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Re: pitch shift with age

>Dear auditory list,
>Can anyone give me a reference to a perceptual study of pitch shift with
>age?  Am I correct that the general finding is that there is an upward
>shift in the perception of pitch in older individuals, and is the
>mechanism known?
>Ani Patel


It is well documented that possessors of Absolute Pitch experience pitch
shifts with age, usually with the age of onset around 50.    I'm not sure
what it means to talk about a shift in pitch perception in someone who
doesn't have AP.

For references, see Triepel, 1934 (cited in Ward & Burns, 1982); Vernon,
1977; Corliss, 1973; Abraham, 1901.

Also, a group in Washington showed that pitch shift can be induced in AP
possessors through administration of a psychoactive drug (Chaloupka et al,

Some authors have suggested the pitch shift could be do to shrinkage of the
cochlea.  Some of this literature is keyworded by the term "paracusis."


Abraham, O.  (1901).  Das absolute Tonbewusstein.  Sammelbde.
International Musikges, 3, 1-86.
Chaloupka, V.; Mitchell, S.; Muirhead, R. (1994).  Observation of a
reversible, medication-indued change in pitch perception.  JASA, 96(1),
Corliss,  E. L. (1973).  Remark on "fixed scale mechanism of absolute
pitch."  JASA, 53, 1737-1739.
Vernon, P. E. (1977).  Absolute pitch:  A case study.   British Journal of
Psychology, 68, 485-489.
Ward, W. D., and Burns, E. M. (1982).  Absolute Pitch.  In D. Deutsch (Ed.)
Psychology of Music.  San Diego: Academic Press, 431-451.

Daniel J. Levitin, M.Sc., Ph.D. Phone: (650) 723-4971
CCRMA/Dept. of Music    FAX:  (650) 723-8468
Stanford University     email: levitin@ccrma.stanford.edu
Stanford, CA  94305

Visiting Scholar, Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics

Home Page: http://www-ccrma.stanford.edu/~levitin


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