Genetic Genius

According to a recent study of the psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman, the best musicians are born, not made. Researchers at St Thomas’s in London claim that genes are responsible for up to 80 per cent of our ability to recognize pitch, the jey to musical success and  greatness. The discovery by the hospital’s Twin Research Unit, the largest of its kind in the world, accounts for the prevalence of musical families from the Bachs to the Corrs and the Strausses to the Jacksons.

A comparison of the response of identical twins with those of non-identical twins revealed that the former were noticeably better at spotting the mistakes. The results of the study suggest that for some children, mucis lessons many only go so far in improving musical abilities such as pitch recognition. However, parents hoping to save money on lessons cannot use the test as an early indicator of musical potential.

For its next project, the Twin Research Unit will test whether identical twins can tell us if genes have a role to play in a preference for classical, jazz or pop music.

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