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Brain Cogn. 2003 Dec;53(3):464-71.

Ear advantage and consonance of dichotic pitch intervals in absolute-pitch possessors.

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Center for Integrated Human Brain Science, Brain Research Institute, University of Niigata, Japan.


Left-right asymmetry in the central processing of musical consonance was investigated by dichotic listening tasks. Two piano tones paired at various pitch intervals (1-11 semitones) were presented one note in each ear to twenty absolute-pitch possessors. As a result, a weak overall trend for left ear advantage (LEA) was found, as is characteristic of trained musicians. Second, pitches of dissonant intervals were more difficult to identify than those of consonant intervals. Finally, the LEA was greater with dissonant intervals than with consonant intervals. As the tones were dichotically presented, the results indicated that the central auditory system could distinguish between consonant and dissonant intervals without initial processing of pitch-pitch relations in the cochlea.

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