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The Absolute Musical Pitch is Inborn, But Not Anatomical
The absolute musical pitch is an inborn, but not an anatomic peculiarity of human hearing. A serious proof of this is a case of unilateral labyrinthopathy. Although both the internal ear and the cochlear (auditory) nerve are affected by the impairment, the absolute pitch remains intact.
By Krasimira Fileva-Ruseva
Sep. 25, 2015

The author of the study - the associate professor, PhD Krasimira Fileva-Ruseva from the Academy of Music, Dance and Fine Arts, Plovdiv, Bulgaria - who possesses an absolute pitch, reveals also the first steps of forming the connection between tone pitches and tone names. “In the beginning of their musical studies, the ones gifted with absolute pitch listen for the first time to the tones with their names and memorize exactly those tone pitches, which they have perceived on the given musical instrument” - she says - Those exact pitches on that specific musical instrument, “on which they were perceived, will be the templates for tone names for some time. Afterwards, with more extensive activities with music and on different instruments, and through singing, the possessor of absolute pitch develops a “tolerance”, for example the tones in the range of what frequencies around 440 hertz can be considered to be “a”.

The author examines some surprising problems, that the possessors of absolute pitch have, such as hearing with tone names not only sounds, produced by a musical instrument or voice, but also by every sound source, whose sounds have a relatively constant frequencies, or the character of the sounds allows for them to be perceived as a chromatic scale or as a melody. The flood of tone names from all directions distracts the mind.

Phonism (colouring) and functionality (stability-unstability) “as properties of the sound complex are found in a synergy or a struggle for dominance in the different musical styles”, concludes the professor, PhD Penka Mincheva from the Academy of Music, Dance and Fine Arts, Plovdiv, Bulgaria. She specifies - “Phonism dominated over functionality during the Baroque era, had an aligned position during the Romantism and was established as the main form construction principle during the Impressionism, Expressionism, Dodecaphony; functionality was the main driving force for musical development in the Classism, was in an equal position with phonism during the Romantic era, lost its position in the Impressionist era and was completely deconstructed in the Dodecaphony”.

An effective approach to realizing the emotional impact of a musical work and the role of the music means of expression suggests the teacher Diana Katsarova from “St. Patriarch Evtimii” General Educational School, Plovdiv, Bulgaria. Using dynamic, metric and rhythmic variants of the themes I and II of the Piano concerto d moll, Part I of W. A. Mozart, she achieves also a better memorization of the themes and an increase of the interest to the Mozart's music.

Figure 1. W. A. Mozart, Piano concerto d moll, Part I, Theme I, I variant - a characteristic of a dance.

The author held a test, where in a question about students' favorite piece of music, listened during the school year, “of 61 pieces, among which popular, folk and classic music, Mozart’s Piano Concerto came first in the list for about 70% of the students, and in top three lists for 15 %. All students have included that piece in their list”.

These and many other intriguing facts and conclusions about the music appear in the Special Issue Musical Theory, Psychology and Pedagogy (International Journal of Literature and Arts vol. 2, Issue 5 – 1, Oct. 2014).

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