2.6.2017

A new research project is shedding light on a choral mystery - and you can help!

Almost every choir has someone with ‘the gift’. They have no idea how they got it, they don’t need to do anything to keep it alive, and they can’t teach it to anyone who doesn’t have it. That gift is known as absolute pitch or, more commonly, perfect pitch.

To most choir directors and fellow singers, a perfect pitcher is a prized human tuning fork, capable of correctly singing any note without reference (to a piano, for example). But the gift can go further, including the ability to name the key of any piece of music that’s played, and to sing it in the correct key days after hearing it. For some perfect pitchers, the sensitivity goes beyond music. That car horn? F sharp.  

NYCGB Alumna Robyn Donnelly’s current MSc research project will be of interest to all perfect pitchers - and to anyone who's ever wondered how they do it. Based at Goldsmiths, University of London, she’s looking into why some people have perfect pitch, and whether there’s actually something different about the way they think in general which is behind it all.

Right now, the project is looking for volunteers to contribute data, and anyone between the ages of 18 and 40 is welcome to apply to get involved. Both perfect pitchers and non-perfect pitchers are welcome, and you don’t have to be a trained singer or musician, or able to read music. If you’re interested in taking part, then click the link below to take a quick online ‘pre-screening’ questionnaire. And if you'd like to know more about this fascinating area of research, then head to the Music, Mind & Brain blog, which is full of news and latest research.

Apply to get involved in the project (external link)
Visit the Music, Mind & Brain blog (external link)