Re: Perfect Pitch Problem ("Daniel J. Levitin" )

Subject: Re: Perfect Pitch Problem
From:    "Daniel J. Levitin"  <levitin(at)CCRMA.STANFORD.EDU>
Date:    Mon, 26 Oct 1998 14:55:33 -0700

Kevin, Your observation about color and pitch naming is apt, and I would add that the REASON people don't talk in terms of relative color is that we have "categorical perception" for color. In other words, the wavelength of light can change quite a bit before we notice a change in color; we tend to lump large variations in color into a single category. This is not so for pitch. Changes in wavelength (or frequency) are easily heard as changes in pitch and there is abundant evidence that not even absolute pitch possessors have categorical perception for pitch (see Burns & Cambpell, JASA, 1994, for example, or my 1996 dissertation). Often when APers are taught to use relative pitch it is difficult for both them and their teachers. A few APers claim to have accomplished this, but to my knowledge there has not yet been enough research on this topic. Dan ============================================== Daniel J. Levitin, M.Sc., Ph.D. Phone: (650) 723-4971 CCRMA/Dept. of Music FAX: (650) 723-8468 Stanford University email: levitin(at) Stanford, CA 94305 Visiting Scholar, Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics Home Page: ================================================ Email to AUDITORY should now be sent to AUDITORY(at) LISTSERV commands should be sent to listserv(at) Information is available on the WEB at

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