Medical Definition of Perfect pitch

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Perfect pitch: The inherent human ability to identify a note or sing it without hearing a reference note beforehand. Since most native speakers of languages that use tones to convey meaning have perfect pitch for language, it is now believed that babies are born with perfect pitch but lose it if they do not learn a tonal language or undergo early musical training.

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Reviewed on 12/27/2018

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