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Re: Perfect Pitch

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Posted by Rick Threadgill ( on March 21, 2002 at 14:15:35:

In Reply to: Re: Perfect Pitch posted by Rick Threadgill on March 20, 2002 at 15:03:22:

Basically, people with perfect pitch are able to discern precise differences in frequency apart from the actual sonic envelope, which is what makes a violin A sound different than a flute A. They do not hear 440 as the perfect A, they just know that A is 440. If A were 450, the would theoretically be able to tell. But that's where we run into learned vs. innate. If it is learned, they will know a 450 is not an A, but if A were changed to 450, they would have a tough time adjusting their memory. It is true that more people with perfect pitch started before ten which does suggest that it is a learned behavior. But I met an opera singer who didn't start training and singing professionally until she was 20 and she was able to recognize which notes on our piano were out and then adjusted her voice to match. Pretty amazing. And yes, not only people with perfect pitch, but musicians in general have larger areas of brain activity when listening to and thinking about music. In fact, a study was just done that showed that the lack of auditory cortex activity was the only major difference between people thinking about a melody and those actually listening. Also, most speech is processed in the left hemisphere, while music is predominantly in the right. But they do cross paths.


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