Number 13 / Part I. Music. 7. Grounds of Absolute Pitch Development in Yamaha Music School

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Abstract

Absolute pitch is defined as the ability to identify the pitch class of a certain given sound without the aid of an external reference pitch (Takeuchi & Hulse, 1993; Deutsch, 2002). The incidence of absolute pitch is extremely rare among the general population, respectively 1 in 10.000 people and it depends on testing conditions such as the number of identified sounds, pitch Chroma, pitch height, timbre, register or requested reaction time, and also on subjects musical training commencing and Eastern-Asian origins. The way absolute pitch develops is described by three models: the tone language theory, the early training theory and the genetic theory. The early training theory states that absolute pitch appears due to the beginning of musical lessons during a critical development period situated before the age of 6. The educational implications of this theory are revealed in the principles and activities of Yamaha Music School which employs didactic strategies that naturally develop absolute pitch. Yamaha Music School is the largest private music education system from Japan, established by Torakusu Yamaha in 1954. Up to this day it has extended in 40 countries from Europe, Asia and the American continents, as it has about 710 million students and 30.000 teachers. The present study aims to illustrate a detailed analysis of the way the learning experiences offered by Yamaha School lead to the development of absolute pitch.

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