Perfect Pitch

It's all in your mind

(HealthDayNews) -- "Perfect pitch" is the ability to identify musical notes simply by hearing them. And, it turns out, it's all in your mind.

Canadian researchers found that the way the brain processes music may determine whether someone has perfect pitch. The Montreal Neurological Institute at McGill University in Quebec used positron emission tomography (PET) scans to watch brain activity in musicians with and without perfect pitch.

When the people with perfect pitch listened to tones, there was a large amount of activity in the part of the brain called the posterior dorsolateral frontal, which is where "associative learning" takes place. Associative learning is how we learn, store and retrieve the names for things -- such as musical notes.

When equally well-trained musicians without perfect pitch listened to the same tones, there was little or no additional activity in this part of the brain.

There was no difference in the physical structure of the brains of either group of musicians, only in the way the brains process the information. The study appeared in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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