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Absolute pitch discussion ... confusion

Hmmm ... so here is where I get lost ... my reading was that absolute pitch was also octave equivalent, so my experience is that the mechanisms for AP and reference pitch are not the same. I have seen that some people with 'reference pitch' based upon a specific instrument (chroma) do not have it for other instruments.

I met a violinist who had AP down to G below middle C (the lowest string on the violin). He also had an impossible time with pitch centroid instruments such as timpani.


Sorry not to be able to provide references ... I have dreadful memory for words and such.

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Date:    Fri, 7 Sep 2007 15:37:57 +0200
From:    Martin Braun <nombraun@xxxxxxxxx>
Subject: Re: Absolute pitch discussion

Hi Kevin and list:

your descriptions of various absolute pitch (AP) observations were clear =
and easy to understand. Don't worry about not having used the "correct"
scientific terms. As yet there aren't any established terms for the two
things you described. We are also missing any systematic research on them.

 > ....... There are a number of musicians who lodge a reference note in
 > their mind (such as the violinist who can sing A, D, G and E in the octave
 > of the violin strings)
 > .................
 > In my experience with people 17 to 77, AP cannot be taught or trained.
 > Reference pitch can be.

What you called "reference pitch" was called "AP for a single tone" by Ward
and Burns (1982) and Ward (1999) in two influential reviews on AP.