Upon a follow-up of Dr. Gitschier’s perfect pitch study, I found the latest results she has published in the American Journal of Human Genetics 2009. The results indicate that absolute pitch is genetically heterogeneous. These findings were based on a study with 73 multiplex absolute pitch families.
There have been endless studies on the question of whether perfect pitch is innate or if it is learned in early musical training. The title of the video is what drew me in because I am very curious to know if in fact research has discovered whether this trait is genetic or not. However, I was slightly disappointed to discover that even after 3 years of the on-going study with perfect pitch families, no conclusive results had been obtained. This may be a moot point because all researchers inevitably seem to come to the same conclusions when conducting studies on the basis of perfect pitch. This then makes me wonder if we will ever be able to find a decisive answer for what and why perfect pitch occurs in only “one-in ten-thousand people”? As a music educator, I am hoping that further studies in the area will indicate that a majority (if not all) of the perfect pitch ability stems from the type of early musical training received. If future research indicates this is the case, this will have an impact on the ways that music is taught at an early age, whether it is through the use of more ear-training or singing exercises.