[Smt-talk] Perfect pitch and aging

Paul Setziol setziolpaul at earthlink.net
Tue Feb 7 14:22:34 PST 2012

Hello all,

I am reading this with a combination of feeling better now that I know others are going through the same thing and, obviously, depression.  I am 65 and for me it is on again off again, pretty much by days.  Since my primary performance medium has always been voice, at first I thought I was suddenly singing terribly flat but then I realized that, on the "off" days, it's always that same half step amount - way too big to just be flat.  I used to sit in an audience anticipating the A tuning note, sometimes forgetting that wind ensembles usually tune first to a Bb and hearing my A turn into the leading tone to what they were playing.  Now it has happened twice that it was a whole step - terribly confusing.

Now I'd like to hear from someone who has figured out a way to reverse this development.

Best wishes,

Paul Setziol
Musicianship Coordinator and Department Chair
De Anza College
Cupertino, California

setziolpaul at deanza.edu
setziolpaul at earthlink.net

>That's interesting, David ... yes, it happened to me.
>I have perfect 'piano' pitch and for various other instruments, though its not universal. The Moonlight Sonata sounded very strange in D minor at first - but I've kind of got used to it! I find I can 'turn it off' when sight reading - but improvising with others is a real pain - as I've never sure whether I'm hearing what they're doing at correct pitch or a semitone out!
>Adam Ockelford PhD ARAM
>Professor of Music
>Director, Applied Music Research Centre
>Room 135, Queens Building
>Southlands College
>University of Roehampton
>Roehampton Lane
>London SW15 5SL
>+44 (0)7818-456 472
>a.ockelford at roehampton.ac.uk
>From: smt-talk-bounces at lists.societymusictheory.org [smt-talk-bounces at lists.societymusictheory.org] On Behalf Of Huron, David [huron.1 at osu.edu]
>Sent: 07 February 2012 18:17
>To: SMT Talk
>Subject: [Smt-talk] Perfect pitch and aging
>It's well-known that people with perfect pitch experience an
>upward pitch-shift with age.  Typically, by around 55 years of age
>a C sounds like a C#, and by 65 a C tends to sound like a D.
>I wonder if this is a universal experience or whether there are
>people with perfect pitch -- older than 60 -- who have NOT experienced
>an upward pitch shift.
>I'd appreciate people writing to me to convey their experiences regarding
>age and AP.  I'll post a summary if I receive enough responses.
>David Huron
>huron.1 at osu.edu
>David Huron
>Arts and Humanities Distinguished Professor
>School of Music & Center for Cognitive Science
>Ohio State University
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