Are you tone deaf?

Squeezed April 21, 2008

As an amateur choir conductor, I’ve always wondered whether there really is a thing called tone deafness. To some degree I’ve encountered some resistance when I try to recruit people to the choir…people say that they don’t sing well.

While researching tone deafness and whether there is really a thing, I stumbled across the site of Jake Mandell, a medical student at the University of Massachusetts. He formulated some tests to see how well people can detect differences in pitch, rhythm, and musical phrases.

Your mission, if you choose to accept it:

1.  Go to and take the “tonedeaf” and “adaptive pitch” tests.

2.  Report back here with your scores (your % correct on the tonedeaf test and the frequency difference you can detect on the adaptive pitch test).

For comparison: when I first took the tonedeaf test, I scored 77.8%.  (The test is intentionally very difficult; even experienced musicians can have trouble scoring above 80%).  I’ve taken the adaptive pitch test a few times and on average can detect pitches about 1.5 Hz apart.

Good luck!  Let me know how you do.

2 Responses to “Are you tone deaf?”

  1. Alice Says:

    I got normal performance at 70% : /

  2. Alice Says:

    I got “very good” for the adaptive pitch test :D I was able to tune the timpani after all!

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