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Re: The climb of absolute pitch

Hi Leon et al,

It has indeed tended to go down for me, though not reliably so. The strange thing is that I still have this feeling of certainty when I name notes, even when I'm a semitone off. This makes me think that the effect is peripheral in origin, and that the central auditory system still interprets the information it receives correctly. There's a related phenomenon that occurs when people take carbamazepine (Tegretol). Those with absolute pitch hear a downward pitch shift that they generally describe as around a semitone. Its extent appears to increase  with increasing frequency in an orderly fashion over a six octave range. Braun and Chaloupa (Hearing Research, 2005, 210, 85-92) were able to plot this in a concert pianist with absolute pitch who  made judgments both under carbamazepine and under placebo.


Diana Deutsch

On Nov 30, 2012, at 1:25 AM, Leon van Noorden wrote:


So for the optimists it should go down.
I believe that Diana has found that in some cases indeed it goes down.
I my case it has gone up one step of the the scale. However, I am not a real pessimist.


On 30 Nov 2012, at 10:19, Brian Gygi wrote:

Maybe it's the world that has changed and not you - it got lower (i.e., darker, sadder)
Brian Gygi, Ph.D.
-----Original Message-----
From: Pierre Divenyi [mailto:pdivenyi@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx]
Sent: Thursday, November 29, 2012 11:10 AM
To: AUDITORY@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: The climb of absolute pitch


Several older persons who have had absolute pitch in their young years experience perceiving a pitch by at least a half-tone (minor second) higher than what it actually is ? a phenomenon that the French calls the "climb of the tuning fork" ("montee du diapason"). Since I am one of those unfortunate individuals, I have been wondering what its physiological explanation is. Can anyone on the list offer one?

-Pierre Divenyi