Diversity of accuracy profiles for absolute pitch recognition

Nan Bahr, Carol A. Christensen, Mark Bahr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Most advanced musicians are able to identify and label a heard pitch if given an opportunity to compare it to a known reference note. This is called 'relative pitch' (RP). A much rarer skill is the ability to identify and label a heard pitch without the need for a reference. This is colloquially referred to as 'perfect pitch', but appears in the academic literature as 'absolute pitch' (AP). AP is considered by many as a remarkable skill. As people do not seem able to develop it intentionally, it is generally regarded as innate. It is often seen as a unitary skill and that a set of identifiable criteria can distinguish those who possess the skill from those who do not. However, few studies have interrogated these notions. The present study developed and applied an interactive computer program to map pitch-labelling responses to various tonal stimuli without a known reference tone available to participants. This approach enabled the identification of the elements of sound that impacted on AP. Pitch-labelling responses of 14 participants with AP were recorded for their accuracy. Each participant's response to the stimuli was unique. Their accuracy of labelling varied across dimensions such as timbre, range and tonality. The diversity of performance between individuals appeared to reflect their personal musical experience histories.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)58-93
Number of pages36
JournalPsychology of Music
Volume33
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Software
Absolute pitch
Labeling
Stimulus

Cite this

Bahr, Nan ; Christensen, Carol A. ; Bahr, Mark. / Diversity of accuracy profiles for absolute pitch recognition. In: Psychology of Music. 2005 ; Vol. 33, No. 1. pp. 58-93.
@article{432627204a9f47249d0ce13f39ee8d00,
title = "Diversity of accuracy profiles for absolute pitch recognition",
abstract = "Most advanced musicians are able to identify and label a heard pitch if given an opportunity to compare it to a known reference note. This is called 'relative pitch' (RP). A much rarer skill is the ability to identify and label a heard pitch without the need for a reference. This is colloquially referred to as 'perfect pitch', but appears in the academic literature as 'absolute pitch' (AP). AP is considered by many as a remarkable skill. As people do not seem able to develop it intentionally, it is generally regarded as innate. It is often seen as a unitary skill and that a set of identifiable criteria can distinguish those who possess the skill from those who do not. However, few studies have interrogated these notions. The present study developed and applied an interactive computer program to map pitch-labelling responses to various tonal stimuli without a known reference tone available to participants. This approach enabled the identification of the elements of sound that impacted on AP. Pitch-labelling responses of 14 participants with AP were recorded for their accuracy. Each participant's response to the stimuli was unique. Their accuracy of labelling varied across dimensions such as timbre, range and tonality. The diversity of performance between individuals appeared to reflect their personal musical experience histories.",
author = "Nan Bahr and Christensen, {Carol A.} and Mark Bahr",
year = "2005",
doi = "10.1177/0305735605048014",
language = "English",
volume = "33",
pages = "58--93",
journal = "Psychology of Music",
issn = "0305-7356",
publisher = "SAGE Publications Ltd",
number = "1",

}

Diversity of accuracy profiles for absolute pitch recognition. / Bahr, Nan; Christensen, Carol A.; Bahr, Mark.

In: Psychology of Music, Vol. 33, No. 1, 2005, p. 58-93.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Diversity of accuracy profiles for absolute pitch recognition

AU - Bahr, Nan

AU - Christensen, Carol A.

AU - Bahr, Mark

PY - 2005

Y1 - 2005

N2 - Most advanced musicians are able to identify and label a heard pitch if given an opportunity to compare it to a known reference note. This is called 'relative pitch' (RP). A much rarer skill is the ability to identify and label a heard pitch without the need for a reference. This is colloquially referred to as 'perfect pitch', but appears in the academic literature as 'absolute pitch' (AP). AP is considered by many as a remarkable skill. As people do not seem able to develop it intentionally, it is generally regarded as innate. It is often seen as a unitary skill and that a set of identifiable criteria can distinguish those who possess the skill from those who do not. However, few studies have interrogated these notions. The present study developed and applied an interactive computer program to map pitch-labelling responses to various tonal stimuli without a known reference tone available to participants. This approach enabled the identification of the elements of sound that impacted on AP. Pitch-labelling responses of 14 participants with AP were recorded for their accuracy. Each participant's response to the stimuli was unique. Their accuracy of labelling varied across dimensions such as timbre, range and tonality. The diversity of performance between individuals appeared to reflect their personal musical experience histories.

AB - Most advanced musicians are able to identify and label a heard pitch if given an opportunity to compare it to a known reference note. This is called 'relative pitch' (RP). A much rarer skill is the ability to identify and label a heard pitch without the need for a reference. This is colloquially referred to as 'perfect pitch', but appears in the academic literature as 'absolute pitch' (AP). AP is considered by many as a remarkable skill. As people do not seem able to develop it intentionally, it is generally regarded as innate. It is often seen as a unitary skill and that a set of identifiable criteria can distinguish those who possess the skill from those who do not. However, few studies have interrogated these notions. The present study developed and applied an interactive computer program to map pitch-labelling responses to various tonal stimuli without a known reference tone available to participants. This approach enabled the identification of the elements of sound that impacted on AP. Pitch-labelling responses of 14 participants with AP were recorded for their accuracy. Each participant's response to the stimuli was unique. Their accuracy of labelling varied across dimensions such as timbre, range and tonality. The diversity of performance between individuals appeared to reflect their personal musical experience histories.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=61049155670&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1177/0305735605048014

DO - 10.1177/0305735605048014

M3 - Article

VL - 33

SP - 58

EP - 93

JO - Psychology of Music

JF - Psychology of Music

SN - 0305-7356

IS - 1

ER -