Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Perfect Pitch, but not Perfect Hearing

Image result for absolute pitch

As a singer, I have always dreamed of having perfect/absolute pitch. However, I was never blessed with such a gift. If I trained for years, maybe I could come close, but I would never be as good as someone with someone who are born with perfect pitch. I had always wondered, "do I not hear the notes correctly?" or "am I doing something wrong?" It turns out that I'm not. Apparently, those with perfect pitch do not have better hearing than someone who doesn't have perfect pitch. As seen in Chapter 2, we all are able to remember how a melody of a song goes whether it is through imagining it, humming it, or singing it. This is actually a form of absolute/perfect pitch because we are able to know what the melody is supposed to sound like. Are we able to determine what notes are used to make the melody? Probably not. According to an article by The Hearing Review, there are two theories for why it is possible for people to have perfect pitch. The first theory is that those with perfect pitch can determine the tone of the sound, similar to how we speak. This is done by the auditory cortex of the brain and the dorsal frontal cortex. The other theory is that memory is involved, and those with perfect pitch can associate different notes and remember them very easily, suggesting an enhancement in the dorsal frontal cortex of the brain.

So despite the idea that people with absolute/perfect pitch can hear notes better, this is not the case at all. Instead, it is possible that they just have enhancements in their brain that allow for them to recognize notes better than those who don't have this ability. We all have some sort of ability of absolute pitch, but some are able to determine individual notes better.

Do you think you have perfect pitch? Why not test yourself?



“Brain Study Explores Gift of Perfect Pitch.” The Hearing Review, The Journal of Neuroscience, University of Zurich, 24 Jan. 2015, www.hearingreview.com/2015/01/brain-study-explores-rare-gift-perfect-pitch/.

1 comment:

  1. Hi there Hannah,
    Your post attracted my attention right away when I saw the words "Pitch perfect" along with the picture you chose. I have a tremendous passion for music and I have always been fascinated in the way music affects our brains and how our brains affect the music we create! I can definitely relate - there are times when I'm not sure why I didn't get that "perfect pitch" when I'm singing. Regardless, as a singer and musician, I don't let the idea of "perfection" get in my way. I do know that the ability to "carry a tune" is a genetic (recessive) trait. Both my parents are musical, so I guess my siblings and I can thank them for our musical talents:) It's a lot of fun to have a musically-inclined family and I'm going to show them the youtube video you referenced - I would love to hear their take on the topic. Awesome post, thank you for the insight!