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Test Your Musical Abilities Here!


Jack Mandell’s website

I discovered this website made by Jake Mandell, a radiologist and researcher in music and neuroimaging, and I had a little fun with the music tests which were proposed. You can actually do four different musical tests, a Tonedeaf test, an adaptive Pitch test, a rhythm test and an Associative Musical Visual intelligence test. I scored quite high for some, and quite low for others! But I have no musical training whatsoever, and I have never learned music, so musicians probably have an advantage, at least I suppose.

The adaptive pitch test measures your pitch perception abilities. During the test you hear a series of two short tones and each time you are asked to determine if the second tone is higher or lower than the first one. It is easy when you start, but as you advance in the test it becomes more and more difficult. Effectively, the Hertz difference between the two becomes lower and lower and the two tones sound almost or totally identical. I scored really badly at this one, below a certain frequency I wasn’t able to differentiate anything. I took it twice and once I was able to differentiate tones at 13.5 Hz apart, the second time at 8.4 Hz apart. Really below the average of people who took this test, as the average of people were able to differentiate tones 3.98 Hz apart!! Are they all musicians? It was very hard for me.

The rhythm test let you know how well you can distinguish subtle differences in rhythm. Two rhythmical phrases are played and they ask you if they have the same rhythm or not, and if there is a difference, it is only rhythmical. I got a 60% score, and I did it again (I am getting better people!) and got 72% which was in the normal and good category…. Of course world class performers obtain a 90% at this test. Let’s say I am barely in the average (71.2%)

But now the tests I was good at! I scored 88.9 % at the Tonedeaf test! Which is very good (the average is only 73.9%). Two almost identical musical phrases are played and you have to say if they are the same or not. This is obviously something I use a lot when I try to determine if two songs sound similar… how many times during a show, I asked myself: I know this melody, where did I hear it? Then later on, out of the blue, I have some bulb lightning up somewhere in my brain, and yes, it reminds me this or this specific song! This test is based on musical memory, so I may have no rhythm but I have a good musical memory!

There is another test called Associative Musical Visual intelligence test, and this one was very challenging and interesting (it didn’t seem to work on the same website but I found it elsewhere). You have to associate a choice of geometrical symbols to one or two musical phrases, and once you figure it out, it is quite fascinating. My score was 80%, which is excellent but not exceptional (90%). There were other numbers given in the results (Pitch discrimination 87%, Musical memory 83.5%, contour discrimination 79.5%, Attention 80.6%, Musical abstraction 67.2%) but I am not sure how to interpret all this. Basically this test determine if you can ‘hear shapes’, and it is partly based on synesthesia (‘union of the sense), the strange ability to associate colors to shapes or to sounds or to tastes…. It forces you to be a synesthete even thought you aren’t one. I guess there’s a bit of this in me.

Every time you perform a test, your score is anonymously stored to collect more data, this is an ongoing data collection for a large experiment, and more than one million people have taken the Tonedeaf test. Have a little fun if you dare!

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