Absolute pitch in blind musicians

Neuroreport. 2004 Apr 9;15(5):803-6. doi: 10.1097/00001756-200404090-00012.


Absolute pitch (AP) is possessed by only a small percentage of musicians (typically < 20%). From a sample of 46 early blind subjects, we identified 21 who had musical training, 12 of whom (57.1%) reported having AP, reflecting markedly increased prevalence compared to sighted musicians, despite the fact that mean age of commencement of musical training was significantly later among blind than sighted AP musicians in our database. MR images acquired in a subset of blind AP musicians revealed greater variability in planum temporale asymmetry compared with the increased left-sided asymmetry previously described in sighted AP musicians. This suggests that neural mechanisms underlying AP in blind musicians could differ from those in sighted musicians.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blindness / physiopathology*
  • Brain Mapping
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality / physiology
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Music*
  • Pitch Discrimination / physiology*