to write about music and health, allowing him to produce a well-received 5,500-word piece about amusia that appeared in the Spring 2012 issue of Maisonneuve. That piece won a National Magazine Award and was followed by a radio documentary on the same subject on CBC Radio’s Ideas. He teaches magazine journalism at Ryerson University in Toronto and Creative Nonfiction at the University of King’s College in Halifax. He lives in Toronto.
"In his journey to understand why, exactly, he can't hold a tune — while having the ears and taste to appreciate great singing and songwriting — Tim Falconer takes us on a deeply absorbing journey into the worlds of brain science, singing coaches, music psychologists, ethnomusicologists, and into his own keening, music-loving heart. Bad Singer is a fun, fascinating, beautifully written, and strangely moving tale of a melodically-challenged man who yearned to sing. And it has much to say about the mystery of how music moves all of us, good and bad singers alike." John Colapinto, author of Undone
"Bad Singer deftly combines a memoir of Falconer’s personal musical history with a scientific look into how humans hear music" Maclean's Magazine