Re: Absolute pitch discussion (Robert Zatorre )

Subject: Re: Absolute pitch discussion
From:    Robert Zatorre  <robert.zatorre@xxxxxxxx>
Date:    Wed, 29 Aug 2007 12:21:55 -0400

I would agree with Roy's point that the whole issue of AP is complicated, so let's not look for simple solutions. The paper by Deutsch et al is very interesting, but note that its results can be used just as well as evidence either for genetics or for early tone-language exposure, since the higher incidence of AP was found in ethnically Chinese students as compared with non-Chinese; so they were comparing two populations with different genomes as well as different language histories. As for the PNAS study, it also presents very interesting and valuable data, and I like the web-based approach they used. However, I wonder if the two subpopulations seen in the distribution are somehow a consequence of the recruiting system used. People were not entered into the test randomly, rather they self-selected to participate, and people who know they have AP would naturally want to test themselves to see how they score. Could it be, therefore, that the over-representation of AP in the distribution represents a sampling bias? Robert -+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+ Robert J. Zatorre, Ph.D. Montreal Neurological Institute 3801 University St. Montreal, QC Canada H3A 2B4 phone: 1-514-398-8903 fax: 1-514-398-1338 e-mail: robert.zatorre@xxxxxxxx web site: Roy Patterson wrote: > Absolute pitch is a complicated phenomenon. Readers of the auditory list > should not be fooled by the seeming simplicity of the ongoing discussion > of the past few days. I would recommend balancing the nature views > expressed with the interaction of nature and nurture suggested in the > paper by Diana Deutsch and collaborators in JASA last year. The > reference and abstract are pasted in below. > > Regards Roy P > > > Martin Braun wrote: >> You mean, why do so few people develop a cognitive version of absolute >> pitch? Well, there are many who are waiting for the answer. Just two days >> ago there appeared a large-scale survey in PNAS. Perhaps the most >> compelling >> new result is the clear bimodal distribution of the trait. Either people >> have it, or they do not have it, with very little in between. This >> indicates >> the possibility of a relatively simple genetic origin of the trait, which >> means that the answer may not be too far down the road. >> >> > > > > Absolute pitch among American and Chinese conservatory > students: Prevalence differences, and evidence > for a speech-related critical period (L)a) > Diana Deutschb_ > Department of Psychology, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, > California 92093 > Trevor Henthorn > Department of Music, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, > California 92093 > Elizabeth Marvin > Department of Music Theory, Eastman School of Music, Rochester, New York > 14604 > HongShuai Xu > College of Music, Capital Normal University, Beijing, 10037, China > _Received 12 September 2005; revised 20 November 2005; accepted 21 > November 2005_ > Absolute pitch is extremely rare in the U.S. and Europe; this rarity has > so far been unexplained. This paper reports a substantial difference in > the prevalence of absolute pitch in two normal populations, in a > large-scale study employing an on-site test, without self-selection from > within the target populations. Music conservatory students in the U.S. > and China were tested. The Chinese subjects spoke the tone language > Mandarin, in which pitch is involved in conveying the meaning of words. > The American subjects were nontone language speakers. The earlier the > age of onset of musical training, the greater the prevalence of absolute > pitch; however, its prevalence was far greater among the Chinese than > the U.S. students for each level of age of onset of musical training. > The findings suggest that the potential for acquiring absolute pitch may > be universal, and may be realized by enabling infants to associate > pitches with verbal labels during the critical period for acquisition of > features of their native language. © 2006 Acoustical Society of America. > _DOI: 10.1121/1.2151799_ > PACS number_s_: 43.75.Cd _NHF_ Pages: 719–722 > > > >> >> >> Martin >> >> --------------------------------------------------------------------- >> Martin Braun >> Neuroscience of Music >> S-671 95 Klässbol >> Sweden >> web site: >> >> >> >> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Kevin Austin" >> <kevin.austin@xxxxxxxx> >> To: <AUDITORY@xxxxxxxx> >> Sent: Wednesday, August 29, 2007 9:37 AM >> Subject: Absolute pitch development >> >> >>> Thank you. And the question for me follows as to why so few people >>> develop >>> absolute pitch if the (mapping) structure exists and is used. >>> >>> Best >>> >>> Kevin >> > >

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