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Absolute Pitch Does Not Depend on Early Musical Training


Address for correspondence: Dr. David A. Ross, Department of Diagnostic Radiology, Yale School of Medicine, Box 208043, New Haven, CT 06520. Voice: 203-785-5296; fax: 203-785-6534;


Abstract: The etiology and defining characteristics of absolute pitch (AP) have been controversial. To test the importance of musical training in the development of this skill, we developed a new paradigm for identifying AP that is independent of a subject's musical experience. We confirm the efficacy of the paradigm using classically defined AP and non-AP musicians. We then present data from a nonmusician who nevertheless appears to possess AP. We conclude that musical training is not necessary for the development of AP.