This article brought to mind the history of pitch through the centuries. In the 17th century, what is now G sharp was an A. Maybe the “perfect” pitch is somewhere else.
Stanton Alger Bainbridge Island, Wash.
Before the 20th century, the tone that musicians called A ranged widely but was generally between 415 and 432 hertz in frequency. Some people today who play “period” instruments tune them accordingly. Today, 415 Hz is indeed G sharp, and A is 440 Hz. The authors of the study say that this historical movement of A might in part explain why even people with perfect pitch often slip up in identifying G sharp.
An alternative test for people with perfect pitch is to give them the name of a tone and ask them to produce it by humming, singing, or whistling. It was always nice to have such a person in our choir when I was in college.
Stanley Murphy Zephyrhills, Fla.
From the Nature Index
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