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Professor Skies
Intermediates - Tune In, Tune Up
Sat Aug 25, 2018 22:27

“Good morning,” Selina greeted the Intermediate class. She was hoping for a relatively calm lesson, seeing as her subject matter wasn’t… well, any of their classmates, although she suspected there may still be some fallout from that particular revelation.

“Today, we are beginning our work on technical and mechanical transfigurations. This is a particular branch of transfiguration based around working objects, objects with moving parts, and highly complex objects. As you all know, transfiguration is often limited by your ability to visualise. This is especially true when the objects in question are complex or have moving parts. These things are harder to visualise, because of their complex nature. There is some debate in the literature about whether knowledge of how things work is necessary - of course, knowing how something works increases your ability to visualise it accurately but for example, if I can picture the insides of a clock perfectly without knowing how exactly they work, can I still make one, or do I have to know what’s going on? For homework, you will read these two scientific studies that present differing accounts of this, and answer the attached questions,” she sent the stack of parchments flying around the room. “As usual, you may spend time on this in class if you finish the practical.” Both studies used data from subjects with photographic memories. In the first, they had been compared to test subjects without strong visual memory. Each had been given a set amount of time to study certain complex objects. The objects had then been removed and the subjects asked to recreate them using transfiguration. Those with strong visual memories out performed the others, a logical and expected result, but one which the authors argued proved visualisation skills alone were sufficient. The second study compared experts in a particular field - clockmakers, musicians and so on - with those with photographic memories (plus a control group of regular test subjects). Although both groups produced passable products, the experts’ pieces outperformed those with photographic memories both when independently inspected for quality and in terms of how long the transfiguations lasted. The authors of the original paper had written a rebuttal stating that of course experts would be able to visualise things better, and you couldn’t prove that it wasn’t better visualisation skills at work, and the whole thing was currently teetering on the verge of descending into a philosophical debate on the nature of reality, as so many branches of Transfiguration did.

“We’re going to do our own experiment today. Well, sort of. It’s not exactly going to be scientifically rigorous, or really prove much beyond how good your visualisation skills are - and for a few of you, your describing skills. Please stand if you are a member of the orchestra or if you otherwise play any small-sized instrument.” She confirmed the instrument that each person played with them - she had got a list of the orchestra members from last year, so those she already knew - and sent out a piece of paper with the incantation needed for their specific musical instrument to them. She had also added the Russian names for each instrument. She didn’t translate much of the class material - they were attending school in America after all - but when it came to such technical words, and when the nature of the class required that she couldn’t back it up by providing a visual, she thought it best to give the foreign students a bit of a hand… She would have added the French as well, except they had all turned out to be basically identical to the English, save a vowel change here or an accent there. Each member also received a box of wooden rods or blocks approximately the right dimensions for their instrument.

“You will form groups, led by these people. They each have the spell for their instrument, and a wooden rod or block of the right size for you to work on. You will try to create their instruments as best you can from your own mental picture of what they look like. Your instrument players will then give you feedback, and you will try to improve your transfiguration from there. Musicians, you are welcome to try out your classmates’ creations - you may not be able to visually see whether they have the dimensions quite right, but I’m sure you’ll be able to hear it, or to feel whether the spacings are right.

“As I say, we’re not trying to prove a particular theory here, just to give you some practise with making complex objects. Musicians, you can also have a go at making your own instrument once you run out of feedback to give.

“Additionally, if anyone else has a particular hobby that lends itself to technical knowledge, please let me know. It might be fun to make use of you in future.”

OOC - posts will be scored based on length, realism, relevance and creativity. There can be some give and take with the description of the transfigurations. For example, you can go with ‘she found she had no idea what a flute looked like beyond shiny and complicated, and there were probably ten different things wrong with what she had produced’ and let your musician come up with some ideas, or go the other way and give a specific example, e.g. it had completely the wrong number of keys. Any questions, ask me in chatzy. See OOC for list of instrument players.

    • Growing upNatalie Atwater, Pecari, Thu Sep 20 16:47
      Fifth year was a big year but what Natalie was currently focused on wasn't CATS. She supposed she'd just take Transfig, Charms and Defense. She didn't expect stellar marks on them based on the fact... more
    • My favorite orchestra player (tag Peyton)Jasmine Delachene, Crotalus, Wed Sep 5 11:59
      Jasmine looked with interest to see who stood as a member of the orchestra. She had taken some piano lessons as a child, herself, but she did not count herself skilled enough to join a performance... more
      • AwwwwPeyton O'Malley, Crotalus, Mon Sep 10 11:23
        This year had brought some changes for Peyton. For one thing, Sophie was no longer a teacher here, and that made the Crotalus sad. Professor Brooding seemed nice and all, but she wasn't Peyton's... more
        • OOCProfessor Skies, Thu Sep 13 08:14
          Hi Peyton, Please note that the orchestra members do not have their instruments with them in class. They were not asked to bring them, or to create their own attempts in the task. The purpose of the... more
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