If you heard some random music notes, would you be able to figure out what they were?
Like, could you just tell that this … is a D,
and this—absolutely an A-flat?
Maybe you’re just great at guessing, or you could have a rare ability called perfect pitch,
which puts you in the same club as Mozart.
Perfect pitch, also called absolute pitch,
allows you to identify musical notes without context,
which is especially helpful if you are a musician.
Most research seems to say you have to learn it as a kid.
But with lots of practice, it might be possible to develop sort-of perfect pitch as an adult.
Many studies suggest that to have perfect pitch,
you need to start musical training around six years old, during a critical period of development.
During this time, your brain is figuring out which neural pathways will be useful,
and which ones it should just get rid of.
The key is giving sound meaning, like that this sound … is a C.
就好比知道那蜷缩在你身旁 毛茸茸的流着口水的动物 叫做小狗
Just like learning that the fluffy, slobbery thing that cuddles up next to you is called a dog.
同样 如果你说的语言声调对词意影响很大 好比汉语
Also, if you speak a tonal language where pitch affects the meaning of words, like Mandarin,
you could be more likely to develop perfect pitch,
since your brain has been associating different pitches with meaning from the start.
But if you’re not actively learning musical notes,
your brain will get rid of those extra sound-identifying connections so it can become more efficient.
Most of this research is correlational, meaning that scientists didn’t manipulate any variables
and, like, teach babies certain combinations of language and musical notes.
But it still makes sense with what we know about how the brain develops.
If you missed that critical period of development,
researchers aren’t sure if you would ever be able to develop true perfect pitch.
But some studies have found that adults can be trained to better identify notes,
which can last for months.
In a 2015 paper from the journal Cognition,
researchers tested 17 university students with various musical backgrounds, but no perfect pitch,
然后得到了 他们对识别刚听过的不同音符并再复现 能做到多好的最低限
and got a baseline for how well they could name different notes and recreate notes that they just heard.
Then, the participants went through training where they listened to 180 piano notes,
训练中 他们需要认出音符 并纠正错误
were asked to name them, and got corrected when they were wrong.
在这之后 参与者们再次进行辨音水平测试 结果得分提高了至少8%
After all that, the participants did the baseline tests again and scored at least 8% better,
and their scores were still higher for 6 of them when they were retested around half a year later.
This study and others like it are pretty small,
and the participants aren’t all that close to the accurate
lifelong perfect pitch you might develop as a kid.
But as long as you’re willing to put in the work to learn
it’s at least a half-step in the right direction!
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