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AP in all of us? New evidence from speech research
Are we all hard-wired for absolute pitch ?
Last month a paper appeared in ARLO (the new electronic sister of JASA) on
new evidence suggesting a precognitive AP in all of us:
Braun, M. (2001). Speech mirrors norm-tones: Absolute pitch as a normal but
precognitive trait. Acoustics Research Letters Online -- July 2001 -- Volume
2, Issue 3, 85-90.
In the pitch material of 2,400 sentences of Dutch I found a significant
influence of our musical frequencies (based on A4=440 Hz). The
results prove that musical pitch is stored in the memory of nonmusicians,
just by hearing music, and then influences speech production.
I chose ARLO, because its articles are edited and peer-reviewed the
same away as in JASA, but are accessible to the general public, immediately
and without restrictions, via the web.
Just go to
(You might have to cut and paste the address, in case it is longer than one
The paper can be downloaded directly. Also, when you open "abstract", you
see links to many of the references. A mouse click, and in seconds you have
the abstract of a referenced paper infront of you.
These new findings of AP in normal speech seem closely related to the
remarkable "body-only" AP in some musicians as reported by Kevin Austin
Kevin Austin had written on Monday, May 07, 2001:
> I have met students who didn't think they had any form of 'absolute
> pitch', but upon certain kinds of testing, revealed 'other traits'. An
> example is a bass player who I auditioned 3 weeks ago. I suspected 'some
> form' of absolute pitch, but he denied it vigorously.
> I played a D (below the bass clef) on the piano and asked him to name it.
> He 'couldn't' do it. I asked him to raise his left hand and place his
> right hand "as if" he had a bass in his hands. I played the note and
> asked him to "finger" it. He was puzzled and reported that it was an open
> string. He adjusted his bow arm and said that it was 'D'. His 'body' had
> 'absolute pitch' that his 'ear' was not "aware" of.