Tone deafness

Tone deafness

Tone deafness is the lack of relative pitch, or the inability to distinguish between musical notes that is not due to the lack of musical training or education. Tone deafness is also known variously as amusia, tune deafness, "tin ear", dysmelodia and dysmusia.



The ability to hear and reproduce relative pitch, as with other musical abilities, is inherent in healthy functional humans. The hearing impairment appears to be genetically influenced, though it can also result from brain damage. Someone who is unable to reproduce pitches because of a lack of musical training would not be considered tone deaf in a medical sense. Tone deafness affects the ability to hear relative pitch changes produced by a musical instrument.

However, tone deaf people seem to be[not in citation given] disabled only when it comes to music, as they can fully interpret the prosody or intonation of human speech. Tone deafness has a strong negative correlation with belonging to societies with tonal languages. This could be evidence that the ability to reproduce and distinguish between notes may be a learned skill, but may conversely suggest that the genetic predisposition towards accurate pitch discrimination may influence the linguistic development of a population towards tonality. A correlation between allele frequencies and linguistic typological features has been recently discovered, supporting the latter hypothesis.[1]

Tone deafness is also associated with other musical-specific impairments, such as inability to keep time with music (the lack of rhythm), or the inability to remember or recognize a song. These disabilities can appear separately but some research shows that they are more likely to appear in tone-deaf people.[2] Experienced musicians, such as W. A. Mathieu, have addressed tone deafness in adults as correctable with training.[3]


In nine of ten tone deaf people, the superior arcuate fasciculus in the right hemisphere could not be detected, suggesting a disconnection between the posterior superior temporal gyrus and the posterior inferior frontal gyrus. Researchers suggested the posterior superior temporal gyrus was the origin of the disorder.[4]

See also

Notable tone-deaf people


  1. ^ Dediu, Dan; D. Robert Ladd (June 2007). "Linguistic tone is related to the population frequency of the adaptive haplogroups of two brain size genes, ASPM and Microcephalin". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 104 (26): 10944–9. doi:10.1073/pnas.0610848104. PMC 1904158. PMID 17537923. Retrieved 18 July 2008. 
  2. ^ Ayotte, Julie; Isabelle Peretz and Krista Hyde (February 2002). "Congenital amusia: a group study of adults afflicted with a music-specific disorder". Brain 125 (2): 238–51. doi:10.1093/brain/awf028. PMID 11844725. Retrieved 18 July 2008. 
  3. ^ Mathieu, W. A.. "Tone-Deaf Choir". Retrieved 26 February 2009. 
  4. ^ Loui P, Alsop D, Schlaug S. (2009). Tone Deafness: A New Disconnection Syndrome? Journal of Neuroscience, 29(33):10215–10220 doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1701-09.2009
  5. ^ LaFee, Scott (9 February 2009). "Darwin's Legacy: Natural selections". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved 10 February 2009. 
  6. ^ Norwich, John Julius. The Duff Cooper Diaries 1915-1951.Phoenix, 2006, ISBN 978-0-7538-2105-3. P.109.
  7. ^ Sacks, Oliver; Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain; p 108 ISBN 1400033535
  8. ^ MacIntyre, F. Gwynplaine (23 June 2004). "Happy in her work". Daily News. Archived from the original on 10 August 2004. Retrieved 23 December 2008. 
  9. ^ See Isaac Asimov's Book of Facts
  10. ^ Cox, Stephen (2004). The Woman and the Dynamo: Isabel Paterson and the Idea of America. New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA: Transaction Publishers. p. 85. ISBN 9780765802415.
  11. ^ Hunter, Graeme K.; Light is a messenger: the life and science of William Lawrence Bragg; p. 158. ISBN 019852921X
  12. ^ Crow, James Franklin and Dove, William F.; Perspectives on genetics: anecdotal, historical, and critical commentaries; p. 254. ISBN 029916604X
  13. ^ Baril, Daniel (12 April 1999). "Le cerveau musical". Forum (Université de Montréal) 33 (26). Retrieved 19 July 2008 
  14. ^ Hamilton, W. D. and Ridley, Mark; Narrow Roads of Gene Land: The Collected Papers of W. D. Hamilton Volume 3; p. 7. ISBN 0198566905
  15. ^ Zeltner, Philip N.; John Dewey's Aesthetic Philosophy; p. 93. ISBN 9060320298
  16. ^ The New York Times. 
  17. ^
  18. ^ "Five Minutes With: Ann Widdecombe". BBC. 16 July 2011. 

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Поможем написать курсовую

Look at other dictionaries:

  • tone-deafness — toneˈ deafˈness noun • • • Main Entry: ↑tone …   Useful english dictionary

  • tone deafness — noun an inability to distinguish differences in pitch • Syn: ↑tin ear • Hypernyms: ↑deafness, ↑hearing loss …   Useful english dictionary

  • tone deafness — noun see tone deaf …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • tone deafness — sensory amusia …   Medical dictionary

  • tone-deaf — tōn .def adj relatively insensitive to differences in musical pitch tone deafness n …   Medical dictionary

  • tone-deaf — [tōn′def΄] adj. not able to distinguish accurately differences in musical pitch tone deafness n …   English World dictionary

  • tone-deaf — tone deafness. /tohn def /, adj. unable to distinguish differences in pitch in musical sounds when producing or hearing them. [1890 95] * * * …   Universalium

  • tone-deaf — adjective unable to appreciate music • Similar to: ↑deaf * * * ˈ ̷ ̷| ̷ ̷ adjective : relatively insensitive to differences in the pitch of musical tones * * * tone deafness. /tohn def /, adj. unable to distinguish differences in pitch in musical …   Useful english dictionary

  • tone — n. & v. n. 1 a musical or vocal sound, esp. with reference to its pitch, quality, and strength. 2 (often in pl.) modulation of the voice expressing a particular feeling or mood (a cheerful tone; suspicious tones). 3 a manner of expression in… …   Useful english dictionary

  • tone — 1. noun /təʊn,toʊn/ a) A specific pitch. b) (in the diatonic scale) An interval of a major second. See Also: atonal, tonal, diatonic …   Wiktionary

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”