Pitch perception skewed by modern tuning

2019-02-27 10:10:02

Mozart had it; Leonard Bernstein had it; even Jimi Hendrix reportedly had perfect pitch – the ability to recognise a musical note without a reference tone. Now it seems that orchestral tuning may be skewing note perception in people with this rare talent. Jane Gitshier at the University of California, San Francisco, and her colleagues identified 981 people with exceptional pitch-naming ability. However, these people often had trouble with G# and A#, misidentifying them as A. Gitshier speculates that since orchestras tune to A over a range of frequencies,