Practically perfect pitch
People who can identify piano notes with essentially no errors (perfect pitch) are much less capable in identifying musical notes produced by sine waves. Thus, frequency is not the only information these people use to identify musical notes; piano notes are complex waveforms or patterns, sine waves are not complex. Musically trained people who do not have perfect pitch ability have considerable difficulty identifying either sine waves or piano notes. As well as this quantitative difference, these two groups of musicians also differ qualitatively. The people in both groups are about equally able to judge octave levels, but people with perfect pitch are excellent in identifying the particular note, e.g., E, independent of its octave, while people without perfect pitch ability are not. © 1981, Acoustical Society of America. All rights reserved.
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