[Dixielandjazz] Pitch perception

Bill Gunter jazzboard at hotmail.com
Tue Dec 16 04:31:27 PST 2003

Hi All,

John Farrell writes:

>"The discussion of  "diplacusis" reminded me of an
>experience recounted by my brother-in-law, who regularly played in a
>jazz band back in the '70s.  At the time, he played keyboard "by ear",
>having had no formal training.  One week he had a rather serious ear
>infection, and the doctor packed his ear with gauze, etc.  The aural
>result was that one ear perceived the pitch a full semitone higher
>than the other!  Wow, that must have been quite a weekend for both
>the band and the audience!

Also, I would suspect, it would be quite a weekend for your brother-in-law.  
Seems to me that if I hear Eb in my right ear and E in my left ear then 
somewhere in between I ought to detect a "beat frequency" of a dozen or so 
cycles per second (or whatever the difference between the two pitches are in 
cycles per second).

But, on top of that, I can't possibly imagine what sort of physiology is 
taking place to produce such a phenomenon as you describe.  Weird . . . .  
"doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo" (these are "Twilight Zone" notations I'm 
writing here).

John also says:

>I've often wondered how uniformly we perceive pitch, anyway.

Must be pretty uniform otherwise symphony orchestras would never be able to 
tune up. If the oboe player cranked out an A and half the orchestra heard 
something else that would be really ugly!

Respectfully submitted,

Bill "None of the above applies to washboard players" Gunter
jazzboard at hotmail.com

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