[time-nuts] Re: Low cost synchronization, kitchen appliances

Chuck Harris cfharris at erols.com
Sun Aug 21 17:43:03 EDT 2005

Hi Poul,

As a musician myself, with marginal perfect pitch, I can cold tune to
about 7 cents absolute pitch on a 440 A, and much closer with relative
5ths.  So basically, just using my ear, I can tune a fiddle so I won't break
anything, but I wouldn't be any fun to play with ;-)  Oddly enough, I played
guitar for years, and didn't know I could do this until I learned to play a

However, I have never, ever heard of anyone that could prove to
do better than 1 cent.  Do you have any reference to your claim?  Perfect
pitch has always been something that has fascinated me, if only because
of the total unlikeliness of the whole thing.

Also, a cent is not the same as a percent.  A cent is 1/100th the distance
between two adjacent semitones (eg. C and C#).  There are exactly
1200 cents in each octave.  So, as you can see, the spacing between
cents is logarithmic.

I have tinitus, but for me it is a rushing noise with some tonal component.
It sounds sort of like gas running through iron pipe when the furnace kicks
in.... or perhaps a flute that is being blown into, but is just starting to show
hints of producing a pure tone.

Once I had a fever, that I was treating with aspirin, and I had an annoyingly
large tinitus tone, So I thought I would try and get a beat note with it,
purely in the interests of science, of course.  On went the headphones,
and I adjusted a signal generator from well below to well above, and I could
never get a beat of any sort.  And further, I could never even do a good
job of matching the frequency.  I concluded that tinitus tones must be outside
of audio in some way.... but then, I was feverish at the time.


Poul-Henning Kamp wrote:
> In message <4308B7FF.6050308 at erols.com>, Chuck Harris writes:
>>No doubt, but even the best most gifted world class musician with
>>perfect pitch cannot resolve pitch to  better than 1 cent.  More usual
>>is around 4 cents.
> That's actually not always true.  Some musicians develop or have a
> tinitus tone which allows the to cold tune their instrument with
> much better than 1% precision.
> It is theorized that people with "absolute hearing" actually reference
> the tone to one or more tinitus tones which may be at the edge of
> their hearing threshold but the disonances might not.

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