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Abstract

This paper has two distinct parts. Section 1 includes general discussion of the phenomenon of "absolute pitch" (AP), and presentation of various concepts concerning definitions of "full", "partial" and "pseudo" AP. Sections 2-4 include presentation of the experiment concerning frequency range in which absolute pitch appears, and discussion of the experimental results. The experiment was performed with participation of 9 AP experts selected from the population of 250 music students as best scoring in the pitch-naming piano-tone screening tests. Each subject had to recognize chromas of 108 pure tones representing the chromatic musical scale of nine octaves from E0 to D#9. The series of 108 tones was presented to each subject 60 times in random order, diotically, with loudness level about 65 phon. Percentage of correct recognitions (PC) for each tone was computed. The frequency range for the existence of absolute pitch in pure tones, perceived by sensitive AP possessors stretches usually over 5 octaves from about 130.6 Hz (C3) to about 3.951 Hz (B7). However, it was noted that in a single case, the upper boundary of AP was 9.397 Hz (D9). The split-halves method was applied to estimate the reliability of the obtained results.
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Abstract

Absolute pitch is a unique feature of the auditory memory which makes it possible for its possessors to recognize the musical name (chroma) of a tone. Six musicians with absolute pitch, selected from a group of 250 music students as best scoring in musical pitch-naming tests, identified the chroma of residue pitch produced by harmonic complex tones with several lower partials removed (residual sounds). The data show that the percentage of correct chroma recognitions decreases as the lowest physically existent harmonic in the spectrum is moved higher. According to our underlying hypothesis the percentage of correct chroma recognitions corresponds to the pitch strength of the investigated tones. The present results are compared with pitch strength values derived in an experiment reported by Houtsma and Smurzynski (1990) for tones same as those used in this study but investigated with the use of a different method which consisted in identification of musical intervals between two successive tones. For sounds comprising only harmonics of very high order the new method yields a very low pitch recognition level of about 20% while identification of musical intervals remains stable at a level of about 60%.
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