Overtone or Fundamental

A study (2005) about brain characteristics and musical instrument preference "observed a strong correlation between pitch perception preference and asymmetry of brain structure and function in the pitch-sensitive lateral areas of Heschl’s gyrus (HG), irrespective of musical ability." A simple listening test divides people into either fundamental pitch listeners or spectral pitch listeners. There has been quite some internet discussion about this interesting test. Unfortunately the testfile is hard to find so I've made it available here:



There is a total of 12 pairs. A German-speaking voice introduces each iteration and every pair is repeated once. For each sequence jot down, whether you thought the pitch to be increasing or decreasing.



       incr    decr

1       o       f

2       o       f

3       f        o

4       f        o

5       f        o

6       f        o

7       o       f

8       o       f

9       f        o

10     o       f

11     o       f

12     f        o


An f indicates the preference of a fundamental listener, the o for an overtone listener.

The original study had many more samples, but these are a representative selection.