Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Tone Deafness, Rhythm, and Pitch - Cool Tests

The other day I came across this series of hearing tests put together by Dr. Jake Mandell. (Click on "Music Tests" on his site to access the tests.) His Flash-based tests judge your degree of tone-deafness, pitch perception, and rhythm. Naturally, I was curious to see how I scored, and I had Scotty take them, so I could compare my scores to somebody with normal hearing. Neither of us have formal music training.

Well, it definitely opened my eyes to areas that I'm lacking in.

I got 55.6% correct on the tone deafness test, which according to the site is on the low/normal end of the scale. That made me feel a little better, since it means I'm not completely tone deaf. Scotty beat my pants off, though, with his score of 86.1%.

On the adaptive pitch test, the test told me that I have a possible pitch perception deficit. At 500 Hz, I can differentiate two tones 24Hz apart. It doesn't sound too bad until you realize that puts me in the 0th percentile. Yes. The 0th. Every other person who has taken this test did better than me. Scotty got a very good score. He was in the 59th percentile. At 500 Hz he can differentiate tones 1.2Hz apart.

My rhythm score was better. I got 68% right, and was in the 31st percentile with a "normal/very good" score. Once again, Scotty was amazing and got 80% right, which the test said was outstanding.

There is one more test on the site, called the AMVI, which according to the site, "...is a logic test that attempts to measure one's ability to correlate musical phrases with abstract shapes and symbols." I had no idea what I was doing during the test and got 50% right, but Scotty got 100%.

So what does it say about my scores, and Scotty's? Well, for one, he seems to be pretty musically inclined. And I was missing a lot of things that seem to come naturally to people. Only rhythm was relatively easy for me, as I expect would be the case for a lot of people with hearing impairments. The beat is easy to discern in music even if you can't hear the rest of it. As for tone and pitch - I'm sure I could work to be better in those areas. As with anything, practice would improve my scores.


  1. Hi Megan,
    I took the tests too and got similar results to yours. I'm having a coworker take it so I can compare his results with mine and post on my blog. I guess I don't have a future in the music industry, ha, ha.

    1. Your post is quite relevant to what I am looking up these days.


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