absolute pitch


: the position of a tone in a standard scale independently determined by its rate of vibration
: the ability to recognize or sing a given isolated note

called also perfect pitch

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Culasso excels in recording nature sounds, in part, for his memory and knack for absolute pitch, the rare ability to identify and recreate any musical note without a reference tone. Santiago Florez, Discover Magazine, 31 Aug. 2021 Hedger gathered 13 subjects who'd scored as high as possible on a test of absolute pitch. Elizabeth Preston, Discover Magazine, 21 June 2013 Joybubbles also had absolute pitch, and could whistle these tones into the phone to fool the computer into thinking the money had been paid for the call. Wired, 21 Nov. 2019 This had its limitations, and a few keen-eared researchers felt there was an advantage to Robert Hooke’s auditory approach – especially Olavi Sotavalta, an entomologist from Finland who had the rare gift of absolute pitch. Daniel A. Gross, Smithsonian, 25 Apr. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'absolute pitch.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

First Known Use

1721, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of absolute pitch was in 1721

Dictionary Entries Near absolute pitch

Cite this Entry

“Absolute pitch.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/absolute%20pitch. Accessed 7 Feb. 2023.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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