I’m tone deaf, and it’s Mom and Dad’s fault

 

When your name is Leonard Bernstein, and you can't play or sing a note, people are, understandably, a bit prone to noting this little irony. But now I have an explanation: My lack of musical aptitude is mostly genetic.

Finnish researchers say they have found genes responsible for auditory response and neuro-cognitive processing that partially explain musical aptitude. They note "several genes mostly related to the auditory pathway, not only specifically to inner ear function, but also to neurocognitive processes." The study was published in the March 11 issue of the journal "Molecular Psychiatry."

In an e-mail, one of the researchers, Irma Jarvela, of the University of Helsinki's department of medical genetics, said heredity explains 60 percent of the musical ability passed down through families like Bach's. The rest can be attributed to environment and training.

Genes most likely are responsible for "better perception skills of different sounds," Jarvela said.

Feel free to cite this research at your next karaoke night.

Lenny Bernstein writes the To Your Health blog. He started as an editor on the Post’s National Desk in 2000 and has worked in Metro and Sports.
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Lenny Bernstein · March 19