Music is a powerful mode of communication, providing a medium for individuals to share psychological states, develop identity, and foster group cohesion. The vast majority of individuals engage in music listening and music making (e.g., singing and dancing) from a young age, which leads to the implicit acquisition of a sophisticated music processing system. However, a significant minority of individuals do not acquire this musical system, leading to a lifelong disorder of music perception known as congenital amusia (previously also “tone deafness,” “tune deafness,” “note deafness,” or “dysmelodia,” and henceforth referred to as “amusia”).

Congenital amusia cannot be attributed to hearing loss, known brain damage, intellectual deficits, or a lack of music exposure. The disorder has genetic components and affects 2% to 4% of the ...

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