Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 2

Absolute pitch Related Abstracts

2 A Self Organized Map Method to Classify Auditory-Color Synesthesia from Frontal Lobe Brain Blood Volume

Authors: Yosuke Kurihara, Takashi Kaburagi, Takamasa Komura


Absolute pitch is the ability to identify a musical note without a reference tone. Training for absolute pitch often occurs in preschool education. It is necessary to clarify how well the trainee can make use of synesthesia in order to evaluate the effect of the training. To the best of our knowledge, there are no existing methods for objectively confirming whether the subject is using synesthesia. Therefore, in this study, we present a method to distinguish the use of color-auditory synesthesia from the separate use of color and audition during absolute pitch training. This method measures blood volume in the prefrontal cortex using functional Near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) and assumes that the cognitive step has two parts, a non-linear step and a linear step. For the linear step, we assume a second order ordinary differential equation. For the non-linear part, it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to create an inverse filter of such a complex system as the brain. Therefore, we apply a method based on a self-organizing map (SOM) and are guided by the available data. The presented method was tested using 15 subjects, and the estimation accuracy is reported.

Keywords: Absolute pitch, prefrontal cortex, functional near-infrared spectroscopy, synesthesia

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1 Aural Skills Pedagogy for Students with Absolute Pitch

Authors: Rika Uchida


In teaching sophomore level aural skills, I have dealt with students with absolute pitch do poorly in my courses, particularly in harmonic dictation. They can identify triads; however, identifying quality of seventh chords or chromatic chords poses serious challenges. Most often, they need to spell all the pitches before identifying the chord qualities and Roman Numerals. Growing up in a country where acquiring absolute pitch is considered essential, I started my early music training with fixed do system at age three and learned all my music with solfege. When I was assigned as a TA in aural skills courses at graduate school in US, I had to learn relative pitch quickly. My survival method was listening to music with absolute pitch first, then quickly "translate" to relative pitch. In teaching my courses, I have been using chord progressions (5-8 chords total), in which students are asked to sing chord arpeggiation with movable do solfege. I use same progressions for harmonic dictation; I hoped that students learn to incorporate singing and listening skills by overlapping same materials. This method has proven to be successful for most students; in particular, it has helped students with absolute pitch to hear chord quality and function. Although original progressions are written in C as a tonic, they can identify chords in harmonic dictation in other keys as well. In short, I believe singing chord progression with movable do arpeggiation helps students with absolute pitch to improve hearing function and quality of chords in harmonic dictation.

Keywords: Music theory, Absolute pitch, aural skills pedagogy, harmonic dictation

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