The Loh Down On Science

Karaoke Idol

Researchers discover that singing is a surprisingly universal skill.

Think YOU can sing?!?! Well, you probably can.

This is Sandra Tsing Loh, with the Loh Down on Science.

And some news that could ROCK Simon Cowell's WORLD.

Human infants produce their first songs within their first year. By their second birthday, kids are belting out songs like Barney on Pop-Tarts.

But what about adults?

Researchers in Poland and Canada set out to see what. . . goes on in our showers. At least vocally. They recorded sixty-two regular Joes and Janes independently singing the Quebecer anthem Gens du pays.

Then they compared pitch and timing precision to that of five professional singers.

Result? Nearly ALL of them--ninety-five percent--NAILED it!

Just two were less accurate than the professionals, and those two truly could NOT sing. A follow-up study found that off-pitch crooners either can't tell they're off pitch, or CAN tell, but are unable to produce the notes they want to.

But the surprising number of GOOD singers implies that singing is a universal human skill!

That doesn't explain why Friday night karaoke is so painful. Maybe it's the mai tais. Research will tell.


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