'Test your musical skills in 6 minutes'

Edited: June 7, 2017, 10:47 PM · I found this: http://jakemandell.com/tonedeaf/ tonight while fiddling around on google RE: Intonation.

I thought it was an interesting experiment and so plugged my headphones into my work computer and away we went.

What it asks you to do is compare two either identical, or very similar phrases and choose if they're the same, or different.

I thought people might find it interesting and be willing to share scores. I scored 94.4% (which is 34/36, it breaks it down at the end), which is higher than I thought I did.

I found it to be more of a musical memory test than an intonation test, but I suppose if you're tone deaf it's going to tank your score to around 50%, since you're likely to guess at least some right. I also suspect string players and singers may score higher than other instrumentalists.

Replies (20)

June 8, 2017, 1:35 AM · 33 right although I really concentrated. But in my opinion its not about pitch but about memory.
Edited: June 8, 2017, 2:09 AM · Marc,

I think we may think that because we can distinguish between the tones. If one was tone deaf I suppose the A & B would both sound indiscernible.

For us who aren't tone deaf, it is definitely a test of memory and how finely we can distinguish and recognize pitch.

Either way, thought it was something cool to share! :)

P.S Would one of your incorrect ones happen to be #10? I bungled 10 and 35.

June 8, 2017, 3:05 AM · 88.9% Correct (32 correct)
Not too bad considering I had the TV on and was chatting with people online while doing it. ;)
June 8, 2017, 3:10 AM · Good work Fox;

According to the researcher who made it anything over 80% is excellent!

June 8, 2017, 6:05 AM · @Micheal: Or is, you know, a trained musician, not an average Joe... :D
June 8, 2017, 6:06 AM · 97.2% correct (35/36)

I missed #2--I hadn't expected the next phrase to begin playing as soon as I clicked on my previous answer, and wasn't prepared for it.

June 8, 2017, 6:30 AM · I think we are messing up the statistic right now
Edited: June 8, 2017, 10:53 AM · The most useful test for me is sitting down as a deputy with another orchestra at their dress rehearsal and sight-reading what is put before me on the stand. No on-line statistics involved there!
June 8, 2017, 10:03 PM · Mary;

That's awesome; I'm envious! Yes it was a little erratic - I wonder if that was part of the design of the experiment, or for some other reason. There are reasons why it would be better to try and catch you off guard and other reasons why it wouldn't be. Mind you that's just my opinion from my undergrad research methods course a few years ago.


I don't think it matters anymore as the copyright date provided is from some time ago - any relevant research would likely already be concluded and any additional data is likely not monitored or just monitored out of curiosity


Too true. I had a co-worker try it and they scored 66.7%. It makes me wonder if that's a normal score for non-musicians.


That's not untrue! It is an interesting little experiment though.

June 8, 2017, 10:29 PM · I got them all right, 100%. I felt like the test was a little too simple and needed to have some harder items mixed in with the less difficult. They should have included pitches with a half- or quarter-tone (or less )difference between them in the 1st and 3rd sections, and had some items on the second section where the pitch didn't change so much, and included a section with a wider pitch range and shorter playing time. I almost felt like I was cheating since I knew exactly which notes were being played, and wasn't flexing the interval relationship part of my brain.
But.... I guess it's just meant to determine whether you are tone deaf or not, and it certainly does its job there. Can't wait to try it out on people I know!
June 10, 2017, 5:24 PM · 88.9% . Better than I expected. My musical memory is not great.
June 10, 2017, 8:21 PM · My score didn't post. I filled out the survey, and guessed, came w/i 0.1%, as I calculated my score from the score sheet after submitting the survey!! My audio files had playback issues - I always wanted to repeat the first phrase. Some were very obvious, in spite of the audio cracking and interruptions and my upstairs neighbor dancing... I ended up doing way better than I expected: 80.6%. Since I had so many playback issues, I was pleased. Sorry to drag you guys down!!!
June 10, 2017, 8:28 PM · I failed miserably.
June 12, 2017, 3:38 AM · I can't try it. The website said that it's not supported
June 12, 2017, 3:51 AM · Which operating system?
June 12, 2017, 7:49 PM · Great work Lieschen. I'm envious :)

Natania, you may not have flash installed. It requires flash to run. (Thankfully not Shockwave ;) )

June 16, 2017, 7:45 AM · I found some of them quite hard to differentiate when the pitches were really low, but I managed to score a 91.7 :)
June 16, 2017, 8:03 AM · Is that really a valid test of tone deafness?

Comparing two musical phrases that may or may not contain differences?

How about simply comparing two notes side by side and asking if one is higher, lower, or the same? That would minimize the memory portion affecting the outcome. There are some apps currently available that do just that.

Edited: June 16, 2017, 9:41 PM · Craig,

I can only make assumptions based on what they posted on their website:

(In our research, we were looking for neuro-anatomical correlates of tonedeafness (called "congenital amusia" in the scientific literature. The test you are about to take was used as a screening test to roughly characterize a patient’s pitch discrimination and musical memory abilities. Even though musical memory is strongly tested here, we have found that people who are tonedeaf tend to have normal musical memories.)

I'm thinking that the memory aspect was required to screen out participants with possible other mental deficits from their study. Not doing so could taint the study results - if there are other deficits in that part of the brain then it would not be possible to make a link to whatever they thought/think is causing it or to the results they're looking for in their study.

Because (they claim) that people with tone deafness have regularly functioning musical memories, I'm going to infer that the changes in pitch are subtle enough that they would not be able to differentiate the differences in the phrases, but should still be able to answer correctly on the ones that are identical, thus they would score the ones that are different as 'the same' unless they are dramatically different in rhythm, tempo, or character.

That said, I'm only guessing at this based on my educational background in psychology and have not read the paper or related reference material that they likely published or disseminated through other means.

June 17, 2017, 12:05 AM · 91.7%

At first I thought we were listening for the same pattern and got probably the first five tones wrong and had to start over. ha!

The only thing I disliked about the test was that the patterns started as soon as you clicked yes or no. It would have been helpful to have a few seconds' worth of a pause in between answers.

I'll keep track of this one. The menstrual cycle question threw me for a loop.

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