Absolute Pitch

Absolute pitch (AP) is the rare ability some people have to instantly and effortlessly name the pitch of musical tones, as readily as most of us name the colors we see. Others are said to possess AP if they can produce (such as by humming, whistling, or singing) a tone given its name. Suppose you are at a concert by your favorite rock group and the guitarist begins to play the opening strains of one of the group's biggest hits. Within a few notes, the entire audience recognizes the song and they jump to their feet. But you overhear someone sitting in the next row complaining, “They've changed the key to C—I can't believe they did that, it sounds so wrong!” The annoyed concert-goer in ...

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