The Role of Pitch Memory in Music Perception The purpose of this paper is to review pitch memory, one of the less known aspects of music perception. In order to successfully perceive music, it is necessary to compare the pitch of successive notes in order to appreciate and recognize melodies. The process of recognizing and comparing the pitch ... Article
Article  |   December 01, 2012
The Role of Pitch Memory in Music Perception
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Robert E. Moore
    Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology, University of South Alabama, Mobile, AL
  • Julie Estis
    Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology, University of South Alabama, Mobile, AL
  • Ashley Gaal Flagge
    Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology, University of South Alabama, Mobile, AL
  • Disclosures: Robert E. Moore is Coordinator of ASHA Special Interest Group 6, Hearing and Hearing Disorders: Research and Diagnostics. Julie Estis and Ashley Gaal Flagge have no financial or nonfinancial relationships related to the content of this article.
    Disclosures: Robert E. Moore is Coordinator of ASHA Special Interest Group 6, Hearing and Hearing Disorders: Research and Diagnostics. Julie Estis and Ashley Gaal Flagge have no financial or nonfinancial relationships related to the content of this article.×
Article Information
Hearing & Speech Perception / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Articles
Article   |   December 01, 2012
The Role of Pitch Memory in Music Perception
SIG 6 Perspectives on Hearing and Hearing Disorders: Research and Diagnostics, December 2012, Vol. 16, 37-46. doi:10.1044/hhd16.2.37
SIG 6 Perspectives on Hearing and Hearing Disorders: Research and Diagnostics, December 2012, Vol. 16, 37-46. doi:10.1044/hhd16.2.37

The purpose of this paper is to review pitch memory, one of the less known aspects of music perception. In order to successfully perceive music, it is necessary to compare the pitch of successive notes in order to appreciate and recognize melodies. The process of recognizing and comparing the pitch of successive notes is called relative pitch. Pitch memory is important in the perception of relative pitch because it is necessary to hold the pitch of one note in memory momentarily before the next note is presented. Pitch memory is evaluated by altering a pitch discrimination task by placing silent intervals or intervals containing interference stimuli (e.g., noise, tones, speech) between the reference and comparison tones. Overall, research in this area suggests a significant relationship between pitch discrimination ability and pitch memory, and between pitch matching ability and pitch memory. Various stimulus and individual factors can also affect pitch memory ability.

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