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Linearity as pitch perception: was Perception as memory
Thank you Leon. This is my third noted instance of the 'non-linearity'
of pitch (perception) among three people possessing AP.
While I do not wish to speak for Eliot Handelman, a number of years
ago (perhaps 5 or more) in a discussion with him the topic turned to a
series of melodic dictations, sight-singing and theory exercises I had
prepared. He asked me something like "What is this thing with melodic
contour?", and went on to, as I understood it, indicate that he did
not think that 'contour analysis' was necessarily valid. He will
clarify what he said and what he meant. At the time, I thought he
either had very poor hearing (which did not seem to be the case), or
perhaps he had residual elements of AP, perhaps (as I thought) from
taking violin lessons (or piano lessons) at a very young age.
Just before that, I had had the experience with a number of oriental
students in my classes who exhibited an unusual (to me) form of AP.
They were fine naming notes in the C and G pentatonic scales, and the
intervals associated with them, that is, all intervals except the
semitone and tritone. In these cases, there was confusion in interval
identification between them. To me, one was "close", and the other
"more distant". I pondered.
When they sang melodies, in general, the pentatonic notes of C and G,
were well-placed and in tune. The other notes, (context dependent)
were placed 'somewhere between' these points of reference -- they were
'variable' (or lost) pitches. Since then, I have equated this to
having a clear pitch grid for certain notes, and the others being
Leon's email indicates that there is confusion of pitches which are a
third and a fourth apart. My experience in this is that people with
good relative pitch may make (contextual) semitone errors, or confuse
P4 and P5. I had mentioned before the heretical view that AP
individuals do not hear intervals and chords (as integrated) in the
same way that relative pitch individuals do. I'm not sure that we live
in the same perceptual world.
Date: Mon, 31 Aug 2009 22:07:46 +0200
From: Leon van Noorden <leonvannoorden@xxxxxxx>
Subject: Re: Perception as memory
Long ago I have also performed some reaction time studies on note
identification. With me as the only subject.
Under pressure I made quite a lot confusion errors between fa and la
and between si and mi.
So I think that AP subjects use a connection between the chroma and
the tone height dimensions of pitch.