Navigation Links
Is Perfect Pitch All in the Genes?
Date:8/30/2007

Study suggests genetics may be behind ability to know the tone of a musical note

THURSDAY, Aug. 30 (HealthDay News) -- A Web-based do-it-yourself study has found evidence for a possible genetic basis for absolute pitch, the rare ability to identify the pitch of a musical note without other notes as reference, researchers report.

"We asked, 'What is the chance that a sibling of a person with absolute pitch also has absolute pitch?', " said study lead author Jane Gitschier, a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. "Both in our study and others, there appears to be an eight- to 14-fold increase in the likelihood. Our goal is to get at what the genes are."

To reach that goal, Gitschier and her colleagues are asking participants who demonstrate what musicians prefer to call absolute pitch -- rather than perfect pitch -- to send in samples of their DNA to aid in the search for the purported genes.

Most people have so-called "relative pitch" and are able to identify a pitch when it is surrounded by pitches at nearby levels. Among musicians, Mozart was said to have had perfect pitch, allowing him to copy the works of other composers in his childhood years.

The new study, published in this week's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, covers data from 2,213 people who went to the Web site of the University of California Genetics of Absolute Pitch Study. They were asked to identify both pure tones from a synthesizer and piano tones, and also to complete an accompanying survey. Of those who filled all the requirements, 981 were found to have perfect pitch, Gitschier said.

One expected finding from the study is that pitch perception changes with age, as older people err in the "sharp" direction, she said.

"We also discovered that in the subjects who entered the study, absolute pitch appears to be an all-or-none phenomenon," Gitschier said. "People are either really good at it or not good at all."

But the study's design hits a sour note with Diana Deutsch, a professor of psychology at the University of California, San Diego, who has done extensive research on perfect pitch. Her basic criticism is the lack of controls built into the study.

"There were no controls for dishonesty. A person who did the study could be sitting by a synthesizer," Deutsch said.

Also, "they [the researchers] didn't control for language," she said. "My articles have shown that language is important, particularly tonal languages such as Mandarin. Japanese also relies on pitch to alter meaning, as do certain dialects of Korean."

The genetic link is also suspect in Deutsch's eyes. "People who have a strong family background in music are more likely to acquire perfect pitch," she said. "Certainly, the matter of family background is important."

Whatever its cause, perfect pitch fascinates many people. Gitschier said, adding that she has been inundated with inquiries about the study.

More information

The study is continuing, and you can participate by going to the Web site of the University of California, San Francisco.



SOURCES: Jane Gitschier, Ph.D., professor of medicine, University of California, San Francisco; Diana Deutsch, Ph.D., professor of psychology, University of California, San Diego; Aug. 27-31, 2007, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences


'/>"/>
Copyright©2007 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Perfect babies boon or a bane?
2. Roller-Coasters Isn’t The Perfect Place For Cardiac Patients To Be
3. French and wine: inseparable and just perfect?
4. Fizzy Logic For A Perfect Drink: Courtesy Boffins
5. Miracle Baby Boy from a Type 3 osteogenesis imperfecta, Mother
6. Condom sense: Slip on the perfectly sized condom to avoid mishaps
7. New Garlic Product Mimics Garlic to Perfection
8. Dengue takes on a feverish pitch, descends on additional unlucky 6
9. Innocuous Blood Test Pitches in as Heart Risk Barometer
10. Low Pitch Therapy for ‘ringing in the Ears
11. The root of addictive carnal desire - Sexy Genes?
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/5/2016)... ... 05, 2016 , ... Chronic stress can have a silent, yet dangerous, impact ... immune system and increase inflammation, both of which raise the risk of heart attack ... disease program at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital. Chronic stress also can lead to other ...
(Date:5/5/2016)... , ... May 05, 2016 , ... ... honored finalists and winners Tuesday evening, May 3, at the 2016 ISE® Central ... , Scott Pettigrew, Vice President and Chief Security Officer of HMS, was selected ...
(Date:5/5/2016)... , ... May 05, 2016 , ... If you don’t ... marks on your skin, you may want to consider a treatment that some have ... Advanced Dermatology P.C. , Microneedling, also known as skin needling, is a ...
(Date:5/5/2016)... Austin, TX (PRWEB) , ... May 05, 2016 , ... ... existence to offer the breakthrough technology of the new PiQo4™ laser, the first 4-wavelenth ... treating more tattoo inks than any other picosecond laser on the market. Jeremy ...
(Date:5/5/2016)... ... 05, 2016 , ... Liposuction specialist Marcia V. Byrd, MD spoke last month ... the Marriot St. Louis Airport Hotel. This year’s conference was titled “Living with Lipedema ... her unique specialization in treating Lipedema. Dr. Byrd is considered one of the leading ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:5/3/2016)... CITY, Mo. , May 3, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... Kansas Medical Center,s Institute for Advancing Medical Innovation ... and commercialize new drugs, diagnostics and medical devices. ... provides BioNovus Innovations with rights to license, develop ... "This partnership represents ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... , May 3, 2016  As a teenager, an ... rheumatic fever, which damaged his heart. He continued enjoying ... by June 2013, Shepherd,s heart was giving out and ... On June 20, 2013, the Mesa, Arizona ... Heart (TAH-t). Like a heart transplant, the SynCardia TAH-t ...
(Date:5/3/2016)...  While you may be familiar with watching a film or TV show in high definition, ... 8MP in the Medical Industry.  Ampronix  is a renowned authorized reseller of the medical industry,s ... - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20160502/362730 ... ... ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: