Even your most honest friends might be too kind to break it to you: Every time you sing along with the car radio or belt out a karaoke song, those notes you’re singing are way, way off.
Or: maybe they’re not. Maybe your pitch is perfect, and you physically wince when you hear someone else singing flat.
No need to guess which category you’re in. The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), a division of the National Institutes of Health, offers an online version of the definitive test to figure it out: the Distorted Tunes Test, which we first spotted on reddit.
Pitch is roughly defined as the “highness or lowness of a sound,” and NICD notes that 2-5% of people in the US seem to have some trouble perceiving it. Pitch is about more than singing on- or off-key: It is “one of the primary auditory sensations and plays a defining role in music, speech,” and even some languages, notes a 2012 study in the Journal of Neuroscience.
Test your pitch perception by playing the 26 very short sound clips below, and listening to hear whether these common tunes go off-key. You can also take the test directly on the NIH site. (Note: The test is easier to take on a laptop or desktop computer.)
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