AP of 5, rather than 12 (!) (KEVIN AUSTIN )

Subject: AP of 5, rather than 12 (!)
Date:    Wed, 9 May 2001 07:46:56 -0400

>Martin Braun wrote: >> ...this is not possible. There are millions of colors. Most of us, >> however, would have an absolute memory of 12 colors. Color circles >> of 12 colors are quite common and can be learned in a few minutes. >> The 12 tones of our octave can not be learned in years (with >> extremely rare exceptions), once you are older than 5-7 years > >An absolute memory of 12 colors corresponds to an absolute memory of >pitch for 12 categories spanning the entire range of audible frequencies >from 20-16.000 Hz (at my age). I suppose this can be learned in a few >minutes. A hemitonic absolute pitch memory covering a musical relevant >range of frequencies would correspond to an absolute memory of roughly >90 color shades (only hue, same saturation and brightness). Hmmm ... my mind won't settle ... Is 'absolute pitch' (perfect pitch) learned, or 'triggered'? This year I had a very interesting student whose sense of "interval" was very weak. I have found that this is often associated with ap/pp. Since the individual never had to hear the 'color of the interval' (because the notes were heard as segregated elements), s/he hadn't developed a refined sense of 'interval'. As it turned out (!) upon a little testing, she had (almost) ap/pp for the notes C, D, E, G, A. She was born in Taiwan and had been raised in a very conservative environment, not coming into contact with (much) western european art music until her mid- late-teens. Her pp/ap for the 5 notes was above 80-90%. For intervals, it was _very_ poor. Interestingly, I played the following notes ... (eg) D# -- identified as B; C# -- identified as F; F -- 'I don't know'; C# -- identified as C. She told me that having learned pentatonic music (ie as per the previous discussion here), and not using F or B, she 'knew' that notes that didn't fit, were either F or B. (Apparently she didn't know 'which'.) This fits a particular model of 'exclusion' which many people exhibit regarding "music / noise" (IME). While there is differentiation and categorization of 'musical' sounds, the "excluded" set [noise] is undifferentiated (at a verbal level). > >Date: Sun, 6 May 2001 14:45:12 +0200 >From: Martin Braun <nombraun(at)POST.NETLINK.SE> >Subject: Re: Absolute frequency / Absolute color > >Christian, are you joking, or do you like to put me to a test? > >You wrote: >"A hemitonic absolute pitch memory covering a musical relevant range of >frequencies would correspond to an absolute memory of roughly 90 color >shades (only hue, same saturation and brightness)." > >Reply: >Small children, up to 5-7 years of age, only have to learn the 12 tones of >ONE octave. We don't have more than these 12 tone names, by the way. When >talking about different octaves we have to add an octave name to one of the >12 tone names (A3, A4, A5, etc.). To my knowledge, all music cultures have >tone-name systems of this type. >Once a child has learned the 12 tones of one octave it can transpose them >into all other octaves without problems. In tests, absolute-pitch possessors >often commit octave errors, because they don't learn the tones of all >octaves. They learn the tones of one octave and take them as the pattern for >all other octaves. > >Martin Hmmm ... even more so!! ... this may be a new[er] definition of "absolute", refering not to the sound(s), but the category of sound (called pitch-class). Maybe (by this hypothesis), the 'correct' term would be Absolute Pitch-Class .... in which case I would withdraw 'absolute frequency' as an alternative. >Date: Sun, 6 May 2001 12:37:12 -0700 >From: Diana Deutsch <ddeutsch(at)UCSD.EDU> >Subject: Re: Absolute frequency / Absolute color > >Christian, > >Actually you only need 12 categories for AP -at least for Western >tonal music - because of octave equivalence. Perception of >differences in height between notes of the same pitch class are not >related to AP. > >-Diana Deutsch Hmmm ... the concept of "necessity" (read: need). If one deals with only 12 pc's, the model would need to be based on the concept of a circle, rather than a linear representation (?) -- enter Shepherd's tones (registral uncertainty) -- not unlike a 'sound version' of the rotating barbershop pole. (Ooops! Does that 'age' me too much? Maybe there aren't any more barbershop poles ... or barbershops [?!] (having been to only one in the past 30 years, I haven't noticed).) > >Date: Sun, 6 May 2001 23:14:41 +0200 >From: Alexandra Hettergott <a.hettergott(at)WANADOO.FR> >Subject: Re: Absolute frequency / Perfect Pitch ?? > >Christian Spevak wrote : >>Has anybody heard of people having an "absolute" perception of (shades >>of) colors? Maybe painters? Ok, this is an auditory list... >Well, Imho that the comparison color / pitch value is a valid one in >this regard : we do (quasi) 'naturally' have something like an >'absolute' memory for colors (so as for (as usual) different shades of, >e.g., red / blue / green / gray ..., in general we don't have any >difficulties to recognize any of these (basic) colors as such), while in >the analogous (pitch) case this is yet the exception rather than the >rule ; My (very weak) understanding is that the rods and cones provide 'basic' red / green information. Is color-blindness in the eye (receptor) or brain (interpretor)? This analogy can be carried as to where 'tone-deafness' occurs. Is tone-deafness the 'opposite' of ap/pp? Best Kevin kaustin(at)vax2.concordia.ca

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DAn Ellis <dpwe@ee.columbia.edu>
Electrical Engineering Dept., Columbia University