Perfect harmony: Is singing ability in twins inherited?

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Rebecca Scott
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A world-first study will investigate if singing ability is inherited in twins.

Led by the University of Melbourne with the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music and the Australian Twin Registry, the study will explore if it is nature or nurture that most influences whether we can sing a pitch-perfect tune.

While much research has investigated the influence of environmental factors such as exposure to music on singing ability, this study aims to investigate the genetic factors at play focusing on twins.

The findings from the study may help us better understand how singing is best taught.

Lead researcher Associate Professor Sarah Wilson from the University of Melbourne’s School of Psychological Sciences said singing has been a part of human existence throughout history and yet the abilities of individuals vary widely.

"Today singing, and musical ability and appreciation are an integral part of education. We hope this study will contribute to the development of more sophisticated classroom singing programs that take into account differences between individuals and provide the best possible experience," she said.

Researchers are seeking 120 pairs of both identical and non-identical twins aged 15 and above. Singing or musical experience is not required. The study is seeking twins from non-musical as well as musical backgrounds to provide as wide a variety of participants as possible.

The study requires twins to complete an online assessment, comprising a number of singing-related tasks and a questionnaire. Twin responses are audio-recorded for subsequent data analysis.

Twins can learn more about the study at or freecall


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