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

Examples of absolute pitch in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web There are critical periods for walking, seeing, and hearing as well as bonding with parents, developing absolute pitch, and assimilating into a culture. WIRED, 15 June 2023 People with absolute pitch, those superpowered few, are thought to learn their pitches in childhood. Elizabeth Preston, Discover Magazine, 21 June 2013 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 examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'absolute pitch.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

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 19 Jul. 2024.

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