Min Maj Noise

AP RP

DL Front Parietal OL Front Parietal

Figure 2 Musicians with absolute vs relative pitch ability. Tones-Noise: CBF increases while listening to pairs of sequential tones that formed either major or minor intervals vs amplitude envelope-matched noise bursts. An increase within the left posterior dorsolateral (DL) frontal cortex was observed for musicians with absolute pitch (AP) but not for those with only relative pitch perception (RP). Min/Maj-Noise: CBF increases while listening to the same tone pairs, but with the instruction to press a button if they formed a minor interval. Increases were seen within posterior DL frontal cortex in both groups, consistent with the hypothesis that these activations are related to retrieving conditional associations between particular auditory stimuli [pitches (AP) or the ratio of two pitches (AP or RP)] and verbal labels (note or interval names) (reproduced with permission from Zatorre et al., 1998).

and a relative pitch stimulus attribute (the ratio of the fundamental frequencies of the tones making up a pair), an association learned by both groups as part of their conservatory training.

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