Philomel Records

Diana Deutsch is Professor of Psychology at the University of California, San Diego, and conducts research on perception and memory for sounds, particularly music. She has discovered a number of musical illusions and paradoxes, which include the octave illusion, the scale illusion, the glissando illusion, the tritone paradox,  the cambiata illusion, the phantom words illusion and the speech-to-song illusion, among others. She also explores ways in which we hold musical information in memory,  and  in which we relate the sounds of music and speech to each other. Much of her current  research  focuses on the question of absolute pitch - why some people  possess it, and why  it is so rare. (See, for example, recent work comparing the prevalence of absolute pitch in speakers of tone language and non-tone language).

Deutsch obtained a First Class Honors B.A. in Psychology, Philosophy and Physiology from Oxford University, and a Ph.D. in Psychology  from the University of California, San DiegoShe has over 150 written publications, including  books, book chapters, and articles. She is Editor of the book The Psychology of MusicAcademic Press, 1982, 2nd Edition 1999, (see review), 3rd Edition 2013, (see review), and author of the compact  discs Musical Illusions  and Paradoxes (1995) and Phantom Words and Other Curiosities (2003) see review of both CDs.


Deutsch has been elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Acoustical Society of America, the Audio Engineering Society, the Society of Experimental Psychologists, the American Psychological Society, and the American Psychological Association.  She has served as Governor of the Audio Engineering Society, as Chair of the Section on Psychology of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, as President of Division 10 of the American Psychological  Association  (Society for the Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity and the Arts), and as Chair of the Society of Experimental Psychologists. She is Founding Editor of the journal Music Perception,  and  served  as Founding President of the Society for Music Perception and CognitionShe was awarded the Rudolf Arnheim Award for Outstanding Achievement in Psychology and the Arts by the American Psychological Association in 2004, the Gustav Theodor Fechner Award for Outstanding Contributions to Empirical Aesthetics by the International Association of Empirical Aesthetics in 2008, and the Science Writing Award for Professionals in Acoustics by the Acoustical Society of America in 2011.

Some media descriptions of research by Deutsch and colleagues

The Song of Insect Wings - Zsofia Bacsadi, Magyar Narancs, October, 2014

The Human Zoo, Interview with Michael Blastand - BBC Radio 4, July, 2014

These Auditory Illusions Are Absolutely Bewildering - Robert T. Gonzalez, io9, May, 2014

Language and Tone - Susan Scutti , Medical Daily, January, 2014

Audio Illusions Prove Your Hearing May Not Be As Good As You Thought - Janissa Delzo, Medical Daily, June, 2014

The science of audio illusions, or fooling people's ears - Esther Inglis-Arkell, io9, February, 2014

Play it again, Sam! Pourquoi nous voulons chaque fois entendre - Arnaud Lefebvre,, March, 2014

One more time: Why do we listen to our favourite music over and over again? Because repeated sounds work magic in our brains - Elizabeth Hellmuth Margulis, Aeon, March, 2014

How often does speech turn into song? - Esther Inglis-Arkell, io9, March, 2014

Hallucinations auditives - France Culture, April, 2013

Entretien avec Diana Deutsch chercheur - Radio France, April, 2013

The psychology of a second listen - Charlie McCarron, Minnesota Public Radio, November, 2013

Hinh - Von Marianne Wendt und Christian Schiller, Deutschlandradio, December, 2013

Creative voices come to Cleveland - The Cleveland Stater, June, 2013

Absoluut Gehoor: Lust of last - Heike van Hoogdalem, Akkoord Magazine, July, 2013

BBC Radio 4 documentary "Out of the Ordinary |Rorschach Audio - Art & Illusion for Sound" - Jolyon Jenkins, BBC Radio 4, March , 2013

BBC Archive on Four on Radiolab - Judith Kampfner, BBC Radio 4, April , 2013

Musical illusions-Radiolab - Brenna Farrell, Radiolab, May, 2013

The Sounds of a Mystery - Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim, The New York Times, April, 2013

Review of The Psychology of Music, Third Edition - Classical Net, February, 2013

New Study Ties Perfect Pitch to Genetics - Choral Director, October, 2012

Dr. Diana Deutsch, University of California, San Diego – Genetics of Perfect Pitch - Bradley Cornelius, Academic Minute, WAMC, Northeast Public Radio, November, 2012

Sorry, music lessons can't teach perfect pitch - Meghan Holohan, The Body Odd, NBC News, October, 2012

Is Perfect Pitch Genetic? - MedlinePlus, October, 2012

Perfect Pitch: Knowing the Note may be in your Genes - Science Daily, October, 2012

Perfect pitch: Knowing the note may be in your genes - e! Science News, October, 2012

Can't sing in key? It may be that no amount of music lessons can help: Perfect pitch is 'all in the genes' - Daily Mail, October, 2012

Perfect Pitch Mystery: Research Shows The Note May Be In Your Genes - Huffington Post, October, 2012

Perfect pitch may be genetic: study - Yahoo! News, October, 2012

Is Perfect Pitch Genetic? - U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, Office of Minority Health, October, 2012

Perfect pitch may be genetic - Health24, October, 2012

El "tono perfecto" puede venir en los genes - Yahoo! Noticias, October, 2012

Les illusions auditives - AgoraVox, April, 2012

Sang och musik i svenskundervisningen - Maria Kapla and Johannes Stahlberg, Svenska institutet, April, 2012

Interruptions #4, Bregman/Deutsch Chimaera - Florian Hecker, RWM Radio Web Macba, February, 2012

Musicality of Speech: Spoken Melody - Hearing Voices (National Public Radio)., February, 2012

Ovale Fenster - Radioplay, Southwest German Radio, March, 2012

Tala i toner - Spraktidningen, December, 2011

Between Speech and Song - Temma Ehrenfeld, APS Observer, 24, December, 2011

Episode 25 - Two words. sounds like. auditory illusions - Dr. Andi Horvath, Museum Victoria podcast, October, 2010

Auditory Illusions - Nicholson, Christie, Scientific American Podcast, April, 2010

The Music of Language [Audio Slideshow] - Wickelgren, Ingrid, Scientific American, July/August, 2010

More than words - David Rothenberg, The Guardian, May, 2009

Freaky news about your brain may change your mind - Elizabeth Landau, CNN Health, August, 2009

Der Fluch des Kammertons - Iris Gutiérrez, Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagzeitung, July, 2009

Words into a song: the illusion of the brain? (in Chinese) - Chinese Academy of Audiology, May, 2009

The Ears Have It - Charlotte Gardner, BBC Magazine, July, 2009, 37-39

Az abszolút hallásról - Hir6, January, 2009

Toontaal sleutel tot absoluut gehoor - Erica Renckens, Kennislink, May, 2009

Perfect Pitch Related to Language - Steve Mirsky, Scientific American, May, 2009

Tone language is key to perfect pitch - e! Science News, May, 2009

Absolutes Gehör: Kein genetischer Glücksfall, sondern sprachabhängig - Der Standard, May, 2009

Forscher lüften Geheimnis des absoluten Gehörs - Sybille Möckl, Welt Online, May, 2009

Das absolute Gehör - Werner Siefer, Focus Online, May, 2009

Perfect Pitch: Language Wins Out Over Genetics - PhysOrg, May, 2009

Tone Language Is Key To Perfect Pitch - Inga Kiderra, Science Daily, May, 2009

Tonal languages are the key to perfect pitch - Hazel Muir, New Scientist, April, 2009

Toned Up, Tuned In - Rachel Saslow, The Washington Post, May, 2009

Learning Chinese languages makes you musical, claim scientists - Richard Alleyne, Telegraph, April, 2009

Perfect Pitch: Language Wins Out Over Genetics - Diana Deutsch, Kevin Dooley, Trevor Henthorn and Brian Head, Media Release, Acoustical Society of America, May, 2009

Talk into tune - Carl Wilson, Globe and Mail, February, 2009

Brain researchers track auditory illusions - Jochen Paulus, Southwest German Public Radio, December, 2008

Music special: Five great auditory illusions - Michael Marshall, NewScientist, February, 2008

The Speech-to-Song Illusion - Diana Deutsch, Rachael Lapidis, and Trevor Henthorn, Media Release, Acoustical Society of America, November, 2008

Brain sees fine line between speech and song - New Scientist, November, 2008

Our Brains Need Inhibitors to Perceive Speech - Softpedia, November, 2008

Wiederholungen machen Sprachmelodie horbar' -, November, 2008

Wie uns das Ohr ubers Ohr haut - Interview with Frank von Groteluschen, German Public Radio, October, 2008

'A perfect pitch match.' - Excerpted from, Oliver Sacks' book: Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain. Columbia Magazine, 2007

¿Cómo percibimos la música? Los Lectores Preguntan a Eduardo Punset - Eduardo Punset, 2007

Through to the next round - Marcus Low, Health24, 2007

Musical Language (Radio Lab), Podcast - WNYC's Radio Lab, 2007

'¿Se encuentra el oído absoluto en los genes?' - Ed Edelson trans Dr. Tango, Yahoo Salud, August, 2007

'Is Perfect Pitch All in the Genes?' - Ed Edelson, HealthDay News, August, 2007

'Psychologists Create Surprising Musical Illusion' - Adriana Salerno, Voice of America, August, 2007

"Musical Illusions" - Julie J. Rehmeyer, Science News, June, 2007

Speaking in Tones. Ni hao or bonjour: do genes drive preference for language type? - Choi, Charles Q., Scientific American, September, 2007

'Behaves So Strangely' - Interview with Jad Abumrad, New York Public Radio, April, 2006

'Musical Language' - Interview with Jad Abumrad, New York Public Radio, April, 2006

'Do My Ears Deceive Me' - Interview with Chris Maslanka, BBC Radio 3, April, 2006

'Your Brain on Music' - David Ranada, Sound & Vision Magazine, May, 2006

'Music on the Mind' - Scott Fields, APS Observer, April, 2006

'Prelude to Perfect Pitch' - Kate McCartin, Trenton Times, May, 2006

'Perfect pitch' - Fran Kelly, ABC Radio National, January, 2005

'Is It Possible To Achieve Perfect Pitch?' - Dean Edell, ABC7 KGO-TV/DT, February, 2005

'L'oreille absolue des asiatiques' - Bruno Rougier, Radio France, January, 2005

'Perfect pitch' - Sadie F. Dingfelder, APA Monitor on Psychology, February, 2005

'Perfect pitch' - James Shreeve, National Geographic, March, 2005

'Oreille absolue : avantage aux Chinois' - Pour La Science, January, 2005

Musical Mandarins - 21st Century Online, December, 2004

Ernest Ruiz and Fernando Cabedo Bosquet - Mundo hi-fi, December, 2004

'Science in Action' - Interview with Molly Bentley, BBC World Service, December, 2004

'The World Today' - Interview with BBC World Service, November, 2004

'Warum Mandarin das absolute Gehör begünstigt' - Eva Hörschgen,, November, 2004

'Chinesen sind die besseren Musiker' - Katharina Kramer, Die Welt, December, 2004

'Absolutes Gehor: Sprache schult das Ohr' - Spiegel Online, November, 2004

'L'oreille absolue : plus facile pour les Chinois' - Isabelle Masingue, Quebec Science, November, 2004

'Absolutt gehØr ved hjelp av sprák?' - Harald Aastorp,, November, 2004

'Wieso haben so vielo Chinesen das absolute Gehör?' - Katherina Kramer, NZZ am Sontag, November, 2004

'Mandarin Chinese speaks volumes in giving the young an ear for music' - Ian Sample and Faisal al Yafai, The Guardian, November, 2004

'Tonsprachen und absolutes Gehor gehoren zusammen.' - Yahoo! Nachrichten, November, 2004

'Study: Language Determines Music Skills' - Jennifer Viegas, Discovery Channel, November, 2004

'Psychologists Pobe Perfect Pitch' - Nadja Geipert, ScienceNow, American Association for the Advancement of Science, November, 2004

'Speaking Tonal Languages Promotes Perfect Pitch' - Don Monroe, Scientific American, November, 2004

'Tone language translates to perfect pitch' - Inga Kiderra, Science Daily, November, 2004

'Perfect Pitch in Tone Language Speakers Carries Over to Music' - Diana Deutsch, Trevor Henthorn, Elizabeth Marvin, and HongShuai Xu, Media Release, Acoustical Society of America, November, 2004

'Can't get it out of my head' - Carl Zimmer, The Sunday Telegraph Magazine, February, 2004

'The illusions range from the beguilingly simple to, as she says, "true weirdness, the twilight zone."' - Peter Monaghan, 'In the Twilight Zone of Sound', Notes from Academe, Chronicle of Higher Education, November, 2003

'Das absolute Gehör ist gewöhnlicher als gedacht' - Ulrich Dewald,, April, 2003

'Potential for Acquiring Absolute Pitch Based on Time and Genetics' - Brian Weaver, American Psychological Society, December, 2002

The Science Behind the Song Stuck in Your Head - Roy Rivenburg, Los Angeles Times, October, 2001

'A paradox of musical pitch' - Deborah Smith, Monitor on Psychology, American Psychological Association, 2001

'The Biology of Perfect Pitch: Name That Tone' - Michael Abrams, Discover, December, 2001

'Auditory Illusion Shaped by First Language' - Charles Seife, ScienceNow, American Association for the Advancement of Science, December, 2000

Anyone can have perfect pitch, all they have to do is learn Vietnamese at a very early age - Cherry Norton, The Independent, November, 1999

'Study links perfect pitch to tonal language' - James Glanz, New York Times (front page), November, 1999

'Striking the right Note' - Kathryn Brown, The New Scientist, December, 1999

'UCSD prof makes a hard pitch for perfect pitch' - David Graham, San Diego Union Tribune, December, 1999

'Speaking in Tones' - Alan Hall, Scientific American, November, 1999

'Tone Language Speakers Possess Absolute Pitch' - Diana Deutsch, Trevor Henthorn, and Mark Dolson, Media Release, Acoustical Society of America, 1999

'Do you hear what I hear?' - Steven Hunt, Discovery Channel, Canada, March, 1997

'You must be hearing things' - Bob McDonald, Quirks and Quarks, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, 1997

'Musical Illusions and Paradoxes' - Robyn Williams, The Science Show, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 1997

'"Musical Illusions and Paradoxes" will let you experience some striking sonic chicanery.' - Shawn Carlson, Scientific American, The Amateur Scientist, December, 1996

'Mothers and their children hear a musical illusion in strikingly similar ways' - media release, Acoustical Society of America, 1996

'Escher for the Ear' - Philip Yam, Scientific American, March, 1996

What bloggers are saying

A pill for tones / musical illusions - Chinese-forums, January, 2014

Tritone Paradox, Ilusi Suara Yang Membingungkan - Erick thevirkills , April, 2014

This fascinating auditory illusion transforms normal speech into music - The Coli, March, 2014

Música x Criança - Thelo Campos, March, 2014

Diana Deutsch's Phantom Words - Pascal Wallisch, Google+, February, 2014

Ilusión auditiva: comprueba cómo tu cerebro convierte la repetición en música - Antonio Martinez Ron,, March, 2014

Música y repetición, una ilusión auditiva - Fogonazos Asombros diarios, March, 2014

Ouvido Absoluto - Gustavo de Francisco,, January, 2014

The Isengard Effect, or, Musical Language - Blarg, June, 2013

Vom Zauber der Sprachmelodie - Jan Reichow, June, 2013

La musique, le cerveau et nous - Sirtin science, December, 2013

The Tritone Paradox - The way these specially constructed tones are perceived changes from person to person - Reddit, August, 2013

TIL. Talking is really just singing - Reddit, May, 2013

"Sometimes Behaves So Strangely" - Nathan McKee, serctvnewsroomsite, April, 2013

More than you may want to know about absolute pitch - Lois Svard, The musician’s brain, September, 2013

Absolutes Gehor - Medizinportal, October, 2013


Sound effects fun - University of Southampton, 2013

Your Voice is Music to our Ears - Elizabeth Holmes, VoiceOverXtra, April, 2013

I heard a clip from this the other night on the BBC. - Applied Linguistics Discussion Group, July, 2013

Sometimes Behaves SO Strangely - Sax on the Web Forum, June, 2013

Start 'Em Young: Two Studies on the Mystery of Perfect Pitch - Operagasm, May, 2013

Speech to Song Illusion - Wordcraft, May, 2013

Perfect Pitch: Acquired or Inherited? - Karen McCarthy, Postcognitive Topics, March, 2013

The Biological Basis of Orchestra Seating - Richard Kunert, Brain's Idea, May , 2013

Stanford's Music & Brain Symposium explores "Inner Voices" - Dana Wen, I care if you listen|Washington Composers Forum, April , 2013

Musical Illusions with Dr. Diana Deutsch - Charlie McCarron, Composer Quest, April, 2013

Examples of Illusion - Your Dictionary Examples, 2013

Muzik yalan soyler mi? - Emre Akoz, Sabah, March, 2013

Sonic Tour of the Brain - Guerilla Science, March, 2013

Language and Musical Ability - Helen Sol, L2 Listening, September, 2012

Sound and our Minds - Kaja Weeks , Early Childhood Music & Movement Association, December, 2012

Musicality in Mandarin - Ryan's Journal, Nov, 2012

Ouvido absolute - um dom de genio - Grupo de Opera Canto Dell'arte, October, 2012

Les illusions auditives - Strange stuff and funky things, April, 2012

No, really, teach your toddler perfect pitch - Wired, February, 2012

Diana Deutsch - Noi theo thanh dieu - Chiec non, Sept, 2011

Tonal languages and perfect pitch - Confused Laowai, April, 2011

Do you have perfect pitch or relative pitch? - Eddie Jobson Forum, November, 2011

Sometimes behaves so strangely - Inaccurate Interpretations, January, 2011

Tien gekke geluidsillusies - Frederik Meuris, ZDNET Belgie, 2011

Did music originate as a behavioral adaptation? - Music 0000001, Aug-Sept, 2010, 335-337

Bizarre auditory illusion: a spoken phrase repeated 10 times out of context appears to be *sung* when heard in a sentence. - Reddit, August, 2010

Perfect pitch - a connection between language and music - Studio3Music, 2010

Musica e Psicologia: "Chi ascolta musica comunica meglio?" - PsicologiaNeuroLinguistica, November, 2010

Tritone Paradox, Ilusi Suara Yang Membingungkan (in Indonesian) - Vahn Saryu, October, 2010

half note juke (after diana deutsch) - MeFi Music, April, 2010

Linguistically vented tonality - Wong, Kee Zhang, Metaharmonist, September, 2010

WorldWeird: Loops - WHITECHAPEL Discussions, January-October, 2009

Cambiata illusion - Nestor, James, GET HIGH NOW (without drugs), 07, 2009

Chromatic illusion - Nestor, James, GET HIGH NOW (without drugs), 07, 2009

Salviaesque Auditory Illusion - Entheogen Dot, July, 2009

Top 10 según alguien - EDOZE GAUZA, October, 2009

Absolutes Gehor - You got it? - Simon Born, September, 2009

On Having Really Pretty Good (If Not Perfect) Pitch - Brian Rowland, June, 2009

sometimes behave so strangely. - Pnosis, March, 2009

Comments on: "Scientists say learning Chinese languages makes you musical" - Digg, May, 2009

Find Out If You're Tone Deaf; Plus, Are Asians Naturally Better Musicians? - William Weir, Hartford Courant, May, 2009

Speech to Song: An Audio Illusion - The Open End, April, 2009

Sprechen oder Singen? -, February, 2009

Pitchy Talk - The Orb of Whammy, May, 2009

Speech-to-Song Illusion - Zoilus, February, 2009

Comments on: Fool Your Ears - Five Great Auditory Illusions - Digg, June, 2008

A l'illusson - Le blog musical de Ponski et Hekojin, December, 2008

'Put your headphones on' - MetaFilter, February, 2008

'Top 10 Incredible Sound Illusions' - The List Universe, February, 2008

Speaking becomes Singing -, November, 2008

But they sometimes behave so strangely - Dr. Beren, LiVEJOURNAL, October, 2007

Audio illusions that will fool your ear (and brain) - EE|Times, November, 2007

Sing Me an E, Any E - Curt Lindsay, Can't See the Forest, March, 2007

Absolute Pitch - Staffan A. Svensson, October, 2006

'Sometimes behave so strangely' - Auditory Archives, December week 2, 2006

'Music and language' - Discover - Cosmic Variance, 2006

'Sometimes behaves so strangely' - Crooked Timber, 2006

Deutsch's Musical Illusions -, November, 2003

Quotes about the CDs

'A wonderful source of audio examples to explore and experiment with.' - CafeMuse

'each demonstration provides the amateur scientist with the materials to conduct research on how the brain processes sound.' - The Society for Amateur Scientists

'On the musical illusions CD you'll find the octave illusion and the tritone paradox, both of which are discussed in the textbook. On the Phantom Words CD you'll find additional clever demonstrations, including phantom words and 'music' emerging from repetitive speech.' - Matlin & Foley, Sensation and Perception

'An amazing collection of auditory illusions very reasonably priced. Well worth buying for school resources, if not home use. Also has a very useful explanatory booklet.' - The National Science and Technology Centre, Canberra, Australia.

'These two CDs are absolutely mind-boggling. Diana is, in effect, hosting a magical mystery tour of your own brain, and believe me, it's quite a ride. - Ian Rowland, Mentalist Magician, Entertainer, and Skeptic

What Are Musical Paradox and Illusion? - Ben Carson, American Journal of Psychology, Spring, 2007

'Of course being audiophiles, we love to experiment - with nearly everything. And here's just the ticket: a foray into the perception and memory for sound, with extensive examples, albums, and a decidely scientific and professional bent that should enchant you for some time' - Barry Ober, Boston Audio Society, November, 2005

'One of the weirdest experiences one can have. Don't miss it.' - Skeptics Society

'It's like a magic show' - Psychology Today, Psychology Today, February, 2004

'I could scarcely believe my ears.' - Eugene Pitts, The Audiophile Voice, Vol 10, 2004, 1

'you'll know just how tenuous the connection is between speech and song' (listen to entire show online) - Jad Abumrad, WNYC Radio, November, 2003

'A fascinating new exploration into how we can be fooled - Scot Morris, Science Writer, Omni Magazine

'Ready for a science experiment on the stereo? Musical Illusions and Paradoxes . an audio CD created by psychologist Diana Deutsch at the University of California at San Diego, proves that illusions aren't just for the visual realm . They are great for amazing your friends' - Discover, December, 1998

'A fascinating compact disc . Musical Illusions and Paradoxes is both entertaining and disconcerting. I was amazed by my own misperceptions and . left somewhat disturbed wondering if throughout my life I have been hearing what Verdi and Britten intended' - Patrick Bell, Sound and Video Contractor, March, 1996

Customers from 49 countries have purchased the CDs from this website:

What's on the Musical Illusions and Paradoxes | What's on Phantom Words and Other Curiosities
Quotes about the CDs | How to Order | About the Author | Related Sites