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Re: any examples of acquired absolute pitch?

Dear Eliot, Daniel, and others,

it may well be that stress induced absolute pitch (AP) does not yet appear anywhere in the literature. This "absence of evidence", however, would mean very, very little. Two examples:

1) I know of a person who experienced AP while being under the influence of a certain medical drug. Here we should even be grateful that the case was not published, because otherwise various "AP sellers" would immediately have exploited the knowledge and tried to make a fortune out of it.

2) The widely used medical drug carbamazepine shifts perceived pitch, usually by about a semitone. Here it took decades until a sufficient number of medical doctors a) believed their patients, b) investigated their patient's observations, and c) published a case report.

Considering that both the filtering for pitch and the filtering for chroma, also called "pitch class" (and "timbral quality in pitch" by Eliot), apparently occur subcortical, we can expect that the potential for AP is universal. The various findings of pre-cognitive AP support this expectation.

Given this setting, it seems fully plausible that stress induced changes in the brain can result in a cognitive version of AP by disinhibition of subcortical-cortical auditory circuits.


Martin Braun
Neuroscience of Music
S-671 95 Klässbol
web site: http://w1.570.telia.com/~u57011259/index.htm