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Emokid
07-31-2002, 08:07 PM
does anyone know if itspossible to developp it or u juste have to be born with it

szulc
08-01-2002, 01:06 AM
read the thread called perfect pitch training disks under theory, you might have to page through to find it.

Guni
08-01-2002, 08:22 AM
Hi Emokid,

Here's the link to the 'perfect pitch training disks' thread: http://www.ibreathemusic.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=157

Guni

mcharis
11-13-2008, 12:02 PM
hi, i know that all babies have perfect pitch but they loose it if they don't exercise it.
so when you were a baby you used to have it.
i personally believe that you can learn it in any age, is just more easy when you re little because the brain is more clear.
i m learning my self and
i know that after a month of music exercises i know C, B, D.
i can sing them anytime i want without a privious note.
and this month im going to learn E, F, and next G, A
im listen to the notes all day and memorise them, everyday, the same thing.
i don't have any method that costs 100$$$$$$ and i don't want them.
i know a friend of mine , he learned perfect pitch by doing this everyday, learning one note at a time, and he can recognize all pitches everywere, it took him like 6-7 months but hte results are extreamly impressive.
he was 16 years old.
that what im doing and works for me for free!

nine56
11-13-2008, 03:27 PM
babies don't have perfect pitch, that's silly.

mcharis
11-13-2008, 05:00 PM
no it is not silly, its true, experiments showed that all babies are more sensitive to the sounds and they have perfect pitch meaning they can recognize the notes.

make some search your self and you will read that its true.

nine56
11-13-2008, 11:42 PM
Perfect pitch = pitch perception, meaning that if I play for you an Ab, you could tell me it is an Ab. If I play a D minor 7 you will be able to recognize all of the pitches in that chord. Babies don't know what our system of music is, therefore they do not have perfect pitch. Just because they are more sensitive doesn't mean anything. Perfect pitch is NOT a ntural thing, because our system of music is man made.

To say a baby has perfect pitch is like saying babies also know the names of all of the colors in a color wheel, or are born knowing what an apple tastes like. Once they learn what the notes are called, THAT'S perfect pitch.

mcharis
11-14-2008, 05:47 AM
someone who doesn't have perfect pitch when he hears a song cant recognise if the same notes are played, perfect pitch is not just name the notes, ofcousce babies can't name the notes, but they can hear the difference at the notes, and they can understand when they same note is played, so if from a very young age we are exposed to the music and learning how the sounds are named and we develop "perfect pitch" in more advanced levels.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/all-babies-born-with-perfect-pitch-692723.html

and many more websites you can find the info.
we all are born with perfect pitch, and people who kept it in later ages like 5-6, if they don't exercise it they lost it in the age of 20 and 30, so
to learn PP maybe is harder in older ages because our minds are filled with BS, but someone can learn it in any age, it is in our nature, of all people.
it is not a superhuman ability, and everybody have it.

im 26 and im learning and i know people who learned it and i don't buy the BS "it is genenic". that BS try to say from a university that there are all somekind of Jews and they wanna prove that they have this superiority.
but people who know lunguandges like mandarin and in general tonal lunguadges they have perfect pitch.
it is not something super special, it is something hard to have in older age.
thats all.

mcharis
11-14-2008, 06:12 AM
and what are you talking about the "man made" thing?
humans didn't made any sounds,
sounds are the same everywere, humans just organize them for music, that doesn't mean there were no music before.
you have the wrong idea about what PP is,
perfect pitch is the ability to recognise the difference between the sounds, after that step, to learn how these sounds are named in today civilazation, because in ancient greece for example, the sounds where named different.
the colors of the pitches repeat themselfs.
ex . C4 and C5 are the same color, D4 and D5 are the same color,
so we have organized 12 colors.
and we name these sound colors C, C#, D, D#, E, F, F#, G, G#, A , A# and B
today we play A above middle C, at 440hz
at the 18th century for the frequency of the A above middle C was in the range of 400 to 450hz

so A 440, have the same color as A880.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pitch_(music)
so what today we name A, maybe was a diferent note for Bach.

mcharis
11-14-2008, 06:29 AM
also check out this

http://www.psych.ryerson.ca/russo/Frank%20A.%20Russo,%20Ph.D._files/03-Russo_Windell_Cuddy.pdf

they put people in different ages to learn "the special note"
and showed that in the ages of 3-4 at the 6th week only the 58% learned C
at the ages of 5-6 like 90% at the 6th week and adults like the 70% learned C at the 6th week.
adults have more percentage then 3-4 years old kids.
but the best age was 5-6.
so imagine someone do that with all notes.
i believe that it is all in our perception of things and how concentrate we are.
the people who failed to learn the note there weren't concentrate enough.
simply they didn't really care.

nine56
11-14-2008, 07:50 AM
You completely ignored what I said. Our 12 note distinctions are man made.

You are telling me that I have the wrong idea of what perfect pitch is, but I've been studying it for years.

Perfect pitch is color discrimination, but men named the colors. Of course sounds are everywhere, but who says there should just be 12 notes? Some cultures use 15 or 16 note systems, and different microtonal intervals to create a certain feel. The way we look at music is man made.

Frankly, I can't really understand what most of your posts are saying, and so I assume that you can't really understand me that well. But I will say this: Perfect pitch is not a natural ability, it's a SKILL. Children pick it up quicker because they haven't yet been trained to stop listening vertically, so they hear a C as a C and not just a note in relation to whatever the next note will be. Their minds are clearer and able to perceive the chroma (or color) of the tone rather than worrying about what interval will come next. Even David Lucas Burge says that, to develop PP, we must begin to think like children and let the notes come to us.

It's not about concentrating really hard, it's about repetition and training to listen differently. When you train your perfect pitch ability, you are changing how you hear noises. Certain people have already learned to listen vertically and know the colors of the notes, but most of us have already learned to listen horizontally instead.

mcharis
11-14-2008, 08:28 AM
what is your problem?, i believe the lady at the university and the test she did. that we are all born with perfect pitch.

you said that my sayings are silly.
you are silly.
and i don't care what David Lucas Burge is saying because he is selling the stupid method to say a simple thing for a 100 dollars!!!!
he doesn't have any program for this kind of money to help people when especially don't have an instrument, like I, but he claims differently!
he is a phony in my opinion, and maybe he doesn't even have perfect pitch, just relative, very good relative pitch.
i don't trust a scam like him.
people who took his method strugles for 1 year and more and the results are not so good.
what my friend did and he obtainted "universal" PP, is what im doing right now has better and faster results.

and i know there aren't just 12 chroma notes.
im not gonna start analyzing.
and if you don't understand what im saying don't start writting that im saying "silly" things.

JonR
11-14-2008, 06:38 PM
im 26 and im learning and i know people who learned it and i don't buy the BS "it is genenic". that BS try to say from a university that there are all somekind of Jews and they wanna prove that they have this superiority.Whaaa? "Somekind of Jews" - what does THAT mean?

but people who know lunguandges like mandarin and in general tonal lunguadges they have perfect pitch.They don't all have perfect pitch.

The main point you are making (or trying clumsily to make) is sound,IMO. It's quite possible that we are all born, not with perfect pitch as such, but with the capacity to develop it easily. Those who don't have it later in life weren't lucky enough to get it "switched on" at the right point in their childhood. Like the ability to learn language (perhaps), it fades rapidly through childhood. Just as we can learn a foreign language by ear as adults, but it's much harder than learning our own language as infants, so it's possible but difficult to learn perfect pitch as adults.
In the Asian languages you mention, pitch is more important to meaning than in European languages, and it's therefore understandable that the incidence of absolute pitch among native speakers of Chinese (etc) is a lot higher than in the west (tho still far from universal).

The research I've seen is not as conclusive as you're making it sound, as to (a) how much it is genetic; (b) how much is environment/education/training; (c) how (whether) AP acquired in adulthood is qualitatively different from that acquired (or inherited) in childhood.

Can I ask if English is your first language? I'm guessing not. (If it is, you really need to improve your spelling and syntax. If not, you only need to improve your etiquette. ;) (I'm still reeling from the Jews comment...))

mcharis
11-14-2008, 09:44 PM
yes im learning english, you have a problem with that?
i wasn't born in america or england, and i like to write my opinion,
and i repeat do you have any problem with my greekenglish?
or just because i don't write english correct im not aloud to write in this forum?
and that gives you the right to judge me.

and at one university they do some tests and try to find people with perfect pitch , are all of them jews.
"somekind of jews" well, there are different kind of jews, i don't know all of them.
and i don 't have anything against the jews or any religion, but its true that they try to find that the ability of PP is genitic, and comes from them.
i actually read that from the forums of the university site.
"to improve your etiquette"?
you need to improve your matters, i thought that americans and english are more polite,
what am i saying?
they are!
is just you and the other guy the exeptions of the general rule.

and im learning english, actually i just start learning grammar,
what im writting is all i learned from tv and music lyrics,
you try to learn a languadge like this and lets see how you are gonna do it!
but it is ok because in greece when someone try to learn greek, they are all sound funny, and most of the times we laugh, to anybody.
the only people i ve heard to speek greek really nice are the black.
it is very impressive, because any other race has failed to learn greek in older age and to speak it nicely without sound funny.


what "IMO" means?
International Maritime Organization?
International Meteor Organization?
International Mathematical Olympiad?
Idiopathic Massive Osteolysis (Gorham's Disease)? are you saying im sick?
International Muslims Organization?
etc....?

which one is it?

"The research I've seen is not as conclusive as you're making it sound"

yes that is true and im doing it on purpose, because this is what i believe and it makes more sense.
and besides whatever im saying, people who will read my opinion are not idiots and they will search it.
and it is nice that someone has a very positive believe for PP, because can help a person have more positive thinking about it . and positive and believing in something always help you to get what you want.

in forums i read for pp, they weren't any people who were really positive about it, that it can be learned and maybe we all have it.
most of them like the 90%, believe it is a "gift from nature"
"you have to be born with it"
"it is not so important as relative pitch"
BS!!!
sounds are part of nature, music is part of every human being.
we all have a part that is musical.
it would be awkward not be able to have PP.
besides we all have "some of it"
i mean if we didn't we wouldn't be able to hear a melody and understand emotions, and the difference between the notes,
we all hear the chroma , we aren't able to memorize it.
if all people didn't hear the chroma, we wouldn't have perception of music at all.
all melodies would sound the same.

so in my opinion and understanding, we all can develop it in that level that few people have it, in
advanced levels.

nine56
11-14-2008, 10:16 PM
You need to calm down. No one is insulting you - you don't understand our language and you are getting offended at things that English speakers don't get offended by. We can't understand anything you're trying to say. We're not judging you for trying to learn English, we just think that maybe you should spend more time learning the language before having an intelligent conversation in it.

mcharis
11-14-2008, 10:23 PM
and i don't need high education or years of searching to follow my simple logic, and understanding.
and that is, that we all have a part that is musical, on us.
if we didn't have some kind of pp, we would't be able to listen to music and understand the melody, or even memorise the melody.
we all understand the difference between the notes, but our brains are not trained enough to "remember" the chroma.
we all hear the difference though, if we couldn't hear the difference we wouldn't be able of any musical perception whatsoever.
all people have a sence of the sounds. people with PP, master the natural ability we all have.
we know that people with PP have the same ear structure like all people.
that tells me that it is not about structure of the body, like voice is for example.
maria callas didn't have the same voice like other singers and no matter how much someone try to exersise she will never become like callas if she doesn't have the natural ability,
but a person who posses PP, doesn't seem until now to have something different.
maybe in the brain , but not in the ears.
and usually the brain you can teach whatever you want.


so until any university or scientist have real proves that doesn't leave any other options about PP and how poeple have it, im gonna use my mind and im gonna say my opinion, and im gonna use examples that i have found online, and im gonna give something to think about the person who is researching about PP.
and im gonna be in the 5% of people who are positive about learning it.
because everybody else say BS, like "you have to be born with it"
"you can't really learn it" "you can learn RP"
BS!!!!

mcharis
11-14-2008, 10:41 PM
my intellingent is fine.

i just use my mind and im not following any BS some researchers try to say.
maybe if you do the same then you can have a real intelligent conversation and not being a parrot of what you are reading here and there.
use your mind and your knowledge, not just your knowledge,
knowledge is not so important, to become intelligent, but imagination, is.
so in my mind and imagination and understanding,
we all born with PP, and im still learning english and im gonna continoue to write my opinion at ibreathmusic.com
if you don't like it, and you believe im not worth of you intelligent conversation, then stop replying to my posts.
and im getting offended because you wrote my opinion is silly.
and i nicely answer to u that no it is not, you can search it.
but instead of that of started pointing with capital letters your opinion, and ofending me that i don't know good english and you don't understand what im saying,
so im just defending my opinion, you continue with my replies, and you answering to me.
i don't bother you.

nine56
11-15-2008, 12:20 AM
You are bothering me because you have no idea what I'm saying. You think you do, and you think you know enough English to understand how to read what I'm saying, but you don't. You don't even know what I think about perfect pitch. It can be developed, and I'm developing it now using Burge's course.

Your intelligence is fine, and I'm not offending it. Your English is not fine. If you get offended by what us stupid Americans/English speakers say, then stay off of these forums because you most likely are not reading our words correctly.

mcharis
11-15-2008, 07:05 AM
you are using Burge's course? i guess you like his voice because i couldn't stand him go to the second cd.

americans or english are not stupid.
but you reply to my postings, and when i continue to reply to u , you wrote that my english are not good,
and i never said otherwise.
im just saying and our difference here is , that i believe we all born with the ability of PP, and you found that silly.
thats the only thing that we say different.
ok ?
so you need to calm down, now.
im just defending my opionion.

mcharis
11-15-2008, 07:31 AM
he is talking non stop repeating himself.

and im not the only one who is not satisfied with his method.
if you read the revews at amazon.com, most of the people say bad and funny things about that product.
i hope you will have results and you will obtain PP, but if it takes you too much time, just seat at your instrument and hear the notes all day, until your brain will be more familiar with the sounds.
and start recognize them.
i ve read that even kids, take some time, months to a year or years to exercise it in a "universal level"
i can sing C, D and B anytime i want, i don't recognize them in every sound out of my finale, piano, but i believe im getting there and the next month my brain will be more familiar with the sounds and from my finale instrument, and from outside.
i have made exersices, from the program and im listening to them everyday,
i started with C, 2 weeks straight, i was listening only the note C, after that, i continue with D, for one week, and then i was hearing the whole C major scale, for 2 weeks, im going to the third one.
and from some tests i realise that i can recognize c, d, and b, but like 90 % of the time. but 100% everytime i sing them.
now i started with d, and will continue with e next week.
to the black keys i will go when im 100% sure and with many tests that i learned the white keys notes.

he is right , about PP, like the chroma, think like a kid, relax,
relaxing and clearing your mind are vital to exercise PP, but 100$ for this info?
and so many cds with him talking non stop?

anyway,
good luck with it!

JonR
11-15-2008, 09:36 AM
yes im learning english, you have a problem with that?
i wasn't born in america or england, and i like to write my opinion,
and i repeat do you have any problem with my greekenglish?
or just because i don't write english correct im not aloud to write in this forum?
and that gives you the right to judge me.I'm not judging you by your use of English. For a native English speaker your language would be odd, and need correction. For someone learning English, your English is very good.
(I couldn't begin to speak or write Greek at the level you are writing English. In that respect, at least, I am inferior to you.)


and at one university they do some tests and try to find people with perfect pitch , are all of them jews.
"somekind of jews" well, there are different kind of jews, i don't know all of them.
and i don 't have anything against the jews or any religion, but its true that they try to find that the ability of PP is genitic, and comes from them.
i actually read that from the forums of the university site.Can you give us a link?
(Is Hebrew a tonal language? Otherwise why would religion or race make any difference? I'm not denying what you say, I just want more information.)


"to improve your etiquette"?
you need to improve your matters, i thought that americans and english are more polite,
I don't mean to be impolite (I misunderstood your Jews comment).
But some of your statements are very dogmatic, and you don't provide supporting evidence (website links).
And the way you use English means some of your phrasing comes across (accidentally no doubt) with an impolite tone.
It's also sometimes not quite clear what you mean. (Sometimes you seem to be stating one viewpoint, then say something else that doesn't fit.)

Even if you detect offensiveness on our part, there is no need to take offence. If someone sets out to offend me, that's their problem, not mine. If I'm offended, I try not to show it or respond in an offended way.


and im learning english, actually i just start learning grammar,
what im writting is all i learned from tv and music lyrics,
you try to learn a languadge like this and lets see how you are gonna do it!
but it is ok because in greece when someone try to learn greek, they are all sound funny, and most of the times we laugh, to anybody.
the only people i ve heard to speek greek really nice are the black.
it is very impressive, because any other race has failed to learn greek in older age and to speak it nicely without sound funny.Well, I admit I find your English "funny", but I would too polite to laugh at it. (Anyway, it's more funny=odd than funny=amusing.)
I wanted to check that you were not English or American, precisely in order not to take too much account of your phrasing, grammar or spelling. It was a polite request, to enable me to judge you more fairly. (The fact that I thought you might be English or American should be a compliment to your command of English!)
I apologise if I've given offence.


what "IMO" means?in my opinion.


"The research I've seen is not as conclusive as you're making it sound"

yes that is true and im doing it on purpose, because this is what i believe and it makes more sense.
and besides whatever im saying, people who will read my opinion are not idiots and they will search it.This is all a little confusing.
What is "true", what "makes sense" to you, and what is your "opinion", may be three different things.
You can't have an "opinion" about what is "true". If something is true, you either know it or you don't know it. (You can have an opinion on how valid or important that truth is, but not whether it's true or not.)
You can have an opinion about what might be true, based on common sense, or a limited access to information.

My own opinion (based on common sense, and limited knowledge) is that PP (or AP to give it its more scientific abbreviation) is potentially in all of us at birth. A baby obviously can't name pitches (which is nine56's point), but it has a brain that can learn to do so; and that's fairly easy if the process occurs at the right age.
It seems reasonable to suppose that a human brain could learn to distinguish pitch identity as surely as it can identify "blue" (without having to compare it to red), or as surely as it can learn what "hello" means (and all the different meanings of "hello" depending on how it's said).
The fact that we don't all end up being able to do so only means we didn't have to, at the right stage in our childhood.
Likewise, the fact that some people CAN identify pitch suggests it's a (mostly dormant) trait which evolution has favoured. We could further guess that it must have been more important at some earlier stage of our evolution, and has just hung around, even though most of us no longer need it.

As I say, I don't "know" any of this, but what I do know suggests that conclusion. It fits the facts I'm aware of. I'm sure there are many other facts I'm not aware of.

and it is nice that someone has a very positive believe for PP, because can help a person have more positive thinking about it . and positive and believing in something always help you to get what you want.Well, here we disagree. "Belief" and "positive thinking" are beside the point. No point in arguing about what each of us "believes".
Absolute pitch is a scientific fact. It exists, and the question is only how it comes about: why some people have it, and/or why others don't. Those are scientific issues, which can be (and have been, are being) investigated.
I don't believe in "believing in" anything. Science isn't about "positive thinking".
I'm not the tiniest bit interested in what you "believe" - only in what you know, and (more important) how you came to know that.

(Eg, if you were a Christian, it would be of no interest to me that you believe in God. I would only be interested in how you came to that belief, why you hold it.)

[cont]

JonR
11-15-2008, 09:49 AM
[above post continued]


in forums i read for pp, they weren't any people who were really positive about it, that it can be learned and maybe we all have it.
most of them like the 90%, believe it is a "gift from nature"
"you have to be born with it"
"it is not so important as relative pitch"
BS!!!Hold on. To a musician, relative pitch is clearly far more important. Most musicians do not have absolute pitch; but they all have relative pitch. They (we!) NEED relative pitch in order to understand music. We don't need absolute pitch.
Absolute pitch no doubt adds another dimension of appreciation to music. But music is not composed with AP in mind. Nobody writes a "blue" symphony, or a "red" concerto. Nobody writes in D major because - all other things being equal - it is qualitatively different from, say G major. (They may once have done, before equal temperament, but if they do so now they are wasting their time.)
The fact that the vast majority of people don't have AP is evidence enough that AP can play no useful role for a musician. (Because music, like all art, is communicative and social, not a solitary pursuit.)

Otherwise I agree there is a lot of BS written about AP (eg, a "gift" that only a special few are "born with").

sounds are part of nature, music is part of every human being.
we all have a part that is musical.Agreed.

it would be awkward not be able to have PP.Not agreed. I don't have it, and I don't find it "awkward" at all.
It would be nice to have X-ray vision, but I've never had it, and don't need it, so it's not awkward not to have it.
If you DO have AP (and I guess you do), no doubt you'd feel bad if you lost it. But the rest of us (even musicians) get by fine without it.

We could guess that it would be awkward for speakers of tonal languages not to have it. But as many of them don't, we have to assume they only need a rudimentary level of it (not exact pitch discrimination, but approximate).

besides we all have "some of it"
i mean if we didn't we wouldn't be able to hear a melody and understand emotions, and the difference between the notes,
we all hear the chroma , we aren't able to memorize it.
if all people didn't hear the chroma, we wouldn't have perception of music at all.Well, there's an interesting point there.
Obviously we can all differentiate pitch (except a tiny minority of "amusic" people). We appreciate music via relative pitch, not absolute pitch. A melody is clear because it's a series of intervals - differences between pitch - just as a chord is.
Eg, a pitch of C# means nothing on its own. It's just a sound. (It may have a special "chroma" for someone with AP, but nothing for the rest of us.) But if we follow it with E, or B or D, or whatever, it starts to acquire melodic value and meaning.
It's like a letter or syllable (phoneme) in language. Means nothing (or could mean almost anything) on its own. Supposing I said "he-". What would you think, or reply? You would be waiting for the rest of the word (hello, hell, help, head, heavy...) or phrase ("he's my brother").

Melody, of course, doesn't have precise meanings like language does, but its "sense" relies on how the notes go together (the intervals), not what the pitches are. We can transpose a melody from D major to G major, it remains the same melody. IOW, it's independent of the absolute pitches of the notes.
(As Oliver Sacks points out in "Musicophilia", this is actually a very strange phenomenon or skill if you think about it: to recognise a totally different set of pitches as the same thing.)

Even so, I think you're right we all have some degree of AP, even if it's not "perfect". Eg, we call tell if a note is "high" or "low", without any reference. A squeak is "high". A rumble is "low". That's a very crude, basic level of AP. Between those extremes, we can begin to form other absolute levels. We could listen to a male singer and (with some music education) tell whether he was a tenor, baritone or bass, just from his average range, without any known reference pitch. We can tell that a guitar is mostly a kind of midrange instrument, while a flute is "high", and a baritone sax is "low". We don't do this via relative pitch - at least not as normally defined.

Perhaps a good metaphor is light (not colour). Eg, someone without AP (like me) is like a colourblind person who can still see shades of grey, darkness and brightness, texture and space. He is not totally blind. He can get around fine, and see things in detail. He might even be a professional photographer!
Someone with AP is like someone who can see colours as well.
To the colourblind person, the gift of colour is hard to imagine: "what, you see this grey as different from that grey? they look the same to me. What use is that?"
That's quite a logical viewpoint, if the world was full of colourblind people. Such a world would simply not use colour in any of its art or design. Signs such as traffic lights would have some other signalling mechanism.
That's the equivalent to a world of people (mostly) without AP. There is simply no point in composing music from the perspective of AP. Only a tiny minority will understand it. ("Wow, listen to that 256 Hz pitch! It's just so right!")

Another comparison: some insects can see ultraviolet light. So flowers (which often contain ultraviolet patterns) look different to them. They (both flowers and insects) have evolved that way because the ultraviolet wavelength is useful to them, aids their survival. We can't perceive ultraviolet light. Clearly it is of no use to us, for survival. Our visual perception (the very narrow band of electromagnetic wavelengths that we can perceive) has evolved as it has because that's all we need.
Likewise with hearing. Absolute pitch (as I said above) was probably of some use at some time in human evolution. Perhaps there was a language or signalling system totally based on sound. (It doesn't have to have been an evolutionary selector in itself; maybe our species survived for other reasons, just accidentally having that sort of language.)
Or perhaps it's simply a result of our brains having lots of spare capacity, that can be turned to anything required. (People with brain damage often learn to do things, to think, talk, etc. with other parts of their brains.)


so in my opinion and understanding, we all can develop it in that level that few people have it, in
advanced levels.I agree. However, I have heard that for people who learn it later in life it's a different kind of perception than for those who learn it very early in life (before they're aware of it). It's a conscious act of interpretation, rather than the obvious (subconscious, irresistible) perception of someone whose had it forever.

mcharis
11-15-2008, 10:10 AM
lately, i was keeping busy myself while i was learning PP, and do some aphony (i have a small polyp in my vocals),and i was answering in Yahoo answers, and there were 2 kind of people there, the one who were atheists and the one who believe in God,

now why am i mention this?
because i noticed that the way of thinking was different, not wrong but different.
people who believe in God or any intelligent design, they understood what im saying, the people who are more scientific and more correct with the lunguadge they didn't understand a word of what im saying.
im i mention that because you mention evolution and if im a christian.
maybe im wrong, i don't know.
well they really did a test on babies and they come to the conclusion that we all born with the ability.
and in theory of mine, it is sound more logical, because we are musical beings.'
some are more, some are less.
and how there are out there 12 (or at least what the man organised) chroma tones and the humans can't remember them?
the musicians who spend years and years on music should hear the chroma and be able to recognise, but i found it strange that they don't.
i always thought it is a must to know the notes.
i didn't know its such a great thing.
i read that when i was trying to find a program, to help me, and i wanted to because i have finale, and it is useless to try write music, that it is in my head and very annoying, and too much time to find the notes.
so i really thought that it is a job for a month or two.
so in my head it is weird that poeple make such a big deal of it and try to make upscale scientific stuff.
for me there 12 chroma in the piano , they are there and and my brain will listen and remember the difference
no hard feelings
with anything, we are just humans and humans do that, arguing and say weird things and etc......

JonR
11-15-2008, 11:57 AM
lately, i was keeping busy myself while i was learning PP, and do some aphony (i have a small polyp in my vocals),and i was answering in Yahoo answers, and there were 2 kind of people there, the one who were atheists and the one who believe in God,

now why am i mention this?
because i noticed that the way of thinking was different, not wrong but different.
people who believe in God or any intelligent design, they understood what im saying, the people who are more scientific and more correct with the lunguadge they didn't understand a word of what im saying.
im i mention that because you mention evolution and if im a christian.
maybe im wrong, i don't know.
well they really did a test on babies and they come to the conclusion that we all born with the ability.Can you give a link to a website? Who were "they"? How old were the "babies"? How were the tests conducted? What precisely was the "ability" they identified?
(See, I have a scientific frame of mind, I want to see evidence... ;) )


and in theory of mine, it is sound more logical, because we are musical beings.'
some are more, some are less.Agreed.

and how there are out there 12 (or at least what the man organised) chroma tones and the humans can't remember them?
the musicians who spend years and years on music should hear the chroma and be able to recognise, but i found it strange that they don't.
i always thought it is a must to know the notes.Apparently it isn't!
It's true that one's ear does improve the longer one is a musician. A sense of absolute pitch might appear. It certainly would if you trained it, but non-referential discrimination could improve accidentally.
But the obvious conclusion is that absolute pitch is not necessary for musicians. (I've been a musician - amateur and professional - for nearly 43 years. I don't have AP. I'm not aware that any musicians I know have it. My relative pitch has improved, though it could still be better.)
I've seen one anecdote of a famous classical musician who actually lost his AP as he got older, and was relieved! (he thought it was a limitation, a curse)


i didn't know its such a great thing.
i read that when i was trying to find a program, to help me, and i wanted to because i have finale, and it is useless to try write music, that it is in my head and very annoying, and too much time to find the notes.OK.
But good relative pitch will help you with that, maybe more than absolute pitch. Eg, I know what a rising perfect 5th interval sounds like. I can write it down, I don't need to hear it first.
I don't know what C or G sound like without hearing them. But I don't need to write C and G to get my melodic 5th. I could write D-A or E-B; it's the same effect. The key doesn't matter. (And that's the only additional advantage AP gives you.)
Of course, it takes some time and musical experience to develop the necessary skill...


so i really thought that it is a job for a month or two.If you can develop that skill in a month or two you're doing well. Unless, of course, you already have AP (or RP) to a fairly high degree, or are an experienced musician already (in which case you would have good RP).


so in my head it is weird that poeple make such a big deal of it and try to make upscale scientific stuff.Well, scientists are scientists! They are naturally curious. AP can be a controversial topic (as this thread alone proves!), and some sound scientific research can dispose of a lot of myths about it - get rid of the BS - and teach us stuff we didn't know. (The stuff they find out may not be useful to a musician, but might still be interesting.)


for me there 12 chroma in the piano , they are there and and my brain will listen and remember the differenceI like your confident optimism! Good luck! (I mean, if you don't have AP already and seek to develop it.)

But - here's my cynicism - don't be dismayed or disappointed if (a) it takes longer or is more complicated than you hope, or (b) you find it doesn't improve your musical skills significantly.

(Let me be clear: attending to ear training of any kind is good practice, regardless of what your goal is. Your musical ear will get better, whether or not you get AP, and whether or not AP itself has any effect on your musicianship. If you're saying Burge is a waste of money, I would agree, because you can do it all for free yourself, if you have the discipline.)

mcharis
11-15-2008, 02:09 PM
here is just one webpage

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/s...tch-692723.html

but if this doesn't satisfied you just google search it.

well now that i know it is an extremely hard to have PP, well im gonna be surprised with myself if im gonna have it in two months!
i read a person strugles a year and still can only recognize 3 notes.

you know sometimes our brain works as we told him to work.
maybe if you let yourself believe that it is really not a big deal and you can start noticing the notes, then i believe you will be able to recognise them after awhile more easy then me or any other begginer, because you are a musician for years.
im not a great musician, either i have good relative pitch.
i found it harder to learn relative pitch, without knowing first PP.

i believe a musician should only listen to his/hers instinct, my instict says that i must learn PP, then RP, and then i should start writting my beautiful melodies on paper.
and i think many musicians and singers want to learn PP, and RP.
and i think people give too much credit for it and it is just an annoying and maybe hard work to do, to learn PP.

and about the gray and the white and the black,
our ears with the people who have pp have the same structure.
eyes that they don't see colors or are blind have something differend or something is missing or something is not where its supose to be
with PP
it is a part of the brain i read , once, and i don't remember the site, that said , that people with PP, have a different conection, a part of the brain is connected with another part of the brain,
and people with no PP, doesn't have this connection,
but i don;t remember if specified what kind of connection is that.

anyway scientificly they don't really know, and it is weird even for them, a mystery that they try solve it.

but if you want check out that also

http://www.psych.ryerson.ca/russo/F...ndell_Cuddy.pdf

it is inderesting that adults learned the special note C in 6 weeks about the 70% of them.
now imagine to do that with all chromatic notes.
mathematicaly in 72 weeks they can recognize all the chromatic notes.
70% of people!
the 5-6 years aldo kids bit as, they have like 90% and the 3-4 years old have like 60%.

CC323
11-15-2008, 06:51 PM
As Jack Grassel says, there are many other things you could do to improve musicianship that would be more worthwhile than trying to learn perfect pitch. When teaching at the University of Milwaukee, he tested developing perfect pitch in a group of students, and after 350-ish hours of practice not one student could consistently tell the difference between F# and E, the only notes trained in that time period. While after years of practice it may be possible, spending that 350 hours on developing relative pitch would be much more beneficial for composition, musicianship, and improvisation. I also remember a Japanese composer whose name escapes me right now saying that one could accomplish anything he could(he had perfect pitch) with a highly developed relative pitch. Now, the only thing I may disagree on there is hearing 9+ note tone clusters, which are a PITA to hear. But really, even in Schoenberg, how often do you have to identify those?

mcharis
11-15-2008, 07:07 PM
that is inderesting, but i still believe AP, it is necesery for me.

after 350 hours of training they couldn't understand the difference?
and the are a whole tone apart!
i mean i understand the difference between C and D and E and F#
they are different!
i think it is the way someone thinks.
how to use the brain.
in my prospective relative pitch is harder without
absolute pitch.
both are needed the same.

nine56
11-15-2008, 07:35 PM
[above post continued]
But music is not composed with AP in mind. Nobody writes a "blue" symphony, or a "red" concerto. Nobody writes in D major because - all other things being equal - it is qualitatively different from, say G major. (They may once have done, before equal temperament, but if they do so now they are wasting their time.)
The fact that the vast majority of people don't have AP is evidence enough that AP can play no useful role for a musician. (Because music, like all art, is communicative and social, not a solitary pursuit.)


I actually would like to play devil's advocate with you right now. I'm not nearly as seasoned a musician as you (I'm 20 years old, a voice major in college), but I think that the different keys are actually qualitatively different. How come Beethoven composed his Moonlight Sonata in C# minor, when D minor is far easier to play in? I just learned in my music history class that when equal tempered tuning came into play during the 17th century, Bach was ecstatic because it opened up a variety of options for composing. Music, at this point, began to have flavor and different shades of color (according to my professor in his lecture). The reason why composers write in keys other than C major is because they sound different qualitatively. Do yourself a favor - go to a well tuned piano and play an Eb major chord. Listen to how dark and smooth it sounds. Next, play a B major chord and notice the intensity and brightness of that key.

I believe Beethoven composed the Moonlight Sonata in C# minor because that particular key sounds darker and flows nicer than the key of D minor, especially for the type of piece that sonata is. Even people without AP can feel the differences in key chroma, although it might not be clear (D major and A major sound very similar, as do F# major and B major, etc..)

If the keys of songs did not matter, every composition should be in C major, A minor, or any other easy to play key.

Before equal temperament, all songs were either in C major or something closely related.

abminor
11-16-2008, 09:11 AM
I just finished reading a very interesting study that would imply that, even as adults, we still have a reliable form of absolute pitch. Here is the link:

http://deutsch.ucsd.edu/psychology/deutsch_research6.php

It a study about the tritone paradox: Subjects are required to tell if they hear a tritone interval ascending or descending but because the tones used are shepard tones (all the same height but different pitch class) some tritones are heard by peoples ascending while other people hear them descending.

However it was found that each person provides stable answers over several days and those answers are based on pitch class of tones composing interval.

I was quite amazed that this may be possible, so I wanted to test myself. I developped a little java program that quiz me on all tritones interval constructed with shepard tones and I obtained near 100% stable answers on ervey possible tritone ! Those result are only based on two days quizz but still I find it quite astonishing.

abminor
11-16-2008, 09:29 AM
Actually here is the program if you're interested.

Unzip and click on launch.bat it will bring a window.
You will see a filenotfound exception in the dos window the first time you launch that is normal, don't pay attention.

Click on play to start then simply answer how you hear each tritone by clicking on the correpsonding button. A report.txt file is generated in the folder etc/wav.
It is refreshed every time you give an anwser. There is one tritone statistic per line
-Field 1 gives you the tritone interval tones
-Field 2 The percent of times you answered Up.
-Field 2 The percent of times you answered Down.
-Field 3 The percent of times you answered None.
-Field 4 Your total number of answers.

If you want to reset your stats delete the file stats.ser in the same folder

JonR
11-16-2008, 05:24 PM
that is inderesting, but i still believe AP, it is necesery for me.

after 350 hours of training they couldn't understand the difference?
and the are a whole tone apart!Are you saying you don't believe the evidence? You don't trust the research?

i mean i understand the difference between C and D and E and F# they are different!Of course.
But if someone played me a D note, I couldn't identify it (absolute pitch). I couldn't tell that it wasn't C or E or anything else. (In fact, I could hazard a guess which might be quite close; but I would go by relative pitch compared to my known voice range, by humming and comparing.)

But if they played me a D and told me what it was, then played an E and asked what that was, I could identify it as E (relative pitch).

i think it is the way someone thinks.
how to use the brain.
in my prospective relative pitch is harder without absolute pitch.But how do you come to that conclusion? Do you have some kind of AP already? Can you identify a note with no reference? If so, how reliably?

If you can't - if you are just guessing that RP is harder without AP - what makes you think that?
Every musician I know has RP, but not AP (as far as I know).

Would my RP be better if I had AP? Not really (IMO). AP is a different skill.
Of course, I could work out an interval or chord using AP. Eg, "I can hear that note's an A, and that one is C, so it must be a minor 3rd". But that's quite a different (and less useful) skill than just recognising the quality (sound) of a minor 3rd straight off, without knowing the notes.
(In any practical musical situation, you will know enough notes beforehand without having to identify them with AP. All the rest you can identify with RP.)

both are needed the same.That's your opinion, but not a widely held one. I know of no other musician who would agree with you. (There might be some, I just don't know of any.)
I think all would say that AP (at best) might sometimes be handy, or (at worst) is not only useless but often a drawback; while in contrast RP is absolutely essential.
And you can certainly learn RP very effectively without any AP at all.

Just offering my perspective (and experience) here. ;)

fingerpikingood
11-16-2008, 07:22 PM
I just finished reading a very interesting study that would imply that, even as adults, we still have a reliable form of absolute pitch. Here is the link:

http://deutsch.ucsd.edu/psychology/deutsch_research6.php

It a study about the tritone paradox: Subjects are required to tell if they hear a tritone interval ascending or descending but because the tones used are shepard tones (all the same height but different pitch class) some tritones are heard by peoples ascending while other people hear them descending.

However it was found that each person provides stable answers over several days and those answers are based on pitch class of tones composing interval.

I was quite amazed that this may be possible, so I wanted to test myself. I developped a little java program that quiz me on all tritones interval constructed with shepard tones and I obtained near 100% stable answers on ervey possible tritone ! Those result are only based on two days quizz but still I find it quite astonishing.

i was reading your post and i don't fully understand. what do you mean by same height but different pitch class?

Blutwulf
11-16-2008, 11:45 PM
It is probably better to ask the gardener what fertilizer he uses rather than wasting all your time searching for the elves in the garden.

ClashlandHands
11-17-2008, 12:41 AM
Wow, this post is pretty heated! But, if anyone's interested, here's a link to an interesting Radiolab episode that explains why so many Chinese people compared to Americans, Brits, Greeks & Jews have perfect pitch:

http://www.wnyc.org/shows/radiolab/episodes/2006/04/21

ClashlandHands
11-17-2008, 12:50 AM
Not that a Chinese person couldn't also be Jewish and Greek!

Blutwulf
11-17-2008, 02:28 AM
Not that a Chinese person couldn't also be Jewish and Greek!
...then why are they comparing/contrasting them, and what is the criteria they're using for differentiating them? How do Americans named "Wong" compare to the Chinese? How do Brits named "Epstein" compare to Jews?

To date, every single post on this bulletin board that argues the enormous awesomeness of AP has been some appeal to self-interested authority. I'd like someone with AP to clearly and simply describe for me how their musicianship or compositional skills have improved.

It is like some bizarre episode of Seinfeld (who is Jewish but American and needs to be differentiated from Polish Jews for purposes of AP experimentation, I suppose). Imagine George or the tall goofy guy carrying on about how they have some utterly useless, insignificant, and meaningless ability and them imagining (quite ludicrously) that it gives them some sort of status.

Somebody PLEASE tell me why I should care whether or not I or anyone else can do party tricks? So they can tune to concert pitch without hearing the oboes? Can we cash AP in when we die? Do we get chicks by truckloads (I mean, more than we already do as guitarslingers)?

Sheesh, this board has a dozen threads dedicated to kids (why is it always young guys who play guitar?) popping in to bleat about AP as if it matters to music at all. Someone please tell us why it matters (while keeping in mind that I learned AP last week while being a synesthete, mind you).

fingerpikingood
11-17-2008, 03:13 AM
can be useful to guitar in the same way that in piano it is useful to be able to easily and visually see exactly what all the notes are.

you could memorize this in guitar, but it's more work. in piano it's immediate. basically it would help you memorize your fretboard more quickly. tune faster maybe.

what else it would be good for is for just by listening knowing exactly what key a song is in.

i don't know how they do it in talk shows. but sometimes somebody starts singing, and the band somehow all together plays along in the right key, which i can't figure out how they could do without perfect pitch. maybe they practice beforehand, but then the singer might need perfect pitch in order to start singing in the right key without a cue from the band.

apart from that, if you're holding an instrument you know your way around and you've played a few notes. i don't really see how you'd use perfect pitch.

although it's conceivable that it actually makes relative pitch even easier, recognizing chord sounds or all ear things easier. and probably there's a fair number of people that are capable of perfect pitch but have never trained for it.

are there people that have perfect that have never trained for it?

intuitively i'd think there isn't. that would be like saying someone could name every color without ever being taught the colors.

though, i'm not sure exactly how well i understand perfect pitch.

is it like distinguishing and naming every shade of gray?

possible but requiring training.

or is it more like being able to see many colors, and so without effort they are easily and blatantly different and identifiable and recognizable without ever naming them?

if it's the latter, then it's hard to imagine how that would play in relative pitch situations.

if you have perfect pitch ability like the latter, it wouldn't turn off in relative pitch situations.

i think this might be one of those things that are impossible to imagine if you don't have perfect pitch. like someone who's blind trying to imagine color.

and for people with perfect pitch they might find it hard to know exactly what features of their hearing people without perfect pitch have.

abminor
11-17-2008, 10:12 AM
i was reading your post and i don't fully understand. what do you mean by same height but different pitch class?


Well, here is the explanation extracted form this link (http://deutsch.ucsd.edu/psychology/...h_research6.php):

The tones that are used to create the tritone paradox are so constructed that their note names (C, C#, D and so on) are clearly defined, but they are ambiguous with respect to which octave they are in. For example, one tone might clearly be a C, but in principle it could be middle C, or the C an octave above, or the C an octave below. This ambiguity is built into the tones themselves. So when someone is asked to judge, for example, whether the pair of tones D-G# is ascending or descending in pitch, there is literally no right or wrong answer. Whether the tones appear to move up or down in pitch depends entirely on the mind of the listener. (Ambiguous tones such as these were used by others, particularly Roger Shepard and Jean-Claude Risset, to create illusions of endlessly ascending or descending pitches.)

However I must must say that the tones I used in my program seem to be less ambiguous than others shepard tones I heard, so that may be why I obtained so consistants results.

I would really like to know which results you guys obtain with the program I posted so if you have five minutes don't hesitate, it's quite straightforward to use.
Here is the post: http://www.ibreathemusic.com/forums/showpost.php?p=129394&postcount=30

JonR
11-17-2008, 11:26 AM
Not that a Chinese person couldn't also be Jewish and Greek!I can see how a Chinese person could be Jewish, but not how they could be Greek...
Of course, a Jewish person might speak Chinese or Greek... and a Chinese or Greek person might speak Hebrew (without being Jewish).

IOW, the issue here is language: not culture, religion or race. (The notion of Jewishness, in particular, is confused between all three. Does it mean a follower of Judaism? An adherent to Jewish cultural practices (while being a non-believer)? A child of Jewish parents (whatever that means)? Someone born in Israel? A speaker of Hebrew or Yiddish? All, some or none of those?)

The higher incidence of perfect pitch among (some) Asian people is down to having learned a tonal language from childhood. Their absolute pitch has been enhanced (accidentally) through the way they learned to speak.

It's not a direct connection (any more than AP is directly connected to musicianship), because many (in fact most) tonal language speakers do not have it. There is just a higher incidence of it among tonal language speakers (as there is a higher incidence of AP among musicians) - there may be several reasons for that.
(In fact, the incidence of AP among tonal language speakers is more marked than the higher incidence of AP among musicians. Eg, a small majority of Mandarin speakers seem to have AP. A minority of musicians have it - it's just a larger minority than among the general population. I'm referring to musicians among non-tonal language speakers of course.)

Here's some science on the language/AP issue:
http://www.aip.org/148th/deutsch.html

JonR
11-17-2008, 11:37 AM
Actually here is the program if you're interested.

Unzip and click on launch.bat it will bring a window.
You will see a filenotfound exception in the dos window the first time you launch that is normal, don't pay attention.
This doesn't work on my Vista machine. (A dos window very briefly flashes on and off again.)

I tried opening a command window, and navigating to the folder, but the launch command led to this:
"java -classpath bin shepardtones Player
'java' is not recognised as an internal or external command, operable program or batch file."

JonR
11-17-2008, 12:22 PM
can be useful to guitar in the same way that in piano it is useful to be able to easily and visually see exactly what all the notes are.

you could memorize this in guitar, but it's more work. in piano it's immediate. basically it would help you memorize your fretboard more quickly. tune faster maybe.I don't think so.
Knowing the pitch of the notes is no help in negotiating the fretboard, which is a visual memory process. Same as piano. Piano is only simpler because there is only one place for each note. AP is irrelevant in both cases.

What AP would enable you to do is to tune your guitar accurately - to concert pitch - without a tuner. Might sometimes be useful.
But then, in any situation where you need to be in tune with someone else, you have a reference (their instrument).

what else it would be good for is for just by listening knowing exactly what key a song is in.Yes, that's true. But how much use is that? How often do you need to know a key, in any situation where you don't have your instrument with you to check? As with the tuning issue, if you have your instrument, good relative pitch lets you find out in a second or two.

i don't know how they do it in talk shows. but sometimes somebody starts singing, and the band somehow all together plays along in the right key, which i can't figure out how they could do without perfect pitch. maybe they practice beforehand, but then the singer might need perfect pitch in order to start singing in the right key without a cue from the band.More likely the latter, if at all. They rehearse, they know the key beforehand. The singer is usually given a cue note (that we the audience may not hear).
This HAS to be the case, if you think about it. Because only a minority of musicians (including singers) have absolute pitch. There HAVE to be cues.
You're right that a singer with absolute pitch wouldn't need a cue note - he/she would just need to tell the band the key beforehand. For a band to follow the singer, ALL the band (except the drummer!) would need it. Not very likely.
I guess if one of the band had AP, they could signal to the others (perhaps with a visual signal) as soon as the singer began.
Still, not a very reliable strategy.


apart from that, if you're holding an instrument you know your way around and you've played a few notes. i don't really see how you'd use perfect pitch.Yep.

although it's conceivable that it actually makes relative pitch even easier, recognizing chord sounds or all ear things easier. Not really. Relative pitch works fine without any AP at all. The sound of a major 3rd (say) is not dependent on the frequencies of the individual notes.
However, it is (no doubt) true that AP training will improve your RP, simply because you are listening with better attention. But you don't need AP programs to do that.

and probably there's a fair number of people that are capable of perfect pitch but have never trained for it.

are there people that have perfect that have never trained for it?

intuitively i'd think there isn't. that would be like saying someone could name every color without ever being taught the colors.But (unless we are colourblind) we all have the capacity to recognise and differentiate colours, before we know the names.
Same with AP. Someone born with AP (or who picks it up in the first few years of life) will be in the same position with pitches. They'll recognise all the different pitch qualities, just not be able to name them until taught.
Same as we learn to speak words before we can spell them, before we know anything about letters.


though, i'm not sure exactly how well i understand perfect pitch.

or is it more like being able to see many colors, and so without effort they are easily and blatantly different and identifiable and recognizable without ever naming them?The latter.


if it's the latter, then it's hard to imagine how that would play in relative pitch situations.

if you have perfect pitch ability like the latter, it wouldn't turn off in relative pitch situations. Exactly. There are several stories of people with AP who have problems in real musical situations, where those with RP have no problem.
Eg, choirs who sing in harmony (in good relative pitch with each other), but not in exact concert pitch. To a singer with AP, they are all "wrong".
Same when transposing a song to a different key from the best known key, in order to accommodate the range of a singer - that's something bands have to do all the time. To a musician with AP (who knows the original song), that's the "wrong" key, and the song will simply sound "wrong" - even if it's all perfectly in tune and acceptable to everyone else, they'll feel awkward playing it.


i think this might be one of those things that are impossible to imagine if you don't have perfect pitch. like someone who's blind trying to imagine color.More like someone who is colourblind trying to imagine colour.
Eg, a colourblind person can still see greys, textural detail, etc. They are not disabled, and could even have a career as a photographer! They could appreciate all the narrative and emotional content of theatre or films. But they would be unable to imagine what colour was. Same as we can't imagine what seeing X-rays or ultraviolet or infrared radiation would be like.


and for people with perfect pitch they might find it hard to know exactly what features of their hearing people without perfect pitch have.Right. Many people with AP think that the rest of us are living in some kind of benighted half-world, a deprived existence; that we are unable to appreciate the emotional content of music. They can't separate music's emotional power from their method of perception of it - quite naturally, because AP is as natural to them as colour perception is to us.
In a sense they're right: we are as deprived as a colourblind person is when confronted with an abstract painting (in which - unlike most plays or films, and other kinds of visual art - colour plays an important role in the message).

But music's emotion, its message, is not communicated through its pitches in any absolute sense. It's communicated through pitch relationships.
If a song (or even a symphony) is played in a different key, does that suddently negate all its emotional content? Of course not. It's the same song, the same symphony, concerto, whatever. The "message" is retained.

Even to someone without AP, the music might sound different (in some undefinable way). But no worse, or better, or less emotional, or with a different emotion.

The difference between colour vision and AP, of course, is that the vast majority of people have colour vision. Only a small minority have AP. So in all human culture, colour plays a more important role (in signs and graphic communication as well art) than pitch does.

Pitch CAN'T be important, precisely because few people can identify pitches. Music CAN'T be composed with absolute pitch values as a crucial element, unless it's OK for it only to mean anything to a select few.

A colourblind person can still run from a tiger - "aagh that stripy beast wants to eat me!" It's not like he wouldn't be afraid unless he saw the stripes were yellow... That's how irrelevant absolute pitch is to music.
Changing the key of a piece is only like changing the stripes on a tiger from yellow to blue (or whatever). The person who can see colour might be momentarily intrigued or distracted - "hmm, a blue-striped beast....looks like a tiger but must be a different animal..." But if he has any sense he is still going to run. It's still a tiger that wants to eat him. That's what matters.
;)

mcharis
11-17-2008, 01:06 PM
i think im getting there (AP),

"But music's emotion, its message, is not communicated through its pitches in any absolute sense. It's communicated through pitch relationships.
If a song (or even a symphony) is played in a different key, does that suddently negate all its emotional content? Of course not. It's the same song, the same symphony, concerto, whatever. The "message" is retained."

no actually , it is different,
imaging play Johann Sebastian Bach, Taccata And Fugue in Dmin
in another key, it is perfect as it is!
Summertime i play (the vocals) i starting in C#5 and then i try it in F# in D (the original).
it is different, the one has a mystery (the first), some how melancholic and the other is like the person talks , saying a story but not so melancholic as the first.
anyway, i can't explain it right but there is a difference.

sometimes i imagine how it is to recognize all the notes and i think it is the most beautiful thing, the sounds have a different meaning.
an actual meaning, they stop being just sounds and they have personality, emotions that they aren't black and white, they are colors, and colors are more strong , are happiness, you can get lost in colors.
There is a movie, with 2 teenagers, that they got something like a magit tv or remote control and that got them in one of the shows on tv.
which the senario its suppose to be in 50s or 60s and movies back then where black and white.
enyway, they end up , making everybody colorful, each person found his /her essence making the person happy, real happy and colorful.
the actors that play in the movie are,Reese Witherspoon and Tobey Maguire.

yes a musician can wright music in black white and grey, but colors are superior.
Black and white photography , for shure requires skills and talend, and it can show mystery, and culture,
but colors are the most beautiful thing in the world!

when you can see the colors or have the chance to see the colors, you can't prefer the black and white.
its like someone invite you to go to Heaven and you say "no, i will stay on earth",
well some people may like the earth but others like heaven!

and im not writting that to you personally, but to everyone who might say it is not a usufull skill,
maybe it is not for you, but it is for me.

best wishes!

abminor
11-17-2008, 01:24 PM
This doesn't work on my Vista machine. (A dos window very briefly flashes on and off again.)

I tried opening a command window, and navigating to the folder, but the launch command led to this:
"java -classpath bin shepardtones Player
'java' is not recognised as an internal or external command, operable program or batch file."

You have to install java 1.5 for it to work.

fingerpikingood
11-17-2008, 06:33 PM
I don't think so.
Knowing the pitch of the notes is no help in negotiating the fretboard, which is a visual memory process. Same as piano. Piano is only simpler because there is only one place for each note. AP is irrelevant in both cases.

in piano you can immediately see, before having learned a single thing, that all the notes preceding the two black ones are C.

in guitar you don't have this feature.

however, everytime you play notes you would notice right away which ones are octaves apart. using only relative pitch this is more difficult. relative pitch is more helpful for learning scales, the relative positions of notes in comparison to the key you're in. but noticing the relative position of all the octaves, is not immediately visible. i just find personally that if regardless of what key i'm in i still have a secondary reference of notes in the absolute sense, it would be another angle to approach learning the fretboard and would make it easier, since you can always notice it no matter what key you're in, and it would be a relative pattern in comparison to your fretboard, regardless of what key you're in. i think that would definitely help you to learn your fretboard.

in piano it's a moot point though because you can accomplish this task just by looking at the keys. you don't need to "learn your fretboard" but the difficulty you get in exchange is that switching keys is much more visually complex and difficult.





More like someone who is colourblind trying to imagine colour.
Eg, a colourblind person can still see greys, textural detail, etc. They are not disabled, and could even have a career as a photographer! They could appreciate all the narrative and emotional content of theatre or films. But they would be unable to imagine what colour was. Same as we can't imagine what seeing X-rays or ultraviolet or infrared radiation would be like.

actually this is not entirely true. colorblind is not a complete lack of vision of colour. it ranges from nearly all the same colours as average to grey scale. but right, you can't imagine a new color, just as they cannot.



Right. Many people with AP think that the rest of us are living in some kind of benighted half-world, a deprived existence; that we are unable to appreciate the emotional content of music. They can't separate music's emotional power from their method of perception of it - quite naturally, because AP is as natural to them as colour perception is to us.
In a sense they're right: we are as deprived as a colourblind person is when confronted with an abstract painting (in which - unlike most plays or films, and other kinds of visual art - colour plays an important role in the message).

right. so as we discovered a minute ago. a colorblind person cannot imagine new color, just as you cannot. and since we've made the analogy and agreed it is quite fitting already, we must therefore conclude that if neither of us both have perfect pitch, and also can switch it off and have relative pitch only, we cannot for certain know exactly the advantages.

you speak of how much a person seeing only gray scale would be missing out in the color department. but try explaining that to them. they would find it only really useful in certain specific situations where shade is not sufficient for them to make distinctions.

but truly for an artist the tool of colour, for others able to see it is great.

so maybe for us with relative pitch, we could not appreciate so well, the compositions of people with perfect pitch? it's a possibility. and perhaps it is helpful to them in ways that we can't imagine.

and i'm sure it can be difficult for them when trying to do music with people who don't have this ability. just like it would be difficult if everybody who only sees gray scale are the ones building the traffic lights. you'd have too much information misleading you. you would need to disregard some of it. (of course the order of the lights would do it, but you know what i mean.)




But music's emotion, its message, is not communicated through its pitches in any absolute sense. It's communicated through pitch relationships.
If a song (or even a symphony) is played in a different key, does that suddently negate all its emotional content? Of course not. It's the same song, the same symphony, concerto, whatever. The "message" is retained.

this is a strange comment if you think about it. because to people with absolute pitch it most certainly is. to do with pitch in an absolute sense. no it does not change anything for you to change key. but you are talking about music in absolute sense, when not even sound exists without the subjectivity of human hearing. sound does not exist in the absolute universe outside the mind.

and people that don't have relative pitch don't hear music that way either.

i mean you can say what music is or is not. but that definition can only come from the fact that so few have perfect pitch, and a sufficient number have relative pitch. right? so basically you're saying whatever, people with perfect pitch hear music wrong, and people that are tone deaf hear music wrong, and people with relative pitch hear music correctly.

but one is as trivial than another in the absolute sense.

i just noticed you touched on that later, but whatever.

i don't think you can say that about perfect pitch. music is not an absolute thing that exists in the universe independent of humans such as tigers do.

vibrations do. the mathematical relationships between those vibrations do. but that's not music. all the music part comes directly from our senses and ability to perceive.

with Perfect pitch. it's a whole different beast.


I think we can attempt to figure out how it can or cannot be useful. but we would only be making guesses, as clumsily as a person that only sees gray scale would be talking about the utility of colour.

in essence i completely agree with you in pretty much all respects, but i've never experienced perfect pitch before, and neither have you. so although music is designed (in most cases, sometimes it is even dumbed down) for people with good sense of rhythm, and relative pitch, i don't think we can be certain of the nuances perfect pitch would bring to that, both positive and negative. but it's still fun to try and figure it out. what would be helpful is someone with perfect pitch but it would be tough to make much use of them, we would need to conduct many experiments, and talk for a long time about it, to get an idea.

i still don't really understand how you distinguish every tone as a specific flavour audibly. sound must have a whole different meaning to them.

JonR
11-18-2008, 09:50 AM
i think im getting there (AP),

"But music's emotion, its message, is not communicated through its pitches in any absolute sense. It's communicated through pitch relationships.
If a song (or even a symphony) is played in a different key, does that suddently negate all its emotional content? Of course not. It's the same song, the same symphony, concerto, whatever. The "message" is retained."

no actually , it is different,
imaging play Johann Sebastian Bach, Taccata And Fugue in Dmin
in another key, it is perfect as it is!Perfect as it is, yes. But just as perfect - to someone without AP - if heard in C minor or G minor, or whatever.
If you feel it's worse - or just sounds plain wrong - in another key, then you have AP, at least to some degree.

Remember it would have been different for Bach. Equal temperament was not in use (at least not widely) in his day. Different keys really did sound different. Now we have equal temperament, every key sounds qualitatively the same - only higher and/or lower than any other.


Summertime i play (the vocals) i starting in C#5 and then i try it in F# in D (the original).
it is different, the one has a mystery (the first), some how melancholic and the other is like the person talks , saying a story but not so melancholic as the first.
anyway, i can't explain it right but there is a difference.If you say so. I don't have AP, so I have no idea what you're talking about! (I mean, I understand you, but I get no such effect.)
With singers, of course, different keys do feel different because they sit in a different register of the voice - at least if the keys are some way apart.
But there is no emotional difference due to key. Lower and higher voices have different emotional meanings: high means intense, impassioned, or pure, low means seductive or threatening, etc. But this is not dependent on absolute key.

Summertime is - or should be - the same song, with the same emotional impact, whatever key you play it in. (You can of course, change the mood of it in other ways, typically by changing the tempo or rhythmic feel.)

sometimes i imagine how it is to recognize all the notes and i think it is the most beautiful thing, the sounds have a different meaning.
an actual meaning, they stop being just sounds and they have personality, emotions that they aren't black and white, they are colors, and colors are more strong , are happiness, you can get lost in colors.OK, that would be nice for you, but it would be a mistake to perform or compose music with those ideas in mind, because we (as listeners) won't get them. You'll be playing for yourself alone. (Listeners who do have AP will get the differences, of course, but they may get different associations from yours.)
You have to think in relative pitch when composing or improvising, and ignore AP effects. If you want your music to mean anything to anyone else, that is.


yes a musician can wright music in black white and grey, but colors are superior.
Black and white photography , for shure requires skills and talend, and it can show mystery, and culture,
but colors are the most beautiful thing in the world!

when you can see the colors or have the chance to see the colors, you can't prefer the black and white.Sure. But most people (like me) do not "have the chance to see the colours" in music. I will never have AP, and don't much want it. (Not enough to pursue it, that is.)
In any case, we do see plenty of "colour" in the interaction of pitches, and in things like timbre. We don't see precise colours (unless we're synaesthetic), but colour is still a useful metaphor, along with touch metaphors like "smooth", or "warm". There is an enormous amount of emotional subtlety in music for people with only relative pitch. I don't need AP - I have enough to fascinate me as it is.
If I thought I was among a minority, I would certainly miss AP and want to learn it; because I'd know I was missing out on an important quality in music, deliberately put there by the AP composers. But I am in a big majority. As I said, this is where the metaphor with colour breaks down. Colourblind people really do miss out on a standard human experience. Colour is crucial to most visual art. Artists use colour because they know almost all the rest of us get it.
Musicians don't use "colour" (as in absolute pitch qualities) precisely because they know most of us won't get it. Let alone that the musicians themselves probably don't have AP in the first place, so the whole question is irrelevant.

By all means, pursue your dream, but don't imagine it will mean anything to anyone else. It won't make your music any better (for other people), and may make it worse, if you focus on AP qualities which are inaudible to us.

mcharis
11-18-2008, 10:15 AM
Now that you mention minor,
when a song plays in minor or major, can you understand the differrence?
my mom and other musicians that they don't have AP, can understand the differrence.
Isn't that like an elementary level of AP?
I mean maybe a musician can't name the notes like a person with AP, but hears some basic things.
My mom, can understand when something is in major or minor and when she wants to can write the notes from a song of a cd, correctly, she doesn't have AP, but when a song is in a differend key, she doesn't care, it is the same for her. I mean she doesn't get annoyed by it, like people with AP.
She doesn't have great musical education , either me, and im studying, now, i couldn't before (a little late , but better late than ever), but she can do these things.

can you understand the difference between a major scale and a minor scale?
i think many musicians can hear the differrence.

JonR
11-18-2008, 10:51 AM
in piano you can immediately see, before having learned a single thing, that all the notes preceding the two black ones are C.

in guitar you don't have this feature.

however, everytime you play notes you would notice right away which ones are octaves apart. using only relative pitch this is more difficult.I don't understand what you're saying here.
I can see that piano is easier to learn note positions on because of the white-black pattern. Guitar has no such distinctions, and moreover the distribution of octave positions is more chaotic, and most notes are repeated in different places.
So, on guitar, you NEED relative pitch (listening) skills more than you do on piano, because piano has that visual aid that guitar doesn't. Is that what you're saying?

relative pitch is more helpful for learning scales, the relative positions of notes in comparison to the key you're in. but noticing the relative position of all the octaves, is not immediately visible. i just find personally that if regardless of what key i'm in i still have a secondary reference of notes in the absolute sense, it would be another angle to approach learning the fretboard and would make it easier, since you can always notice it no matter what key you're in, and it would be a relative pattern in comparison to your fretboard, regardless of what key you're in. i think that would definitely help you to learn your fretboard.Well, chord shapes give you that, to some extent. There are consistent patterns on the fretboard by which you can remember intervals, such as octaves, 5ths or 3rds. Whatever key I'm in, I know where the IV, V etc are. - and I know them by their visual positions (both above and below, and on different strings) relative to the keynote.
AP would be of no use to me there. Once I know the key, everything else falls into place, via both relative pitch and visual pattern.
Of course, having AP would help with identifying key beforehand - before I even touched the guitar. But I don't find it a huge disadvantage being unable to do that.


in piano it's a moot point though because you can accomplish this task just by looking at the keys. you don't need to "learn your fretboard" but the difficulty you get in exchange is that switching keys is much more visually complex and difficult.Yes, the patterns are different for each key. On guitar, the patterns are the same, only their position changes.

so maybe for us with relative pitch, we could not appreciate so well, the compositions of people with perfect pitch? it's a possibility. and perhaps it is helpful to them in ways that we can't imagine.

and i'm sure it can be difficult for them when trying to do music with people who don't have this ability. just like it would be difficult if everybody who only sees gray scale are the ones building the traffic lights. you'd have too much information misleading you. you would need to disregard some of it. (of course the order of the lights would do it, but you know what i mean.)
Right.
Music is a communicative art - it means nothing if it only talks to the composer, or to tiny minority of listeners who also have AP.
As I said before, any composer with AP who wants his music to get across to everyone has to forget his AP while writing, and consider all the other factors. It has to work in any key.
A bit like a photographer who knows his audience can't see colour. He has to compose his pictures so that they work well in black and white. The colour would be a nice bonus for any that can perceive it, but it can't be fundamental to appreciating the picture.
Why would a visual artist choose to work with ultraviolet light, if no one can see it? It's like showing off: "yeah, I can see ultraviolet light, it's amazing! Too bad you suckers can't." :rolleyes: (His art would appeal to bees and some other insects...)


But music's emotion, its message, is not communicated through its pitches in any absolute sense. It's communicated through pitch relationships.
If a song (or even a symphony) is played in a different key, does that suddently negate all its emotional content? Of course not. It's the same song, the same symphony, concerto, whatever. The "message" is retained.
this is a strange comment if you think about it. because to people with absolute pitch it most certainly is. to do with pitch in an absolute sense. no it does not change anything for you to change key. but you are talking about music in absolute sense, when not even sound exists without the subjectivity of human hearing. sound does not exist in the absolute universe outside the mind.Ha! True. :)
Everything we are discussing here is about human perception. Our interpretation of the world, not the world itself.

and people that don't have relative pitch don't hear music that way either.Yes, but there are very few people like this. One of Oliver Sacks' amusic patients described music (any music) as sounding like someone banging pots and pans in a kitchen. She just didn't get it at all.
There's another famous quote from (I think) an old American general who said "I only know two tunes. One of them is Yankee Doodle, and the other one isn't." :D (IOW, all music sounded the same to him, except for Yankee Doodle, which stood out for some reason.)
Someone else (a French person I guess) could only distinguish the Marseillaise (French national anthem) from any other music because people stood up for that one! :) IOW, he would stand up not because he recognised the tune, but because everyone else stood up. (It's possible he learned to recognise other aspects of its sound, perhaps its rhythmic patterns)

i mean you can say what music is or is not. but that definition can only come from the fact that so few have perfect pitch, and a sufficient number have relative pitch. right? so basically you're saying whatever, people with perfect pitch hear music wrong, and people that are tone deaf hear music wrong, and people with relative pitch hear music correctly. Excellent point! The majority define what is important in music, certainly.
But I'm not saying that people with AP hear music "wrong" (or that amusic people hear it wrong). They simply hear more than we do. (And amusic people hear less.)
So it becomes a matter of what is USEFUL in musical sound - to the greatest number. What are the elements of musical sound that we (as musicians or composers) can employ to make artistic statements with the broadest possible appeal?
If everyone - or just a significant majority - had AP, things would be different.

A related issue (perhaps) is that human hearing deteriorates as we get older. We get deaf to high frequencies.
I did an online test recently: I can no longer hear anything above around 9 KHz. The upper human threshold in perfect hearing is 20KHz. My partner did the same test. She heard an 11KHz tone as painfully piercing. I couldn't hear it at all. She is 44, I'm 59. (There are devices on the market that emit a high-pitched tone that only teenagers can hear; it's designed to break up groups of supposed troublemakers. :rolleyes: )
However, this has made no noticeable difference to my enjoyment of music. The highest musical note is 4 KHz, so I'm safe for a while at least! What I lack is the perception of higher harmonics, things like the hissing sound of cymbals (I mean the upper overtones, I can still hear cymbals!).
In fact, some of the reduction in my hearing is no doubt down to damage caused by playing in rock bands.
Where it does slightly worry me is in recording. If I produce a recording, perhaps I'm liable to misjudge the EQ, and perhaps over emphasise the top end (so that it sounds good to me). But then I guess it evens out, as I still attempt to get it to sound like other music sounds to me. I just have to remember not to touch any EQ bands above 9 KHz, leave them flat.



i don't think you can say that about perfect pitch. music is not an absolute thing that exists in the universe independent of humans such as tigers do.OK, but I'm talking about our perception of a tiger; our judgement about it. It's just a metaphor about what elements of a scene matter in our picture of the world.
If there were such things as blue-striped tigers as well as yellow-striped ones, and the blue ones were harmless, then we would have evolved to be more scared of yellow stripes.
Still not a great metaphor for sound, however - if only because (IMO) some degree of absolute pitch must have been important in our development.

I like the theory that humans (or pre-humans) once communicated in a purely tonal language, before verbal language was invented. Eg, in something like sing-song grunts, humming, singing or whistling. It could have been a very sophisticated language. But then verbal language came along - in which pitch was superfluous to meaning - and so the need for AP died out. It's still there in our genes, as a potential capacity. But most modern languages employ a different part of the software, if you like; children don't normally get to use that part of the brain, at the right time.
But a few children somehow get it "switched on" - apparently by specific kinds of exposure to music, such as being encouraged to sing, or experiencing music as a kind of human interaction (eg between their parents). So they pick up on it as another realm of meaning, like verbal language is, and - subconsciously - start to focus on pitch and its absolute qualities in order to look for that meaning. This would be during infancy, before the age of (say) 4 or 5.
(This was a hypothesis of mine some while ago, but I've since read a few things that support it as an idea.)

JonR
11-18-2008, 11:37 AM
Now that you mention minor,
when a song plays in minor or major, can you understand the differrence?
my mom and other musicians that they don't have AP, can understand the differrence.
Isn't that like an elementary level of AP?No. It's pure relative pitch.
"Minor" is a relative term. It means "smaller than major (by a half-step)".
In terms of a key or chord, it means the 3rd is only 3 half-steps above the tonic or root, where major is 4.
Hearing the difference (and appreciating the emotional meaning it conveys) is nothing at all to do with absolute pitch, and everything to do with relative pitch.*

I mean maybe a musician can't name the notes like a person with AP, but hears some basic things.
My mom, can understand when something is in major or minor and when she wants to can write the notes from a song of a cd, correctly, she doesn't have AP, but when a song is in a differend key, she doesn't care, it is the same for her. I mean she doesn't get annoyed by it, like people with AP.
She doesn't have great musical education , either me, and im studying, now, i couldn't before (a little late , but better late than ever), but she can do these things.

can you understand the difference between a major scale and a minor scale?
i think many musicians can hear the differrence.Of course. Your mom is like most other people. You don't need a music education to be able to tell a minor chord from a major one. You can't name the difference (until you know the terms "minor" and "major") but you can certainly hear it. Assuming you have relative pitch of course!


* I say "nothing at all", but of course in order to perceive difference our brain must have some concept of the pitch positions themselves. This one is "here", while that one is "there", in terms of a vertical spectrum. But exactly where each one is on the spectrum is irrelevant; it only matters that one is higher, and exactly how much higher.
But that's certainly (as fingerpickingood pointed out) a slightly odd kind of judgement. It's a pretty sophisticated judgement, apparently ignoring a simple perception (absolute pitch) in favour of a more complicated one.

In a visual metaphor, say we were looking at a couple of marks on a wall, one higher than the other. We can see straightaway if one is higher than the other. And if there were two other marks, we could see if the gap between those was bigger or smaller than between the first pair (eg "minor" or "major"). But we would also be able to judge how high they were in absolute terms. Maybe not very accurately, but it would be a natural additional judgement to make.
In comparison, the RP person would be saying "those marks are 3 inches apart. And maybe 5 or 6 ft off the ground, I can't tell exactly (or don't much care). That 3 inches is what matters; a different meaning from 4 inches, in terms of the patterns the marks make with other marks."
The AP person would say "that mark is 5 ft 6 inches off the ground and that other one is 5ft 9 inches. 5ft 9 is really different from 5ft 6. 5ft 9 is kind of "blue"; 5ft 6 is more sort of greenish..." ;)
So it becomes an issue of which observation matters? How far apart the notes are? Or how high they are off the ground?

Let's extend the metaphor and make the marks into a drawing or design: If the same drawing is repeated lower or higher on the wall, does it make it a different drawing?
That's the AP judgement. The AP person suggests not only that they can perceive exactly how high or low the "drawing" is (fine), but that it matters - that it makes the drawing different, better or worse, than the same drawing in a different position.
For the RP person, he is only concerned with the pattern of the design itself - the relative distances and angles between all the marks and lines, that make the drawing recognisable for what it is. If the identical design is repeated lower or higher on the wall, it makes no important difference to him.
To the AP person, the drawing becomes "wrong" if it's moved. Its position matters. He thinks the artist must have meant it to be exactly 5 ft 6 inches (or whatever) off the ground. So if we shift it, we change its meaning.
This is because absolute position really does matter to the AP person.
It would be like being used to going into an art gallery and seeing a familiar painting, in the same place time after time. One day you go in and they've moved it, maybe just a few inches higher or lower (or even sideways). The AP person would say "Oh! they've moved it! why did they do that? They've spoiled the whole effect now!" The RP person might spot that it had been moved (esp a big movement), but they wouldn't care; they would adjust their perception without difficulty. "OK, it's moved, but yeah, it's still OK. It's the same painting, dammit!"

IOW, we could say the AP person sees the whole wall as a design in itself, within which any specific drawing has a meaningful position. IOW, in art terms, the wall becomes the artist's canvas. If an artist takes a huge canvas, and makes a drawing in one corner, then we can presume that position relative to the canvas matters. It would be a different work if he had drawn the same thing in the middle of the canvas, or in a different corner.
To the RP person, the canvas might as well be a blank wall (because the canvas is the size of the wall in any case).
IOW, the artist can't determine the size of the frame; he works with the same frame we all have, which is the maximum range of musical notes (27 Hz up to 4000+ Hz). So there is no point in making the drawing's position relevant. It certainly has a fixed position (which the AP person can easily identify) - but neither artist nor viewer much care about that; they're more concerned with what the drawing depicts, or the internal shapes of the design - those things would be the same wherever the drawing was placed on the wall.

(If anyone can spot a flaw with this metaphor, let me know ;) )

abminor
11-18-2008, 01:58 PM
JonR, from the testimony I have heard from people with AP, only a minority seems to be disturbed by transposition of a piece of music. The majority are just suprised for few seconds before simply adapting themselves. Thoses persons of course have also relative pitch. I think only a minority of AP people are truly only relying on AP in their music hearing, and I agree for those people transposition might really be a problem. Extrem cases reports that among those people some cannot even recognize a transposed melody.

Also, about the comparison between absence of AP and color blindness, I'm not sure it's entirely accurate. The fact that we don't know how to name or recall a color doesn't mean we don't see it. Even for visual colors some study proved that color categories are dependent on education. For instance, russian have a special category for light blue, so for them it is really a different color than blue. Others, however they can only perceive this color relatively as being blue with a lighter shade. Still it doesn't mean we don't see it and we probably see it the same way that russians does but we don't categorize it the same way.

On the other hand, it's true that someone with no AP has no color categories at all so that may be different. But because so many studies seem to show that we all have some kind of latent AP ability that may wake up under special circonstances (like the tritone paradox I was mentioning earlier) I'm more inclined to believe that we are able to see some colors related to pitch chroma but we can't recognize them.

Blutwulf
11-18-2008, 03:34 PM
Also, about the comparison between absence of AP and color blindness, I'm not sure it's entirely accurate. You're right. Any time you compare two different senses, your comparison will be lacking.

It is better to compare AP to the ability to blow smoke rings. Some people take little or no practice, some take a lot, some never get the hang of it, and all are left with varying degrees of a pretty much useless ability.

Sure, we can argue that it enhances smoking, or that it is useful for sending signals or what have you, but the reality is that blowing smoke rings is hardly anything worth bragging about and tells us only that the smoke blower has had too much time on their hands at some point. If anything, we can ridicule their penchant for wasting time, and their silly notion that they are somehow praiseworthy or have separated themselves from the crowd.

JonR
11-18-2008, 03:41 PM
JonR, from the testimony I have heard from people with AP, only a minority seems to be disturbed by transposition of a piece of music. The majority are just suprised for few seconds before simply adapting themselves. Thoses persons of course have also relative pitch. I think only a minority of AP people are truly only relying on AP in their music hearing, and I agree for those people transposition might really be a problem. Extrem cases reports that among those people some cannot even recognize a transposed melody.Agreed. (I was oversimplifying somewhat).
I think a lot also depends on how familiar the tune is in its original key. I myself had huge problems when my band began playing a Chuck Berry tune in F for a new female singer, when I'd been playing it (even singing it myself) in C for over 30 years. It just felt clumsy and wrong in F.
It took me a while to get used to it, but I did, and now it sounds as good as before.
Some of the difference was down to physical aspects of the guitar, of course, but it seems there must have been some AP factor, just through years of familiarity, even tho I can't identify keys reliably.

Also, about the comparison between absence of AP and color blindness, I'm not sure it's entirely accurate. The fact that we don't know how to name or recall a color doesn't mean we don't see it. Even for visual colors some study proved that color categories are dependent on education. For instance, russian have a special category for light blue, so for them it is really a different color than blue. Others, however they can only perceive this color relatively as being blue with a lighter shade. Still it doesn't mean we don't see it and we probably see it the same way that russians does but we don't categorize it the same way.Yes, but with pitch, a non-AP person doesn't "see" the differences at all. Play me a C note, I have no idea it's C. It could be anything. Even if you tell me it's C, it means nothing, You could tell me it was D, I wouldn't know. (Even tho I have, of course, heard a C before!)

IOW, we can be totally familiar with musical frequencies - having heard them all our lives! - and still not be able to differentiate them, other than by comparison with a known one.

The visual colour metaphor holds, because (unless we're colourblind) we can all differentiate colours without knowing the names, and without having to see a reference colour for comparison.
That would be the same as having AP, but not having been told the note names. (An AP person in another musical culture might be educated to be able to name more than 12 notes.)
You could tell a colourblind person the names of the colours, and demonstrate them, it would make no difference to his perception. Same as saying to a non-AP person, "Listen, this is a C. Can you hear how different it is from D?" The answer would be "No. Only that it's a little lower." (Maybe the colourblind person would say that blue was "a little darker" than red, or vice versa.)

(In fact, this is an intriguing thought. We differentiate colours primarily thanks to the activity of the rods and cones in our retinas. They enable us to see colour, and give us the foundation on which we can build differentiating perceptions, and (later) name the gradations of the spectrum.
Our hearing mechanisms, likewise, are capable of hearing tiny differences in pitch. (I did an online test recently * and could tell the difference between two frequencies less than 1 Hz apart. And that's just me...) So how come that doesn't translate in the same way to being able to identify pitches the same way we identify colour?
Obviously for AP people it does, and it makes perfect sense to them, just as their colour vision does.
Somehow (it seems) in the rest of us, that skill remains rudimentary at best. (We can hear "high" notes and "low" notes, very approximate positions in the spectrum, but not precise position.) But then again, sound has the phenomenon of "octaves" - repetition of pitch classes (note identities) within the full spectrum of pitch sensitivity. There's nothing like this in vision.

BTW, I understand that colourblindness is rarely absolute (greys only), and the concept of "brightness" or "darkness" is not directly comparable to high or low pitch. (The metaphor is not total!)


On the other hand, it's true that someone with no AP has no color categories at all so that may be different. But because so many studies seem to show that we all have some kind of latent AP ability that may wake up under special circonstances (like the tritone paradox I was mentioning earlier) I'm more inclined to believe that we are able to see some colors related to pitch chroma but we can't recognize them.Well, the idea of "colours" is a metaphor in itself. Someone who actually sees colours in music is synaesthetic, which may or may not be related to AP. (I would guess it is, certainly if they always see D major as, say, "yellow", without being told it's D major first.)
Even the word "chroma" doesn't get us out of that, because it's only Greek for "colour"!
The quality of individual pitches that an AP person hears can only be likened to colour differentiation, it can't be the same thing.
How do AP people characterise their perceptions? From what I've read, some do use colour, but usually it's only metaphorical, in the absence of any appropriate terminology; the same way we (non-AP people) talk about music being "dark" or "smooth" or "warm" or - indeed! - "sharp" or "flat". Or (in the visual sphere) a bright colour being "loud". It's not true synaethesia. We don't hold our ears when seeing a bright colour! Any more than an AP person would shield their eyes if they heard a "bright" note.
We might say "ouch" if we heard a sharp note, but it's not a real pain, and in any case, flatness can be painful in the same way. (The mock pain is not down to the relative height of the note, but to the combined dissonance. Sharp notes sound "smooth" sometimes.)

AFAIK, people who teach themselves AP use all kinds of analogous language to help them - simply because the right words don't exist. There never have been, which is why we borrow the words "sharp", "flat" and "chromatic" (among others) from the vocabulary of other senses.
It seems vision and touch have a far more extensive vocabulary than sound does - at least in English. How universal is that? I know in German they use "dur" (hard) for major and "moll" (soft) for minor. (In fact, those aren't German for hard and soft, but derive from the Latin for hard and soft. In contrast, "major" in English derives from "larger".)

EDIT:
* I just did it again, and got to 0.675 Hz - an "exceptional ear" it says. I beg to differ...
http://www.tonometric.com/adaptivepitch/
(In fact, you can clearly improve at these tests the more you do them. I don't think that means your ear is actually improving... And I'm pretty sure it has limited application to music. Even tho I can tell tiny pitch differences apart, I still can't reliably identify intervals or chord types - not more than 70% of the time anyhow. There have to be different skills involved.)

fingerpikingood
11-18-2008, 04:32 PM
I don't understand what you're saying here.
I can see that piano is easier to learn note positions on because of the white-black pattern. Guitar has no such distinctions, and moreover the distribution of octave positions is more chaotic, and most notes are repeated in different places.
So, on guitar, you NEED relative pitch (listening) skills more than you do on piano, because piano has that visual aid that guitar doesn't. Is that what you're saying?

yes and no. relative pitch is necessary for that in the case of guitar, yes. but if you also have perfect pitch it's extra helpful because while trying to learn the relative positions o9f notes, you already know the fretboard as in, A A# B C.... which you technically already have in piano though they may not be named. whereas in guitar, without naming them or having perfect pitch, you must memorize and learn this, or only work with relative pitch, which is slightly more difficult. i mean you still have to play the notes first, but every note you hit gives you essentially two sets of information, not just one, a relative one. which would help in learning your fretboard.

I still can't at the drop of a hat find you all the C# for example. I could figure it out pretty quickly by finding one I know and finding the octaves because of relative position. but you can bet that if i had perfect pitch, i would know the names of every fret instantly. and all i would have to have done is play the guitar, never actually work at learning them.


Well, chord shapes give you that, to some extent. There are consistent patterns on the fretboard by which you can remember intervals, such as octaves, 5ths or 3rds. Whatever key I'm in, I know where the IV, V etc are. - and I know them by their visual positions (both above and below, and on different strings) relative to the keynote.
AP would be of no use to me there. Once I know the key, everything else falls into place, via both relative pitch and visual pattern.
Of course, having AP would help with identifying key beforehand - before I even touched the guitar. But I don't find it a huge disadvantage being unable to do that.

obviously having perfect pitch will not allow you to do things that only relative pitch can't. at least, not to the ear of those with relative pitch. obviously you can learn chord shapes, or you can practice this or that, and you reach a point where perfect pitch would not really be that helpful to you. but i'm saying it makes it easier. I mean, you don't need your eyes to play piano, but learning piano sure was alot easier to learn because i could see, than it would have been if was born blind.

i could say a bunch of stuff like, well having eyes helps you see patterns, and a blind person, could say, no eyes are useless, i just use my touch and ears, and learn patterns, it's all i need.

so i'm saying, with perfect pitch, you need to do less work for the same results, for some things. obviously a person with relative pitch can do anything musically, when heard by others with relative pitch, that a perfect pitch person can do.




Music is a communicative art - it means nothing if it only talks to the composer, or to tiny minority of listeners who also have AP.
As I said before, any composer with AP who wants his music to get across to everyone has to forget his AP while writing, and consider all the other factors. It has to work in any key.
A bit like a photographer who knows his audience can't see colour. He has to compose his pictures so that they work well in black and white. The colour would be a nice bonus for any that can perceive it, but it can't be fundamental to appreciating the picture.
Why would a visual artist choose to work with ultraviolet light, if no one can see it? It's like showing off: "yeah, I can see ultraviolet light, it's amazing! Too bad you suckers can't." :rolleyes: (His art would appeal to bees and some other insects...)

because an artist does not necessarily produce art for others but for himself. listen. if i could see color and nobody else could, except for very few people, you can bet your @ss i would do almost all my work in color, without considering those that can't see it. i would do some in black and white just for the fun of it, for myself, to make things from other peoples' point of view, but other than that, whatever, too bad, you want me to never use color and never design with color in mind just because few others can enjoy it? ya right, i'm gonna have fun with the color i have, and make art with color, because i can, and the people that can see color will love it, and hopefully lots of others that can't will too.

to me it's not showing off, it's being an artist and not selling out.

i find your comment is a bit like saying that all those musicians that have gotten used to dissonance in such a way that the vast majority of people can't appreciate, should still never use such dissonance. and that would basically kill a whole bunch of jazz. although personally, i do think that some jazz took that whole dissonance thing overboard. like i don't like miles davis 70s stuff.

but truly i think this is besides the point and we agree in principle the whole majority minority/abilities thing. but that doesn't matter really because i think the point we're trying to make is how perfect pitch can be used to play music as a person with relative pitch and rhythm only can perceive.



A related issue (perhaps) is that human hearing deteriorates as we get older. We get deaf to high frequencies.
I did an online test recently: I can no longer hear anything above around 9 KHz. The upper human threshold in perfect hearing is 20KHz. My partner did the same test. She heard an 11KHz tone as painfully piercing. I couldn't hear it at all. She is 44, I'm 59. (There are devices on the market that emit a high-pitched tone that only teenagers can hear; it's designed to break up groups of supposed troublemakers. :rolleyes: )



ya me too i noticed lots of people that are older can't hear the hiss of our tvs when they're turned on. if the screen is blank and the tv is on, they can't tell difference as compared to off. but for me, i could tell if someone was watching tv on mute from the other room.



(IMO) some degree of absolute pitch must have been important in our development.

i'm not sure that is true. in evolution traits that are unnecessary, and not harmful can still be spread in the gene pool. it would be interesting to see, if those with perfect pitch have common ancestors from a certain geographical location, where perfect pitch may have been instrumental for survival, or perhaps it randomly spawned a few times, and even people who today have it are just random changes in the genetic code.


I like the theory that humans (or pre-humans) once communicated in a purely tonal language, before verbal language was invented. Eg, in something like sing-song grunts, humming, singing or whistling.

forget the past! lol i want to make a language like that now! music with meaning. that would be awesome.


It could have been a very sophisticated language. But then verbal language came along - in which pitch was superfluous to meaning - and so the need for AP died out. It's still there in our genes, as a potential capacity. But most modern languages employ a different part of the software, if you like; children don't normally get to use that part of the brain, at the right time.
But a few children somehow get it "switched on" - apparently by specific kinds of exposure to music, such as being encouraged to sing, or experiencing music as a kind of human interaction (eg between their parents). So they pick up on it as another realm of meaning, like verbal language is, and - subconsciously - start to focus on pitch and its absolute qualities in order to look for that meaning. This would be during infancy, before the age of (say) 4 or 5.
(This was a hypothesis of mine some while ago, but I've since read a few things that support it as an idea.)

if what you're saying is that every person has that innate ability to distinguish pitches one from the other but we never train it early enough, then you may have a point. but i always considered perfect pitch a completely genetic thing. where wither you're born with it or not. like blind or not blind.

if we all have the innate ability and it's only considered an age thing, then my guess is that technically everyone can learn it, but such as it is difficult for many once they reach a certain age to learn a new language with a perfectly fluent sound, it is difficult once you reach a certain age to train perfect pitch.

but then if that's the case, then if we try hard enough we could all learn perfect pitch. and we should be able to learn it without any effort for some notes. for example eventually you'd think you could tune a guitar without a tuner, maybe at first only the bottom E. but i really don't think perfect pitch is such a simple thing as we just need to train when we are young. it's something you need to be born with i think. just like a sense of rhythm. i mean sure you could learn to count, and do a bunch of training that will help you play in time, but that does not make a sense of rhythm. i'm sure any person could train themselves farily well to be able to distinguish pitches one from the other, and get pretty good over time, because everybody with relative pitch can hear one note is higher than another, you just need to get used to it and remember with some sort of constant, what a certain tone is, either by humming it, or whatever works for you. but that's not perfect pitch. i think anything that needs training would not be what i would call perfect pitch. only training to the extent of learning the names of the notes you already hear.

scottgb
11-18-2008, 07:09 PM
Just my 2 cents on absolute pitch....

My relative pitch is pretty good ( could be better ), and I can generally pick out the types of chord being used, e.g. major minor, 7th, the same with the overall tonality of the piece. With a litle perseverance I can get the key, and start making some noises that begin to resemble the song. So, for me anyway, RP is a good skill to have/improve on.

Absolute Pitch is something I've heard of, but I've never been convinced that it's a skill that I need in order to improve as a musician. Like I said, I can 'hunt and peck' pretty well which works for me. :cool:

JonR
11-18-2008, 07:27 PM
Sheesh, these posts multiply... Seems like the more trivial the issue, the more I like to bang on about it... :rolleyes:


because an artist does not necessarily produce art for others but for himself. listen. if i could see color and nobody else could, except for very few people, you can bet your @ss i would do almost all my work in color, without considering those that can't see it. i would do some in black and white just for the fun of it, for myself, to make things from other peoples' point of view, but other than that, whatever, too bad, you want me to never use color and never design with color in mind just because few others can enjoy it? ya right, i'm gonna have fun with the color i have, and make art with color, because i can, and the people that can see color will love it, and hopefully lots of others that can't will too.

to me it's not showing off, it's being an artist and not selling out.OK, understood, but here's where you and I differ.
To me, making art (or music) that only a small minority could begin to understand (never mind appreciate) would be a waste of time. I might as well sit in my room and talk to myself. (As someone once said - Woody Allen? - at least you get intelligent conversation that way ;) )
I can see the point of playing for personal pleasure alone. And I do that occasionally. It's a kind of therapy, and a kind of contemplation or meditation. But it isn't "art". Painting a picture for myself is not "art". (I am an artist too, btw.)
Art is what happens when someone sees what I did - if they get it. If they don't get it, if nobody gets it, maybe it's still art, but it's bad art. If I think it's great, then it's me that's wrong. I've made some kind of mistake, because I want them to get it; I've shown it to them because I have something to "say".
If I say something to you, but you don't understand it, it's a waste of time (mine and yours). I've made a mistake in speaking the wrong language, perhaps. Even if it means something highly intellectual in Chinese, as far as you're concerned it might as well be meaningless babbling.

Of course, when it comes to art and music, a viewer/listener can still get pleasure from a work without being able to understand it fully (as the artist intended, or saw it himself). But how does an artist feel about that? If I paint an abstract picture that's supposed to be (say) a searing indictment of war, and viewers say "that's a pretty picture", it's me that's made a mistake, not them. Or if I just intend it to be an uplifting image, and it makes people feel sad, that's a mistake on my part.

I'm not suggesting that every work of art has to have a precise meaning that everyone can get (dull, huh?). And certainly not that a work of art should only deal in what the viewer/listener is accustomed to seeing/hearing - far from it. Only that it has to work in the realm of what is perceivable.
Eg, let's say I had AP. I might think the special qualities of the key of F (whatever they might be) would suit the idea or mood I wanted to put across. But I would bear in mind that most people would not get it. So either I search for another way to evoke that mood (which would be hard for me, as the mood would seem tied to the key of F), or I write/play the piece anyhow, with a sense of curiosity about how or whether other people would take it. I would know that the fact I enjoy it would mean nothing to anyone else. They might enjoy other aspects of it. I would want to know what they are.
I realise that most composers (at least in rock) work blind of what others think about their work. They just put out what they like to do, and if it hits, great, if it doesn't, try something else. It's very common for geniuses to be quite unaware of what their audience makes of their music - to be baffled at the adulation they receive, and at the same time frustrated at being commonly misunderstood (think Bob Dylan, John Lennon, David Bowie or Kurt Cobain).
That's par for the course. I wouldn't suggest that someone like Dylan is "doing it wrong", and ought to pay attention to his fans and deliver stuff he knows they can "get" - perish the thought! :eek:
But it seems odd to me to add yet another element (AP qualities) that is going to distance yourself from your audience one more degree.

i find your comment is a bit like saying that all those musicians that have gotten used to dissonance in such a way that the vast majority of people can't appreciate, should still never use such dissonance. and that would basically kill a whole bunch of jazz. although personally, i do think that some jazz took that whole dissonance thing overboard. like i don't like miles davis 70s stuff.We're thinking on the same lines here. Geniuses always push the envelope - even if none of their contemporaries can get it. An artist has to follow his/her instinct, regardless of public perception. If they fail, they fail. If they succeed, art expands or moves forward an inch or two.
But AP-inspired music can never succeed on its own terms. We can get used to dissonance - and have (over the last few centuries) come to accept increasing levels of dissonance and harmonic complexity in music. That's because it all works via RP. Our RP is easily trained, just by listening to music. AP is not trained in the same way. (Some even say it can't be learned at all, but I disagree.) The more we hear a specific dissonance, the more acceptable (and less dissonant) it becomes. That's about cultural acclimatisation more than pitch perception as such.

but truly i think this is besides the point and we agree in principle the whole majority minority/abilities thing. but that doesn't matter really because i think the point we're trying to make is how perfect pitch can be used to play music as a person with relative pitch and rhythm only can perceive.Right (if I understand you right).
The question comes down (as said before):

1. What advantages (and maybe disadvantages) does absolute pitch confer?
2. Are any of them useful (or a problem) when making or composing music?
3. Are any of them useful (or a problem) when performing music? IOW, when delivering music to an audience who (we can safely say) don't have AP?
4. If we accept that a musician/composer who develops absolute pitch enjoys music more (which seems to be the case), does their own music become better as a result? In a way that RP listeners can perceive and appreciate?
5. If not, is there any point? If so, what is the improvement that RP listeners perceive? (It can't be anything to do with AP; it must be down to some improvement in the musician's RP...)



i'm not sure that is true. in evolution traits that are unnecessary, and not harmful can still be spread in the gene pool.True.
I think the AP capacity may simply be (to begin with) an open-ness to any aural stimuli; part of the general adaptive nature of the human brain that contributes to success and survival. What happens in upbringing (at least in modern humans) is a progressive shutting down of potential, in order to focus on and develop the narrow range of abilities necessary to survive in the specific environment they find themselves in. Other potentials are sidelined, and may wither away. It could all go another way, given different circumstances.
Those with AP have either simply escaped this shutting down process of hearing, or have had the ability kept alive by music. (Or perhaps by being Chinese...)

[this post continues below. make a coffee now...]

JonR
11-18-2008, 07:37 PM
forget the past! lol i want to make a language like that now! music with meaning. that would be awesome. Yes, but you would need to teach your listeners the vocabulary and grammar first...
In fact, the great charm of music is that its meaning is NOT as precise as language. It may "communicate", but it isn't a system of signs. To make it into a system of signs (this sound means this...) would be to diminish it, rob it of what it does best.


If what you're saying is that every person has that innate ability to distinguish pitches one from the other but we never train it early enough, then you may have a point. but i always considered perfect pitch a completely genetic thing. where wither you're born with it or not. like blind or not blind.My understanding (from research I've read about) is that that's not the case. At least no one has found a gene for it yet. It often does run in families, but that's explained by upbringing, accidental or deliberate. (Musicians tend to beget musicians.) There may well be a genetic component, but that's not enough to explain it, AFAIK.
(Of course, many musicians do not have musical parents. I didn't. But those who do tend to be better quicker, and to find music more natural as a pursuit, from a very early age. If AP was not genetic at all, one would still expect to find a higher incidence of AP among such children - and one does.)
And anyone who has AP without musical parents - that's evidence against genetics (at least on a direct level) just as it is against nurture!

if we all have the innate ability and it's only considered an age thing, then my guess is that technically everyone can learn it, but such as it is difficult for many once they reach a certain age to learn a new language with a perfectly fluent sound, it is difficult once you reach a certain age to train perfect pitch. That's my feeling.

but then if that's the case, then if we try hard enough we could all learn perfect pitch. and we should be able to learn it without any effort for some notes. for example eventually you'd think you could tune a guitar without a tuner, maybe at first only the bottom E.Well, I can tune my guitar within a half-step of concert, because I know what bottom E sounds like. But that's down to (a) 40 years of familiarity with that pitch, and (b) that's the lowest note my voice can reach, so I do it by relative pitch: hum my low note, tune the guitar. I still don't get it exactly right, because I don't have AP.

but i really don't think perfect pitch is such a simple thing as we just need to train when we are young. it's something you need to be born with i think. just like a sense of rhythm.But we're not born with that either. I know it looks like some people are. (Or often more clearly that some people aren't...) But that's not enough to make an assumption about genetic inheritance.
Some people do find rhythm harder to learn than others. Some people find any musical skill harder to learn than others. But - given the time and inclination - anyone can do it. (OK, I admit that's a conviction of mine, rather than a scientific conclusion...)
Common sense (and I know that's a dubious concept) dictates that it isn't very logical for a "sense of rhythm" to be a genetic trait. Any more than a "gift for music" is. They are too well-defined and complex things.



i'm sure any person could train themselves farily well to be able to distinguish pitches one from the other, and get pretty good over time, because everybody with relative pitch can hear one note is higher than another, you just need to get used to it and remember with some sort of constant, what a certain tone is, either by humming it, or whatever works for you. but that's not perfect pitch.Well, it could be near enough. You would have to get to the stage of just knowing what the note was, without some internal reference point like humming a note (like me humming my low E - and then counting other notes up from there with relative pitch).
I do believe it's possible, although I also believe (a) it will never feel as natural or immediate as it does to someone who's had it for as long as they can remember; and (b) it represents a colossal waste of time and energy, unless you really do only want to impress people at parties, as Blutwulf says. (I mean, I would still say that was a waste of time, but hey, different people have different dreams... ;) )
If you are a musician, certainly, there are far more important things to do than try and learn perfect pitch. (Er, such as rambling pointlessly on message boards about it, maybe, hehe... :rolleyes: )

JonR
11-18-2008, 07:39 PM
Just my 2 cents on absolute pitch....

My relative pitch is pretty good ( could be better ), and I can generally pick out the types of chord being used, e.g. major minor, 7th, the same with the overall tonality of the piece. With a litle perseverance I can get the key, and start making some noises that begin to resemble the song. So, for me anyway, RP is a good skill to have/improve on.

Absolute Pitch is something I've heard of, but I've never been convinced that it's a skill that I need in order to improve as a musician. Like I said, I can 'hunt and peck' pretty well which works for me. :cool:You're far too sensible (and brief) for this conversation, get outa here!
:)

fingerpikingood
11-18-2008, 10:44 PM
Sheesh, these posts multiply... Seems like the more trivial the issue, the more I like to bang on about it... :rolleyes:

OK, understood, but here's where you and I differ.
To me, making art (or music) that only a small minority could begin to understand (never mind appreciate) would be a waste of time. I might as well sit in my room and talk to myself.

so if all the world went deaf you would stop playing music?

i don't know which is the most showoffish, playing for yourself what most can't understand or appreciate, or playing simply for the appreciation of others.

don't get me wrong the appreciation is nice, but imo as an artist it needs to be the sweet side effect you coincidentally get from creating the art you like for yourself.

nm i see you do play for yourself.

hmm your definition of artist differs from mine. for me it is the opposite. to play simply for the appreciation of others, to me, is simply being an entertainer, original material or not. an artist to me, creates for their own appreciation, not for what others think. i mean, you can send a message to people or whatever, but it must be from the soul, from the heart. pure honesty. not caring what others think, not for the appreciation of others.

i see you kind of agree with me actually. but denying my ability to see color or hear perfect pitch, in my art is to deny my honesty. i mean you can do it on purpose sometimes for effect or whatever, but just so that more people like your work, i find is crossing the line.

your art is still art if nobody sees it. your art is still art if you are the last man alive. the artist makes an object art, not others that perceive it.

if your intention is to deliver me a message, then yes it is necessary you deliver such that i can understand it.

but art doesn't need to be a message you are delivering.

Oscar peterson is not thinking about how you will perceive his music when he plays. he just plays with honesty, what he feels, and the audience happens to be lucky enough to hear it.




Of course, when it comes to art and music, a viewer/listener can still get pleasure from a work without being able to understand it fully (as the artist intended, or saw it himself). But how does an artist feel about that? If I paint an abstract picture that's supposed to be (say) a searing indictment of war, and viewers say "that's a pretty picture", it's me that's made a mistake, not them. Or if I just intend it to be an uplifting image, and it makes people feel sad, that's a mistake on my part.

i disagree. it's not a mistake if you planned to make an uplifting image and you felt you achieved that. it is uplifting as you see it, as you feel it. that's honesty. you are not responsible for the perception of others.

i doubt that there is any piece of music or any painting that incites the same feeling to everyone on the planet. and i think you would agree. and so, by your logic, that would mean that every artist that has ever existed to date's art was a mistake.



Eg, let's say I had AP. I might think the special qualities of the key of F (whatever they might be) would suit the idea or mood I wanted to put across. But I would bear in mind that most people would not get it. So either I search for another way to evoke that mood (which would be hard for me, as the mood would seem tied to the key of F), or I write/play the piece anyhow, with a sense of curiosity about how or whether other people would take it. I would know that the fact I enjoy it would mean nothing to anyone else.

personally i would much prefer as a listener to appreciate the art of a piece of music from someone with perfect pitch, entitled things that seem completely different to me than what it sounds like. i'd also like to hear that artist try to fake their impression so i can get a sense of it. and i think an artist would do both those things.

if all the world were deaf would you not still paint? would you not use color? maybe you'd paint also with some thickness, heavy on the paint (i forget the technical term) would you only sculpt? would you only sculpt with your eyes closed?

1. What advantages (and maybe disadvantages) does absolute pitch confer?

to those with relative pitch only, i can only think of learning the instrument more quickly such as a fretboard, and finding a key before you play any notes on your instrument.

disadvantages, when you must change keys to accomodate some instruments you change the whole flavour of the song to something different, which must be weird.

2. Are any of them useful (or a problem) when making or composing music?

you perceived the natural world significantly differently from the majority of people. neither harmful nor useful in composing art. just different.


3. Are any of them useful (or a problem) when performing music? IOW, when delivering music to an audience who (we can safely say) don't have AP?
in performing art not. in knowing exactly how what you like is perceived by others yes.

but a hell of alot of people are tone deaf too, and non tone deaf musicians have no idea how their music is perceived by them either. but they don't care. some because they can make alot of money despite that fact. and some because imo they are artists.

4. If we accept that a musician/composer who develops absolute pitch enjoys music more (which seems to be the case), does their own music become better as a result? In a way that RP listeners can perceive and appreciate?

if they appreciate it better then it's better for them. better is in the eye of the beholder. maybe people will like it better maybe they won't. but that doesn't matter. (but i don't think it can be developed, you are born with it or not, you may be able to develop the ability to distinguish and recognize notes the same way someone with perfect pitch can to the observer it's the same but the person did not develop perfect pitch, they only developed a technique that can achieve the same result that perfect pitch gene ability can do naturally without effort.

one might learn to distinguish levels of gray scale on an unrelative basis, whilst the one with perfect pitch sees the gray scale shades as specifically different colors. they look the same to the observer, they have the same ability, but they perceive differently.)

5. If not, is there any point? If so, what is the improvement that RP listeners perceive? (It can't be anything to do with AP; it must be down to some improvement in the musician's RP...)

no. i don't think there is really any point to working at developing perfect pitch ability. but i wish i was born with it.

i'm not sure i completely understood your evolution part of your post but,
perfect pitch doesn't need to have had an evolutionary purpose in order to exist. it just needs to not be detrimental to survival. in fact, if it was instrumental to survival, we'd all have it, or at least a much larger percentage of the population would.

rhythm and harmony, basically music, is instrumental to survival. most other animals are affected by music. you can play them a lullaby and stuff, same as most animals all speak the same kind of body language. like when an animal you've never seen before is pissed you can tell, most growl, we are all similar, and music is no different. but we, as far as i know, except maybe dolphins i think, are the only ones that figured out how to make music.

fingerpikingood
11-19-2008, 12:21 AM
Yes, but you would need to teach your listeners the vocabulary and grammar first...
In fact, the great charm of music is that its meaning is NOT as precise as language. It may "communicate", but it isn't a system of signs. To make it into a system of signs (this sound means this...) would be to diminish it, rob it of what it does best.

ya i know, but i've often imagined, it would be cool, if you established a set of rhythms, and licks basically, that did have meaning, or some way of making words with rhythms and tones, and when people spoke together it made music, but music that means something. but of course everybody would need to be on the same page. and that would be possible, but difficult and impractical, but man it would be cool.

if perfect pitch is not genetic then it is a skill, and not a sixth sense, and that means everything we were talking about doesn't matter, because they hear music just as we do, it's just they know more about it than we do. just like someone with a sense of rhythm and relative pitch, but not trained in music, knows less about a piece of music than someone trained in music but hears it the same way all other things being equal.



And anyone who has AP without musical parents - that's evidence against genetics (at least on a direct level) just as it is against nurture!
That's my feeling.

i don't see how it is evidence against genetics, i only see how it can be the opposite. if it is not nurture it must be nature.

i don't think it is simply a skill. idon't think it is simply trained. maybe it is. but i think it is like a sixth sense typed thing. relative pitch is not a skill it's an ability, a genetic one. other people are born tone deaf, and they will never be able to change that. i think relative pitch is to tone deaf as perfect pitch is to relative pitch. though in the latter case, you can obtain the skill to achieve the same results from an outside observer, you are not born with the innate ability. just as someone with a good sense of rhythm, can just keep rhythm, without having practiced it. and people without this innate ability can still learn to keep a steady rhythm by practicing, and learning technique.




Well, I can tune my guitar within a half-step of concert, because I know what bottom E sounds like. But that's down to (a) 40 years of familiarity with that pitch, and (b) that's the lowest note my voice can reach, so I do it by relative pitch: hum my low note, tune the guitar. I still don't get it exactly right, because I don't have AP.

ya me too when i tune a guitar from scratch i usually end up pretty close because i kind of know what to expect, i know the neighbourhood, i'm just used to it. but i'm rarely spot on. i think a person with perfect pitch can after knowing once what E sounds like always find E easily and with great precision. without any years of practice or training.



But we're not born with that either.

I never learned rhythm, i never counted, i never had trouble keeping tempo. i was never taught anything about tempo, i only figured out what the names of tempos were. i don't have 'perfect tempo' like i can't tell you off the bat what's the bpm something is, with any kind of reasonable degree of exactitude. but for keeping a beat, and coming up with rhythms without ever losing the beat, i was never taught, i never learned, i never practiced. I could just do it, my body does it on it's own. i just feel it, it just feels right. and it relates to everything with rhythm, timing a pass, dancing, any instrument, anything like that. whereas many musicians cannot dance very well, which to me, i can't really understand.




Common sense (and I know that's a dubious concept) dictates that it isn't very logical for a "sense of rhythm" to be a genetic trait. Any more than a "gift for music" is. They are too well-defined and complex things.

i don't think common sense dictates that. a sense of rhythm does indeed have an evolutionary purpose, and were it not for that, music would never have been invented. the first musician could not have first trained for rhythm and then discovered it.



Well, it could be near enough. You would have to get to the stage of just knowing what the note was, without some internal reference point like humming a note (like me humming my low E - and then counting other notes up from there with relative pitch).
I do believe it's possible, although I also believe (a) it will never feel as natural or immediate as it does to someone who's had it for as long as they can remember; and (b) it represents a colossal waste of time and energy, unless you really do only want to impress people at parties, as Blutwulf says. (I mean, I would still say that was a waste of time, but hey, different people have different dreams... ;) )
If you are a musician, certainly, there are far more important things to do than try and learn perfect pitch. (Er, such as rambling pointlessly on message boards about it, maybe, hehe... :rolleyes: )

the skill of knowing specific notes by hearing them i agree is misprioritized expenditure of practice time towards perfecting your craft. although i think the trait of perfect pitch is different than that. i think it's a whole other level, a whole other sense, an extra dimension of perception. and i wouldn't mind having that at all. but you won't find me practicing perfect pitch. except maybe as you have done, to find the low E.

nine56
11-19-2008, 05:02 AM
"Remember it would have been different for Bach. Equal temperament was not in use (at least not widely) in his day. Different keys really did sound different. Now we have equal temperament, every key sounds qualitatively the same - only higher and/or lower than any other."

There are a few things about this that are not true, and I felt it necessary to shed some light (at least things that I learned in my short musical career). Equal temperament started being used during Bach's time and he fell in love with it. Hence, you will find a few collection of his works called "Well-tempered clavier" or "keyboard". Well-tempered and equal temperament are the same thing. Before this time, different keys simply weren't used much - if a piano that was tuned to C major played in any other key, it would sound horrendous. Therefore, most pieces were only written in a few different keys.


With equal temperament, since all of the keys on a piano are slightly out of tune, the sounds of the keys are all different qualitatively. There is a reason why composers write in certain keys for different types of songs. If you go to a piano and just listen to two different major chords - Eb and B major are vastly different in my opinion, so they would be good examples.

I actually own Burge's PP course, and I want to offer you the first few tracks so you can know what I'm talking about. If you give me your email I can try and send them over to you - he has a fantastic way of explaining in better detail the "colors" of different notes. If you aren't interested, that's fine too.

scottgb
11-19-2008, 09:34 AM
You're far too sensible (and brief) for this conversation, get outa here!
:)

:D well i had thought of a longer post, but ran out of coffee;)

I'm pretty sure it's been answered, or at least discussed, somewhere else here, but much as I'd like to gain absolute pitch, I'm not entirely sure/convinced that I need it.

JonR
11-19-2008, 10:15 AM
"Remember it would have been different for Bach. Equal temperament was not in use (at least not widely) in his day. Different keys really did sound different. Now we have equal temperament, every key sounds qualitatively the same - only higher and/or lower than any other."

There are a few things about this that are not true, and I felt it necessary to shed some light (at least things that I learned in my short musical career). Equal temperament started being used during Bach's time and he fell in love with it. Hence, you will find a few collection of his works called "Well-tempered clavier" or "keyboard". Well-tempered and equal temperament are the same thing. No they are not - not quite:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Well_temperament
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equal_temperament - quote from that page: "J. S. Bach wrote The Well-Tempered Clavier to demonstrate the musical possibilities of well temperament, where in some keys the consonances are even more degraded than in equal temperament."

With equal temperament, since all of the keys on a piano are slightly out of tune, the sounds of the keys are all different qualitatively.Again, this is wrong. Equal temperament, by definition, means that all keys are qualitatively equal, because all semitones are equal. That was the whole point of its invention.
It's true that pianos are usually "stretch" tuned, meaning notes are progressively sharper towards the top and flatter towards the bottom. But this is minimal, and makes no difference key-wise (the stretch effect is the same for any key).

It's true that all the keys are "slightly out of tune", but they are all out of tune by the same amount. 5ths, eg, are 2 cents flat of the pure 3:2 interval ratio. 4ths are 2 cents sharp. 3rds are 14 cents sharp (of a 5:4 ratio). etc. They can't be in tune (in the pure sense) because then keys would be different and we would be back to square one.


There is a reason why composers write in certain keys for different types of songs. If you go to a piano and just listen to two different major chords - Eb and B major are vastly different in my opinion,In your opinion. Only an AP person would identify different qualities between those chords. Perhaps you have AP?
To my ear they are both major chords, exactly equivalent in sound. Of course, one is higher (or lower) than the other, but that's all.

A pianist would certainly feel there were differences; "feel" literally, just as guitarists feel F major and E major are very different from one another, and sax players feel Bb and A are very different.
On a piano B major has 5 black notes, while Eb major has 3; and the keynote of B is white, while the keynote of Eb is black. These make for differences in comfort and accessiblity - and may indeed cause composers to write in different keys for those practical reasons - but they are nothing to do with the inherent qualities of the keys themselves. (Stevie Wonder wrote a lot in the surprising key of Eb minor (6 flats); surprising until you realise that the black keys form Eb minor pentatonic. So no more surprising than a guitarist writing something in E minor pent or A minor pent.)

Other subtleties may apply to wind instruments, where some keys may indeed be more "in tune" than others, and some need to be lipped into tune more. Still a practical issue, not down to the temperament.

This is one reason why some classical composers wrote in particular keys for particular instruments. Aside from questions of temperament (which DID make keys different in the days of Bach and Mozart, say), there are very subtle differences in the sound (or at least playability) of keys played on wind instruments, because of the physical issues I mentioned. A top level wind player may have no problem playing perfectly in tune in any key, but most clarinet players would be more grateful for a concerto in (say) Bb or F than for one in E or B. Then again, a composer might choose to exploit an instrument's tendency to play a little sharp ("bright") in some keys.
There may also be differences in timbre between keys - which would vary from instrument to instrument, dependent on its physical design (which frequencies resonated more). This would be much harder to allow for, and might even vary from player to player (due to technique) as well as from instrument to instrument.
As a guitarist, I would be happier playing a piece in G major than one in Db major. A composer for guitar, too, might want to exploit the unique sonorities open strings provide in some keys but not in others. (I know a piece by Villa-Lobos where open strings are used repetitively, causing surprising dissonances, which would not be playable at all in another key. So he clearly chose that key deliberately for that purpose. If he'd written for, say, piano, it would make no difference.)

But all these differences pale into insignificance in the face of instrumental range. A certain key is most likely to be chosen if the desired melodies and harmonies can all be comfortably accommodated by the instruments used. This is particularly the case with voices, which have the narrowest range of any instrument (with one or two exceptions).
Music is always being transposed to suit the singers that have to perform it. Any music where key mattered to the composition would simply not be performed unless the right singers (or instruments) were available. "Sorry we can't do that song, it's in the wrong key." This would cause guffaws of laughter in the jazz or pop fields, if not in the classical field too.

There's a popular Bach cello piece written in G major which has been transposed to D to make it playable on guitar. In what ways does it suffer? Certainly we can argue it loses a lot by not being played on the instrument it was written for. (If Bach had written for guitar, or lute, he would have written something different, almost certainly.) Does the key transposition make anywhere near the same difference?
Can't we appreciate the genius of the composition in any key, and on any instrument? Isn't it a bit silly to let awareness of key (AP) get in the way of that?


I actually own Burge's PP course, and I want to offer you the first few tracks so you can know what I'm talking about. If you give me your email I can try and send them over to you - he has a fantastic way of explaining in better detail the "colors" of different notes. If you aren't interested, that's fine too.Thanks, I would be interested. Not necessarily to undertake the course, but certainly to know better what everyone's talking about! (I'll send you a pm.)

luca19575
11-19-2008, 10:43 AM
pieces in different keys sound different you dont need AP to notice that
you can transpose a lot of pop and rock songs in any key you want and thats not a big difference but there also a lot of pieces that start to sound "weird" if you play in a different key (they dont sound bad but something is lost)
there are many many examples i just choose this one: if you play the alice in chains unplugged with the E tuning it will sound a little more brilliant but it looses
all the "soft beauty" that has in the original cause its played in Eb tuning (you will notice this expecially when you play open chords , the chords that they played with no fingers on the last 2 strings )

JonR
11-19-2008, 12:23 PM
so if all the world went deaf you would stop playing music?Good question. I would probably continue, just for myself. But I would weep as I did so...
Luckily I have another skill (art), so I'd survive! ;)


i don't know which is the most showoffish, playing for yourself what most can't understand or appreciate, or playing simply for the appreciation of others."showoffish?" It's not about showing off in either case. I don't want my audience to be impressed by what I can do. I mean, it's nice if they are, but that (narcissism, ego) is a side issue. The main point is to share an experience, to share a view or inspiration you've had (either in a composition or an on-the-spot improvisation). To give pleasure; perhaps to open a mind or two just a little. (My mind is always opened a little by any music, even not very good music.) To give people a good time, let them dance.


don't get me wrong the appreciation is nice, but imo as an artist it needs to be the sweet side effect you coincidentally get from creating the art you like for yourself.Yes, I know what you mean, but the "sweet" means nothing unless someone else can appreciate it.
Same as coming up with a great idea for (say) a novel or a painting, or scientific theory. You want to show people, to tell them. It's important, dammit!
If it means something to you, it has to mean something to other people. Otherwise its meaning to you is meaningless. (Or is at least circular and not very satisfying. IMO, that is.)
It's a bit like when you have an amazing dream, you wake up and want to tell everyone about it. Except that they are not interested. They have their own dreams, that would bore you too.
Playing my music to other people is like confirming that it isn't just a dream, it's real. It DOES mean something. (If nobody gets it, well, maybe it was just a dream. Still magical to me maybe, but worthless in the real world. I'd move on and try again.)


hmm your definition of artist differs from mine. for me it is the opposite. to play simply for the appreciation of others, to me, is simply being an entertainer, original material or not. an artist to me, creates for their own appreciation, not for what others think. i mean, you can send a message to people or whatever, but it must be from the soul, from the heart. pure honesty. not caring what others think, not for the appreciation of others.Well, there's a mixed message here. Certainly, you have to be "pure" in what you do, it has to come from the heart, untainted by censorship according to what might "sell". You can't second guess the public.
But the phrase "simply an entertainer" is not in my vocabulary. That's because I have a bigger view of what "entertainment" means. What you mean (and perhaps what most people mean) is "light entertainment", which I agree is pretty nasty and shallow.
For me, this perhaps derives from the biggest kick I ever got from playing music: which was the first time I saw people dancing to the band I was playing in. It was an incredible thrill I never forgot. Before (and after) that, I played (and still do) to seated audiences, in folk or jazz clubs, who were/are usually politely appreciative. That's nice. Gives you a warm feeling. You think they understand what you are doing. Sometimes (in jazz clubs anyway) they do.
But a lot of that is simply proving that you understand a language. Passing a test in a way. This applies even to the compositions I'm most proud of. They are proving I can write that way, according to those rules. I get a lot of pleasure and satisfaction out of honing those inspirations, don't get me wrong - making them "say" what I want to say. But in the end, I'm presenting them for intellectual appreciation. Sometimes (not very often), what I produce moves people. That's nice: the evocation in an audience of a mood is a lot more satisfying and real than completing a challenging jazz (or even classical) composition.
But when people get up and dance to what you're playing, there's no BS there. No polite appreciation (saying "well done" even if they don't really mean it). It's real, and it's primal. In that situation, playing in a dance band, I feel connected to the whole of human history, to music as it's used all round the world and always has been. In a sense, I live for being on stage. Not to show off, but to be part of something really important.
As a musician, I am a servant of the people, and it's a great role to have. A specialisation, to be sure (not everyone can do it, that's the point). But I am a professional, they are the clients, and my satisfaction comes from doing a good job.
You would be right to ask "where is the Art?" I don't know. I do know that I've never "got" classical music (much as I enjoy playing Bach). It doesn't speak to me, gives me no emotional hit at all. It all sounds like a lot of pompous sawing and blowing to me, "sturm und drang"; or smug sentimentality. But I can be moved to tears by a solo singer, and get chills up my spine from early blues recordings. And as I say, a thrill from being part of a performance, producing a groove or vibe. To be honest, I'm not much interested in any "art" above or beyond that. (I mean, I am, just not much.)

I think the truth is, music means different things to different people. You are different from me, and use music for different purposes in your life. There are certain kinds of musical experience that speak to me, and other kinds that don't.


i see you kind of agree with me actually. but denying my ability to see color or hear perfect pitch, in my art is to deny my honesty. Right. I wouldn't "deny" any of that. What's part of you is part of you.
But it isn't part of me, so I don't miss it.


your art is still art if nobody sees it. your art is still art if you are the last man alive. the artist makes an object art, not others that perceive it.Well, that's arguable.
In a sense, yes, the artist decides what "art" is. He/she is the only authority on that. That's the only sensible criterion by which art can survive and develop, and remain creative. (If critics or the audience decided what art is, that would kill it stone dead.)
At the same time, if no one gets it (or if no one even sees) it, there is a sense in which it is not "art" at all. It may as well not exist.
It may be that an audience won't get it at first, and it may take a future audience to understand it. But that only means that the art has changed its meaning.
We all need art of some kind, this is the point, but we find it (and identify it as art) according to our needs at the time. If that process coincides with what an artist happens to be producing, bingo - successful (and rich) artist!
But there's always two parties in the process: artist and audience. (I don't know of any artist, ever, who didn't care about how his work would be received, even tho few of them would have adapted it accordingly in any way.)

(This perhaps isn't the place for a lengthy discussion on the meaning of art... ;) )


but art doesn't need to be a message you are delivering.

Oscar peterson is not thinking about how you will perceive his music when he plays. he just plays with honesty, what he feels, and the audience happens to be lucky enough to hear it.Well, we'd need to check with Oscar about that; which is tricky right now ;)
I'd be surprised if he didn't believe he was playing FOR the people in the audience. A lot of jazz, it's true, is for other jazz musicians. It's a conversation between the band, that the audience is lucky enough to be eavesdropping on. But that "conversation" is paramount. Jazz musicians exchange ideas as they play. That's almost what defines jazz.
And the vibe of the venue, and the response of the audience can at least colour that conversation.
I think if you talk to any jazz musician, the interaction with the audience (good or bad) is fundamental to what they do. Many would sigh in despair at stupid audiences; but they still care whether the audience is stupid or not! If they were playing only for themselves they wouldn't give a damn. A gig in a hotel lobby or restaurant where nobody listened would be as good to them as one in a jazz club to hushed devotees. They'd just take the money and run. (True, some musicians do have that attitude.)
The average jazz musician WANTS the audience to get it, this is the point. Maybe not as much as he wants the rest of the band to get it, but the crowd are still important.
Why do they do gigs? Why do they make records? An unfortunate necessity to earn money, when they'd rather be playing to themselves at home? Again, I expect there are a few who feel just that. But not the majority.



i disagree. it's not a mistake if you planned to make an uplifting image and you felt you achieved that. it is uplifting as you see it, as you feel it. that's honesty. you are not responsible for the perception of others.not responsible, no. Perhaps "mistake" is the wrong word. It's missed the target, that's a better metaphor.
I would be intrigued as to how and why their perception was so different from mine. I might even query whether I was cut out to be an artist if I could misjudge an effect so badly.
It would cause a lot of soul searching. But - I agree with you - I might well carry on the same way, if I was really sure I was being honest to myself. After all, I'm human. They're human. There has to be a meeting of minds somewhere. We assume that the deeper the feeling, the more likely it is to be shared among others. If the others can be as honest and self-aware as I (the artist) am. So I might play a waiting game: sooner or later they WILL get it. (Even if it's only after I'm dead :( )

JonR
11-19-2008, 12:32 PM
[Man, we're taking this board over! (The others are gonna have to get a UN resolution to drive us out...)]



personally i would much prefer as a listener to appreciate the art of a piece of music from someone with perfect pitch, entitled things that seem completely different to me than what it sounds like. I think you need to rephrase this sentence... ;)


1. What advantages (and maybe disadvantages) does absolute pitch confer?

to those with relative pitch only, i can only think of learning the instrument more quickly such as a fretboard, and finding a key before you play any notes on your instrument.

disadvantages, when you must change keys to accomodate some instruments you change the whole flavour of the song to something different, which must be weird.Right. Agreed.


2. Are any of them useful (or a problem) when making or composing music?

you perceived the natural world significantly differently from the majority of people. neither harmful nor useful in composing art. just different.Well - as I've argued - it depends how important it is to you as an artist to understand how your audience will receive your work. If you don't care, then you're right the effect is neither good or bad, just different.


3. Are any of them useful (or a problem) when performing music? IOW, when delivering music to an audience who (we can safely say) don't have AP?

in performing art not. in knowing exactly how what you like is perceived by others yes. Hmm. But if you have AP, might you not want to play in way that focuses on notes or keys that mean something to you, but not to the audience?
But maybe that's the same answer as #2 - it makes a difference, but neither a good nor bad one, if you don't care how the audience responds.


but a hell of alot of people are tone deaf tooNot a "hell of a lot". A small minority are truly tone deaf, if we define that as being unable to differentiate pitch at all. That condition is called amusia; it exists, but is quite rare.
No musician will take amusic people into account. Amusic people can't appreciate music of any kind.
The vast majority of people have relative pitch to some degree. They enjoy music in various ways, to various degrees, and with varying levels of understanding. These are the ones to whom all musicians direct their craft and art.
Within that vast majority (excluding AP people for the moment) there will of course be people who are "deaf" to certain types of music, or types of music entertainment. Some people don't get opera or classical music. It would be a waste of time playing Wagner to those people.
A lot of the time, of course, that's down to prejudice and cultural habit. Mostly, anyone can be educated to like a type of music they thought they didn't. And there are enough fans of most kinds of music for those kinds to survive. (And if there aren't, well, the music dies. As it should, if education consistently fails.)
But with AP, it would (IMO) take too long to teach enough people how to hear in that way to make AP music worthwhile.


4. If we accept that a musician/composer who develops absolute pitch enjoys music more (which seems to be the case), does their own music become better as a result? In a way that RP listeners can perceive and appreciate?

if they appreciate it better then it's better for them. better is in the eye of the beholder. maybe people will like it better maybe they won't. but that doesn't matter. (but i don't think it can be developed, you are born with it or not, you may be able to develop the ability to distinguish and recognize notes the same way someone with perfect pitch can to the observer it's the same but the person did not develop perfect pitch, they only developed a technique that can achieve the same result that perfect pitch gene ability can do naturally without effort.But as I said, the genetic basis of AP hasn't been established. It may not be genetic at all, or it may be in everyone at birth (but fail to develop).
In any case, does it matter if "to the observer" the ability to recognise notes is the same? All we need to do is recognise notes! That's AP, to all practical intents and purposes. How we do it is irrelevant. (It may be interesting if it is subjectively different in those who have learned it later, but not relevant in practice.)


one might learn to distinguish levels of gray scale on an unrelative basis, whilst the one with perfect pitch sees the gray scale shades as specifically different colors. they look the same to the observer, they have the same ability, but they perceive differently.)Right. But if the grey observer can reliably identify those shades with the right colour names, how much does it matter if he can't actually see them? In a sense, after all, he can.
(Of course, the metaphor doesn't really work, because grey is still grey. There is no way colour could be reliably identified just from shades of grey, if only because the same hue can be dark or light. The same colour could appear as two shades of grey.)


5. If not, is there any point? If so, what is the improvement that RP listeners perceive? (It can't be anything to do with AP; it must be down to some improvement in the musician's RP...)

no. i don't think there is really any point to working at developing perfect pitch ability. but i wish i was born with it.Why, if you don't think there is any point in developing it? Is it just because it's not worth the effort?
If so, I agree! (Almost... I'd kind of like to have it, but I recognise it wouldn't do me any good musically. So it's a irrational desire.)


i'm not sure i completely understood your evolution part of your post but,
perfect pitch doesn't need to have had an evolutionary purpose in order to exist. it just needs to not be detrimental to survival. in fact, if it was instrumental to survival, we'd all have it, or at least a much larger percentage of the population would. Well, that's the question. Perhaps we do all have it, as a dormant potential? Maybe there came a point when we no longer needed it (eg when we developed verbal language), and it was ignored? Put to the back of our minds (literally)?
That hypothesis still fits the evidence: a few people have it, the rest can develop it with a lot of practice. The ability is there, IOW. (Yes, it can still have an artificial feel in those who develop it later, but that would only be because it's been developed at an unnatural time in their lives. It's "natural" when developed from birth or soon after.)


rhythm and harmony, basically music, is instrumental to survival. most other animals are affected by music. you can play them a lullaby and stuff, same as most animals all speak the same kind of body language. like when an animal you've never seen before is pissed you can tell, most growl, we are all similar, and music is no different. but we, as far as i know, except maybe dolphins i think, are the only ones that figured out how to make music.True. Other animals do make sounds that we can liken to music (eg birds and whales) - but it's a question whether they intend it in the same we intend our musical sounds.
What I find intriguing is that the two things that distinguish us most clearly from other animals are: language and music. Perhaps the two are connected, at some deep level beneath our consciousness of either of them?

The way other animals are affected by (human) music is interesting, but won't tell us anything about its survival value, IMO.
One thing that occurs to me is that when we see animals making any rhythmic movements (resembling somewhat what we do when we dance), it's usually a sign of stress. Eg, elephants in captivity swaying from side to side.
(I heard a news report recently about elephants in a zoo being calmed by classical music. When they heard the music, they stopped their stress behaviour (such as repetitive rhythmic movements) and started behaving more naturally. IOW, they have almost the opposite reaction to humans! When we hear music, we stop behaving naturally, and want to dance or sway, or clap our hands, or some other bizarre activity! It's a bit reminiscent of the way we smile - bare our teeth - when we're happy or laughing, while chimps and other animals do it when they're afraid or aggressive. Humans, eh? :rolleyes: So much for "intelligent design"... ;))

jimc8p
11-19-2008, 12:34 PM
The funny thing is, relative pitch is much easier to train and way more useful than absolute pitch! Just because something is harder to do doesn't
automatically give it more worth. It reminds me of trying to play at 290BPM as though it is somehow better than 120 simply because it's harder to do. Music is not sport! (Although I guess to many people it is, which is fine). The truth is, AP is a somewhat mysterious ability that hints at musical affinity - that's really why people want it.

I still think that if you don't have AP naturally it will be difficult to train to any useful level. People with AP have the equivalent of colour vision from which they come to internalise our set gradations. Those purposefully learning AP just aim straight for that last part and don't seem to realise that the chromatic scale is not natural and that intervals are not even. You cannot reignite some natural recognition of 261.626Hz (middle C) any more than you can for 262.135Hz. This is why, to me, the PP methods don't really seem to make sense - you either recognise any pitch or none (properly anyway). Also, cultivating a limited 'colour' perception (say, 3 notes) on which to base relative intervals cannot work to the extent where an instrument could be tuned from scratch (due to error margins and interval discrepancies).

The only practical advantage of PP is that a tone or a key can be identified by ear....but with an instrument at hand most musicians are able to do that in a couple of seconds anyway! All that matters when playing music is relative pitch. With regard to the extra dimension...


If the same drawing is repeated lower or higher on the wall, does it make it a different drawing? ...The AP person suggests not only that
they can perceive exactly how high or low the "drawing" is (fine), but that it matters - that it makes the drawing different, better or worse, than the
same drawing in a different position.
If those with perfect pitch say that solitary tones are qualitatively different from other solitary tones, I guess we have to believe them. (I mean, perception is perception and it's not likely to be a load of coincidental lies). What do you think of this analogy instead?-

There are 12 monitor screens lined up, on one an image is shown. If the same image was repeated on another monitor, the regular RP'er might notice a change in position along the line, but the image would remain qualitatively the same. However, the AP'er is a sensitive observer and notices the exact positions and that each monitor has differing display settings (colour, brightness, contrast etc) - they therefore find the image to be structurally the same but qualitatively different, as if seen through a filter.

JonR
11-19-2008, 02:53 PM
if perfect pitch is not genetic then it is a skill, and not a sixth sense, and that means everything we were talking about doesn't matter, because they hear music just as we do, it's just they know more about it than we do. just like someone with a sense of rhythm and relative pitch, but not trained in music, knows less about a piece of music than someone trained in music but hears it the same way all other things being equal.Kind of. AP people certainly hear the same stuff we hear, but - AFAIK - they hear it in a more detailed or focussed way.
Hard to describe the difference, but I sometimes feel ( to use a visual metaphor again!) it's like being short-sighted. To a non-AP person, the music is somewhat "blurred" - they (we) can "see" what's going on, well enough to understand it, well enough to get the message, feel the right emotions, etc. (Think about a short-sighted person watching a film or stage play.) They can see all the colours too.
But they can't see the crisp detail. They can't see the texture of skin or clothing or background. Those details don't advance the story or plot - they are totally incidental to the production (because the plays or films are mostly made by people who are as short-sighted as the audience) - but they do offer a richer source of appreciation of the whole experience.
I think AP is like that: being able to perceive every detail, even though those details are superfluous.
I can see - then - why one might want that experience.

And to learn AP would be like getting glasses - or maybe learning to screw our eyes up somehow to help focus. Our eyes still can't focus naturally, like someone "born" with AP, so that difference holds.

(It remains for any AP people reading - if any are! - to say whether they think this is a fair analogy of their experience. Esp if they have learned AP, so know what it's like not to have it.)


i don't see how it is evidence against genetics, i only see how it can be the opposite. if it is not nurture it must be nature.I'm saying if someone has it with no history of it in their family, how can it be "nature"? If it's genetic, then there HAS to be a history of it in the family. Maybe not every family member (if it's a recessive gene, say, like ginger hair) but a significant number, according to some pattern.
I don't know all the research, but AFAIK such a linkage has not been found, or has (in any case) not been separated from nurture effects. (Because musically gifted people will naturally encourage musical development in their children.)
Equally, as I say, an AP person with no family history of AP probably wasn't taught it by their parents either (nurture). But they could have picked it up some other (accidental) way.


i don't think it is simply a skill. idon't think it is simply trained. maybe it is. but i think it is like a sixth sense typed thing. relative pitch is not a skill it's an ability, a genetic one. other people are born tone deaf, and they will never be able to change that. i think relative pitch is to tone deaf as perfect pitch is to relative pitch. though in the latter case, you can obtain the skill to achieve the same results from an outside observer, you are not born with the innate ability. just as someone with a good sense of rhythm, can just keep rhythm, without having practiced it. and people without this innate ability can still learn to keep a steady rhythm by practicing, and learning technique.But it's only your belief that rhythm is "innate". I disagree. I want to see evidence, beyond common sense observations.
(Common sense observation says the earth is flat and the sun goes round it...)
I think all these things are learned, though many of them may not be "taught" as such.
Some people seem to have born with AP, or with a good sense of rhythm, true. But maybe they just learned it early on, accidentally? Perhaps through cultural forces, natural environment?
IOW, I don't believe in "talent" as a specific focussed "gift" a few people are born with. What makes apparently talented people different is something else: drive, obsession, single-minded self-belief, that sort of thing. And luck too, of course: the right upbringing, the right circumstances in childhood.
I think AP could well be part of this picture, although it would have to kick in pretty early.

Of course, this is still only my "belief", just as yours is yours. ;)


I never learned rhythm, i never counted, i never had trouble keeping tempo. i was never taught anything about tempo
...
i never learned, i never practiced. I could just do it, my body does it on it's own. i just feel it, it just feels right. and it relates to everything with rhythm, timing a pass, dancing, any instrument, anything like that. whereas many musicians cannot dance very well, which to me, i can't really understand.Me too, to some extent. I don't remember having any trouble with rhythm when I began learning guitar (not like some people do). I can easily feel temporal structures in music - beats, bars, lines, beat fractions, etc - without counting. And I tend to be better at reading and picking up complex rhythms than other musicians of a similar standard to me (who may be better at pitch hearing or reading).
I can also dance to a beat (and find it incomprehensible that others can't), but I'm a lousy dancer otherwise. Actually I hate dancing, because it always feels as if my hips are attached wrong... :( (I feel like the dad at a party...)

I still don't beleve I was "born" with such a sense. If I had been, I think I would have felt much earlier on that I was destined for music. I never felt that - and still don't. I entered music for other reasons - I just loved sound, basically, and messing around with it; and I loved the idea of performance (with others). I was not "naturally" musical in any way. Everything I do in music I have learned, mostly through teaching myself.

i don't think common sense dictates that. a sense of rhythm does indeed have an evolutionary purpose, and were it not for that, music would never have been invented. the first musician could not have first trained for rhythm and then discovered it.So what's the evolutionary purpose of rhythm?
I mean, you're right it's universal in all human cultures, so we can guess it derives from something that had selective advantage, even if it has no selective advantage itself.
Anyway, I agree it isn't as "complex" as all that (in the sense of a culturally dependent syndrome). Different cultures' "senses" of rhythm do differ - East Europeans (whose folk music commonly uses 5/8, 7/8 or 11/8) have far less difficulty with irregular metres than West Europeans do - but every culture has one!

JonR
11-19-2008, 03:19 PM
If those with perfect pitch say that solitary tones are qualitatively different from other solitary tones, I guess we have to believe them. (I mean, perception is perception and it's not likely to be a load of coincidental lies). What do you think of this analogy instead?-

There are 12 monitor screens lined up, on one an image is shown. If the same image was repeated on another monitor, the regular RP'er might notice a change in position along the line, but the image would remain qualitatively the same. However, the AP'er is a sensitive observer and notices the exact positions and that each monitor has differing display settings (colour, brightness, contrast etc) - they therefore find the image to be structurally the same but qualitatively different, as if seen through a filter.Well, I'm still guessing of course :rolleyes: , but I still prefer the idea that the images/screens would each be identical - same display settings - but to the AP viewer the positions themselves have some special character. Or that the positions make the images appear to have a different display setting.
(Or on second thoughts, maybe your metaphor is good!)

A parallel might be someone with a very keen kinaesthetic sense - like a gifted dancer - to whom placement, of body, sightlines, environment, etc. means a lot. IOW, the whole shape of what surrounds us can have a meaning. There's almost a language of place and position.
THIS position, of THIS screen image here, is essentially different in character from THAT position of THAT screen image there. Even if it's only a few inches either way.
It's as different as the letters N and O. No good saying "but they're right next to each other there in the middle of the alphabet; they might as well be the same letter!" As I understand it, musical pitches have that kind of distinct meaning one from another to the AP person. It's as obvious and natural as colour (or alphabet letter) is to us. It would be crazy to change one letter in a word for another, or one colour in a picture for another, as if it didn't make any difference.
But to the RP person it doesn't make any difference. A picture of a house is a picture of a house. So what if the walls are blue in one, or red in the other? It's a house, that's what matters.

Try this one. The words "bare" and "bear" are pronounced the same. To the RP person, they might as well be spelled the same. Even if written down, each in the wrong context, we can read the sentence out loud and it will make sense. No problem. It's like they're impervious to the different spelling, or just don't notice it. The AP person will be either confused or irritated (or maybe amused): "but look, bear and bare are different! You can't interchange them, it makes no sense!"
IOW, to the RP person, the meaning (bare or bear) is understood once the sentence is read out, from the context of the other words. To the AP person, the meaning is attached to the spelling; he still appreciates the meaning when spoken, but can't ignore the spelling, can't separate it out.

Naturally, all these analogies are imperfect. As Blutwulf says, we don't have the language to discuss it as it IS. We have one imperfect metaphor or another. (Even with a sense we DO understand, like hearing, we need to use metaphorical language from vision or touch, as I said before.)

nine56
11-19-2008, 03:53 PM
JonR, your amount of posting intrigues me; I wish I had time to respond to everything! Here's a quote I pulled from the wiki article on equal temperament:

"J. S. Bach wrote The Well-Tempered Clavier to demonstrate the musical possibilities of well temperament, where in some keys the consonances are even more degraded than in equal temperament. It is reasonable to believe that when composers and theoreticians of earlier times wrote of the moods and "colors" of the keys, they each described the subtly different dissonances made available within a particular tuning method. However, it is difficult to determine with any exactness the actual tunings used in different places at different times by any composer. (Correspondingly, there is a great deal of variety in the particular opinions of composers about the moods and colors of particular keys.)"

You're right, they aren't exactly the same but it seems like they are similar enough to be used almost interchangeably. I do not have absolute pitch, but I started Burge's course about a year ago (at that point I had nothing even close to AP, although now I am getting much closer), and I began to hear the quality of the notes differently. I didn't really think it to be true either until I experienced it.

I guess we'll have to agree to disagree on this one :)

When I get your PM I'll send you some of the introduction mp3's just so you can get an idea of what I mean.

Blutwulf
11-19-2008, 04:04 PM
If those with perfect pitch say that solitary tones are qualitatively different from other solitary tones, I guess we have to believe them.As an alternative to believing them, you can just as validly mock and ridicule them.


(I mean, perception is perception and it's not likely to be a load of coincidental lies).Tell that to the millions of phrenologists, atrologists, mediums, seers, ghosthunters, occultists, Ouija players, 99% of synesthetes, 99% of dyslexics, and any other people who gain something from uniting in espousing unprovable, meaningless nonsense. Unspoken agreement to propagate crap is a very common thing. Any time someone bothers to assert something wherein you have to take their word for it, it is likely to be a lie.

I am sure there are people "with AP." I believe people can cultivate it. What I've not been sold on is a reason to care, or an understanding as to why so many young guitarists are so keen on getting this badge to wear on their chest.

reventlov
11-19-2008, 04:42 PM
"What I've not been sold on is a reason to care, or an understanding as to why so many young guitarists are so keen on getting this badge to wear on their chest."

+1

I doubt if it's possible to learn it from a course in any case - I know several people who have tried and none of them succeeded. Even if it was possible though (and maybe it is), it seems that it takes so long that the time spent learning it could probably be better spent acquiring other skills that are a lot more tangible. I actually have AP, and it's been useful in many ways but it also made me lazy in some ways - I'm glad to have it, no denying that, but if you don't have it then don't stress about it, it's good to have but so are lots of other things that you could learn quicker and with more direct impact on your ability and musicianship.

I'd gladly trade it for John McLaughlin's ability to improvise round complex sequences at high speed, or for David Gilmour's skill at finding just the right note at the right time, or for Julian Bream's control over tone, or for Chet Atkins independence between thumb and right hand fingers, or for any one of a large number of other skills.

Lots of music forums on the web have multiple threads about perfect pitch, and whether it can be learned from a course - I get a little depressed every time I see one of these threads, there are just so many other more useful things that musicians could be spending their time and effort on practising.

JonR
11-19-2008, 04:48 PM
JonR, your amount of posting intrigues me; I wish I had time to respond to everything! Here's a quote I pulled from the wiki article on equal temperament:

"J. S. Bach wrote The Well-Tempered Clavier to demonstrate the musical possibilities of well temperament, where in some keys the consonances are even more degraded than in equal temperament. It is reasonable to believe that when composers and theoreticians of earlier times wrote of the moods and "colors" of the keys, they each described the subtly different dissonances made available within a particular tuning method. However, it is difficult to determine with any exactness the actual tunings used in different places at different times by any composer. (Correspondingly, there is a great deal of variety in the particular opinions of composers about the moods and colors of particular keys.)"That's undoubtedly true. But it doesn't follow that:
...they are similar enough to be used almost interchangeably.That makes nonsense of the definitions.
It may be that Bach would have liked to use equal temperament, but the technology of the day (tuning methods and devices) didn't permit it, so he used the next best thing.
Certainly I think it's true that his whole idea of the 48 was working towards ET, as a semi-utopian future ideal. ("Wouldn't it be liberating if all 12 keys really were equal?") But then again, maybe the differences of some keys in Well Temperament were the point...

As for the differences of opinion about different keys, that's to be expected. As with AP perception, and with synaesthesia, the different qualities of different pitches or keys are subjective. One composer might feel E major was "martial"; another might feel it was "pastoral" (or whatever).
There would be no objective agreement, unless famous works were established in a particular key and a particular mood. Eg, if a famous composer wrote a popular piece of martial music (whose mood was dictated by its rhythms and other factors) that happened to be in E major, then that key would acquire that association for those who became familiar with it. So if they wanted a martial piece they would choose the same key. It becomes a self-fulfilling prediction. (Until, of course, equal temperament comes along and ruins the whole basis of key difference. Then it becomes an "emperor's new clothes" scenario... ;) )
In ET, of course, AP (and synaesthetic) perceptions remain, but are still subjective.

JonR
11-19-2008, 04:50 PM
"What I've not been sold on is a reason to care, or an understanding as to why so many young guitarists are so keen on getting this badge to wear on their chest."

+1

I doubt if it's possible to learn it from a course in any case - I know several people who have tried and none of them succeeded. Even if it was possible though (and maybe it is), it seems that it takes so long that the time spent learning it could probably be better spent acquiring other skills that are a lot more tangible. I actually have AP, and it's been useful in many ways but it also made me lazy in some ways - I'm glad to have it, no denying that, but if you don't have it then don't stress about it, it's good to have but so are lots of other things that you could learn quicker and with more direct impact on your ability and musicianship.

I'd gladly trade it for John McLaughlin's ability to improvise round complex sequences at high speed, or for David Gilmour's skill at finding just the right note at the right time, or for Julian Bream's control over tone, or for Chet Atkins independence between thumb and right hand fingers, or for any one of a large number of other skills.

Lots of music forums on the web have multiple threads about perfect pitch, and whether it can be learned from a course - I get a little depressed every time I see one of these threads, there are just so many other more useful things that musicians could be spending their time and effort on practising.+1 !
Thanks for your contribution. I agree 100% with your views, and it's interesting to see it from an AP perspective.

All the things you would trade it for are, of course, available to any musician (AP or non-AP) who works hard enough or long enough. They are skills, not gifts. Craftsmanship, not art.
(Or perhaps, the point where skill becomes art...)

As Arthur C Clarke once said: "any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic". That applies to advanced musical technique too, IMO.

JonR
11-19-2008, 05:02 PM
Tell that to the millions of phrenologists, atrologists, mediums, seers, ghosthunters, occultists, Ouija players, 99% of synesthetes, 99% of dyslexics, and any other people who gain something from uniting in espousing unprovable, meaningless nonsense. Unspoken agreement to propagate crap is a very common thing. Any time someone bothers to assert something wherein you have to take their word for it, it is likely to be a lie.[Sound of big trumpet fanfare...in any key you like :rolleyes: ]
Hooray!
[applause]
(Are you a Richard Dawkins fan, by any chance? ;) )

I am sure there are people "with AP." I believe people can cultivate it. What I've not been sold on is a reason to care, or an understanding as to why so many young guitarists are so keen on getting this badge to wear on their chest.It's a party trick! Isn't that enough? Some people WANT to be able to blow smoke rings, because it's so COOL, and will spend days and weeks practising it...

Hey, you and I don't have to sit here reading these threads either...
;)

scottgb
11-19-2008, 06:03 PM
I doubt if it's possible to learn it from a course in any case - I know several people who have tried and none of them succeeded. Even if it was possible though (and maybe it is), it seems that it takes so long that the time spent learning it could probably be better spent acquiring other skills that are a lot more tangible. I actually have AP, and it's been useful in many ways but it also made me lazy in some ways - I'm glad to have it, no denying that, but if you don't have it then don't stress about it, it's good to have but so are lots of other things that you could learn quicker and with more direct impact on your ability and musicianship.

I'd gladly trade it for John McLaughlin's ability to improvise round complex sequences at high speed, or for David Gilmour's skill at finding just the right note at the right time, or for Julian Bream's control over tone, or for Chet Atkins independence between thumb and right hand fingers, or for any one of a large number of other skills.

Lots of music forums on the web have multiple threads about perfect pitch, and whether it can be learned from a course - I get a little depressed every time I see one of these threads, there are just so many other more useful things that musicians could be spending their time and effort on practising.

I agree that learning music, like an instrument(s), general technique, songs/lick/riffs, theory etc can be time consuming, but worthwile.

I'm genuinley interested though; what have you found AP has helped you with?

Blutwulf
11-19-2008, 06:22 PM
(Are you a Richard Dawkins fan, by any chance? ;) )I dunno about the whole "fan" thing. We agree on a profound number (basically all you can name from him) of things. I lack his need to organize seminars or gain membership in groups which are ostensibly united to propagate the things in which I believe, however. Tricky Dickie is dangerously close to religiously attacking religion, if you see what I mean. I am no fan of anyone whose activism extends beyond an occasional bulletin board post.:D

I believe what I believe and am pretty unapologetic about voicing my beliefs. However, I will allow you your beliefs, and will only burden you with an occasional scoff should you become too loud. See what I mean?

JonR
11-19-2008, 07:06 PM
I dunno about the whole "fan" thing. We agree on a profound number (basically all you can name from him) of things. I lack his need to organize seminars or gain membership in groups which are ostensibly united to propagate the things in which I believe, however. Tricky Dickie is dangerously close to religiously attacking religion, if you see what I mean. I am no fan of anyone whose activism extends beyond an occasional bulletin board post.:D

I believe what I believe and am pretty unapologetic about voicing my beliefs. However, I will allow you your beliefs, and will only burden you with an occasional scoff should you become too loud. See what I mean?I was of the same opinion before I read his book. Something uncomfortable about his single-mindedness.
But I think, once you accept the logic of the argument (both against religion and for science and rationalism), that's the only honest stance to take - if you care about people in general, or the future of humanity, that is. He doesn't take issue (much) with personal choice, private religious feeling, but the problem is that religion rarely remains private.

Of course, it's tempting to remain a jaundiced cynic and say (of religious zealots) "to hell with the lot of them - oops, well, if hell existed that is..." :)

Sorry about "fan" btw, I knew that was the wrong word ;) (I'm reminded of that scene in Life of Brian, where Brian is trying to persuade the crowd that he isn't the messiah...)

Blutwulf
11-19-2008, 07:24 PM
Dang, but we have drifted off-topic, eh?

So.

Er... How do you like "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed" by the Allman Brothers? I'm listening to it right now. I've always loved that song. The accusation that is is about my great-great-aunt is just a canard.

Madaxeman
11-19-2008, 07:32 PM
This is an interesting thread...
I personally have never read, seen, heard anyone talk about, or discussed perfect pitch before. The exception is the ads in magazines with the disturbingly happy man holding the tuning fork!
The emphasis was always relative pitch, such as knowing intervals from a starting note. The more I play, the easier this has become. Of course, for me, I am never thinking rapidly in my brain "C, D , E, F..." as I am playing a solo. My fingers more often go where my ear tells them. When my brain starts directing things on the fly, that's where I mess up!
All this reminded me of an episode of (I believe) the Donna Reed Show (I am a product of the original Nick at Nite) where she discovered her son had perfect pitch. He would just call out note names to random sounds, like a car horn or doorbell etc... Anyway, she was driving him crazy trying to get him "into" a music instrument-but he had no desire.
I think time spent on any aspect of music would be better spent than agonizing over perfect pitch.
My analogy is this: Being able to identify all the letters of the alphabet does not mean you can speak the language...several completely different languages use the same 24 letter alphabet, but I do not understand them. No matter how much I study the alphabet, it will never help me.

JonR
11-19-2008, 07:51 PM
Dang, but we have drifted off-topic, eh?

So.

Er... How do you like "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed" by the Allman Brothers? I'm listening to it right now. I've always loved that song. The accusation that is is about my great-great-aunt is just a canard.A canard? Isn't that a French duck?
Are you saying these Allman brothers accuse your aunt Elizabeth of being a French duck?
Outrageous. They should be banned.
Harrumph. I blame the parents.
(I may have misread the above. Who cares...)

jimc8p
11-19-2008, 07:52 PM
Tell that to the millions of phrenologists, atrologists, mediums, seers, ghosthunters, occultists, Ouija players, 99% of synesthetes, 99% of dyslexics, and any other people who gain something from uniting in espousing unprovable, meaningless nonsense. Unspoken agreement to propagate crap is a very common thing. Any time someone bothers to assert something wherein you have to take their word for it, it is likely to be a lie.
I am a remourseless skeptic when it comes to any of the mentioned beliefs. I don't believe in fate, monsters, ghosts or god, but because of the ubiquity of examples, I believe in the human disposition to perceive such things. I don't believe in musical effects, but I acknowledge their perception through my own experience and others' apparent experience. That is to say people's perceptions are...well, perceptions, regardless of the physical reality. Of course some people may have an interest in actually lying about such things (mediums are a great example), but in the case of PP the only thing to gain would be an easily disprovable badge.

If many people who can provably perceive the differences between separate tones also claim to perceive qualitative differences, then we should believe them. Or at least be on the positive side of agnostic about it. The alternative view, which you seem to be going for, is that all of these people are consciously lying about it to enhance their honorific badge of musicality...which would be a pretty irrational/paranoid view to take :D!

ClashlandHands
11-19-2008, 08:02 PM
Conclusion: Absolute pitch is a golden calf!

People are throwing around these terms perfect/absolute pitch and relative pitch in a strictly absolutist sense, and in light of the research indicating that pitch can be developed, I'd have to argue that pitch perception exists on a sliding scale of greater and lesser acuity. It is only relative to others abilities that a person is deemed to possess a named ability. In a certain sense, perfect pitch would be the ability to discern the exact number of cycles per second of a tone. "Whoa, are you sure that's not A440.000000001?! You sounded a little sharp there!" Who the F*&^ cares?! No one can do it, it's all relative. I don't have perfect pitch, I have really good relative pitch. I found Diana Deutsch's test to be quite simple. Does that mean I have perfect pitch? No. It means I have relative pitch, and her test was flawed. It means I have pitch memory*. It also means I have an unfair advantage being a pianist and knowing timbrel characteristics of particular tones in a given range. (Ideally, the test should be done with sine waves to avoid this cheat)

Similarly, cultures/ethnicities/religious affiliations and J.S. Bach do not exist in a box, but live and interact. I'm sure there aren't many Jewish Greco-Chinese, but I assure you they exist. A friend of mine described herself as Celtic-Dravidian to me. She was a cowgirl from Casper. Her dad was Irish, mom was Indian. Admittedly, this combination is quite common in Britain as would be Congolese mixes in Belgium, French in Viet Nam, etc. She's sung on Sesame Street, on and off Broadway, worked with Elton John. I sincerely doubt her success or musical ability hinges upon whether or not she has absolute pitch. Jewish is an even more common ingredient to humanity because unlike most other things I know of it's simultaneously a Religion, a culture, an ethnicity and a nation.

So, by "Asians have an advantage" I mean speakers of tonal languages have an advantage when it comes to developing pitch sensitivity. Perfect Pitch, Absolute Pitch, Relative Pitch- these are just terms that like all language* approximate a reality or perception of actuality.

*music may be excluded

Blutwulf
11-19-2008, 08:58 PM
The alternative view, which you seem to be going for, is that all of these people are consciously lying about it to enhance their honorific badge of musicality...Exactly my view.


...which would be a pretty irrational/paranoid view to take :D!As an alternative to "irrational/paranoid," feel free to use "experienced/realistic."

We can only draw upon personal experience in choosing whether or not to believe someone's claims. In my world, people frequently lie to enhance what they imagine is the image they convey to others. Perhaps that is a rarity in your own.

Madaxeman
11-19-2008, 09:52 PM
Liars are kings of their own kingdom, but they have no subjects. Regardless of what your goals are musically, I don't believe that making music can be satisfying without some type of audience. Wild claims of musical ability are only claims until the masses can judge, and it is a rare person who wouldn't enjoy the praise of others. The downside is that there will always be critics. The fact is not everyone will like what you put out.
You have to have some type of audience, even if it is a small number. Just like these posts and threads, it is the interaction and response that connects us, along with a love of music. Some like going out and playing-damn the theory. Others like digging in to the theory, and here is where they recieve respect from a peer group by their command of the subject.
If you are a musician of any kind, I think it is a lie to yourself to say you do not want to share your musicallity with someone. That would be like saying there are people who have notebooks full of replies to these threads, but keep them hidden from everyone. That would be a little abnormal in my book.

jimc8p
11-19-2008, 11:48 PM
Exactly my view.

As an alternative to "irrational/paranoid," feel free to use "experienced/realistic."

We can only draw upon personal experience in choosing whether or not to believe someone's claims. In my world, people frequently lie to enhance what they imagine is the image they convey to others. Perhaps that is a rarity in your own.
So, people with the demonstrable gift of absolute pitch also share the propensity to lie just to ice their cake? - all those people needlessly and coincidentally using the same exaggerating lie? Surely that seems far stranger than the idea that AP people sometimes attach different qualities to different pitches?

If single pitches can be distinguished from one another (which they can) to some people they have a uniqueness that we can't really imagine...so differing 'qualities' isn't really so hard to believe, especially when considering demonstrable synesthesia. Another thing that I don't think has been mentioned here is the amount you hear classical music commentators describing certain keys as particularly bright or colourful etc. That, coupled with gifted composers choosing otherwise random keys, surely means there's something in it? To be honest I probably dislike the idea as much as you, but it clearly deserves recognition?

Blutwulf
11-20-2008, 03:01 AM
To be honest I probably dislike the idea as much as you, but it clearly deserves recognition?I don't dislike the idea at all. But no, the last 45 years of listening to people discuss it has left me with nothing to take seriously, but much to compare it with people who claim to be synesthetes, or people who claim to see ghosts.

I don't expect to see any posts in the surprisingly many and robust threads on this board that will offer something I haven't heard 1000 times before. But I keep hoping, eh? I'll give anybody their chance to state their case.

nine56
11-20-2008, 03:31 AM
It's a party trick! Isn't that enough? Some people WANT to be able to blow smoke rings, because it's so COOL, and will spend days and weeks practising it...




I'm a vocalist. Explain to me why AP wouldn't be desirable? I could sing any pitch at any time, which is great for singing solo a capella pieces. Also, doing tough a capella choral pieces becomes much easier if you have AP because (at higher stages of AP), you will recognize easily if a note starts to go flat. Although the latter can be achieved with relative pitch and an incredible ear, having AP makes it so much easier.

I can understand how instrumentalists might think it's just a party trick and time should be spent in technique and relative ear training, although I think it might be more useful than it gets credit to be.

As far as piano tuning goes, I want to know if any Absolute pitch possessors think that all of the keys are the same qualitatively. A person with relative pitch will make this argument because they don't hear the colors of the pitches and keys. It may seem to you that all of the keys are the same because they are like a picture in black and white. ou uderstand what's going on in a piece, but you can't hear the qualities of the colors. It's like a colorblind person telling you that red and blue are the same qualitatively, and the only difference is in the shade (how black or white or gray it is). It's not that they can't see properly, it's just that they miss out on seeing colors.

JonR
11-20-2008, 08:30 AM
I don't dislike the idea at all. But no, the last 45 years of listening to people discuss it has left me with nothing to take seriously, but much to compare it with people who claim to be synesthetes, or people who claim to see ghosts.Unusually, I part company with you here. It's very easy to prove one way or the other whether someone has absolute pitch. Very easy to test. Very few people would be able to lie and get away with it (maybe if they had the kind of forceful personality that scared off objectors) -
"OK then, what pitch is this?"
"I don't have to tell you that! Harrumph, what do you think I am, an lab monkey??" :rolleyes:

There's plenty of scientific research and literature that examines the phenomenon - there's no question it exists, the only questions (for science) are about how, why, when, or how much, it works, where it comes from, why only a few people have it, why most people don't, etc.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Absolute_pitch
https://webspace.utexas.edu/kal463/www/abspitch.html
http://perfectpitch.ucsf.edu/study/
http://www.encyclopedia.com/topic/absolute_pitch.aspx
http://www.apa.org/monitor/feb05/pitch.html
etc
... of course, it's up to you how much authority you give any of those sources... ;)

The question for music, of course, is: what use is it? I think you and I agree there.

I don't expect to see any posts in the surprisingly many and robust threads on this board that will offer something I haven't heard 1000 times before. But I keep hoping, eh? I'll give anybody their chance to state their case.I've seen plenty of posts from people with AP (OK, I believe them...), who have mixed views about its value. Most of them are glad to have it, but it's significant that they downplay it, and don't see it as nearly as important as those who don't have it and want it.

JonR
11-20-2008, 09:41 AM
I'm a vocalist. Explain to me why AP wouldn't be desirable? I could sing any pitch at any time, which is great for singing solo a capella pieces. Also, doing tough a capella choral pieces becomes much easier if you have AP because (at higher stages of AP), you will recognize easily if a note starts to go flat. Although the latter can be achieved with relative pitch and an incredible ear, having AP makes it so much easier.Yes, you're right. (My above comment was directed more at musicians...)
But how useful it is depends on how attached to it you are. There's a story of a famous opera singer with AP who was singing with a choir (yep, a capella). They were drifting slightly flat, while staying in tune with each other. She couldn't stand it. They were "wrong", and she found it unable to sing along with them. She sang her correct pitch, and so sounded out of tune. Because she was, of course! (No one else - not the choir, not the audience - cared or noticed that her pitch was "correct". Only that she was "incorrect" in context.)
OK, that's just one story. But a singer without AP would have had no problem.

I'll say it again: absolute pitch does not matter in music. Relative pitch does. You have to sing in tune with whoever you are singing with - not in tune with an abstract standard. You may start a song off in A=440 - but suppose the band have tuned somehow to A=435? It's you that's going to sound wrong. It's you that will BE wrong.
IOW, you have to to trust that everyone you perform with is tuned as accurately as you are.
Still, given that (and we generally CAN trust that people tune to A=440), I do agree, AP is useful for singers occasionally. As long as you can focus on relative pitch when you need to. Which is all the time...

AP would also be useful for a musician in a jam session who was too embarrassed to ask the key (or to hunt for it experimentally), and couldn't see people's fingers... and where the other musicians were too arrogant to tell him the key...

As far as piano tuning goes, I want to know if any Absolute pitch possessors think that all of the keys are the same qualitatively. A person with relative pitch will make this argument because they don't hear the colors of the pitches and keys. It may seem to you that all of the keys are the same because they are like a picture in black and white. ou uderstand what's going on in a piece, but you can't hear the qualities of the colors. It's like a colorblind person telling you that red and blue are the same qualitatively, and the only difference is in the shade (how black or white or gray it is). It's not that they can't see properly, it's just that they miss out on seeing colors.That's exactly what I've been saying. Non-AP people "miss out on seeing the colours". But that means the vast majority of people, including most composers. The "colours of keys" are (therefore) not part of the useful language of music. They are incidental. Enjoyable if you can perceive them, no doubt, but of no real consequence.

Same as the font we use to type in. (Hey ANOTHER metaphor!) It doesn't matter what typeface I use, you can still understand the words. In fact, for it to be a parallel, each letter would have to come with its own font, different from other letters, so it appeared that way automatically as you typed.
A non-AP person would not see the different fonts at all (or hardly at all); they just read the words and get the intended meaning.
You can imagine that an AP-person might well enjoy all the different patterns, but might also be distracted by the different fonts and think they mean something. But the person writing would not have chosen the fonts (the way I just did at random); they just choose letters according to the word they want to type, not the shape the different fonts make (they can't make an "e" look like that, it just does). Letters could have any shape, as long as they're readable.
(We could extend the metaphor and say that a tone-deaf person would be like a seriously dyslexic person, who can't really make head or tail of the letters anyway, even if they were all in the same font. To them, music is nonsensical and often an unpleasant noise. But those people are very rare, as I've said.)

Bear in mind I'm not trying to put anyone off learning AP. Only trying to put it into perspective.

abminor
11-20-2008, 09:42 AM
I've seen plenty of posts from people with AP (OK, I believe them...), who have mixed views about its value. Most of them are glad to have it, but it's significant that they downplay it, and don't see it as nearly as important as those who don't have it and want it.

I guess It's a bit like money :D

JonR
11-20-2008, 09:57 AM
I guess It's a bit like money :DLOL!
Except - see reventlov's earlier post - AP people often envy abilities that those with good RP have (or can develop).
They downplay it not because they're trying to put the rest of us off, but because they really do know that it isn't as valuable as some of us think.

So yes, it has a value. But how useful is that value? It isn't like money, but like something else of value which isn't currency. You might have a lot of fancy jewellery, but try going into a supermarket for your groceries and paying with a ring, or even a piece of gold leaf...
IOW, for it to be useful as currency, you have to exchange it for something else. Sell the gold, then use the money to buy stuff.
"Sell" your AP for RP, and use that to make music.

But of course, we can all "earn" all the RP we need through practice. We don't need to come from a rich family. (Yes, it helps. But what happens when the rich kid has to go and get a job, huh?)

(While amusing, this is not a perfect metaphor, and I've maybe stretched it further than it can stand. You would have to accept that AP wasn't like money, or even gold or jewellery, but like some other currency that wasn't recognised by most people. It looks sparkly and desirable, but actually isn't worth much when you come to exchange it for something useful.)

Blutwulf
11-20-2008, 11:01 AM
Unusually, I part company with you here. It's very easy to prove one way or the other whether someone has absolute pitch. Very easy to test. Very few people would be able to lie and get away with it...
As usual, I was unclear and misunderstood. OF COURSE I know that some people have AP, and it is a readily verifiable thing. I was discussing everything else other than the ability to name specific frequencies that presumably comes with it.

abminor
11-20-2008, 11:01 AM
LOL!
But of course, we can all "earn" all the RP we need through practice. We don't need to come from a rich family. (Yes, it helps. But what happens when the rich kid has to go and get a job, huh?)


I really don't know what makes people so sure developing RP behond the basics is easy or even possible. Form my experience, thoses having developed a really good RP at adult age are almost as rare than those having developed AP. I often see people who have worked several years but still cannot identify simple melody in real time yet they continue to claim RP is accessible to everyone. There 're really seem to be a minority of people for can spontaneously identify tonal patterns in live music. Here again it seems that early music education helps a lot (and is maybe a prerequisite) to have that skill.

I'm not saying either that AP is easier to learn than RP (in fact I think except for few gifted ones, you will never learn it to a point that is usefull musically. I'm speaking about adults here).

What is true however is that anyone can learn and get quite good to play by ear. It's probably a kind a relative pitch but compared to those who can pick up music without any instrument, it's a lot more subconscious. As far as I can tell there could also be some subconscious AP skills here. That would explain why experienced musician who don't have AP can still 90 percent of the time choose the right starting note on their instrument with not previous reference when trying to pick up a song.

jimc8p
11-20-2008, 12:04 PM
(in fact I think except for few gifted ones, you will never learn it to a point that is usefull musically. I'm speaking about adults here).
Relative pitch? Anyone who appreciates music has great relative pitch! A layperson can tell the difference between a major seventh and minor seventh etc- it's just usually subconscious. Anyone who gets into naming chords and intervals will inevitably develop more conscious RP. And even at the most basic level it's incredibly useful. Eg - hearing where the tonic is (very simple but very useful!)

JonR
11-20-2008, 12:28 PM
I really don't know what makes people so sure developing RP behond the basics is easy or even possible. Form my experience, thoses having developed a really good RP at adult age are almost as rare than those having developed AP. I often see people who have worked several years but still cannot identify simple melody in real time yet they continue to claim RP is accessible to everyone. There 're really seem to be a minority of people for can spontaneously identify tonal patterns in live music. Here again it seems that early music education helps a lot (and is maybe a prerequisite) to have that skill.I think you're defining RP differently from the rest of us!
RP skills cover a wide spectrum, from being able to tell major from minor (say), to being able to sing any series of interval exactly in tune.
I can see that only a few people might have "perfect" RP - in that they never make mistakes and can always identify (and/or sing and play) anything from a reference note. But most musicians can get by well enough with a skill somewhat below that.
And it does improve with experience. I can identify most common chord sequences now, and I couldn't some years ago. Certainly, when I began, I had no idea. I would have been able to hear chord changes (I guess) but not what they were.


What is true however is that anyone can learn and get quite good to play by ear. It's probably a kind a relative pitchYes - and that's all you need.

As far as I can tell there could also be some subconscious AP skills here. That would explain why experienced musician who don't have AP can still 90 percent of the time choose the right starting note on their instrument with not previous reference when trying to pick up a song.Probably true. I was struck by an experiment described by Daniel Levitin in his book "Your Brain On Music", summarised here:

In 1994, Levitin proposed that people with AP connect pitch memory with pitch labeling. His studies suggested that most people have pitch memory. In one experiment, he asked subjects (not necessarily musicians) to sing favorite popular songs that were known to exist in only one version. Most of the subjects sang pitches identical to or very close to those of the original song. Although they exhibited pitch memory, these people may lack AP because they did not develop pitch labeling ability through early musical training (studies show the crucial learning period to be before age 6). For example, they may not be able to recognize or sing a middle C because they did not learn to call that pitch “middle C” or some other name at a sufficiently young age.https://webspace.utexas.edu/kal463/www/abspitch.html

abminor
11-20-2008, 01:10 PM
I can see that only a few people might have "perfect" RP - in that they never make mistakes and can always identify (and/or sing and play) anything from a reference note. But most musicians can get by well enough with a skill somewhat below that.


Yeah you're right but in this thread, one of the question is, what AP would bring the average musician other than RP does. I guess, if we are speaking about the common RP skills (that are usually quite below "perfect RP") the answer is without doubt alot.

Simply compare the abilty to play by ear between someone with normal RP and someone with AP. The former will be able to reproduce live some melodies maybe at first audition if it is well trained, maybe find out chord progressions too if he is familiar with them but if he encounters some unusual tonal patterns or progressions he will probably need more time to find them out.

On the other hand, someone with AP will be able to identify and reproduce any melodies he hears and even any succession of note clusters no matter if he is familiar with them or not.

Edit: Actually, I'm not sure comparing average RP with AP is fair. Maybe it would make more sense to compare average RP with "perfect RP" and AP all together. Althought we all know they are different skills. It seems to me perfect RP and AP are no more different than average RP and perfect RP are.

In fact, I would even tend to think the opposite way. Because in the act of cognition people with perfect RP tend to recognize notes automatically like in AP although they may have transposed what they ear to a wrong key.

edit2:
From what I read, their skill seems even different than tonal RP where the listener is able to follow the music based on its interaction with a tonal center. They just seem to reconstruct the whole chromatic scale from one reference note and keep each note in mind so they recognize them instantly no matter the modulations. Really look like absolute pitch except it's not absolute ;)

Madaxeman
11-20-2008, 02:52 PM
If absolute pitch was as beneficial as many are claiming, then wouldn't you hear all the "great" players discussing it? Wouldn't teachers be focusing on this instead of scales, theory, and actually learning the instrument?
Regardless of whether it exists or not-I think the more valid and important question is does it matter?
I think relative pitch is all that matters in a practical sense here.
Having absolute pitch does not mean you would be able to apply it and be a better musician. Just like theory...knowing it cold does not mean you become a better player. It is the application. It is an ability to quantify a frequency. My tuner does the same thing.

abminor
11-20-2008, 03:17 PM
I think relative pitch is all that matters in a practical sense here.
Having absolute pitch does not mean you would be able to apply it and be a better musician. Just like theory...knowing it cold does not mean you become a better player. It is the application. It is an ability to quantify a frequency. My tuner does the same thing.

Of course having AP doesn't dispense you to practice your instrument. All that I say is that all other things being equal, having AP got to be a real advantage in your instrument mastery.



If absolute pitch was as beneficial as many are claiming, then wouldn't you hear all the "great" players discussing it? Wouldn't teachers be focusing on this instead of scales, theory, and actually learning the instrument?


It is simply because there are no known proofed method for teaching it.
And as I said upper, instrument pratice and theory are still essential so It could not replace that knowledge just supplement it.

nine56
11-20-2008, 03:34 PM
Yes, you're right. (My above comment was directed more at musicians...)


I'm trying really hard not to take offense to that comment. I am a musician - vocalists are musicians too. I'm proficient in flute, guitar, keyboard, and percussion instruments. My voice just happens to be my main instrument. Perhaps you meant "instrumentalists".


But how useful it is depends on how attached to it you are. There's a story of a famous opera singer with AP who was singing with a choir (yep, a capella). They were drifting slightly flat, while staying in tune with each other. She couldn't stand it. They were "wrong", and she found it unable to sing along with them. She sang her correct pitch, and so sounded out of tune. Because she was, of course! (No one else - not the choir, not the audience - cared or noticed that her pitch was "correct". Only that she was "incorrect" in context.)
OK, that's just one story. But a singer without AP would have had no problem.

I'll say it again: absolute pitch does not matter in music. Relative pitch does. You have to sing in tune with whoever you are singing with - not in tune with an abstract standard. You may start a song off in A=440 - but suppose the band have tuned somehow to A=435? It's you that's going to sound wrong. It's you that will BE wrong.
IOW, you have to to trust that everyone you perform with is tuned as accurately as you are.
Still, given that (and we generally CAN trust that people tune to A=440), I do agree, AP is useful for singers occasionally. As long as you can focus on relative pitch when you need to. Which is all the time...

I understand your point here, but the problem in these instances is not AP, it's the musicians that are stubborn and want to show off their AP. I am smart enough to follow a choir going flat or sing along with a band tuned slightly off of A440 (I learned relative pitch far before I began my journey to learn AP).


Bear in mind I'm not trying to put anyone off learning AP. Only trying to put it into perspective.

Understood.

luca19575
11-20-2008, 04:51 PM
i read that a lot of guys says "AP is not essential,RP is better,i dont want AP its just a waste of time" using arguments that seems persuasive
this reminds me an old tale
there was a fox who see a fruit (probably grapes i dont remember) on a tree and want that fruit but cant jump too high to catch it and so start to say : i dont want that fruit cause its not ripe...............................

JonR
11-20-2008, 05:23 PM
I'm trying really hard not to take offense to that comment. I am a musician - vocalists are musicians too.Oops! :o My apologies, I should have said "instrumentalists" of course.
Like that old drummer joke: what do you call someone who hangs around with musicians: a drummer... :rolleyes:

Crossroads
11-20-2008, 05:57 PM
i read that a lot of guys says "AP is not essential,RP is better,i dont want AP its just a waste of time" using arguments that seems persuasive
this reminds me an old tale
there was a fox who see a fruit (probably grapes i dont remember) on a tree and want that fruit but cant jump too high to catch it and so start to say : i dont want that fruit cause its not ripe...............................
Old fables like that are fun ... as long as you realise they are probably not applicable to most real situations, and as long as you don't start believing you have thus discovered some brilliant insight into the "truth".

But if anyone here truly thinks they should spend their practice time learning AP (or even specifically practicing RP, for that matter), then nobody here is stopping them....just go right ahead.

For me the question is - " do I have enough practice time? "

And the answer to that is I only have 24 hours a day. And that's just not enough.

Ian.

reventlov
11-20-2008, 06:51 PM
scottgb - you asked 'I'm genuinley interested though; what have you found AP has helped you with?'

Sorry to take so long to get back to you on this, I don't spend much time online!

AP has been useful to me in a lot of practical ways - small things like tuning up quickly right up to bigger things such as composing music and writing it out without having any need to refer to an instrument. Composing is part of what I do for a living, and I've written music right up to full orchestral scores without the need to have an instrument beside me while I do it. The main thing I've used it for is transcribing music from recordings, mainly jazz guitarists - I can do that very quickly, however intricate the music. What AP does NOT do though is give me the ability to play everything I transcribe - hard practice is the only way to do that.

When I was younger, it was fun as a party trick but the appeal of that wears off quickly. Again though I have to say that if I didn't have it, all I'd lose really would be a little bit of time - there is very little that AP gives you that you can't get from a well developed sense of relative pitch, and that 'very little' is really not much in the grand scheme of things. Without it I could still tune my guitar and write down my music and do all the same things I do now, just a little slower - and I wouldn't miss the 'party trick' stuff one little bit.

In short - it's use to me is as a time saving device - which is why I find it strange that people spend huge amounts of time and effort trying (usually unsuccessfully) to acquire this ability in order to ........er........save time and effort?.......weird!

nine56
11-20-2008, 11:26 PM
Reventlov, would you say that different keys of music have different feels, rather than just being higher or lower than another key? Do the different keys have...personalities or anything?

fingerpikingood
11-21-2008, 04:11 AM
they still care whether the audience is stupid or not! If they were playing only for themselves they wouldn't give a damn. A gig in a hotel lobby or restaurant where nobody listened would be as good to them as one in a jazz club to hushed devotees. They'd just take the money and run. (True, some musicians do have that attitude.)
The average jazz musician WANTS the audience to get it, this is the point. Maybe not as much as he wants the rest of the band to get it, but the crowd are still important.

i agree completely, except the musicians aren't wondering what people will think when they are choosing what to play, there is no thinking what note other people will wish to hear next. sometimes you know what you feel like playing is about to be enjoyed by other people, but as soon as you stop just releasing your music, then you have lost your honesty, as soon as you logically nalyse what you are about to play, as soon as you first consider how others will perceive it, then that is lacking honesty. it must be what YOU like, what YOU want to hear, what YOU feel, for pure honesty. and yes, if you have a bum crowd, your honesty is to be annoyed and not very in the mood to play, and you won't really be in it, and it won't be as fun, and your honesty will show that. but with a good crowd that shows they are enjoying your music, and a positive atmosphere, your honesty will reflect that as well.

i mean, if you go to the maximum of giving people what they want, then you would just be asking them what notes to play next, and then the crowd is playing the music and not you at all. of course that's not possible to that extent. i think oscar peterson just allowed music to play through him, with full honesty, and he did not consider how others would receive it, he just did it, he didn't ask them what they would like and try to give it to them, he told them what they would like basically, he showed them what they could not imagine, or expect, and people happen to find his honesty very appealing, because what he decided to play was unexpected and good for many reasons that can't be quantified or analytical explained perfectly. that's why you can't program a computer to play like that. you need a human being with honesty.

everybody perceives music differently for various reasons. but there are many things that are the same. humans are physiological different one to the other. we all perceive the world differently. some have perfect pitch, some are color blind, some are tone def, some have a great sense of rhythm, some don't, some grow up in a culture where certain things represent different things than others. like for example some people like songs because it reminds them of something in their past. some people like music based only on social identification, certain kind of music with certain styles of dress, and certain lifestyle or whatever.

not everybody likes Oscar peterson, some think he is god-like, some really don't like it at all. we all perceive it differently, but that others don't like Oscar peterson doesn't mean he made a mistake, or missed the boat. even if all the world couldn't hear it, if all the world was deaf. his music would be just as amazing, only he could not share it with anyone else, it would only be appreciated by himself. but of course i'm sure he received much pleasure from the appreciation of others, and positive crowds made positive performances.

i'm not saying you can't aim to deliver a message to people, or play a certain style of music or something with the intention of making it available to certain people. but it must remain honest. i don't think it can be art if the message you are delivering is not one that comes from you, not one you support. like if you're a gay guy and you write a song about picking up women in clubs, that's not honesty.

fingerpikingood
11-21-2008, 04:33 AM
Originally Posted by fingerpikingood
personally i would much prefer as a listener to appreciate the art of a piece of music from someone with perfect pitch, entitled things that seem completely different to me than what it sounds like.
pent.)

i would prefer to hear a song entitled summer day by someone with perfect pitch and instead hear winter storm, than have someone with perfect pitch try to recreate what i find sounds like summer day and it sounds completely different to them.



Hmm. But if you have AP, might you not want to play in way that focuses on notes or keys that mean something to you, but not to the audience?
But maybe that's the same answer as #2 - it makes a difference, but neither a good nor bad one, if you don't care how the audience responds.

it's the same as a person with relative pitch playing music to people who are tone deaf. it doesn't need to be amusia. if you can't sing in pitch that's tone deaf. there are alot of those. to whichever degree doesn't matter. they perceive music differently than those who aren't tone deaf. i don't really understand how, but it's different.


But as I said, the genetic basis of AP hasn't been established. It may not be genetic at all, or it may be in everyone at birth (but fail to develop).
In any case, does it matter if "to the observer" the ability to recognise notes is the same? All we need to do is recognise notes! That's AP, to all practical intents and purposes. How we do it is irrelevant. (It may be interesting if it is subjectively different in those who have learned it later, but not relevant in practice.)

it is different. one is to do with perceiving differently, and therefore can add musical differences to music. the other would not change your perception. that i have named a major chord major did not change the sound of a major chord. if you or i develop the ability to recognize tones in an absolute manner we would still perceive music the same way, the only difference is that we could say, this song is in F, without ever playing a single note or hearing a reference. but our perception would be the same. if it's genetic, the perception is different. this is a whole different thing. the difference is kind of like one person could learn all the answers to an IQ test and get a great IQ test score, but another that scores high on it without having seen any answers or studied for it, is displaying an ability the other might not have. they can both achieve the same result, and to the outside observer it looks the same, but both individuals are very different. I'm convinced perfect pitch is very much like this. it can be learned, the ability part, but the perception part, where it comes naturally cannot, and imo, that's the most valuable part of it.

fingerpikingood
11-21-2008, 05:22 AM
Originally Posted by fingerpikingood
personally i would much prefer as a listener to appreciate the art of a piece of music from someone with perfect pitch, entitled things that seem completely different to me than what it sounds like.
pent.)

i would prefer to hear a song entitled summer day by someone with perfect pitch and instead hear winter storm, than have someone with perfect pitch try to recreate what i find sounds like summer day and it sounds completely different to them.



Hmm. But if you have AP, might you not want to play in way that focuses on notes or keys that mean something to you, but not to the audience?
But maybe that's the same answer as #2 - it makes a difference, but neither a good nor bad one, if you don't care how the audience responds.

it's the same as a person with relative pitch playing music to people who are tone deaf. it doesn't need to be amusia. if you can't sing in pitch that's tone deaf. there are alot of those. to whichever degree doesn't matter. they perceive music differently than those who aren't tone deaf. i don't really understand how, but it's different.


But as I said, the genetic basis of AP hasn't been established. It may not be genetic at all, or it may be in everyone at birth (but fail to develop).
In any case, does it matter if "to the observer" the ability to recognise notes is the same? All we need to do is recognise notes! That's AP, to all practical intents and purposes. How we do it is irrelevant. (It may be interesting if it is subjectively different in those who have learned it later, but not relevant in practice.)

it is different. one is to do with perceiving differently, and therefore can add musical differences to music. the other would not change your perception. that i have named a major chord major did not change the sound of a major chord. if you or i develop the ability to recognize tones in an absolute manner we would still perceive music the same way, the only difference is that we could say, this song is in F, without ever playing a single note or hearing a reference. but our perception would be the same. if it's genetic, the perception is different. this is a whole different thing. the difference is kind of like one person could learn all the answers to an IQ test and get a great IQ test score, but another that scores high on it without having seen any answers or studied for it, is displaying an ability the other might not have. they can both achieve the same result, and to the outside observer it looks the same, but both individuals are very different. I'm convinced perfect pitch is very much like this. it can be learned, the ability part, but the perception part, where it comes naturally cannot, and imo, that's the most valuable part of it.


Right. But if the grey observer can reliably identify those shades with the right colour names, how much does it matter if he can't actually see them? In a sense, after all, he can.
(Of course, the metaphor doesn't really work, because grey is still grey. There is no way colour could be reliably identified just from shades of grey, if only because the same hue can be dark or light. The same colour could appear as two shades of grey.)

because the guy who sees the colors creates based on the colors he is seeing whereas the other guy is working in blakc and white though can still name which shades of black and white are which color. imagine the grey scale guy had a light detector that they could use to put a name to every color. they could not use the essence of color in their design process. even though they can know every name, and even what colors what things usually are. they would have the ability to name the colors, but not wield them by design.


Well, that's the question. Perhaps we do all have it, as a dormant potential? Maybe there came a point when we no longer needed it (eg when we developed verbal language), and it was ignored? Put to the back of our minds (literally)?
That hypothesis still fits the evidence: a few people have it, the rest can develop it with a lot of practice. The ability is there, IOW. (Yes, it can still have an artificial feel in those who develop it later, but that would only be because it's been developed at an unnatural time in their lives. It's "natural" when developed from birth or soon after.)


there is one fundamental flaw with your dormant ability proposal. evolution of human beings has pretty much ceased, at least as nature intended, ever since we have developed the ability to create technology. ever since we became smart, and the more medical technology or technology in general we create, the less we evolve in the natural sense. the human specie is not homogenous as natural species are.

most of all therefore, that we evolved to have, our evolved features, those that are common among us, must have come from before our ability to know, and be smart, and design and invent.

therefore, in order for a specie to evolved perfect pitch, it must be an ability that does not require training. granted there is needed training in order to fit it into a musical language system we have created, but it must be useful naturally without effort. it cannot be dormant. i don't think there can be dormant abilities. there are abilities perhaps we choose not to use, but i don't think there are any dormant ones. dormant genes, that only showup every few generations definitely, but an innate ability, that cannot be perceived by the person with that ability i don't think can be possible, or else the mechanisms of darwinism would be compromised.


True. Other animals do make sounds that we can liken to music (eg birds and whales) - but it's a question whether they intend it in the same we intend our musical sounds.
What I find intriguing is that the two things that distinguish us most clearly from other animals are: language and music. Perhaps the two are connected, at some deep level beneath our consciousness of either of them?

i am certain they do not. the vast majority of animals are not smart, they are not self aware, they cannot 'know' and therefore cannot have the ability of intending such as we can. therefore although they can be moved by music, they cannot intend it. dolphins though and apes and elephants, and probably others are smart and therefore could potentially create music.

yes most certainly i think they are connected but not necessarily in termsof using musical ability to communicate, but rather that in order to be capable of language, you must also have the ability to know and intend.

without knowing anything you and others would still feel pain. only once you can know and be aware, can you realise that actions you can make can cause pain in others the same way those actions cause pain in you, and thus you have the ability to intend pain in another.

i don't know, i find classical music is the real calming kind. maybe if they would have played some heavy head banger music or punk or something, they could have made things worse.

there can't be a reason we evolve to like music specifically, because it did not exist until we created it. it must be a side-effect, a funny outcome that comes from other things that have an evolutionary purpose.

music is weird when you think about it, it's like oh ya nice, vibrations played together in patterns that loop in multiples of 4 (usually).

we have learned to wield how vibrations affect animals emotionally, and we call it music.

i'm certain though, that bird calls and general sounds of nature be it animals or otherwise all have to do with it, and i think timing in general as well.


I'm saying if someone has it with no history of it in their family, how can it be "nature"? If it's genetic, then there HAS to be a history of it in the family.

evolution doesn't work that way. if it did we would all be the same. random mutations of the genetic code are necessary mechanisms of evolution. einstein's parents were not as smart as he was, no one in his lineage was. random things happen to the human genetic code all the time, then through a process of nature selection, certain random mutations are kept and spread throughout our gene pool, and others die out. so it makes sense that a genetic thing like perfect pitch could popup randomly.

i am certain i was born with it. i am also certain that talent is much more than just hard work or desire. a huge proportion of the world could want to play like oscar peterson, but no matter how hard they try only an extremely tiny percentage ever could, no matter how much time oreffort people would put in would not make them as good as oscar peterson. a larger percentage could mimick him if they preactice hard enough and have enough drive, but he was the inventor. he was much more than just sweat and desire. we was genetically geared towards making music.

someone invented every piece of music theory that exists. the music, the concepts, existed before the words, before the training. you cannot begin by training an ability first the ability must exist then it can be trained. the major scale must first be discovered and named, then it can be trained. somebody found it and named it. same with rhythm, and everything of music. but the talent came first, the ability came first, then it built knowledge, and then the knowledge could be taught.


rhythm is timing and noticing a repeating pattern and feeling it. this can be useful for timing throwing a rock at a moving target, or running and dodging obstancles. knowing where something will be at some time if it follows a trend.

JonR
11-22-2008, 11:17 AM
i would prefer to hear a song entitled summer day by someone with perfect pitch and instead hear winter storm, than have someone with perfect pitch try to recreate what i find sounds like summer day and it sounds completely different to them. :confused: Don't quite follow you here. (I may agree with you, but I'm not sure what you're saying.)
I would be quite interested to hear something an AP composer designated as "summer day". In fact, it would be interesting to set up an experiment where several composers with AP attempted to write something evoking the same feeling (say "summer day"). The music would then be judged as to effect by RP listeners (without knowing what the intended effect was).
I suspect each piece of music would sound different, IF the AP composers went by their AP instincts (because each will have subjective responses to pitch and key, different from others). But (my hypothesis is) they would be more similar - and more successful mood-wise - if they chose musical effects independent of AP; IOW, common effects of harmonic, key, tempo, orchestration, rhythm, etc.


it's the same as a person with relative pitch playing music to people who are tone deaf. it doesn't need to be amusia. if you can't sing in pitch that's tone deaf. there are alot of those. to whichever degree doesn't matter. they perceive music differently than those who aren't tone deaf. i don't really understand how, but it's different. OK, that's one definition of "tone deaf". But people who can't sing in pitch can still (normally) hear pitch! (I was one of those myself as a teenager. I became an enthiusiastic musician while still suffering that "disability".) There are indeed a lot of them, but they can appreciate music very well, just as good as people who can sing in pitch.

Those who can neither sing in pitch nor hear pitch differences are "amusic", there are not very many of them, and playing music to them would be a waste of time. Unless it was drum music perhaps. AFAIK, some (perhaps most) of those with no pitch sensitivity do have rhythmic awareness.

For these people, a musician would do well to work with drums or rhythmic patterns, in order to connect with them as much as possible. If he played pitches he would be playing for himself alone - just as the AP musician plays for himself alone inasmuch as he focusses on AP qualities alone.

(IOW, I agree the situation is comparable. But perhaps we disagree on what the musician should do...)

it is different. one is to do with perceiving differently, and therefore can add musical differences to music. the other would not change your perception. that i have named a major chord major did not change the sound of a major chord. if you or i develop the ability to recognize tones in an absolute manner we would still perceive music the same way, the only difference is that we could say, this song is in F, without ever playing a single note or hearing a reference. but our perception would be the same. if it's genetic, the perception is different. Interesting argument, but I'm not sure that's the case.
IMO, the only difference is that an AP person (one that has always had it) perceives pitch automatically and naturally. They may or may attach associations to pitches (any more than we would necessarily attach associations to colours), but they just "get" them, without thinking. Someone who learns it DOES hear the same thing, but only through a conscious effort, perhaps using associations to help; that process may become automatic after time, but maybe never becomes as natural or immediate.
But I don't see how it's a different sense altogether (which is what you seem to be implying). It's just hearing in a more focussed way - a LOT more focussed admittedly.


this is a whole different thing. the difference is kind of like one person could learn all the answers to an IQ test and get a great IQ test score, but another that scores high on it without having seen any answers or studied for it, is displaying an ability the other might not have. they can both achieve the same result, and to the outside observer it looks the same, but both individuals are very different. I'm convinced perfect pitch is very much like this. it can be learned, the ability part, but the perception part, where it comes naturally cannot, and imo, that's the most valuable part of it.OK, I see what you're saying, but I disagree.
To me, perception of sound is perception of sound. It's not like vision, where there is a physical basis to colour (rods and cones), so there could easily be a biological mismatch or perceptual fault in perceiving colour, while still perceiving light and shade. With sound, there is only frequency of vibration - and variously complex multiple frequencies of course - and it's a question of how closely we can discriminate between, identify or remember those frequencies.
An RP person can easily discriminate one pitch from another - often extremely close pitches (tiny fractions of a musical half-step). He has just not learned to identify the specific qualities of a single pitch (either because it has never been necessary or important to him).
The AP person CAN identify those specific qualities, and does it subconsciously before even thinking about how different a couple of pitches may be.

IF the ability is genetic, then you may be right that the experience is totally different for an AP person (from that of someone who has learned it). Perhaps they do have a whole different region of the brain that constructs a perceptual picture of sound that we would not recognise, any more than we would recognise a picture painted in ultraviolet or x-rays.
But it doesn't have to be genetic (in the sense of limited to a handful of people by inheritance). If it isn't - if we all have the potential, but only a few (for some reason) develop it early enough for it to feel innate - then someone learning it later in life would have the same kind of experience. Maybe more clumsy, less natural, but essentially the same skill.

The research I'm aware of seems to point towards my hypothesis (in all of us, but undeveloped), not yours. There may well be genetic variation in that universal potential, but it's not a question of absence or presence.


because the guy who sees the colors creates based on the colors he is seeing whereas the other guy is working in blakc and white though can still name which shades of black and white are which color. imagine the grey scale guy had a light detector that they could use to put a name to every color. they could not use the essence of color in their design process. even though they can know every name, and even what colors what things usually are. they would have the ability to name the colors, but not wield them by design.OK, I think what you're saying is this:
The person who has learned it is like a scientist who has a machine to detect x-rays, ultraviolet, etc, and other wavelengths outside the visible spectrum. He can't see them, but has machines that can, and tell him when they occur, how strong they are, etc. They give out some other kind of signal, or translate the waves into media he can perceive (eg lines on an oscilloscope).
That's different from a person who can actually see x-rays and ultraviolet light.
It's similar - to get back to sound - to someone who can hear pitches beyond the normal human range, as against someone who can only perceive them by looking at a display on an oscilloscope.

If this is like what you're saying, I don't think the metaphor holds. I think (it's my belief!) that learning AP is like learning how to actually see those other wavelengths, by focussing your eyes differently, perhaps.
While we are physically limited from doing that, of course, the pitches an AP person perceives are all within normal hearing range. We can all HEAR them. We just can't identify them (reliably).

(For your IQ person, who scored high through learning answers, or some other kind of "cheating", it would break down when they came to apply their supposed intelligence, eg, to questions to which they didn't know the answers. For the person who has learned AP, they would only have to pass a test of identifying pitch. OK, maybe they do "feel" it different from an AP "natural" - but does that matter, if all they have to do is name a pitch correctly? The relevant research, I guess, would be to compare "natural" with "learned" AP - comparing accuracy of results, in various different contexts. Musical and non-musical, at least.)

In short, I don't see the need to invoke a special sensory awareness, only accessible through genetic inheritance.

JonR
11-22-2008, 11:22 AM
there is one fundamental flaw with your dormant ability proposal. evolution of human beings has pretty much ceased, at least as nature intended, ever since we have developed the ability to create technology. ever since we became smart, and the more medical technology or technology in general we create, the less we evolve in the natural sense. the human specie is not homogenous as natural species are.What makes you say this? How has technology stopped us evolving?
Evolution happens on a much slower scale than the handful of centuries over which technology has developed.
Of course, a technological environment may affect our evolution in the long term, but we can't tell that now (how or how much). It does mean, I guess, that natural selection doesn't quite work the same way. We have created forces that come back on us in a similar way to forces of nature - some good, some bad. The kind of humans that survive these new forces will presumably be different from those that would have survived without them. But we don't really know in what way, and we can't say how it will affect future human evolution - which has certainly not stopped, and never will. (Unless we wipe ourselves out, of course, which is certainly possible. :rolleyes: )


most of all therefore, that we evolved to have, our evolved features, those that are common among us, must have come from before our ability to know, and be smart, and design and invent.

therefore, in order for a specie to evolved perfect pitch, it must be an ability that does not require training. granted there is needed training in order to fit it into a musical language system we have created, but it must be useful naturally without effort. it cannot be dormant. i don't think there can be dormant abilities. there are abilities perhaps we choose not to use, but i don't think there are any dormant ones. dormant genes, that only showup every few generations definitely, but an innate ability, that cannot be perceived by the person with that ability i don't think can be possible, or else the mechanisms of darwinism would be compromised.But it isn't truly dormant, in the sense of unused. Otherwise we wouldn't be talking about it and would have no idea of the concept! ;)
In some, it is used effectively. In others, it's only present in the form of pitch memory (viz Levitin's experiment which showed most ordinary people can remember the key of a well-known song, fairly accurately). In others, not even that; they can remember pitch relationships roughly (up down shape of melodies), but not absolute key (I would be in that group). In yet others (small minority) they really have not much idea of pitch difference at all. (Some of my students have real difficulty copying lines I play to them. I play a rising interval, they hunt around all kinds of intervals, both down and up. I find this surprising, but it seems quite common. They do eventually learn the RP skill required, it just takes time.)

But it could all fit within a continuum of pitch awareness: the SAME skill or ability, just more highly focussed in some than others (whether by genetics or environment). The ultimate focus being AP.


there can't be a reason we evolve to like music specifically, because it did not exist until we created it. it must be a side-effect, a funny outcome that comes from other things that have an evolutionary purpose.That's Stephen Pinker's view, AFAIK. He calls music "auditory cheesecake" - a luxury offshoot of something else which was important.
Daniel Levitin disagrees, but I don't think he's proved his case.

But I don't think you can say it "must" be a side-effect. Certainly, modern music as we know it is a construction dependent almost totally on cultural forces (differing widely from culture to culture, and throughout recorded history). But there are elements of it (beats, rhythm, formal structure over time) that are common to all cultures and known periods, in a way that seems pretty primeval. At least as much as language is.


evolution doesn't work that way. if it did we would all be the same. random mutations of the genetic code are necessary mechanisms of evolution. einstein's parents were not as smart as he was, no one in his lineage was. But that only suggests intelligence is not genetic (at least not wholly). (And how much do you know about Einstein's lineage anyway? ;) )
I mean, you're right genetic inheritance isn't straightforward. Nobody is ever exactly like either of their parents; more like a mixture of both, with other (apparently) random elements thrown in. Some genes are recessive; some genetic effects only work in certain circumstances.

random things happen to the human genetic code all the time, then through a process of nature selection, certain random mutations are kept and spread throughout our gene pool, and others die out. so it makes sense that a genetic thing like perfect pitch could popup randomly.Yes. But I think in that case it would be much rarer than it is. For a random mutation, it's pretty common.
I admit my knowledge of genetic science is pretty sketchy :rolleyes: , and I agree with you in principle. I think my disagreement is just around the notion of AP's absolute absence in some (those who grow up without it), and its presence (almost fully formed) in a few (those apparently born with it). From what I know, it seems more likely to be a possibly genetic variation in a universal capacity. Those apparently born with it may have either had a genetic predisposition to develop this universal capacity more easily, or had an infancy conducive to its development (or both of course).

i am certain i was born with it. i am also certain that talent is much more than just hard work or desire.OK. But I'm "certain" of the opposite. ;)

a huge proportion of the world could want to play like oscar peterson, but no matter how hard they try only an extremely tiny percentage ever could, no matter how much time oreffort people would put in would not make them as good as oscar peterson. a larger percentage could mimick him if they preactice hard enough and have enough drive, but he was the inventor. he was much more than just sweat and desire.In your opinion. And I might agree that's the way it looked.
But I think anyone could be as good as Oscar Peterson, (1) IF they want to enough, (2) if they start young enough, (3) if they have whatever fortunate upbringing or circumstances he had. (Of course they would not BE Oscar Peterson, they would be different. But they could easily be as GOOD.)

#1 - "wanting to enough" - is a complicated and hard thing. It means self-belief and persistence, through possible pain and rejection. Very few people can take things that far, however much they "want" success. Very few would put friends and family second to their ambition. Not every genius HAS to do that, but they have to be prepared to do that.
Of course, many famous geniuses are not that ruthless, but they are more likely to have had plenty of luck along the way (item #3 above) - meeting the right people, being in the right place at the right time.

Even someone like Mozart can be explained in this way. His famous early works weren't really that good, and may have been enhanced by his father anyway. According to most authorities his first real masterpieces weren't produced until his ealry 20s - by which time he had been playing and composiing well over 10 years of course. A true hothouse environment.

someone invented every piece of music theory that exists. the music, the concepts, existed before the words, before the training. you cannot begin by training an ability first the ability must exist then it can be trained. the major scale must first be discovered and named, then it can be trained. somebody found it and named it. same with rhythm, and everything of music. but the talent came first, the ability came first, then it built knowledge, and then the knowledge could be taught.Well, I agree with all that, apart from the inclusion of the word "talent".
Music is learned. It's just a question of how early you begin to learn it - the earlier you do, the more natural it feels, and the faster you pick up all the later stuff. And then it's a matter of how much you want to pursue it, how deeply you want to go. Do you want to make it your life? Or just an enjoyable hobby?
No doubt, your decision will be affected by other people's responses (esp as a child). If you find music makes people love and respect you, congratulate you, treat you as special, that will have an affect. If (OTOH) they don't understand, or find your obsession tiresome, that may also inspire you to persist for other reasons! (That's where you need the dogged self-belief.)
But there are probably many potential "geniuses" who finally gave up because they lacked either the right-place-right-time luck, or couldn't face the constant opposition from loved ones ("it's about time you got a proper job!" :rolleyes: ).
You have to want to do music DESPITE everything else (that's what marks potential genius) - but sometimes, eventually, the "everything" else is just too much to fight.
And of course, we all know the pop stars who have the opposite: the luck and approval of peers, family, etc, without the "talent" (the obsessive drive and childhood experience).

Blutwulf
11-22-2008, 11:48 AM
There were no talented airplane pilots, computer programmers, or race car drivers in 1850. Thus, at some point in the past century there has obviously been a genetic mutation in humans to create the innate talents. That, or instead of mutation it was evolution in overdrive.*

We can only speculate how this mutation happened only in industrialized nations. As bad as it sucks for the lack of a mutation in countries that have never had a pilot, it must surely be worse for the Apache Indians of the early 1800's who were born with the genetic determination of a talent for playing harpsichords.*


...you know, now that I think of it, "talent" may not be genetic after all, and may simply be cultural and the product of environment, eh? People, in an attempt to buttress logically failed arguments, frequently appeal to a genetic argument based on "things is just so due to genes."


i am also certain that talent is much more than just hard work or desire. Well, a man with no phlanges makes for a lousy pianist, so there are always the physical aspects too. Also, Ghengis Khan probably sucked at playing keyboarded synthesizers, so culture comes into play. So you are right that it is more than hard work and desire. However, there is nothing at all to support an assertion that a genetic predisposition comes into play unless one dilutes the assertion to the point of genetically-determined dexterity, etc. By that standard, the genetic "talent" for guitar is the same as the genetic talent for, say, archery, and it all ends up being... well... it all ends up being hard work, desire, and environment at that point.


*Note for easily-excited readers who have their humor sensors numbed... These two paragraphs are sarcastic. Please do not tell me how incorrect I am.

Blutwulf
11-22-2008, 12:08 PM
God, I seriously adore guitar players. Do you think floutists have these conversations? Hell, no. They talk about technique, songs, composers, and band camps. Only guitar players have magic and mysticism in their worlds.

Floutist1: Do you think you were born with your talent?
Floutist2: From what I recall, which isn't a whole lot...
Floutist1: ...understood...
Floutist2: I generally just flopped there, pooping and crying. Teat went in one end, and nastiness came out the other.
Floutist1: Yes, but was the talent latent until you got older and it was awakened?
Floutist2: Possibly, I suppose. Good thing it was awakened at band camp.
Guitarist1: It was destiny!
Floutist2: Destiny could have been kinder. This flute is hardly a chick magnet.
Guitarist1: But seriously, your genetic makeup determined that you'd become a master floutist. You have a life's calling, and should pursue it!
Floutist2: I have a talent for blowing in phallic-shaped things whilst fingering them? Destiny is a bigger beotch than I thought.
Guitarist1: Modes, man... Do you know modes?
Floutist1: Seems like I played some modal stuff back in college. It was an exercise in regimentedly playing a specific noteset against certain chordal work. Academic, rather than enjoyab...
Guitarist1: OMG do you have AP????
Floutist2: I do.
Guitarist1: Can it be learned?
Floutist2: I hadn't thought about it, but I suppose if one had the time they could.
Guitarist2: Lies! It is an innate talent!
Floutist1: So... you guitarists are the most lionized and popular musicians of the 2'nd half of the 20'th century, eh?
Floutist2: Seems a pity. I can't wait for pianists to become popular again.
Guitarist1: I cannot be blamed. I am a synesthete. A.J. Crumplemeister had a book about it.
Floutist1: P.G. Wodehouse had better books.

JonR
11-22-2008, 02:34 PM
God, I seriously adore guitar players. Do you think floutists have these conversations? Hell, no. They talk about technique, songs, composers, and band camps. Only guitar players have magic and mysticism in their worlds.

Floutist1: Do you think you were born with your talent?
Floutist2: From what I recall, which isn't a whole lot...
Floutist1: ...understood...
Floutist2: I generally just flopped there, pooping and crying. Teat went in one end, and nastiness came out the other.
Floutist1: Yes, but was the talent latent until you got older and it was awakened?
Floutist2: Possibly, I suppose. Good thing it was awakened at band camp.
Guitarist1: It was destiny!
Floutist2: Destiny could have been kinder. This flute is hardly a chick magnet.
Guitarist1: But seriously, your genetic makeup determined that you'd become a master floutist. You have a life's calling, and should pursue it!
Floutist2: I have a talent for blowing in phallic-shaped things whilst fingering them? Destiny is a bigger beotch than I thought.
Guitarist1: Modes, man... Do you know modes?
Floutist1: Seems like I played some modal stuff back in college. It was an exercise in regimentedly playing a specific noteset against certain chordal work. Academic, rather than enjoyab...
Guitarist1: OMG do you have AP????
Floutist2: I do.
Guitarist1: Can it be learned?
Floutist2: I hadn't thought about it, but I suppose if one had the time they could.
Guitarist2: Lies! It is an innate talent!
Floutist1: So... you guitarists are the most lionized and popular musicians of the 2'nd half of the 20'th century, eh?
Floutist2: Seems a pity. I can't wait for pianists to become popular again.
Guitarist1: I cannot be blamed. I am a synesthete. A.J. Crumplemeister had a book about it.
Floutist1: P.G. Wodehouse had better books.Flautist 3: Why do you two guys insist on misspelling your occupation? Or do you just like flouting things?
Floutist 1: Yeah! I'm flouting the genetic theory of absolute pitch!
Floutist 2: Oh yeah? not as much as I do.
Flutist 4: Can we just use sensible rather than archaic spelling? I don't play a flaute!
Flautist 5: I do! Very rare instrument. Like a flute, but with one too many A notes in it. Not a lot of use to be honest. No wonder it never caught on.
Flautist 3: But it did! Or is it just me?
Flautist 5: Nope, it's me too. But that's just us two. All the rest of these guys play flutes. No surplus As, much easier to handle.
Flautist 3: Damn! I been mistaught! (Or is that mistught??)
Guitarists 1 and 2: Hey what about us guys? We have a surplus U! No, not in "guys", dummy... although, come to think of it... (athogh? altho?...)
:)

Madaxeman
11-22-2008, 03:15 PM
It is becoming "Philosophy on a theme of guitar"

Ian Anderson and Ron Burgundy probably would have heated converstaions about flute mysticism as it compares to jazz and rock flute respectively (if they were to meet).

nine56
11-22-2008, 04:51 PM
Why is everyone on this forum a guitarist? I thought the website is iBreatheMusic, not iBreatheGuitar. I'm a flutist, btw :), and I appreciate the humor. By the way, Blutwulf, the point you make, IMO is exactly correct. I don't think there's anything genetic about musicianship, pitch perception, or technique. Nurture wins over nature this time.

fingerpikingood
11-22-2008, 06:45 PM
:confused: Don't quite follow you here. (I may agree with you, but I'm not sure what you're saying.)

AP perceive differently than RP therefore when AP people intend to evoke something it might sound different to someone with RP. my point is that i would prefer noticing how AP seems different than what i would expect. I would prefer an AP person making something as they want it to sound given their AP. and if it sounds off to me or weird, then that's cool, i am noticing they have AP. much much better than hearing a song of a person with AP, but they are trying to make it sound like RP. though the reality is i probably would never notice.

right but successful non-successful mood wise i think can only be relative to the person making it. if it is successful to them and not to me, the listener then that's cool i am noticing AP in his work. just as a color blind person might use the wrong colors, it will show in his painting, and i will have a painting representative of how a color blind person sees the world.

i find much better than a color blind person using labeled colors and making sure they use the right ones.



they can appreciate music very well, just as good as people who can sing in pitch.

how can you be so sure? have you both experienced being tone deaf and not in your lifetime?

tone deaf is not anymore something you can overcome than regular deaf is. you can get around and cope without it for sure, beethoven went completely deaf. maybe if you were born completely deaf though music might be impossible for you. but tone deaf is genetic, the perception is different from womeone who isn't tone deaf.

if you can't sing in pitch and you can notice you can't sing in pitch, that's one thing. if you can't sing in pitch and you're oblivious to that fact. then that's something else. you perceive music differently than people who can notice. you can say they can appreciate music just as well i suppose. they can appreciate it as much for what it is to them. but it is not the same to them as those that can more easily differentiate tones and whether they are or aren't tuned properly, whether the intervals are or aren't properly spaced.


i'm not talking about amusic. i'm talking about relative pitch. hearing two tones together and knowing their interval. hearing a chord and knowing one note is off. some people can play on a guitar that's out of tune and it won't bother them. others it will show like a sore thumb. you can still differentiate that pitch goes up, that tones are higher than others and not have relative pitch. if you are tone deaf it does not mean you are amusic.





But I don't see how it's a different sense altogether (which is what you seem to be implying). It's just hearing in a more focussed way - a LOT more focussed admittedly.

we agree they can accomplish without effort something you or i would need training to do. they are born with something we are not. they perceive differently. you are looking at them having an ability based on how you perceive the world. as though your senses are windows into the absolute world that exists. however this is not the case. your senses are inventions of your mind. and your mind can spontaneously evolve (between generations) to discern a higher complexity of information. whether it be seeing into infra red or ultra violet, or hearing higher pitches, or feeling temperature in an absolute sense. somebody who feels temperature in an absolute sense perceives the world differently. it is a whole different sense altogether. it must be. there are genetics and training, or experience, these are the only 2 factors that can differentiate one human from another. in this case, an ability they've had since birth. it is genetic. they can without effort perceive more information when hearing sound than you or i can. they perceive differently. i'm not sure how it is different, just like i can't imagine new colors, but it is somehow different. just as sense of rhythm is, and RP versus lack thereof.


the ear works in a similar but different way than eyes do, and you could using only the ear's instruments identify sound in such a way that AP can, the difference is in how the mind interprets the information and how it delivers it to your awareness.

just like technically your eyes see everything upside down, but it's delivered to your awareness the right side up.



you are thinking only of the resultant ability again. a bat can see in the dark. and so can a human if they bring along the flashlight. the resultant effect is the same, the ability is the same, but one perceives differently than the other. people with perfect pitch that are born with it don't need to try because it's blatantly obvious to them, just like you don't need to try and see color, and notice some things are different colors than others. you just see it. for AP people differentiating absolute pitch is that way. effortless. they perceive differently.


i think it does need to be genetic, and though we may all have the potential to accomplish the ability, we will never have the potential to perceive the world as the person with AP does.

right the same skill. but a completely different beast.

let us suppose a piano with painted on it colours, 12 different colours, that blend from one to the other nicely. and someon who is deaf, can learn to play music that way, and could even learn to write music that way, but their music is based on colours. and though to the listener they might be accomplishing the exact same thing as a musician that hears, they do not possess the same skill as someone who hears. they have the same skills but they are missing something important. and to me, that thing they are missing is the important part of AP. and you can't train for that, so i don't care to. except maybe for knowing what key i'm in right away and tuning without a tuner. and these things could be trained. but learning these skills would not make me a person who has AP.


The research I'm aware of seems to point towards my hypothesis (in all of us, but undeveloped), not yours. There may well be genetic variation in that universal potential, but it's not a question of absence or presence.

i'd have to see the research, but maybe they mean we have the hardware but our brains don't use it anymore. but we would have needed to stop using way before even we got smart. just like our pancreas got useless. i've noticed parrots have perfect pitch. but what's certain is that it could not have required training. if you need to train to acquire AP, then you don't have AP, you just have a similar skillset as those that do.

yes you understood the difference i was conveying.


that learning AP is like learning how to actually see those other wavelengths, by focussing your eyes differently, perhaps.
While we are physically limited from doing that, of course, the pitches an AP person perceives are all within normal hearing range. We can all HEAR them. We just can't identify them (reliably).

well if that's what you believe, but in my experience, i've never been able to spontaneously improve a perception i can't make myself smarter, i can't make myself see more colors, i can't make myself hear more tones, i can't give myself heat vision, and anything else you could think of.

but given what i have i can do a damn lot, including making a heat vision camera and translating it into colors so my eyes can see. i'm not sure why you believe you can change who you perceive sound by training.

yes it matters. as much as a colorblind person painting using labels of color names, compared to a person that sees the colors.

fingerpikingood
11-22-2008, 07:19 PM
What makes you say this? How has technology stopped us evolving?

instead of growing fur, we make clothes, and houses and heaters. instead of developing immunities to diseases we develop vaccines. all sorts of things. in the wild an animal that has bad vision would more likely be eaten than another, but not for us, we just get glasses, and spread the faulty vision gene through our gene pool, where more and more of us will need glasses and we will become more and more dependent on technology. basically we are becoming much like cyborgs. more and more. and unless we figure out gene manipulation, we will never cease since we are addicted to technology now.

you don't see obese wild animals. because they would die, because they are slow and juicy and tasty. but you find obese house cats, and humans. because our "flaws" in our genes don't cause us to die. we are too strong as a community. very few genetic mutations cause humans to die before bearing offspring. nearly every conceivable genetic difference gets thrown into the gene pool.

but there are still factors that cause us to evolve slightly, though in a strange unnatural way, not in the survival of the fittest way.

perhaps evolution is faster than you think. it is slow to change an entire specie, but we have changed since our wild days. even over very few years the number of people that wear glasses has increased dramatically. blurred vision is a dominant gene it would seem. it won't be too long before all the world needs perscription glasses.





But I don't think you can say it "must" be a side-effect. Certainly, modern music as we know it is a construction dependent almost totally on cultural forces (differing widely from culture to culture, and throughout recorded history). But there are elements of it (beats, rhythm, formal structure over time) that are common to all cultures and known periods, in a way that seems pretty primeval. At least as much as language is.

language is an offshoot as well. language and music are both possible because of the same thing. intelligence.

intelligence is wholly genetic. anything you can prove to be otherwise is not intelligence, but must be some other thing named in error to be intelligence.

Einstein's parents are not smarter than him because then i'd know more about einstein's lineage and so would you. but i don't so they must have been less intelligent. furthermore if it was necessary that einstein's parents were as smart as him, then you'd be stuck with a paradox, because then forever going back to the beginning of time, you'd need the parent to be as smart or smarter. and then that would need to trace back to some superhumans that had every genetic trait known to man.

it's not only a random mutation. it's genetically passed down, presumably as a recessive gene judging by its rarity, and also spontaneously mutates. it doesn't strictly spontaneously mutate. but other times as well it can be passed on in multiple generations as a recessive trait and suddenly showup.



OK. But I'm "certain" of the opposite. ;)
In your opinion. And I might agree that's the way it looked.
But I think anyone could be as good as Oscar Peterson, (1) IF they want to enough, (2) if they start young enough, (3) if they have whatever fortunate upbringing or circumstances he had. (Of course they would not BE Oscar Peterson, they would be different. But they could easily be as GOOD.)

this is just not the case. some peopl are born taller some are born shorter, some with bigger hands, some can sing like pavorotti because of their build, some have AP, some have RP some are amusic. can an amusic person be as good as oscar peterson? Oscar peterson has a set of genetic traits that allow him to be as good as he is. of course he worked hard at it too. but he has tools not everybody has. not everybody can be as good as he is. many people can mimick his play. many people have developped his physical ability, and know the same theory he knows, and can play every song he's played. but that does not make them as good as oscar peterson. if it did i would know all of their names. but i don't. because when it is up to them to improvise, they are missing something oscar peterson had. not something in their hands, not some knowledge of theory. something else. his honesty. what he decides to play, without deciding. when they try it's just not as good. if anybody that wanted it enough could be as good as oscar peterson, don't think there would be much more of those? you find there is a shortage of people that practice hard at music?

Mozart's a good example. he did things differently from everyone else. how he wrote his music and stuff. and he was very good at a young age. lots of children can be good at that young of an age. i've seen many children playing piano at recitals. playing complex pieces. but i have yet to see another mozart come along.

naturally without training the talent won't be maximized. to be great you need training and practice and experience. but training practice and experience is not enough to be great either.


ya, pop stars are different. I'm not saying that musical geniuses need only be composing symphonies, or improvising like Oscar peterson, but still, the majority of pop stars do not fit in the musical genius category. though some i think would. even though they might get frowned uppon by the musical community because they choose to make technically simple music. but one would not judge a painting simply by how many colors they use.

fingerpikingood
11-22-2008, 07:37 PM
Why is everyone on this forum a guitarist? I thought the website is iBreatheMusic, not iBreatheGuitar. I'm a flutist, btw :), and I appreciate the humor. By the way, Blutwulf, the point you make, IMO is exactly correct. I don't think there's anything genetic about musicianship, pitch perception, or technique. Nurture wins over nature this time.

then why isn't all the world a musician? why isn't all the world visual artists? why did it take Isaac Newton to figure out apples fell because of gravity?

humans are different. we think we are all the same, a normal and natural thing. but we are all different. some might think, how can you not like carrots? well they perceive carrots differently. some people like pain, some people are afraid of heights. we are all different. even when it comes to music. we perceive it differently. some can't keep rhythm if their life depended on it. some can't sing in key if their life depended on it. why is that? well some cannot perceive whether they are in key or not. they don't possess the information, so how could they? if you possess the information then how could you not? you just adjust the pitch until you hit the spot and it reverberates correctly. simple. simple if you can tell where the spot is. impossible if you can't.

everybody notices some things come easier to some than to others. but there is a reason for that. a reason that isn't easy to see, a hidden reason. but a reason. some don't perceive as others do. some stuff is more obvious to some than to others.

single note instruments and chord capable instruments are completely different.

Madaxeman
11-22-2008, 08:43 PM
Here is something to consider if we are all so different as you say...(I have brought this up in other threads)

Why do a very large majority of people worldwide like Coca-Cola? Not everyone does, but if everyone thought it tasted so different, I don't believe it would have a market. It has been the #1 cola product for almost a century! They tried to change the formula in the 80's, but public outrage (really!) forced them to bring back the original formula.
The entire animal world uses red to draw attention, in some way. It is usually the most popular color for all kinds of manufacturers from cars, to clothes, to guitars...why if we percieve it different, would it exist (and across species)?
Intangible things like love, loss, eg. emotions can be understood by almost everyone.
My point is, our perception cannot be so different, and still as universal as all of these things, can they?
Why do certain pain medications work for so many people? Granted, there are people who have reactions, and don't respond well.
Basic ingredients for a cheesburger-hasn't been modified for quite awhile. Most restaurants and fast food chains offer a burger. Many chains base their existance around the cheesburger.
Is music so different? Is pitch recognition?
Many people cannot draw, but a good drawing is recognized by many people.
Most people (even if they can't carry a tune) can tell if someone is out of tune. Experience listening to music and playing some type of instrument will increase the accuracy of these perceptions.

If perceptions varied to any large degree, I think it would effect us as a species. Could we communicate with written language if everyone saw the characters in a slightly different way?
We learn to associate using a common standard. It is taught to us from birth. If anyone has owned a bird as a pet, you would learn that communication does not mean words...it is easy to understand a birds mood and basic needs by listening to the pitch and tonality of their whistles. Flock birds especially, because this is one of the ways they communicate with each other.

Whew.......:rolleyes:

(This thread is becoming a monster) Who would have thought the original post would end up here?

ClashlandHands
11-23-2008, 09:06 AM
Why is everyone on this forum a guitarist? I thought the website is iBreatheMusic, not iBreatheGuitar. I'm a flutist, btw :), and I appreciate the humor. By the way, Blutwulf, the point you make, IMO is exactly correct.
Not everybody is. I'm a piano/sax/bassoon guy, and I know there's at least one other non-guitarist keyboardist. I learned the history, and I guess it did indeed used to be a guitar site with a different name that grew into a whole music forum, so that may explain some of the roots.
In response to your post about hearing colors. I hear these differences in key color, but do not have absolute pitch, but good relative pitch. I'm fairly sure, AP is just another point on a sliding scale, and not at all absolute.

A basic rule of thumb would be that the more flats you add to the key signature, the darker it gets, and the more sharps you add the brighter it gets. So they say!
This begs the obvious question, "What about Gb/F# major? Is that extremely dark or bright?" Hmm... not sure about that. To me it sounds very warm and bright, but I'm sure all musicians across the AP/RP/Tone Deaf spectrum perceive it differently. Hey, no one's brought up whether there exist people who are Absolutely Tone Deaf! Surely this would be classified in the Diagnosis and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, yet people with absolute pitch who find it debilitating are not. My point is, with humanity, absolute anything sounds like a recipe for disaster because that's not the world we live in. We relate. So, I totally agree with JonR's "AP vocalist with the flattening choir" example. This togetherness also applies to timing and most other facets of music.

But, back to key color: I notice certain composers write in certain keys a lot. Chopin appeared to love Ab. Billy Strayhorn wrote more pieces in Db than any other Jazz composer I know. Pop music tends to be brighter on the spectrum because, from what I know of guitarists, Emaj is the equivalent of C major to a pianist in the "home base" kind of sense. And, string players also tend to favor sharp keys and push A up to as high as 444 in some orchestras. But, instrumentation limits aside, I guess I'm sort of old fashioned in that I believe in key color in spite of the fact that we've been living in a world full of equal temperament for many years now. Truly equal temperament was supposed to have unintentionally demolished key color. At least with the piano, I don't think it has. I have a blind piano tuner who is well known in Chicago because he's really the best in the city. I have to think that nuture wins out over nature here, and his blindness has enhansed his hearing and pitch acuity because I can hear the difference. (course, maybe that dog is his sales ploy and I'm delusional!) After he's done, I can put keys into my own "camps" of brightness & quality that seem to contradict my rule of thumb. But, I'm curious whether other people with good pitch hear the same criteria I hear. These really loose camps would be: Buzzy 5ths: C,F Warm & Winey: Ab, Db Bright: A,B,D,Gb Clear: E, G Sorta neutral: Bb, Eb

I disagree slightly with the conclusion you make:

I don't think there's anything genetic about musicianship, pitch perception, or technique. Nurture wins over nature this time. I would say genes play a significant role in what drew any of us to music, by about 50%. I mean, what makes a good athlete? Some of it is genetic. You can't deny that it plays a role. But, the nature in my opinion is much more likely to influence the kind of music you play- the quality of it, than affect how musical it is. Small hands? Play smaller voicings. Not fast? Play slower music. Tone deaf? Play drums. Etc. With any musical ability, the better you get at that one thing, the more specialized and less necessary it becomes, in a way. Since a vast majority of musicians don't have so called "absolute pitch," how many musical situations are you going to find yourself in where you absolutely need to have absolute pitch?

JonR
11-23-2008, 03:55 PM
instead of growing fur, we make clothes, and houses and heaters. instead of developing immunities to diseases we develop vaccines.
all sorts of things. in the wild an animal that has bad vision would more likely be eaten than another, but not for us, we just get glasses, and spread the faulty vision gene through our gene pool, where more and more of us will need glasses and we will become more and more dependent on technology. basically we are becoming much like cyborgs. more and more. and unless we figure out gene manipulation, we will never cease since we are addicted to technology now.

you don't see obese wild animals. because they would die, because they are slow and juicy and tasty. but you find obese house cats, and humans. because our "flaws" in our genes don't cause us to die. we are too strong as a community. very few genetic mutations cause humans to die before bearing offspring. nearly every conceivable genetic difference gets thrown into the gene pool.Yes, I understand all that, I was only saying it has had no noticeable effect on our evolution, as yet.
Still, we're not disagreeing fundamentally here! It's possible the process of natural selection has been slowed down (or at least skewed) somewhat by our developing an environment of "un-natural" forces. It remains to be seen whether the species changes as a whole. We're still homo sapiens.
(Depends how you define "evolution" I guess...)

language is an offshoot as well. language and music are both possible because of the same thing. intelligence. Debatable. A specific kind of intelligence, perhaps. The development of certain areas of the brain that are more rudimentary in animals.
Bear in mind Daniel Levitin (among others I think) has shown that the most primitive parts of the brain are involved in processing musical information. That may not mean it begins (or began) there, but it speaks to those regions.


intelligence is wholly genetic. anything you can prove to be otherwise is not intelligence, but must be some other thing named in error to be intelligence. Haha! OK, depends how you define "intelligence"... ;)
(And who says what's "in error".)

Einstein's parents are not smarter than him because then i'd know more about einstein's lineage and so would you. but i don't so they must have been less intelligent.So in what way is his intelligence genetic?
Other than the way in which the intelligence of everyone is genetic? (IOW, we're all intelligent, just in different ways or different degrees.)
Where did Einstein's intelligence come from? A random mix of genes? (possible I grant.)
And then there is the whole question of in what way was Einstein "intelligent". He was clever, certainly; at least in one specific sphere of intellectual activity.
Maybe his parents or other ancestors were just as in intelligent, but in different spheres, which wouldn't have made them famous? That would support the genetic hypothesis. (Then Einstein's different choice of career would have been down to environmental factors.)

I don't think intelligence is as indivisible as you're making it sound. We can, in fact, use the word quite legitimately in different ways. Humans are more intelligent that animals. Some humans are more intelligent than others. Already that's two slightly different ways of using the word. (Human/animal difference is down to brain size; human/human difference is not.) Is either one wrong?
Personally I think there is a genetic component to intelligence, but it's not enirely genetic. (In the sense one normally understands intelligence, as the capacity to apply thought.)
Genetics may determine a certain brain set-up (like, say, a bigger hard drive on a computer, or even a better OS). Environment will determine how - and even whether - that "hardware" and "software" is developed. (And even with good development, one could be highly intelligent and lazy - and miss out on success for that reason.)
There might also be environmental influences in the womb, so that one is "born" a certain way which is not down to genetics.
After all, intelligence - if it is to mean anything useful - has to refer to using one's brain, not just having a good brain.


This is just not the case. some peopl are born taller some are born shorter, some with bigger hands, some can sing like pavorotti because of their build,Hold on. Not everyone of Pavarotti's build can sing like him - or would want to!
Not everyone with big hands can play piano like Oscar Peterson - or would want to.
There are certain physical necessities, obviously, and physical dispositions. (Tall people find it easier to succeed at basketball. But they are not better at basketball because of their height.)
And you don't have to be big to sing tenor, or have big hands to play piano well. (With smaller hands you would just play in a different way.)



Can an amusic person be as good as oscar peterson?Of course not. That's not what I'm saying. I'm saying anyone with average hearing ability, average physical traits, and average intelligence COULD be as good as Oscar Peterson, IF they wanted to enough, IF they started young enough, and were allowed to keep at it as long as necessary - and if they got the right rewards for progress (which could be response from others, or simply personal satisfaction).
I'm just as convinced of this as you are (I guess) convinced of the opposite, and AFAIK there is no evidence for either view.
(I realise Oscar Peterson is only a random example. I don't think he was that much better than a handful of other jazz greats.)


Oscar peterson has a set of genetic traits that allow him to be as good as he is.Yes, but they are not unusual traits, IMO.
It's more important that he lacked genetic traits that would have prevented him succeeding (such as amusia, or mental or physical disability).



not everybody can be as good as he is. many people can mimick his play. many people have developped his physical ability, and know the same theory he knows, and can play every song he's played. but that does not make them as good as oscar peterson. if it did i would know all of their names. but i don't. because when it is up to them to improvise, they are missing something oscar peterson had. not something in their hands, not some knowledge of theory. something else. his honesty. what he decides to play, without deciding. when they try it's just not as good. if anybody that wanted it enough could be as good as oscar peterson, don't think there would be much more of those?OK, well you're clearly a fan! (To you he is NOT a random example of genius.) You seem to imply that someone else would have to sound like Oscar peterson to be as good as him. OP sounds unique because of his personality, who he is; he is different from, not better than, say, Art Tatum, Thelonius Monk, Errol Garner, McCoy Tyner, whoever, etc.
Of course, as soon as someone copies someone else, they're not going to be as good as them. That isn't really the point.

you find there is a shortage of people that practice hard at music?Yes. Very few people practice hard. Even fewer practice hard enough. (And in fact, "hard" is a bad word. It suggests discomfort or something unpleasurable. Anyone that finds practice unpleasurable will never be great. Those destined for greatness never find practising "hard". They find NOT practising much harder.)


Mozart's a good example. he did things differently from everyone else. how he wrote his music and stuff. and he was very good at a young age. lots of children can be good at that young of an age. i've seen many children playing piano at recitals. playing complex pieces. but i have yet to see another mozart come along. Because you wouldn't recognise it if they did. They wouldn't sound anything like Mozart, because we live in a time that is vastly different from his.
Mozart was great because of his peculiar circumstances. Perhaps not entirely, but largely.
Of course, parental encouragement and support is obviously not enough, otherwise hothousing would work more than it does. The child has to develop their own obsession with the subject, so that practice is not work but pleasure.

Personally, I think there could well be some other personal element to do with creativity. I think there may be differences from person to person (genetic!) which predispose some more towards original thought than others, the ability to think outside the box. I still think even this can be educated or at least encouraged more in some than others.
That original thought could manifest itself in many ways, depending on the person's chosen occupation. With Einstein, it was science. With Mozart it was music. With Leonardo, it was both science and art.
That does, indeed, suggest a level of intelligence beyond the norm, that looks as if it has to be there from birth.
But I'm still wary of such lazy thinking: person A seems to have been born different, therefore they were born different.
I'm not saying there is NO genetic component. That would be silly. But it's too easy to exaggerate the genetic influence. There are all kinds of subtle environmental influence (covert as well as overt) that are there when you look.

JonR
11-23-2008, 04:43 PM
In response to your post about hearing colors. I hear these differences in key color, but do not have absolute pitch, but good relative pitch. I'm fairly sure, AP is just another point on a sliding scale, and not at all absolute.I'm increasingly of this view myself.

A basic rule of thumb would be that the more flats you add to the key signature, the darker it gets, and the more sharps you add the brighter it gets. So they say!But that's relative pitch. "Flattening" does contribute "darkness". That's why lydian mode is "bright" and locrian is "dark". That's comparative.

This begs the obvious question, "What about Gb/F# major? Is that extremely dark or bright?" Depends only on how you get to it!
There is NO inherent brightness or darkness in a key. Only a comparative bright/darkness compared to other keys, previously heard as reference.
Gb is dark compared to (say) Ab. (Because you have to flatten a couple of notes in getting to Gb.)
But F# is bright compared to E, because you have to sharpen a couple of notes to get there.

These effects are really more noticeable in parallel keys or modes - eg E major compared to E minor, E lydian, E dorian, etc.
They are really quite clear there, and nothing to do with absolute pitch. Or with any inherent quality of a key or mode.


Hey, no one's brought up whether there exist people who are Absolutely Tone Deaf!Yes we did. It's called "amusia". You mean you haven't read EVERY WORD of the discussion between fingerpickingood and me?? :rolleyes:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amusia


But, back to key color: I notice certain composers write in certain keys a lot. Chopin appeared to love Ab. Billy Strayhorn wrote more pieces in Db than any other Jazz composer I know. Pop music tends to be brighter on the spectrum because, from what I know of guitarists, Emaj is the equivalent of C major to a pianist in the "home base" kind of sense.But that's mostly If not entirely) down to the design of the instrument in question.
Guitarists like E because it's easy, and offers a good low tonic. Keys with open strings are easier, and also sound different because of those open strings. (So Bb sounds different from A. But that difference only applies to guitar. And only in standard tuning.)
Pianists are similarly drawn to (or perhaps away from) keys with a lot of black notes. Stevie Wonder (as I've said) wrote more tunes in Eb minor than chance would predict, no doubt because the black notes spell Eb minor pentatonic (very easy to play the Superstition riff in that key...).
Every instrumentalist feels particular keys are "easy" or "hard", and that will in turn dictate psychological associations.
Sax players like Bb and Eb. They don't like E or A. (For a horn player, remote keys are harder to play in tune too.)


Truly equal temperament was supposed to have unintentionally demolished key color. At least with the piano, I don't think it has. I have a blind piano tuner who is well known in Chicago because he's really the best in the city. I have to think that nuture wins out over nature here, and his blindness has enhansed his hearing and pitch acuity because I can hear the difference. (course, maybe that dog is his sales ploy and I'm delusional!) After he's done, I can put keys into my own "camps" of brightness & quality that seem to contradict my rule of thumb. But, I'm curious whether other people with good pitch hear the same criteria I hear. These really loose camps would be: Buzzy 5ths: C,F Warm & Winey: Ab, Db Bright: A,B,D,Gb Clear: E, G Sorta neutral: Bb, EbBut you're a pianist, so you're biased. ;)
To dispose of the possibility that you might be "delusional" over this tuner's technique, you would need to do a "blind" test. Play a few pianos without knowing which ones he tuned (if any). Listen to other players playing on them, see if you can tell. Etc. I wonder if those associations would hold up. (Never mind between different tuners, but between different pianos...)
I'm not saying you're wrong, but we often hear things we want to hear, and don't hear things we don't want to. The ear is easily fooled.


I would say genes play a significant role in what drew any of us to music, by about 50%. I mean, what makes a good athlete? Some of it is genetic. You can't deny that it plays a role.No, but we can deny it plays as much as 50%, or anywhere near that. (I mean I'm not categorically denying that, only saying we can!)
We can also ask: in what way, precisely, could musical ability be genetic? How could we prove it? Excluding environmental factors? How could we identify it, outside of musical education?
I suspect identical twins have been studied in this kind of research (they usually are), and I don't know the results. But even physically, identical twins are never truly identical. Their genetics are the same, but that's all.
With athletes, very little if any of their ability is genetic. They tend to come fom backgrounds or cultures where athleticism is encouraged, or perhaps where other avenues are not as open to them as to other people. (This is typically behind the fact that so many athletes are black.)
Of course, simple physical attributes like long legs will make it easier for someone to become an athlete. It will make the training process easier. They will be less likely to drop out than a shorter person.

I wouldn't say genes drew me to music. But then I've no idea what effect my genes would have had. I do know none of my family were musical, and I was pretty bad at music at school: couldn't sing pitches at all. Maybe those supposed genes kicked in around 15/16, when I got obsessed with sound recording as well as guitar?
Obviously my anecdotal experience is proof of nothing. It suggests a purely environmental influence (peer pressure), but perhaps a genetic one in my creative, intellectual bent: I was a nerd, basically, and nerds are good at being obsessive about things, whether it's music, art, math, computer programming, etc. It's that obsessiveness that leads to pre-eminence in those kind of fields, because you keep at it when others get bored or find better things to do.
People with a more physical disposition might get obsessive about sport, and so get well qualified in that area. But the governing idea is single-mindedness. It doesn't preclude an open mind - in fact genius demands a more open mind than average - but the focus on a single sphere of activity is crucial.
Maybe there's a genetic predisposition to that kind of personality? That seems much more likely to me than genetic predisposition to music specifically. IOW, my view is that "talent" springs from a general personality type, which then gets expressed later in specific career choices. Genius is genius. It could be applied in any direction.

(Sorry if it sounds like I'm equating myself with genius here :rolleyes: . Obviously that's not the case. Or you would have heard of me by now... I don't have the necessary application. Otherwise I would be practising NOW instead of typing all this guff...)

luca19575
11-24-2008, 01:28 AM
hi sorry to be rude but what the hell are you talking about the darkness and bright of the keys depending on the name?????????(sharp is bright flat is dark F sharp is brighter than E cause you have more sharps ?????????????????)
if you have a "major" piece and the root is the pitch between G and A how will you call that pitch?
you can call it G# or Ab but its better to call it Ab because thats the scale you will use : Ab Bb C Db Eb F G Ab
if you call it G# than the scale will be this : G# A# B# C# D# E# F## G# and you will have a lot of sharps and two "strange" notes: B# and F##
if the piece is minor and the root its the pitch between G and A then its better to call it G# cause the scale will be : G# A# B C# D# E F# G#
if you call it Ab then the scale will be :Ab Bb Cb Db Eb Fb Gb Ab and again you have two strange notes: Cb and Fb
im not a theorist or a teacher but im absolutely sure that this is the only reason why you can call a "root-black" pitch differently : if you have to write a piece its better to choose the simplest way

fingerpikingood
11-24-2008, 02:22 AM
Debatable. A specific kind of intelligence, perhaps. The development of certain areas of the brain that are more rudimentary in animals.
Bear in mind Daniel Levitin (among others I think) has shown that the most primitive parts of the brain are involved in processing musical information. That may not mean it begins (or began) there, but it speaks to those regions.

i don't believe in different kind of intelligences. to me, that a misuse of the word, and creates unnecessary ambiguity. to me intelligence is but one thing. certainly, there are proficiencies. such as some are more apt at visualizing stuff or identifying how a 3d object looks in 2 dimensions. people that can draw well. certainly not a talent in the hand. if i work at it enough and erase enough and scrutinize enough i can draw very realistically, but i can't do it as naturally as some others that are gifted at drawing can. i am certain the talent is not in the hands, my hands are good, i can trace anything, it is not in the knowhow of the pencil, i understand the instrument perfectly, it is in the mind. they perceive somehow differently than i do. you could call this intelligence, but to me that's confusing. to me, intelligence is intelligence. or else you have , this kind of intelligence, that kind of intelligence, and intelligence intelligence? too confusing.

humans have intelligence, self awareness. few other animals have this. i have yet to find animals that aren't affected by music. but being affected by music and creating music is way different. in order to be affected by music you don't need to be self aware and smart. but in order to realize music is affecting you, and in order to recognize that you possess the ability to recreate this, you need to be intelligent and self aware. it is necessary.

yes certainly, when they look at the brain, both when creating and listening to music, the primitive portion of the brain, is in activity. but that doesn't mean this is the part responsible for creating the music. but it is a necessary part you need to access in order to make music. and it is the part all animals have that react to music.

like, the venus flytrap closes when it senses a fly, but does it 'feel' the fly? is the plant self aware? does it know it is feeling the fly? is it a sensation? no. it's a plant. it's just a reaction. the plant cannot recreate the sensation. it is not aware of it. but if it was and it did. the same parts of 'the brain' if it had one would light up.



(IOW, we're all intelligent, just in different ways or different degrees.)

yes humans are, well perhaps some with brain damage could have lost this, they may have lost their ability to be self aware, which i think is a direct consequence of intelligence. and all humans are self aware, and therefore intelligent. but most animals are not. apes are and dolphins are and elephants are, and probably others, but i'm not sure which ones. and yes, we are to all different degrees.


Where did Einstein's intelligence come from? A random mix of genes? (possible I grant.)

yes, well a random mix and a random mutation, just like some people are born with extra fingers and stuff. i mean the intelligence some animals have including humans evolved from non-intelligent animals. the random mutation, i would guess that goes from unaware, and completely non-intelligent, to self aware and some intelligence, would be, at least seemingly a far greater random chance than simply increasing the effectiveness or intricacy whatever it is, of something that already exists.


And then there is the whole question of in what way was Einstein "intelligent". He was clever, certainly; at least in one specific sphere of intellectual activity. for this to have an answer we would need to define intelligence. i think he is more intelligent in the only way intelligence can be.



Maybe his parents or other ancestors were just as in intelligent, but in different spheres, which wouldn't have made them famous? That would support the genetic hypothesis. (Then Einstein's different choice of career would have been down to environmental factors.) from my point of view this can't be possible, because intelligence is just one thing. granted, his parents may have excelled at other things einstein was not good at, maybe they had real good hand eye coordination. or maybe they were musically inclined, or maybe they were great at drawing. but to me, these are completely separate abilities, pertaining to completely separate genes. and intelligence is a thing all on it's own with it's own gene, or set of genes maybe.


I don't think intelligence is as indivisible as you're making it sound. We can, in fact, use the word quite legitimately in different ways. Humans are more intelligent that animals. Some humans are more intelligent than others. Already that's two slightly different ways of using the word. (Human/animal difference is down to brain size; human/human difference is not.) Is either one wrong? i don't find these difference. the size of the brain doesn't matter. brain size is one category of comparison. intelligence is another. it so happens that there is a correlation between the two. but size and intelligence are separate. dolphins imo are arguably more intelligent than humans. but i think their brains are smaller than ours.



Personally I think there is a genetic component to intelligence, but it's not enirely genetic. (In the sense one normally understands intelligence, as the capacity to apply thought.)
Genetics may determine a certain brain set-up (like, say, a bigger hard drive on a computer, or even a better OS). Environment will determine how - and even whether - that "hardware" and "software" is developed. (And even with good development, one could be highly intelligent and lazy - and miss out on success for that reason.)
There might also be environmental influences in the womb, so that one is "born" a certain way which is not down to genetics.
After all, intelligence - if it is to mean anything useful - has to refer to using one's brain, not just having a good brain.

i agree with you, but again using the same term to mean different things i find confusing. to me, intelligence is the DNA compnent. it cannot change. wisdom is the learning portion. one person can be more wise than another, through hard work or whatever, while the other is still more intelligent, but not applied themselves, and learned nothing.

quantity of knowledge and intelligence is not the same. though casually people often use the term smart to mean someone that knows alot, and i find this is a misuse of the word. to me, it should technically be knowledgeable, or wise.

fingerpikingood
11-24-2008, 02:24 AM
Hold on. Not everyone of Pavarotti's build can sing like him - or would want to!
Not everyone with big hands can play piano like Oscar Peterson - or would want to.
There are certain physical necessities, obviously, and physical dispositions. (Tall people find it easier to succeed at basketball. But they are not better at basketball because of their height.)
And you don't have to be big to sing tenor, or have big hands to play piano well. (With smaller hands you would just play in a different way.)

right. i agree. i did not mean to infer any different. though. if you do want to sing as well as pavorotti or with similar timbre, you need the same body type. if you want to play the same notes as oscar peterson you need the same size hands.

my point was just that there are genetic factors that determine the limits of peoples' potential. whether it be the size of your body, or your ability to see, or being deaf or not, or having AP or RP, or whatever, every single thing, every attribute of a human being, allows them a potential of achieving certain things. and people are not only limited by their desire, and ambition, and perseverance, they are also limited by these factors. i can't fly no matter how hard i try. i don't have wings.

but perseverance and hard work, goes a long way, and can overcome genetic difficulties one might have over another. this is true. but imo. when you're talking about mozarts, and oscar petersons, the true greats. now you're in the realm of people that not only have great genetic potential in that field, but also worked hard at it.

tiger wodds is good. he is gifted and worked like crazy. if some better golfer will come along. they will need to be genetically more gifted. (if you forget about technology or other infrastructure for teaching) because he worked like crazy. lots of other golfers work real hard too. lots of people worked real hard and nobody knows their names. others and they can rarely beat tiger woods. he is just so much better than them.

starting young helps. but i find it overrated. schumacher is a hell of a driver and he didn't start driving until well after the age of 4 i'm guessing.






I'm just as convinced of this as you are (I guess) convinced of the opposite, and AFAIK there is no evidence for either view.

you believe that anybody can be as good as oscar peterson simply by starting young enough and working at it hard enough? aren't there many young people that played piano starting so young, and even played concerts and stuff, and yet are never known like a jazz great. playing a piece written on a page is one thing. freestyling jazz is another.

personally i find oscar peterson is the greatest pianist to have ever lived. maybe there are some that i've never heard. i'm not an jazz piano expert. but out of all the ones i've heard he gets it hands down. the only contender for me is art tatum. who is far superior technically to oscar, but i find is less musically flowing and fun to listen to. more cold and robotic kind of thing.



OK, well you're clearly a fan! (To you he is NOT a random example of genius.) You seem to imply that someone else would have to sound like Oscar peterson to be as good as him.

not at all. anyone in fact, who sounds like him, can't be as good as him. they must sound different. they must bring their own thing. but they must have his skill and ability. not just his flexibility in his fingers, not just his knowledge of theory, not the ability to play his pieces he's written. the ability to create as he creates, but necessarily in this day and age differently, since different stuff exists as influence and knowledge they can work with. but yes. i'm a fan.


OP sounds unique because of his personality, who he is; he is different from, not better than, say, Art Tatum, Thelonius Monk, Errol Garner, McCoy Tyner, whoever, etc.

don't know errol garner or mccoy tyner, but i find he is better than thelonius monk and art tatum.




Personally, I think there could well be some other personal element to do with creativity. I think there may be differences from person to person (genetic!) which predispose some more towards original thought than others, the ability to think outside the box. yes i agree, but i think this is exactly a result of intelligence. imo there are 3 main fields of intelligence. 1- no intelligence like insects, and most animals. 2- ability to learn, many different levels of this and 3- creators of knowledge. creative people. basically. einstein was creative. oscar peterson was creative. i'm willing to bet he was good at math too, in the classes of math he took anyways, and at all other school subjects. lots of greats are this way, and they are often good at multiple things as well. like mozart and billiards. bruce lee. it's debatable i guess, but that's how i look at it. oh ya leonardo davinci was a good one he was good at a bunch of stuff. he had a good eye. he was probably tone deaf, or lacked rhythm otherwise he'd been good at music too.


person A seems to have been born different, therefore they were born different.

you're right this does not follow. but we are born different all of us. but we are all still human. it's not lazy thinking. it's just the fact of the matter. i'm not saying giveup and don't try anything because either you're genetically predisposed to do something or you're not.

the greats i'm talking about are really the greats. those that had huge talent and worked crazy at it. then there are some with equal talent in the same things, but worked less, and so are less great. and there are some that are less great, and less talented but worked extra hard.

not every player on sports teams are franchise players. but alot of players worked real hard and aren't in the best leagues. two guys of equal talent and worked equally hard, the difference might be the inch of height that seperates them.



But it's too easy to exaggerate the genetic influence. There are all kinds of subtle environmental influence (covert as well as overt) that are there when you look.

perhaps but when you're talking about the greats i think they necessarily must be genetically geared towards their craft. i agree there are many environmental factors, that's without a doubt. but i think also that saying anybody that is not tone deaf or deaf, or missing any essential genetic components to being a musician can be on the same level as oscar peterson i think is understating the genetic factor. saying to somebody you could make a living playing music without being a genetic music genius i think is very much reasonable and possible, but this may also play on other factors as well. such as being in the righ place at the right time or other environmental factors. but i think if you have the talent of oscar peterson. and you develop it properly, greatness is a virtual certainty. you'd just be that good. you might not make the top forty hits on the radio, but if your thing was piano, and you worked at it right, and practiced it right, you'd be on another level. and that to me, is greatness, that's the musical genius level. and only certain people have the genetic potential to fulfill that level of greatness. certainly having the potential isn't enough. and others can make a good living in the music industry without being musical geniuses, a really good living all the way down to regular living. like ringo was not the greatest musician in the world. but he did well for himself. and perfect pitch, i think, could be helpful i na genetic way, it might a little added potential on the potential meter. but i can't be sure. because i don't really know what it's like and i can't compare it to myself, to see if i find it makes things easier for me, or improves my creativity or whatever. i don't know. maybe it does. maybe it doesn't. it's something i can't understand. like i can't understand new colors, or more intelligence, or whatever it is you need to draw a perfect drawing from memory. i could train around it. i could trace stuff. but there is something there, some intangible thing i can't understand. and it is helping some people and giving them an advantage over me for accomplishing certain tasks, and achieving excellence in certain areas.

fingerpikingood
11-24-2008, 02:34 AM
A basic rule of thumb would be that the more flats you add to the key signature, the darker it gets, and the more sharps you add the brighter it gets. So they say!
This begs the obvious question, "What about Gb/F# major? Is that extremely dark or bright?" Hmm... not sure about that. To me it sounds very warm and bright, but I'm sure all musicians across the AP/RP/Tone Deaf spectrum perceive it differently.

you know what? if you find some keys sound darker and some brighter, then maybe you have perfect pitch. i don't understand the logic of what blacks have to do with the color of sound, since really technically they're only arbitrary partially because of the major scale tone semi-tone sequence, and partially so our hands can play stuff. but one thing i can tell you for sure, is that to me, every key sounds the same.

i do have preferences on piano and guitar, more on piano, since i don't tend to use open strings all that much, and funnily enough Cmaj/A minor is not one of my favorites, i like to have some blacks in there even just one. i like F for some reason, and Ab. although i guess maybe it depends on the style of music too. but it's just a playability thing, a physical thing the setup of the keys. as far as the sound is concerned i couldn't care less really, except for singing purposes.

nine56
11-24-2008, 03:21 AM
Not everybody is. I'm a piano/sax/bassoon guy, and I know there's at least one other non-guitarist keyboardist. I learned the history, and I guess it did indeed used to be a guitar site with a different name that grew into a whole music forum, so that may explain some of the roots.
In response to your post about hearing colors. I hear these differences in key color, but do not have absolute pitch, but good relative pitch. I'm fairly sure, AP is just another point on a sliding scale, and not at all absolute.

A basic rule of thumb would be that the more flats you add to the key signature, the darker it gets, and the more sharps you add the brighter it gets. So they say!
This begs the obvious question, "What about Gb/F# major? Is that extremely dark or bright?" Hmm... not sure about that. To me it sounds very warm and bright, but I'm sure all musicians across the AP/RP/Tone Deaf spectrum perceive it differently. Hey, no one's brought up whether there exist people who are Absolutely Tone Deaf! Surely this would be classified in the Diagnosis and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, yet people with absolute pitch who find it debilitating are not. My point is, with humanity, absolute anything sounds like a recipe for disaster because that's not the world we live in. We relate. So, I totally agree with JonR's "AP vocalist with the flattening choir" example. This togetherness also applies to timing and most other facets of music.

But, back to key color: I notice certain composers write in certain keys a lot. Chopin appeared to love Ab. Billy Strayhorn wrote more pieces in Db than any other Jazz composer I know. Pop music tends to be brighter on the spectrum because, from what I know of guitarists, Emaj is the equivalent of C major to a pianist in the "home base" kind of sense. And, string players also tend to favor sharp keys and push A up to as high as 444 in some orchestras. But, instrumentation limits aside, I guess I'm sort of old fashioned in that I believe in key color in spite of the fact that we've been living in a world full of equal temperament for many years now. Truly equal temperament was supposed to have unintentionally demolished key color. At least with the piano, I don't think it has. I have a blind piano tuner who is well known in Chicago because he's really the best in the city. I have to think that nuture wins out over nature here, and his blindness has enhansed his hearing and pitch acuity because I can hear the difference. (course, maybe that dog is his sales ploy and I'm delusional!) After he's done, I can put keys into my own "camps" of brightness & quality that seem to contradict my rule of thumb. But, I'm curious whether other people with good pitch hear the same criteria I hear. These really loose camps would be: Buzzy 5ths: C,F Warm & Winey: Ab, Db Bright: A,B,D,Gb Clear: E, G Sorta neutral: Bb, Eb


THANK YOU! Finally there's someone I agree with.

JonR, I think you're being cynical with our interpretations of different keys. Clashland is exactly right when he says there is key color, and his interpretation of those keys are quite similar to mine. Here's what I tend to hear:

Simple, bright, and buzzy: C, F, G (more towards bright)
Very bright: D, A, E, B
Neutral: Bb (blasted key...)
Warm, dark: Eb, Ab, Db
Vibrant, buzzy: F# (this is a tough key to hear the characteristics of)

JonR, I don't think your theory about composers liking keys because they're easier to play in will hold much ground, especially considering Ab is a pretty tough key to play in for a pianist. If this theory was true, we would primarily see pieces in C and G (and maybe some in F# and Db). Also, as far as flute goes, we would never see any flute pieces in the key of C#/Db. The C# note on a flute is ALWAYS flat and very hard to play in tune immediately. I just heard a flute piece in C# tonight at a concert, actually.

nine56
11-24-2008, 03:30 AM
But that's relative pitch. "Flattening" does contribute "darkness". That's why lydian mode is "bright" and locrian is "dark". That's comparative.

Not true. He means inherently certain keys are darker than others. As you get further and further down the circle of 4ths (Until F#), the keys get darker. It's not being compared to anything - a piece in Ab will sound darker than a piece in B major.


Depends only on how you get to it!
There is NO inherent brightness or darkness in a key. Only a comparative bright/darkness compared to other keys, previously heard as reference.
Gb is dark compared to (say) Ab. (Because you have to flatten a couple of notes in getting to Gb.)
But F# is bright compared to E, because you have to sharpen a couple of notes to get there.

These effects are really more noticeable in parallel keys or modes - eg E major compared to E minor, E lydian, E dorian, etc.
They are really quite clear there, and nothing to do with absolute pitch. Or with any inherent quality of a key or mode.

Gb is not darker than Ab. It's actually brighter to me, and I think to Clash as well. Also, I talked to a girl in my college with AP - she's a piano player from Russia. We were discussing the feeling of keys the other day and she told me how certain keys feel different to her. Also, the chair of my music department here told my whole Theory I class that theory of how the "flat keys" are darker in feeling than the sharp keys. There's no comparison involved, it's just inherent. Without any other reference, I could tell you whether you were playing in a flat or sharp key.

nine56
11-24-2008, 03:33 AM
hi sorry to be rude but what the hell are you talking about the darkness and bright of the keys depending on the name?????????(sharp is bright flat is dark F sharp is brighter than E cause you have more sharps ?????????????????)
if you have a "major" piece and the root is the pitch between G and A how will you call that pitch?
you can call it G# or Ab but its better to call it Ab because thats the scale you will use : Ab Bb C Db Eb F G Ab
if you call it G# than the scale will be this : G# A# B# C# D# E# F## G# and you will have a lot of sharps and two "strange" notes: B# and F##
if the piece is minor and the root its the pitch between G and A then its better to call it G# cause the scale will be : G# A# B C# D# E F# G#
if you call it Ab then the scale will be :Ab Bb Cb Db Eb Fb Gb Ab and again you have two strange notes: Cb and Fb
im not a theorist or a teacher but im absolutely sure that this is the only reason why you can call a "root-black" pitch differently : if you have to write a piece its better to choose the simplest way

The key of G# major...well it doesn't really exist. It only really exists in theory. If one were to play in G# it would sound dark like Ab. That's why it's a rule of thumb - there are exceptions. For example, C# tends to sound dark and Gb is somewhat bright. In general this rule applies - and it's not perfect.

JonR
11-24-2008, 08:17 AM
THANK YOU! Finally there's someone I agree with.

JonR, I think you're being cynical with our interpretations of different keys. Clashland is exactly right when he says there is key color, and his interpretation of those keys are quite similar to mine.
Here's what I tend to hear:

Simple, bright, and buzzy: C, F, G (more towards bright)
Very bright: D, A, E, B
Neutral: Bb (blasted key...)
Warm, dark: Eb, Ab, Db
Vibrant, buzzy: F# (this is a tough key to hear the characteristics of)OK, so how do you hear Gb? Do you have the same confusion as ClashlandHands?
I'm not saying you don't hear these things, and its interesting your associations match his (hers?).

Can we have some more associations from others who hear them, please?

JonR, I don't think your theory about composers liking keys because they're easier to play in will hold much ground, especially considering Ab is a pretty tough key to play in for a pianist. If this theory was true, we would primarily see pieces in C and G (and maybe some in F# and Db). Also, as far as flute goes, we would never see any flute pieces in the key of C#/Db. The C# note on a flute is ALWAYS flat and very hard to play in tune immediately. I just heard a flute piece in C# tonight at a concert, actually.You mean Db? Or do you mean somebody really wrote something in C# major? (As opposed to C# minoir, or a piece that modulated to C# major.) What piece was it?
How could you tell it was C# major and not Db major? (Absolute pitch, someone told you, or it was in the program?)

I'm not being cynical here, I'm genuinely interested in this kind of experience.

JonR
11-24-2008, 09:27 AM
i don't believe in different kind of intelligences. to me, that a misuse of the word, and creates unnecessary ambiguity. to me intelligence is but one thing. certainly, there are proficiencies.OK, proficiency is a good word. Maybe better - as you say - than different "intelligences", because it suggests learning rather than innate gift.

such as some are more apt at visualizing stuff or identifying how a 3d object looks in 2 dimensions. people that can draw well. certainly not a talent in the hand. if i work at it enough and erase enough and scrutinize enough i can draw very realistically, but i can't do it as naturally as some others that are gifted at drawing can. i am certain the talent is not in the hands, my hands are good, i can trace anything, it is not in the knowhow of the pencil, i understand the instrument perfectly, it is in the mind. they perceive somehow differently than i do.Speaking as an artist, my experience is not that I could always draw well, but I saw things differently, from as early as I can remember. My childhood drawings were clumsy, little different from any other child's, but I was always interested in perspective. Other children drew things the way they were (often incorporating different points of view, or unrealistic proportions); I preferred to draw them the way they looked - I didn't get it right, but I tried.
In a sense, that's a more "stupid" way of drawing - only taking account of how something looks (from a single viewpoint), rather than including other aspects of a scene. Picasso often used to say he wished he could draw like a child, and cubism was an attempt to incorporate different viewpoints, the way a child does naturally.
I became a professional artist much later, and I certainly learned a lot. You're right it's not in the hands or the understanding of technique. It's in how you look at the world - you have to see it purely visually and forget what things mean and what they do. But you can learn that too (it's a kind of detachment). Although I was different (slightly) from other kids in this respect, I doubt I was born with this skill, as such. Maybe my personality drew me to that way of thinking and looking.
This is in total contrast to my music, where I have no "natural" ability whatsoever and have taught myself everything.

I guess, in fact, my experience would tend to support your view: I'm better at drawing than at music, although I've worked a lot harder at music.
But then I started much later at music (16, as opposed to early childhood with drawing).


from my point of view this can't be possible, because intelligence is just one thing. granted, his parents may have excelled at other things einstein was not good at, maybe they had real good hand eye coordination. or maybe they were musically inclined, or maybe they were great at drawing. but to me, these are completely separate abilities, pertaining to completely separate genes. and intelligence is a thing all on it's own with it's own gene, or set of genes maybe.I still think Einstein's intelligence is exaggerated. Of course he was intelligent, but not really special; he's been held up as an icon of "braininess". What made him special was the revolutionary nature of his ideas. I still say his parents could have been just as (OK almost as) intelligent, they just didn't work in (and weren't interested in) the same sphere. He applied his intelligence to a revolutionary new idea - just as Darwin had earlier. He was maybe among the top 1% of the population (I've seen differing views on his IQ), but that covers millions of people! At a fair estimate, I'd say there were 1000s of people around the world as intelligent as him, in any generation. How many of them would (or could) apply that intelligence to similarly unique or revolutionary ideas as his is another matter of course.


i don't find these difference. the size of the brain doesn't matter. brain size is one category of comparison. intelligence is another. it so happens that there is a correlation between the two. but size and intelligence are separate. dolphins imo are arguably more intelligent than humans. but i think their brains are smaller than ours.AFAIK, the dolphin brain is comparable to ours, in terms of proportion of body size.
But I don't want to take the "intelligence" tangent any further!

JonR
11-24-2008, 11:42 AM
right. i agree. i did not mean to infer any different. though. if you do want to sing as well as pavorotti or with similar timbre, you need the same body type.No you don't. Pavarotti was fat. He may have fitted the jolly stereotype of the fat opera singer, but you don't need to be fat to sing opera. AFAIK, it wouldn't contribute timbre either. That's down to lungs, vocal cords, and mouth, nose and throat cavities. And to how one trains one's vocal cords (or misuses them, as some raspy rock singers do).

my point was just that there are genetic factors that determine the limits of peoples' potential. whether it be the size of your body, or your ability to see, or being deaf or not, or having AP or RP, or whatever, every single thing, every attribute of a human being, allows them a potential of achieving certain things. and people are not only limited by their desire, and ambition, and perseverance, they are also limited by these factors. I agree.
The disagreement is over how many of those things are inborn, or how much of any one of them is.
Oscar Peterson had nothing (inborn or otherwise) to stop him achieving greatness - or at least he let nothing stand in his way. Others may be prevented by inheritance, or circumstances, or attitude, or any combination of those. I think we can agree on that.
I just disagree OP (or any other similar genius) had anything special from birth that marked him out. Unless you count being born into an Afro-American culture, which made him slightly more likely to take up jazz than (say) I was! ;)

but perseverance and hard work, goes a long way, and can overcome genetic difficulties one might have over another. this is true. but imo. when you're talking about mozarts, and oscar petersons, the true greats. now you're in the realm of people that not only have great genetic potential in that field, but also worked hard at it.Well, we're going round in circles now. You believe one thing, I believe another. Your view (I guess) is based on common sense observation. Everything seems to point to that conclusion: mozart really was "special" in some innate way, it just had to come out; he couldn't help but be a genius, provided he put in a certain amount of work, of course.
But the more I look at this subject (stories of real people), the more the "amount of work" strikes me, and the less I see a need for a special inborn element. I don't rule the latter out, but it makes less and less sense to have a specific talent (eg for music, or drawing, or math) inborn, and more sense for any inborn "talent" - differentiating a few from the many - to be a broader thing, capable of directing in many directions.


tiger wodds is good. he is gifted and worked like crazy. if some better golfer will come along. they will need to be genetically more gifted. (if you forget about technology or other infrastructure for teaching) because he worked like crazy. lots of other golfers work real hard too. lots of people worked real hard and nobody knows their names. others and they can rarely beat tiger woods. he is just so much better than them.

starting young helps. but i find it overrated. schumacher is a hell of a driver and he didn't start driving until well after the age of 4 i'm guessing.LOL - I should hope not!
But it's the same argument. It's your belief, from common sense observation, that these people have a special inborn talent that marks them out from some other person that might try equally hard, or might have had the same luck or support.
But I would need to see some evidence of these supposed other people. Is there really anyone who tried JUST as hard, given the same support and lucky circumstance? I doubt it. You can try equally hard (or harder), but if you get no support, or you don't meet the right people, you won't make it.
IOW, "trying" has to include selling yourself, putting yourself about in the right circles. It has to include having emotional and/or financial support from your loved ones. And it includes sheer enjoyment of the activity in question, of course, so that practice is not onerous.
I think once you include all those factors (which "geniuses" tend to have, at least in sports) the idea of any necessary genetic factor pales into insignificance. Unless - as I say - you think of that particular attitude as being genetic in some way.


personally i find oscar peterson is the greatest pianist to have ever lived. maybe there are some that i've never heard. i'm not an jazz piano expert. but out of all the ones i've heard he gets it hands down. the only contender for me is art tatum. who is far superior technically to oscar, but i find is less musically flowing and fun to listen to. more cold and robotic kind of thing.Well, this is another sidetrack, of course, but I always found OP's music to have too many notes in it. I couldn't follow it. I couldn't get any passion from it either. Obviously it's technically brilliant, but it never spoke to me beyond that.
Of course, that's only my opinion (and I'm sure I'm missing out), just as yours is yours.
(I think you'll find Art Tatum is generally regarded among pianists - including OP himself -as the greatest ever jazz pianist. I have no opinion on him myself, I prefer Thelonius Monk. Technical proficiency doesn't interest me greatly, I like style, wit and originality. Not that I'm saying OP didn't have any of those - only that perhaps his were more subtle. I guess I'm not really a great fan of the piano as an instrument anyway. That would perhaps be why my favourite pianists like assaulting the instrument in various unorthodox ways: Monk, Little Richard, Stan Tracey, John Cage.... ;) )

JonR
11-24-2008, 12:02 PM
Not true. He means inherently certain keys are darker than others. As you get further and further down the circle of 4ths (Until F#), the keys get darker. It's not being compared to anything - a piece in Ab will sound darker than a piece in B major.


Gb is not darker than Ab. It's actually brighter to me, and I think to Clash as well. Also, I talked to a girl in my college with AP - she's a piano player from Russia. We were discussing the feeling of keys the other day and she told me how certain keys feel different to her. Also, the chair of my music department here told my whole Theory I class that theory of how the "flat keys" are darker in feeling than the sharp keys.But what is that "theory" based on? Who says? Where does it come from? What physical aspects of the sound produce those effects?
And how do you deal with the issue of enharmonic keys?
Is Gb dark and F# bright?
Is Db dark and C# bright?
Is Cb dark and B bright?
If so, where is the difference, other than in the way we write them down?
If not, if they sound the same, then that demolishes the theory. (You can't have keys that sound flat, if the most extreme key doesn't sound flat at all. Something else has to be going on.)

Remember this is a different issue from the out-of-tuneness of remote keys in just intonation, which contributed to older ideas about the special quality of particular keys.
In ET every key is tuned the same, so they have no inherent differences in quality. That's an undeniable fact.
Any perceived differences are in our minds (subjective). Any objective differences will be down to comparison, relative differences when following one key with another, esp in modulation.
The additional issue is the feel and technique of particular instruments, which DO make keys very different from one another. Not in sound, but in the way we feel about them. (In some cases, such as guitar and horns, it does make a slight difference to the sound as well, due to the way they are built and/or tuned.)
Eg, as a guitarist, I feel that E major is "bright" ("hard", "big", "strong", etc), while F major is "mellow", "warm", "soft". But I know this is merely down to how they feel and sound on guitar, in open position. (Because if I retune the guitar in certain ways, those differences disappear.)

There's no comparison involved, it's just inherent.But you already know that "flat" and "sharp" are comparative terms. That's bound to affect your judgment.
We all associate "flat" with "down", "lowered", "depressed", etc. We associate "sharp" with "bright", "raised", "clear", etc.
If it's "inherent", it has to be objectively measurable in some way. It will be part of the actual frequencies and frequency combinations. Everyone with sensitive enough ears will agree on the characteristics. (A couple of anecdotes isn't enough, esp as they all come from piano players.)

Without any other reference, I could tell you whether you were playing in a flat or sharp key.OK, that sounds like a challenge!
Do you mean you could tell without being able to tell the specific key?
Let me be sure on this before trying to set up an experiment. Do you have absolute pitch? Could you tell if I (or anyone) was playing in (say) Ab, or just in a flat key?
If you have absolute pitch, then the experiment won't work. Because you would know it was flat (or not) by identifying the pitch and (perhaps subconsciously) working from there.
Supposing a piece was played in Gb/F#. Which would you identify it as?

luca19575
11-24-2008, 01:48 PM
i think a lot of guys (like me) can feel that each key has a particular quality sound even if they dont have a fully developed AP
to notice that you have to use your "body's perception" more than your mind
if you just use your mind then its impossible to get this you can only hear the quality of the relationship
i want to give an example of what im talking
some months ago i was doing a drill which seemed pretty easy: play a white note everywhere on the piano and identify i could do but after a while i start to make mistakes and i didnt understand why this happened
when i understood why things started to clarify a lot
if i played certain tones maybe (im just guessing) an high A then a low F then a high D then a low G then a middle A then a very low D the root shifted from C to Dm without i was aware of that and i heard a B for istance and i confonded for an A (cause my mind was telling me 6th)
when i became aware of that i started to have sometimes two answers (and they were both right) for istance i heard an A and i felt than sound like an A for its little little little faint brilliancy but i also heard that sound like a 3rd and so i knew that my mind was in the F key at that moment
another example should be this : in every key the root has a steady quality (but its the mind that makes you think this) but the only pitches that (for me) has some kind of little vague faint "steady" quality are D and Bb and this quality doesnt change no matter in what key you are

Blutwulf
11-24-2008, 04:05 PM
You're on your own, JonR. I am pulling out (and it has nothing to do with your apparent distaste for flautist being spelled incorrectly). It has everything to do with this becoming a discussion of religion.

People cannot separate "common association" from "meaningfully and objectively related." You will fail to alter their paradigm.

...and whay alter them, really? I successfully divorced myself from the magical qualities of art and music, and look what it got me.

fingerpikingood
11-24-2008, 06:13 PM
I still think Einstein's intelligence is exaggerated. Of course he was intelligent, but not really special; he's been held up as an icon of "braininess". What made him special was the revolutionary nature of his ideas.
why would you attribute achieving revolutionary ideas to anything else other than intelligence? this is what intelligence is useful for. what else would you look for to assess intelligence? it seems to me special and general relativity are pretty good indications of a massive intelligence. IQ tests are clumsy, they are not DNA tests. they are like trying to measure someone's height by judging how good they are at basketball. they try to measure the ability to think out of the box, the ability to come up with revolutionary ideas. this is one of the main capabilities of intelligence. even when it comes to music intelligence is useful this way, players come up with revolutionary ideas as they play.


I still say his parents could have been just as (OK almost as) intelligent, they just didn't work in (and weren't interested in) the same sphere. He applied his intelligence to a revolutionary new idea - just as Darwin had earlier. He was maybe among the top 1% of the population (I've seen differing views on his IQ), but that covers millions of people! At a fair estimate, I'd say there were 1000s of people around the world as intelligent as him, in any generation. How many of them would (or could) apply that intelligence to similarly unique or revolutionary ideas as his is another matter of course.

einstein was a simple patent clerk. he was rejected from schools and stuff. he learned what he needed to have learned, he did study at school, but his conditions were not favourable. granted others with his intelligence would not necessarily have figured out relativity, but they definitely would have figured something out.

fingerpikingood
11-24-2008, 06:52 PM
No you don't. Pavarotti was fat. He may have fitted the jolly stereotype of the fat opera singer, but you don't need to be fat to sing opera. AFAIK, it wouldn't contribute timbre either. That's down to lungs, vocal cords, and mouth, nose and throat cavities. And to how one trains one's vocal cords (or misuses them, as some raspy rock singers do).

every aspect of the human body affects timbre. fat or slim, nasal cavity shape, lungs technique, whatever, that's kind of like saying i could wrap my guitar in a bunch of fleshy fat and it would sound the same. but at any rate, the point is moot, since al lwe care about in the example is that the physical shape of the body or at least one part is instrumental in the ability to sing opera like pavorotti, not to be a good opera singer, not to sing professionally, but to get to be the household name pavorotti is, the shape of his body matters. no matter how good his technique is.




I just disagree OP (or any other similar genius) had anything special from birth that marked him out. this is like saying nothing marked plato out, or nothing marked Isaac Newton out, or leornardo davinci or einstein. granted as you say other factors affect the level of greatness, but do you honestly think any individual has the potential to reach this greatness? most people have difficulty even understanding the things these people discovered. forget discovering it for themselves. same with oscar peterson. people have trouble enough mimicking him playing. forget coming up with all that stuff. his ability is not just in his hands, not just in his theory, which we all know is not an exact science and therefore can't be responsible, it's not in the music he had heard before us. you might say it is in his hours of practice. but what could those hours of practice achieved? physical ability, sure. not creative ability. ok he started since he was young, he commands his hands perfectly, without hesitation, any thought becomes action. granted. but this is not what makes a pianist great. it is not the ability to wield the tool. just like an artist's strength is not in the ability to wield the pencil, and command it. it is in what you decide to make as your sound, where you decide to draw your lines, the notes you decide to play at what timing. this cannot be taught, learning at a young age can't help you, practice won't improve this portion of your ability. sure you can improve with practice your ability to produce the sounds you desire, but you can't really improve your ability to choose great notes and timing to play. this can mature, you can learn new ideas from hearing things. but being great is much more than that. you can teach a computer to be a great musician. even if it can produce any sound without effort. even if you can teach it every piece of theory in intelligent programming. even if you also program every piece of music ever played in its memory in a similar way. it will always be nothing more than a combination of stuff that already exists or has existed. it wouldn't be the genius that revolutionizes that comes with the unexpected and wonderful.

don't you find if it were only up to practice and desire that there would be a lot more oscar petersons in the world. don't yo ufind that some people even at the age of 2 or 3 seem to already have a head start on others even if their parents taught them nothing. they perceive differently. that's why.


Your view (I guess) is based on common sense observation. Everything seems to point to that conclusion: mozart really was "special" in some innate way, it just had to come out; he couldn't help but be a genius, provided he put in a certain amount of work, of course.
But the more I look at this subject (stories of real people), the more the "amount of work" strikes me, and the less I see a need for a special inborn element.

you are looking at successful people not only geniuses there aren't as many out there as you make out to be i find in this statement. there is a certain amount of work. alot of work that goes into the ability to play as OP did. but lots of people have achieved the ability to recreate what he played. but they are not great improvisers. they are missing something he had. they worked hard. they make a living at music. they are certainly well known in the industry. but they are no OP. even if they could recreate the music so well you couldn't tell the difference, they can't come up with it.



But I would need to see some evidence of these supposed other people. Is there really anyone who tried JUST as hard, given the same support and lucky circumstance?

yes. the world is full of people that worked hard and did not achieve, and some that worked very little and still achieved reasonably well. sometimes due to circumstance, and sometimes some stuff is just easier for some than for others. i think you hold the much more common sense view. everybody thinks that an aptitude for something comes from something they learned previously. like if somebody is good at surfing the first time, others tend to think they must have done something like skateboarding, or snowboarding already. but this is not the case necessarily. some people are just better at stuff the first time they try than others. they have what people call 'talent' which is just a vague ambiguous term describing a combination of specific genetic abilities.





I doubt it. You can try equally hard (or harder), but if you get no support, or you don't meet the right people, you won't make it.

for one thing making it and being a musical genius is not necessarily the same thing. but once you are a musical genius, i don't think there would be a shortage of people that want to profit from you. all you need to do is show them you exist.



Unless - as I say - you think of that particular attitude as being genetic in some way.

it can be in part. i mean somebody who lacks the necessary abilities to play guitar will quickly lose interest. somebody who is really good at it from the get go, wil have more interest in it. it's human nature to love what you're good at i think.


Well, this is another sidetrack, of course, but I always found OP's music to have too many notes in it. I couldn't follow it. I couldn't get any passion from it either. Obviously it's technically brilliant, but it never spoke to me beyond that.

different strokes for different folks i guess. that's the kind of thing i would say about art tatum, though art tatum is more like a robot. a machine, very robotic timing, whereas oscar peterson is more organic and flows better. he does play with some parts at high speed, but even then what he chooses to play is amazing, and it's not all 16ths. i find it mind blowing.

ya well in any rating system you could possibly use you need to rate Art Tatum as the greatest ever. sure OP thought he was the greates and how can you blame him. but still i like OPs timing better. a more organic feel. i'd have to say Art tatum is a better pianist. but i find oscar peterson a better musician.

you find OPs style wit and personality subtle? dont' forget alot of what seems common now comes from back them. he is a source, perhaps tainting what otherwise would sound more original, but if you listen to the non 'cliche' parts i guess, that's the meat of it imo. and that's mostly where you'll find those characteristics. his more common phrases have been ripped off a zillion times.

as for the sound of the piano and the kind music it is useful for i definitely see how you could not be such a fan. and even myself in those respects, i'm not loving it so much. i much prefer guitar actually. but the beauty of piano, i find, is that it is, appart from the human body, mouth/vocal chords, finger snaps, or whatever, it is the single most free instrument, well, that was perhaps not the right word, because wind instruments that can bend, or guitar strings, have a kind of freedom piano doesn't quite have, but in piano you can play 10 notes at once. is basically my point. there is no other instrument in the world that can match this, it is the instrument, that so far is able to release the greatest potential of what the mind can imagine. certainly the minds of musical geniuses are still limited by the number of fingers they have, and the tools we can fashion to make use of them. but the piano maximizes the ability our hands can be used for to make melodic music. that's what's great about it to me. there is no other instrument that can do what oscar peterson does. and now with digital pianos, there is really nothing any instrument can do that the piano can't, or couldn't except for specific timbre, though certainly they inspire differently.

nine56
11-24-2008, 07:04 PM
OK, so how do you hear Gb? Do you have the same confusion as ClashlandHands?
I'm not saying you don't hear these things, and its interesting your associations match his (hers?).

Yes, with Gb there is some confusion here, and sometimes with Db although Andrew Lloyd Webber seems to love that key - and the musical he wrote for (Phantom) is very dark and romantic, so I tend to think its dark like the other flat keys.




Can we have some more associations from others who hear them, please?
You mean Db? Or do you mean somebody really wrote something in C# major? (As opposed to C# minoir, or a piece that modulated to C# major.) What piece was it?
How could you tell it was C# major and not Db major? (Absolute pitch, someone told you, or it was in the program?)

Sorry, not sure whether it was C# or Db - but I knew because the C# on a flute sticks out like a sore thumb. It's the note that requires no keys to be pushed, so it has a really airy and flat sound that even the hardest of hearing could take note of. But many composers did write in C# major, regardless.




I'm not being cynical here, I'm genuinely interested in this kind of experience.

As am I :) - I'd always like to take note that none of this is personal, it's just discussion of something we are both passionate about, and I'm glad that I've someone to discuss these passions with.

fingerpikingood
11-24-2008, 07:11 PM
i don't understand this whole keys sound different thing.


aren't all notes with the same name, exactly some number of octaves apart?

in equal temperament every semi-tone is equally spaced apart within an octave, from one octave to the next. it's all even. well, wikipedia says the 12 notes are logarithmically equally apart, which i don't really understand in what way they mean.

if they mean logarithmically as in the low end the notes are closer together and the higher end they are closer together. or just higher closer together than lower? i don't know.

but if that's the case, then i guess what you guys are talking about could make sense, it's just i never noticed it.

how does equal temperament work then, anyways?

i'd like to hear a piano that isn't equal temperament.

but one thing that goes against the idea that different keys sound different, is that, wasn't the whole point and idea of equal temperament precisely to erase that feature of music, and allow for any piece to be transposed without disturbing the soul of the piece?

nine56
11-24-2008, 07:23 PM
But what is that "theory" based on? Who says? Where does it come from? What physical aspects of the sound produce those effects?

Theory is not really based o anything except incident, imo. It just so happens that this theory tends to be "true" to those who experience it. I wold like to think it's God's way of once again putting his own special mark on music. But that's just me :p

Not sure where it comes from either, and I cannot explain it scientifically. I can only back up my theory with my experience and others' experiences with music.




And how do you deal with the issue of enharmonic keys?
Is Gb dark and F# bright?
Is Db dark and C# bright?
Is Cb dark and B bright?
If so, where is the difference, other than in the way we write them down?
If not, if they sound the same, then that demolishes the theory. (You can't have keys that sound flat, if the most extreme key doesn't sound flat at all. Something else has to be going on.)

Good question. I tend to hear the key of Db/C# as Db. Even if the piece is C# (seven sharps), it still sounds like Db. It's not as scientific as one could make it to be, it's simply what I (we?) hear. Like I said earlier, it's a general rule of thumb - imperfect as it is. As far as Gb/F# - it's confusing because I haven't listened to it enough and right now it just sounds different from the others - not in any identifiable way though. The Cb/B enharmonic, to me, is B. Besides the fact that I rarely see anything in Cb, even if I did I would still hear the notes that are in a B scale, regardless of what you call them.



Remember this is a different issue from the out-of-tuneness of remote keys in just intonation, which contributed to older ideas about the special quality of particular keys.
In ET every key is tuned the same, so they have no inherent differences in quality. That's an undeniable fact.
Any perceived differences are in our minds (subjective). Any objective differences will be down to comparison, relative differences when following one key with another, esp in modulation.
Ah, but perhaps it's the fact that certain frequencies cause the body to feel a certain way that leads me to think that the keys have qualities. If so, would I be wrong? Perhaps we're both right, and the "differences" in keys are real, although those differences may be subjective.



If it's "inherent", it has to be objectively measurable in some way. It will be part of the actual frequencies and frequency combinations. Everyone with sensitive enough ears will agree on the characteristics. (A couple of anecdotes isn't enough, esp as they all come from piano players.)
I'm not actually a piano player, I just happen to do my ear training on the piano. I think I understand the point you're making though.




OK, that sounds like a challenge!
Do you mean you could tell without being able to tell the specific key?
Let me be sure on this before trying to set up an experiment. Do you have absolute pitch? Could you tell if I (or anyone) was playing in (say) Ab, or just in a flat key?
If you have absolute pitch, then the experiment won't work. Because you would know it was flat (or not) by identifying the pitch and (perhaps subconsciously) working from there.
Supposing a piece was played in Gb/F#. Which would you identify it as?

I do not have absolute pitch, but I am working on it. I'm not sure if that disqualifies me in anyway - sometimes I can tell if a piece is in a certain key, but its not completely consistent. Also, I'd be excited for this challenge, however there may be some difficulties...

Primarily, I've been talking about piano. As far as guitar goes, I cannot hear the differences in keys (unless you don't use a capo and play standard chords - I was able to tell them since I was about 16 or 17). I cannot tell in any instrument other than piano whether the key is flat or sharp (although I really haven't tried either).

Also, if we were to do the experiment with recordings, that would be troublesome as well because the recordings will affect the chroma of the sound coming through. But I'm willing to try anything, not to prove you wrong at all, but to actually test this theory!

As far as Gb/F#, I would probably identify it as F# out of habit (the first black key in the row of three was ALWAYS F# to me, don't know why). However, like I said, F# is probably the toughest one to label for me, followed by Bb. Don't know why :(. I'm still young though! I've got lots more listening to do in my lifetime, God willing.

nine56
11-24-2008, 07:29 PM
but one thing that goes against the idea that different keys sound different, is that, wasn't the whole point and idea of equal temperament precisely to erase that feature of music, and allow for any piece to be transposed without disturbing the soul of the piece?

Maybe, but if I heard moonlight sonata played in D minor, I'd probably have a fit. It just doesn't sound right.

That's just one example, but most pieces, IMO, were meant to be played in a certain key. I'm a stubborn person though. If someone played Claire de Lune in C major rather than Db, the whole piece would be played wrong to me. Also note the fact that Debussy wrote a piece called Claire de Lune ("Moonlight") in Db major, a very tough key to play in, rather than C major.

luca19575
11-24-2008, 07:33 PM
nine 56 you are right thats exactly what i was trying to say
if you have a piece in Ab and you call it G#(or F###) it will still sound soft the quality of keys doesnt depend on how one choose to call the pitches

P.S. the mind is a great thing but sometimes can trick us in various ways ....

nine56
11-24-2008, 10:15 PM
nine 56 you are right thats exactly what i was trying to say
if you have a piece in Ab and you call it G#(or F###) it will still sound soft the quality of keys doesnt depend on how one choose to call the pitches


Agreed.

Madaxeman
11-25-2008, 02:55 AM
Another thing I was thinking of...
Since sound frequencies will always vibrate the same (eg. A=440 Hz, regardless of what we call it...it is still moving the tympanic membrane the same, 440 Hz)
We all have to have that in common. Just because some people can take that physical property and associate it EXACTLY with the correct designation (Absolute Pitch) does not mean we all aren't getting the same information.

JonR
11-25-2008, 09:37 AM
You're on your own, JonR. I am pulling out (and it has nothing to do with your apparent distaste for flautist being spelled incorrectly). It has everything to do with this becoming a discussion of religion.

People cannot separate "common association" from "meaningfully and objectively related." You will fail to alter their paradigm.

...and whay alter them, really? I successfully divorced myself from the magical qualities of art and music, and look what it got me.A lot of what's going on here certainly does sound like religious conviction, but there is fact at the core of it. Absolute pitch is a real perceptual phenomenon. People don't "choose" to hear it. (Apart from those who choose to try and teach themselves perhaps...)
I'm not trying to change anyone's paradigm. What intrigues me is the boundary between objective and subjective - it's that borderline I'm digging away at...
I'm amused by the fact that so many find it so hard to tell the difference (between objective and subjective) - and why so many musicians like to promote what you (and I) would call the "magical" qualities of music, when there are none. It would be like magicians pretending (even to themselves) they really do magic, when they know it's all sleight of hand. :rolleyes:

abminor
11-25-2008, 09:47 AM
Another thing I was thinking of...
Since sound frequencies will always vibrate the same (eg. A=440 Hz, regardless of what we call it...it is still moving the tympanic membrane the same, 440 Hz)
We all have to have that in common. Just because some people can take that physical property and associate it EXACTLY with the correct designation (Absolute Pitch) does not mean we all aren't getting the same information.

That is a good question. I always wondered how brain computes relation between notes. I know all harmonic relations are based on ratios between two frequencies so at some point the absolute pitches have to be available , haven't they? I mean if I use the example of the marks on the wall found by JonR:
We have two marks representing two pitches f1 f2. f2 is five inch higher than f1. If relative pitch was only to compute the distance between those marks, I agree we would not need to know how high is f1, only how high f2 is from f1. But because the way we perceive relation between tone is a ratio, we need to know the absolute height of the two marks

Maybe relative listeners perceive only the result of operation whereas absolute pitch listeners perceive the operation and the result (sometimes with a stronger emphasise on the operation than its result). It would look like something like that (perception enclosed by []):

Relative listener: f1/f2 = [r]
Absolute listener: [f1/f2 = r] or even [f1/f2] = r

JonR
11-25-2008, 09:51 AM
i think a lot of guys (like me) can feel that each key has a particular quality sound even if they dont have a fully developed AP
to notice that you have to use your "body's perception" more than your mind
if you just use your mind then its impossible to get this you can only hear the quality of the relationship
i want to give an example of what im talking
some months ago i was doing a drill which seemed pretty easy: play a white note everywhere on the piano and identify i could do but after a while i start to make mistakes and i didnt understand why this happened
when i understood why things started to clarify a lot
if i played certain tones maybe (im just guessing) an high A then a low F then a high D then a low G then a middle A then a very low D the root shifted from C to Dm without i was aware of that and i heard a B for istance and i confonded for an A (cause my mind was telling me 6th)
when i became aware of that i started to have sometimes two answers (and they were both right) for istance i heard an A and i felt than sound like an A for its little little little faint brilliancy but i also heard that sound like a 3rd and so i knew that my mind was in the F key at that momentThis all sounds like relative pitch. Notes played in succession will start to suggest a keynote that may not be any of the notes played.
Eg, the natural acoustic root of the white notes of the piano is F (not C). That means all of them relate to harmonics of F more than they do to harmonics of C. (None of them are exact, of course, due to equal temperament, but most are close enough.)
Even so, most people would probably hear C as implied keynote (of any random selection of white notes), because of cultural familarity.
A non-random selection might well point to a different tonal centre. Eg, A and C (and maybe E) might suggest an F root. D and B might suggest a G root.

another example should be this : in every key the root has a steady quality (but its the mind that makes you think this)Not exactly. Obviously the mind is what defines what we call "music", how we interpret the frequencies our ears perceive. And centuries of familiarity make us listen for major or minor key relationships (major before minor).
But there is a physical basis to key; it's not totally subjective or invented.

but the only pitches that (for me) has some kind of little vague faint "steady" quality are D and Bb and this quality doesnt change no matter in what key you areThat's more unusual. You are now isolating some special quality about absolute pitches - and I find this a little mysterious.
Would you say D has the same "steady" quality if you were in the key of - say - Db major? Presumably not...?
IOW, while it may be true that you perceive something special or unusual in those two pitches (in any octave?), it's going to be (or should be!) demolished by the context of a key, certainly by keys that don't contain those notes.
IOW, for a musician, this would be a flaw or fault in your hearing (perhaps a sensitivity of your ears to those frequencies) that you need to either ignore, forget, or correct if possible.

JonR
11-25-2008, 09:56 AM
Sorry, not sure whether it was C# or Db - but I knew because the C# on a flute sticks out like a sore thumb. It's the note that requires no keys to be pushed, so it has a really airy and flat sound that even the hardest of hearing could take note of. But many composers did write in C# major, regardless.Such as?
Can you give examples of pieces in C# major (other than modulations from C# minor)?

And presumably a flutist plays Db in exactly the same way he/she plays C#? (I'm not a flutist, so I'm guessing; enlighten me if I'm wrong.)

fingerpikingood
11-25-2008, 09:57 AM
Maybe, but if I heard moonlight sonata played in D minor, I'd probably have a fit. It just doesn't sound right.

That's just one example, but most pieces, IMO, were meant to be played in a certain key. I'm a stubborn person though. If someone played Claire de Lune in C major rather than Db, the whole piece would be played wrong to me. Also note the fact that Debussy wrote a piece called Claire de Lune ("Moonlight") in Db major, a very tough key to play in, rather than C major.

well maybe you have perfect pitch then. because music doesn't have that feature for me. i would never notice. i'm pretty sure, at least not in the flavour of it. maybe if it was a song i heard alot i would notice but not about the 'colour' of the piece, just that everything seems lower than usual. and for me to spot that would be pretty unusual.


Another thing I was thinking of...
Since sound frequencies will always vibrate the same (eg. A=440 Hz, regardless of what we call it...it is still moving the tympanic membrane the same, 440 Hz)
We all have to have that in common. Just because some people can take that physical property and associate it EXACTLY with the correct designation (Absolute Pitch) does not mean we all aren't getting the same information.

you're right, it doesn't mean we all aren't getting the same information. but it also doesn't mean we all are.

i'm sure some can train themselves to have the ability of perfect pitch but they perceive pitch as those that can't. they achieved it by training.

but there are some that need not train, they just perceive differently. i'm convinced of it.

i mean we all have eyes, and light is all the same wavelengths, red is the same wavelength for everybody, but some people don't see red.

some peoples' ears or brains are different than others when it comes to either accumulating the sonary information, or translating it, into the sound we perceive.

your eyes detect upside down. your brain translates it right side up. your ears are hairs that get tickled by waves in water, and your brain translates that into sound. some can have more informative translations than others.

temperature is temperature, but put your hand in something cold first and something warm feels hotter than otherwise. though it could be fathomable that some people have a sensibility without that aspect. where they just know what temperature stuff is like a thermometer does. i can't think of how it could work in practice though for temperature.

fingerpikingood
11-25-2008, 10:02 AM
That is a good question. I always wondered how brain computes relation between notes. I know all harmonic relations are based on ratios between two frequencies so at some point the absolute pitches have to be available , haven't they? I mean if I use the example of the marks on the wall found by JonR:
We have two marks representing two pitches f1 f2. f2 is five inch higher than f1. If relative pitch was only to compute the distance between those marks, I agree we would not need to know how high is f1, only how high f2 is from f1. But because the way we perceive relation between tone is a ratio, we need to know the absolute height of the two marks

Maybe relative listeners perceive only the result of operation whereas absolute pitch listeners perceive the operation and the result (sometimes with a stronger emphasise on the operation than its result). It would look like something like that (perception enclosed by []):

Relative listener: f1/f2 = [r]
Absolute listener: [f1/f2 = r] or even [f1/f2] = r

i think rp people hear pitch in absolute terms. the ears record the absoluteness of the pitch. with other notes played nearby we can discern scales and such. the problem is later on, the next day, your reference is gone. you've basically forgotten what's what. like if you look at a gray scale yo ucan easily see what's darker and what's lighter. your eyes detect the absoluteness of the shade. but remembering tomorrow, what the shade was you wanted is tough. perfect pitch people have for some reason an easier time remembering to the next day, such as if instead of shades you looked at it was different colors. you'd have no difficulty finding the right color the next day, without needing any reference.

though if all you saw was shades of grey you might be able to train yourself to remember forever, and label every shade and build an absolute reference. you'd have the ability but not the gift.

JonR
11-25-2008, 10:09 AM
i don't understand this whole keys sound different thing.


aren't all notes with the same name, exactly some number of octaves apart?

in equal temperament every semi-tone is equally spaced apart within an octave, from one octave to the next. it's all even. well, wikipedia says the 12 notes are logarithmically equally apart, which i don't really understand in what way they mean.

if they mean logarithmically as in the low end the notes are closer together and the higher end they are closer together. or just higher closer together than lower? i don't know.

but if that's the case, then i guess what you guys are talking about could make sense, it's just i never noticed it.

how does equal temperament work then, anyways?

i'd like to hear a piano that isn't equal temperament.

but one thing that goes against the idea that different keys sound different, is that, wasn't the whole point and idea of equal temperament precisely to erase that feature of music, and allow for any piece to be transposed without disturbing the soul of the piece?You're exactly right, and this is the crux of the matter.
In ET, keys are not SUPPOSED to sound different.
To people with absolute pitch, they do. Therefore - in a sense - this is a flaw in their hearing.
It's as if they want to write a letter, and have to use (say) a red pen. "Aagh, I can't use a red pen, it has to be blue. What I want to say has to be blue!" Or they read something someone else has written, and they say "this is strange. They're using green ink, but the ideas they're expressing are really yellow - it just doesn't work for me..."
What matters in music is the ideas expressed - the sequence of "words" and their meaning - not the "colour" those "words" happen to be written in.
The colour of the ink may well add another interesting dimension, but any characteristic it imparts to the message is irrelevant and distracting.
(If we could ALL see the "colours" in music, it would be a different matter. It could be used creatively.)

BTW, pianos are not tuned identically across their whole range. They are "stretch tuned", which means higher notes are progressively sharpened (by a few cents) and lower notes flattened. This is down to inharmonicity of strings and certain factors of human hearing (or psychology) at extremes of range. Oddly, things sound more "in tune" (or at least "better") at the top end when pitched slightly sharp.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inharmonic
http://www.sweetwater.com/expert-center/glossary/t--StretchTuning
However this doesn't affect keys. Or rather it affects all keys the same way.

JonR
11-25-2008, 10:39 AM
Theory is not really based o anything except incident, imo. It just so happens that this theory tends to be "true" to those who experience it. I wold like to think it's God's way of once again putting his own special mark on music. But that's just me :pOK - let's leave God out of this, shall we? ;)

Something that is true only to those who experience it is not a lot of use to those who don't. It may have a scientific (objective) validity, but it remains a curiosity, at least if those who don't experience it are the majority.

(And even those who agree each key has a special character will not all agree on those special characters - except among players of the same instrument.)

Not sure where it comes from either, and I cannot explain it scientifically. I can only back up my theory with my experience and others' experiences with music.But aren't you curious? As to whether there is any objective basis to it?

Good question. I tend to hear the key of Db/C# as Db. Even if the piece is C# (seven sharps), it still sounds like Db.Well - if you'll pardon the expression - duh! (IOW, so it should.)
The occasion when it will sound like C# (probably) is if it has modulated from C# minor. If we know the key is C# minor, then moving to the parallel major is going to make us think "C# major". (Which is partly why it would be notated that way too. There is no reason to notate a piece in C# major, rather than Db, unless it's within another sharp key context.)




Ah, but perhaps it's the fact that certain frequencies cause the body to feel a certain way that leads me to think that the keys have qualities. If so, would I be wrong? Perhaps we're both right, and the "differences" in keys are real, although those differences may be subjective.That's possible. It seems logical for our ears to be more sensitive to frequencies around the middle of our perceptual range, which encompasses the human vocal ranges. Of course, that central region accommodates all keys, but each key sits in a (very) slightly different place in that region.
Different people would (in theory) have sensitivities to slightly different ranges. (Eg, I'd guess women's sensitive area is an octave or so higher than men's, as their voices are.)
Daniel Levitin's experiment (that I mentioned earlier), showing that most ordinary people have pitch memory, suggests we are sensitive to absolute pitch in some way, even if most of us can't identify those pitches.
So (seems to me) there's a basis there for a system of attaching character and meaning to key. But - of course - not everyone will do it, and those that do will all do it differently.

And - more importantly - those effects are going to be coloured by experience. Eg, someone who is specially sensitive to key (has AP to some degree) who hears a sad song in (say) F major, that has an impact on them early in their life, will (I guess) associate F major with sadness. They might even forget the initial source, but will retain that association. If they later hear happy songs in F (or sad songs in E), that might confuse them a little. Only F will really contribute that emotion properly.

But - even more importantly! - there are REAL differences between key dependent on INSTRUMENTS (as mentioned earlier).
Each instrument has its "easy" keys (= familiar, common) and "hard" keys (= remote, rare). Those keys may also be associated with particular sounds, in terms of common chord voicings (on guitar), or intonation issues (on horns).
So, on guitar, the key of Bb major is a very different animal from the key of A major. Guitarists (at least rock guitarists) much prefer A; comfortable, nice open sound. For sax players, it's the exact opposite. Bb is comfortable, A definitely not.
Among musicians at least, we always have to try and separate these instrumental issues from true absolute pitch issues. This is very difficult, and would require scientific lab conditions to totally dispose of them - to really test whether a musician's claimed perception of pitch really was absolute, and not related to instrumental quality or some relative pitch adaptation.



I do not have absolute pitch, but I am working on it. I'm not sure if that disqualifies me in anyway - sometimes I can tell if a piece is in a certain key, but its not completely consistent. Also, I'd be excited for this challenge, however there may be some difficulties...

Primarily, I've been talking about piano. As far as guitar goes, I cannot hear the differences in keys (unless you don't use a capo and play standard chords - I was able to tell them since I was about 16 or 17). I cannot tell in any instrument other than piano whether the key is flat or sharp (although I really haven't tried either).

Also, if we were to do the experiment with recordings, that would be troublesome as well because the recordings will affect the chroma of the sound coming through. But I'm willing to try anything, not to prove you wrong at all, but to actually test this theory!
I don't want to get your hopes up!
I was only thinking of pointing you to some existing youtube videos (with no visual cues), not setting up anything of my own. Of course, the reliability of such an "experiment" would depend on a lot of variables - and I would have to trust that you weren't sitting there working the key out first (eg, by playing along... ;) )

It would still need me to make some time to select suitable tracks... (It may not be soon.)

JonR
11-25-2008, 10:50 AM
Maybe, but if I heard moonlight sonata played in D minor, I'd probably have a fit. It just doesn't sound right.I doubt I would notice. Only someone who (a) had absolute pitch, and/or (b) was really familiar with the piece would notice.
For someone who hadn't heard it much (like me), I'm sure it would sound equally good in any key, and I would not be able to tell which the "right" key was.
But - as I said above - it seems we all have pitch memory to some extent, and increased familiarity with a tune in one key will kind of "embed" that key in our minds. We will then be able to spot if it's played in a different key. I think even I would be able to tell, with a tune I was very familiar with (and always heard in the same key). I don't think it would sound necessarily "wrong" or "worse", but I think I would spot a difference or a strangeness.

That's just one example, but most pieces, IMO, were meant to be played in a certain key.Not for reasons of absolute key. If specific keys are chosen for a composition it's always (or should be) because of vocal or instrumental factors: what key suits the singer(s) or intended player(s) - not just in the comfortable range but in the qualities at extremes of range, if the composition exploits those extremes.
And of course, that's dependent on the range of the piece (lowest and highest notes), not on its key.

luca19575
11-25-2008, 11:54 AM
Jon R its difficult to explain but yes every note has the same"colour/flavour/smell/feeling" no matter in which key you are (thats the perception of the body and for me thats the "real truth") but every note has also a "quality" depending on the key (the 3rd always sound like a 3rd no matter what tone is the 3rd) and thats the mind's interpretation (so its just an illusion)
dont misunderstand the mind plays a very important role in music to make us understand it in a logic way but i think we can go further than this and discover a lot of thing if we go and search with our mind in a "stand-by state"
what im trying to do now is to "connect" my body's perception with my mind's interpretation to ear music in a fully complete way
thats the best example i can give you of what i mean with body's perception:
you are walking and suddenly you see a snake now maybe someone told to you that if you dont move the snake will not attack you so you just stand where you are but if you are agitated or twisted (even if your body is immobile) the snake will see inside you and it will bite you instead if you are calm inside you can even walk (very slowly of course)
we humans are not so different from animals(we are animals too) also we have this "instant knowledge" but in us the mind is so strong and powerful that we forget about this
you can use this perception in everything also in music and thats the AP (i still dont have it when i hear music on the radio but if you play single tones on piano or guitar i can tell you what they are at a speed of about 20 BPM even if you switch 5-6 octaves ; if you ask me how i do this then the best answer i can give you is that "my ear fully trust my body" )

JonR
11-25-2008, 12:23 PM
Jon R its difficult to explain but yes every note has the same"colour/flavour/smell/feeling" no matter in which key you are (thats the perception of the body and for me thats the "real truth") but every note has also a "quality" depending on the key (the 3rd always sound like a 3rd no matter what tone is the 3rd) and thats the mind's interpretation (so its just an illusion)
dont misunderstand the mind plays a very important role in music to make us understand it in a logic way but i think we can go further than this and discover a lot of thing if we go and search with our mind in a "stand-by state"
what im trying to do now is to "connect" my body's perception with my mind's interpretation to ear music in a fully complete way
thats the best example i can give you of what i mean with body's perception:
you are walking and suddenly you see a snake now maybe someone told to you that if you dont move the snake will not attack you so you just stand where you are but if you are agitated or twisted (even if your body is immobile) the snake will see inside you and it will bite you instead if you are calm inside you can even walk (very slowly of course)
we humans are not so different from animals(we are animals too) also we have this "instant knowledge" but in us the mind is so strong and powerful that we forget about this
you can use this perception in everything also in music and thats the AP (i still dont have it when i hear music on the radio but if you play single tones on piano or guitar i can tell you what they are at a speed of about 20 BPM even if you switch 5-6 octaves ; if you ask me how i do this then the best answer i can give you is that "my ear fully trust my body" )Understood - sounds like classic absolute pitch to me. (I don't quite get the "speed of 20 bpm" bit, but no matter.;))

Can you also spot difference from concert pitch? Eg if you hear a pitch of 435 Hz, you would presumably identify it as "A", but could you tell it was flat?
How much does it bother you when tunes are played in different keys from the normal ones?

luca19575
11-25-2008, 01:29 PM
Jon R its 10 months that i work 10-15 minutes a day (sometimes more if i do music meditation) on AP (i follow burge's course but im in the middle of it and also after some months i started to do my own exercises that i know works for me) and im sure that by the time i will gain a full AP (maybe a year,maybe 2 or 3 or 4 doesnt matter) so probably im not quite compenent to answer to your questions but i'll try
i had always be able to tell if a piece is out of tune,"almost" in tune or in tune but not how much
im sure that the reason why i could do this is that my old tape recorder shift almost all the tapes of"almost" a half-step (i recorded something i listened and it sounds like i played so probably it has to do with different speed of tapes i dont know this) and so i get used to the difference (i noticed this differences also when watching old movies cause they probably use a videoptape recorder with the same "problem" as mine)
also i cant tell how much sharp or flat is (im not a machine) but sure you know the album "buena vista social club" well that is slightly flat("almost" in tune for me) but i bet any guitarist could tell that if he listen carefully to the guitar (something is wrong but its still music and i really like that album)
if some music is in-between it will bothered me only if there is a distorted electric guitar (i cant listen to that but even if a distorted electric guitar is perfectly tuned i dont like it) other instruments will have a funny kind of sound (except perhaps violins that after a while start to bother me a little)
i have a videotape which is very very rare i think:the movie "great balls of fire" played "almost" a half-tone sharp (you can hear blues in "almost" F# and G# and jerry lee lewis song in "almost" C# well the blueses sound strange because it seems to me that lost a lot of "melancholy" but gain some power while the jerry lee lewis'pieces sound really really great to me!!! they have the right spice and i dont like so much jerry lee lewis when listen to cds with "perfect tuning")

luca19575
11-25-2008, 02:43 PM
oh now i see your last question
when a piece that i know is played in a different key i cant recognize it immediately maybe after 1-2 minutes i can recognize but its still strange cause
it sound different (that always happened, i remember when some of my friends told me :oh thats that piece, you dont recognize it? and the first times this things happened i started to tough that something was wrong in my hearing but
discovered that was not true,cause even now when i do RP drills i will immediately start to notice that ,for istance, all the 4 note-arpeggios just sound completely different and i have to sort of close my ear and i will be able to "catalogue" the maj7,m7,7,add6 etc... arpeggios (thats why i do RP drills not often maybe 2-3 days a week its a fatigue for me but i do cause i know that RP is an important aspect of playing music, while for listening is much much better AP cause that gives you a lot of JOY while even the best RP can only give you comprehension and satisfaction while listening)

JonR
11-25-2008, 04:24 PM
oh now i see your last question
when a piece that i know is played in a different key i cant recognize it immediately maybe after 1-2 minutes i can recognize but its still strange cause You mean you can't recognise the tune itself? You don't actually know what is (for 1-2 minutes)?
That's extremely odd to me. It wasn't what I was asking - because I can't imagine how anyone could not identify a familiar tune in a non-familiar key. But a fascinating answer...


it sound different (that always happened, i remember when some of my friends told me :oh thats that piece, you dont recognize it? and the first times this things happened i started to tough that something was wrong in my hearing but discovered that was not true,cause even now when i do RP drills i will immediately start to notice that ,for istance, all the 4 note-arpeggios just sound completely different and i have to sort of close my ear and i will be able to "catalogue" the maj7,m7,7,add6 etc... arpeggios (thats why i do RP drills not often maybe 2-3 days a week its a fatigue for me but i do cause i know that RP is an important aspect of playing music, while for listening is much much better AP cause that gives you a lot of JOY while even the best RP can only give you comprehension and satisfaction while listening)RP gives me - and all other non-AP possessors - plenty of joy! We can hear all the meaning and emotion that a composer intends in any piece of music. Music gives me more pleasure than (almost ;) ) anything else. Way beyond "comprehension" or "satisfaction".
If you think RP means an absence of joy... you really do need to do more RP training!

Of course, I have no idea of the extra element that AP gives you. But it would seem to me it robs you of a lot as well - at least if a favourite piece of music becomes unrecognisable (or spoiled) when played in another key.
(If you didn't want to be a musician, it wouldn't matter. How you enjoy listening to music is totally your own affair. But music is designed with RP in mind, NOT with AP in mind. RP gives it its meaning. As a musician, with good AP but poor RP, you will have problems working with other musicians.)

Blutwulf
11-25-2008, 05:57 PM
JonR... Your exhibition of restraint has my jaw on my desk.

JonR
11-25-2008, 09:02 PM
JonR... Your exhibition of restraint has my jaw on my desk.I'm just an old hippie, man! It's all part of life's rich tapestry...
chill out... peace...
(pass me that bong...) :cool:

luca19575
11-25-2008, 09:15 PM
i apologize if i offend JonR or others that was not my intention
what i was trying to say can be explained in this way:
if you have surfed sometimes you can clearly understand otherwise i dont know
there is the "mental" aspect of surf which is being coordinate, making manoeuvres ,feeling the adrenalin pumpin in your veins and you feel good and have a great time
but there is another subtle aspect which is the really "sense" of surf and no other sports can give you : for few seconds you are connected with an energy
that is "alive" and if you let yourself go you can have sensations that are so high that cant really be explained by words
for the music (for me) its the same thing : if when i listen i use my fully awareness i feel what i called JOY and that sensation cant be reached by using only the mind and the sense of relationship
in other words the best sensation that music gives me is when im all into music(heart,mind and body)

Crossroads
11-25-2008, 09:34 PM
... if you have surfed sometimes you can clearly understand otherwise i don't know - there is the "mental" aspect of surf ... another subtle aspect which is the really "sense" of surf and no other sports can give you
Actually you find that many (if not ALL) other sports can give you exactly that same "sweet spot" exhilaration.

I expect mathematicians even get a similar feeling when solving a very important equation ... perhaps it's even a vastly bigger "adrenalin rush".

Playing guitar is very similar - when you hit a really nice "sweet" note, it's very much like hitting a really clean shot or pass in football, or a really sweet shot in tennis ... etc. .... even stronger feeling when you examine the results in an important scientific experiment and find a dramatic result.

Ian.

luca19575
11-25-2008, 10:02 PM
well surf isnt really a sport its a lifestyle : take it easy and enjoy the moment (its a lot of time that i dont surf in the water but im still surfing in my life):)

Crossroads
11-25-2008, 10:23 PM
well surf isnt really a sport its a lifestyle : take it easy and enjoy the moment (its a lot of time that i dont surf in the water but im still surfing in my life):)
Any sport can become a "lifestyle" in the exactly same way that you mean about surf.

And serious science is much more of a lifestyle than surf or sport can ever be ... and maybe even more than music could ever be even to Mozart or Beethoven, or anyone you care to name.

The point is simply that - if you are going to talk about music in terms of "feelings", and to say that anyone's appreciation of RP or AP is something they "feel" that others without AP cannot "feel", ... well I'm afraid that can be said about everything including the way I feel about kicking a football around with my friends in the local park.

IOW - unless we can talk in real practical terms about such things as AP, then discussions & claims are worthless ... especially if they are of the type which says " I can appreciate it because I have AP ... but the rest of you can't understand it, because you don't have AP " ... that sort of statement could be made absolutely anything in this world, and it's worthless lol :D .

Ian.

JonR
11-26-2008, 01:01 AM
i apologize if i offend JonR or others that was not my intentionNo offence perceived or taken.

what i was trying to say can be explained in this way:
if you have surfed sometimes you can clearly understand otherwise i dont know there is the "mental" aspect of surf which is being coordinate, making manoeuvres ,feeling the adrenalin pumpin in your veins and you feel good and have a great time but there is another subtle aspect which is the really "sense" of surf and no other sports can give you : for few seconds you are connected with an energy that is "alive" and if you let yourself go you can have sensations that are so high that cant really be explained by words
for the music (for me) its the same thing : if when i listen i use my fully awareness i feel what i called JOY and that sensation cant be reached by using only the mind and the sense of relationship
in other words the best sensation that music gives me is when im all into music(heart,mind and body)I've never surfed, but that's exactly the way I feel about music too - at least when performing live, when it's "working". It doesn't always hit that spot (just as you don't always hit the spot on the wave when surfing), but when it does, magic.
(Well, OK Blutwulf, if you're still here, it isn't actually "magic", but you know what I mean ;) )

ClashlandHands
11-26-2008, 02:02 AM
Right, right! Which was why I posed the F#/Gb example. Is it a dark key or a bright key being equally flatted or sharped depending on how you look at it? The phenomena I'm describing does exist, but it might be peculiar to keyboard instruments, or specifically instruments which allow some flexibility in tempering. Here's my point: equal temperament was supposed to be the final word in tuning. Avoid the horrible pythagorean comma by dividing it up into 12 equal parts and give every key a bit of suffering pie, and no one is left out in the cold with an absolute wolf. (Ab major) Critics of this enormously successful method, of whom I am one, complained that, as you argue, Bb is no brighter or darker than A. That all key color is democratized in a way. My point is, that even if you tune an instrument precisely to equal temperament, there are still no perfect pythagorean fifths or perfect pythagorean fourths. And, due to the thickness of very low strings and the thinness of the very high strings there is further tempering of the octaves with Cs at the very bottom of the range being sharper from "true C" and Cs at the top of the range being flatter than "true C." In fact every tone except one will be tempered from "perfect pitch." And, given 88 possibilities for error, detuning etc. the odds that you'll have a perfectly pitched instrument are really non-existent on planet earth.
So, understanding that, why try? Why not accept that there will be built in inharmonicity (between strings of the same note, between octaves, and within the octave, within a vibrato of voice or a wind instrument) and embrace this "fault" and in turn, restore some key color? I think many good piano tuners do this. Consider Cmaj as neutral territory, and extend outward via circle of 5ths. A good piano tuner will tune leading tones for the adjacent sharp keys up slightly, so F# and C# up. Similarly, Bb and Eb will be tuned down from 2^-12 slightly. G#/Ab you kind of have the option. I like the vibrancy of Ab major with a near perfect third from Ab to C. And, I like the darkness a lower b6 in Cm, so down a bit. Chopin pieces in Ab on a well tuned piano sound totally different, and the music itself takes on a different meaning because you hear more of what the composer heard and intended.

So by sharp keys, I mean G, D,A,E & B.
And flat keys, I mean F,Bb,Eb, Ab,Db.
Gb is equally sharp and flat.
C is neither sharp nor flat.

I agree with Jon R's comment about darkness and brightness being a function of modality. I.E. that locrian is darker than phrygian, lydian brighter than ionian, etc. But, at least with keyboard instruments, it can also be a function of key signature itself.

To bring it back home: Perfect pitch in a pythagorean sense? Like the recalcitrant diva with the choir, you're in for quite a shock if you employ some kind of absolute pitch scheme outside of the musical context! Do to the ubiquity of pianos, and the ubiquity of equal-tempered instruments, I think people's sense of pitch is altered in a way that makes the idea of "perfect" pitch sort of irrelevant. It might even be altered in a way that is transfered genetically. If your cochlea is is in a certain state at the moment of conception.... I dunno. I wouldn't rule it out entirely, though I'd be much more inclined to buy into the ethnomusicologists' claims that environmental influences have a more dramatic effect on pitch. Unfortunately, nurture is much easier to test than nature, so knowing this, I'd guess 50%/50%.

Similarly, there's a 50% chance of one "C" being sharper than another "C."

At what point does C become C#? Halfway? Whose halfway? Pythagoras', Kirnberger's? Young's? So, IMHO there is only relative pitch. Absolute pitch is highly developed relative pitch. It's perfect relative to an imperfect world, namely equal temperament.

Who here hasn't put on their favorite CD that they haven't listened to for months and months and started humming to track 1 in the correct key? And then, when it gets to track 2, you hum that in the correct key? This is not luck, you have "perfect pitch" to some degree, and it can be developed to a higher degree.

There's probably some shamanic Tuvan throat singing Yogi out there who has developed absolute pitch to the hundredth of a Hertz. Hert? Hz.

nine56
11-26-2008, 03:34 AM
Such as?
Can you give examples of pieces in C# major (other than modulations from C# minor)?

And presumably a flutist plays Db in exactly the same way he/she plays C#? (I'm not a flutist, so I'm guessing; enlighten me if I'm wrong.)

Yes, sorry, the flutist would play Db the same way. The piece I'm referring to was most likely in Db.

As far as pieces in C# major...I did a simple google search and found out that Bach's Prelude and Fugue #3 in the Well-Tempered Klavier is in C# major. Also, Ravel's "Ondine" from his Piano Suite "Gaspard de la Nuit" is also in C# major. Brahms also has a Waltz in C# major (No. 6, op. 39).

I'm not seeing how this is relevant in any way to our discussion.

ClashlandHands
11-26-2008, 03:43 AM
Yes, with Gb there is some confusion here, and sometimes with Db ... so I tend to think its dark like the other flat keys.
Totally! Db sometimes sounds bright and usually darker, though I think reading in a key signature definitely affects how I perceive what I'm hearing to a degree. Weird thing is, opposite side of Gb/F#... B. No, ambiguity there. It sounds bright as Einstein to me. B, A & E really are like streams of bat piss in that they shine out like shafts of gold when all around is dark.


because the C# on a flute sticks out like a sore thumb.


Which is why God invented piccolos! What is it with Debussy writing for flute and writing in Db?! Guy's a depressed maniac.




As am I :) - I'd always like to take note that none of this is personal, it's just discussion of something we are both passionate about, and I'm glad that I've someone to discuss these passions with.
I especially like discussions about music with non-pianists, non-musicians, or non-chordal instrumentalists, drummers.... I'll call them "The Others." They bring a different perspective that help to eradicate years of "training" that hours and hours of psychiatric therapy couldn't make infinitely worse!

nine56
11-26-2008, 03:46 AM
But aren't you curious? As to whether there is any objective basis to it?
'Course I am


Well - if you'll pardon the expression - duh! (IOW, so it should.)
*sigh* Let's be respectful here :)



And - more importantly - those effects are going to be coloured by experience. Eg, someone who is specially sensitive to key (has AP to some degree) who hears a sad song in (say) F major, that has an impact on them early in their life, will (I guess) associate F major with sadness. They might even forget the initial source, but will retain that association. If they later hear happy songs in F (or sad songs in E), that might confuse them a little. Only F will really contribute that emotion properly.
I agree, although everyone has a certain degree of pitch memory (and, even further, key memory, imo). I guess I believe that everyone has the capability of AP, it's just hard to foster. It's very easy to recognize, but extremely difficult to master.



But - even more importantly! - there are REAL differences between key dependent on INSTRUMENTS (as mentioned earlier).
Each instrument has its "easy" keys (= familiar, common) and "hard" keys (= remote, rare). Those keys may also be associated with particular sounds, in terms of common chord voicings (on guitar), or intonation issues (on horns).
So, on guitar, the key of Bb major is a very different animal from the key of A major. Guitarists (at least rock guitarists) much prefer A; comfortable, nice open sound. For sax players, it's the exact opposite. Bb is comfortable, A definitely not.
Among musicians at least, we always have to try and separate these instrumental issues from true absolute pitch issues. This is very difficult, and would require scientific lab conditions to totally dispose of them - to really test whether a musician's claimed perception of pitch really was absolute, and not related to instrumental quality or some relative pitch adaptation.

Understood.



I don't want to get your hopes up!
I was only thinking of pointing you to some existing youtube videos (with no visual cues), not setting up anything of my own. Of course, the reliability of such an "experiment" would depend on a lot of variables - and I would have to trust that you weren't sitting there working the key out first (eg, by playing along... ;) )

It would still need me to make some time to select suitable tracks... (It may not be soon.)

Well, JonR, if you're going to speculate my honesty, that's all fine and good. But if that's going to be an issue and if we are approaching this from a "I was right, you were wrong" stance, I don't want anything to do with it. If we want to try and experiment, I'll want to be honest for my own interest, and if it turns out that I'm wrong and can't actually identify darker and brighter keys, so be it. It won't affect my musicianship ability, nor my pursuit of AP. With that being said, if honesty is going to be the issue, don't even worry about setting anything up. I don't care that much to get into an argument about integrity.

nine56
11-26-2008, 03:57 AM
Totally! Db sometimes sounds bright and usually darker, though I think reading in a key signature definitely affects how I perceive what I'm hearing to a degree. Weird thing is, opposite side of Gb/F#... B. No, ambiguity there. It sounds bright as Einstein to me. B, A & E really are like streams of bat piss in that they shine out like shafts of gold when all around is dark.

LOL at bat piss.

Db sounds bright to you, but dark? I don't understand. Db is on the edge of the changeover into sharp keys, so it's understandable that your interpretation of the key is different. To me, however, it sounds quite dark and spooky.



Which is why God invented piccolos! What is it with Debussy writing for flute and writing in Db?! Guy's a depressed maniac.


Huh? Db for piccolo is the same thing! It sounds pretty bad, especially since tuning a piccolo is harder than tuning a chainsaw.

PS - How do you get two piccolo players to play in tune?


Answer: shoot one. ;)

JonR
11-26-2008, 09:06 AM
Right, right! Which was why I posed the F#/Gb example. Is it a dark key or a bright key being equally flatted or sharped depending on how you look at it? The phenomena I'm describing does exist, but it might be peculiar to keyboard instruments, or specifically instruments which allow some flexibility in tempering. Here's my point: equal temperament was supposed to be the final word in tuning. Avoid the horrible pythagorean comma by dividing it up into 12 equal parts and give every key a bit of suffering pie, and no one is left out in the cold with an absolute wolf. (Ab major) Critics of this enormously successful method, of whom I am one, complained that, as you argue, Bb is no brighter or darker than A. That all key color is democratized in a way. My point is, that even if you tune an instrument precisely to equal temperament, there are still no perfect pythagorean fifths or perfect pythagorean fourths. And, due to the thickness of very low strings and the thinness of the very high strings there is further tempering of the octaves with Cs at the very bottom of the range being sharper from "true C" and Cs at the top of the range being flatter than "true C." In fact every tone except one will be tempered from "perfect pitch." And, given 88 possibilities for error, detuning etc. the odds that you'll have a perfectly pitched instrument are really non-existent on planet earth.
So, understanding that, why try? Why not accept that there will be built in inharmonicity (between strings of the same note, between octaves, and within the octave, within a vibrato of voice or a wind instrument) and embrace this "fault" and in turn, restore some key color?If you don't mind not being able to modulate or transpose freely, then why not indeed?

Admittedly equal temperament is "out of tune" everywhere, but it's equally out of tune across all keys. It's a fine balance, an "unstable equilibrium". But most of us value the total freedom to transpose or modulate as we see fit, without having to worry if a new key might be more out of tune than the last one.
The value of "key colour" is tiny and far too subtle for most people to appreciate. Differences in tuning between keys will not be.

What you propose would mean totally re-organising our whole musical system. We could not write music the way we have done for a couple of centuries. Normal practices in jazz, pop and rock would be out the window.
It's true this could be refreshing - having to work within the limitations of just intonation (or whatever "pure" system you establish, there are many).
Limitations are always good for creativity!

I sympathise in a way. The reasons for ET lie with the demands of a certain era of classical music, which has long passed. IOW, in that view, it's outdated, just as the music of Mozart and Beethoven is. People who play older music (I think) often try top recreate the modal tuning systems in place in those pre-ET days. So ET could remain as a minority system for those who want to play the music written for it.
But face it - it ain't gonna happen! That "minority" is in fact a huge majority. Many of them (esp in pop or rock) may not notice the subtle tuning variations in just intonation. They might not notice anything's different. (I probably wouldn't, most of the time.)
But think how hard it would be to learn keyboard if you had 17 or more keys per octave (which some pre-ET systems required)?
ET actually makes music a lot easier all round, at a cost that very few mind paying, or even notice.

I think many good piano tuners do this.You think. I don't. Can we hear from some piano tuners?
Piano tuning is indeed a subtle art, and incorporates stretching towards the top and bottom as you say. But AFAIK, none of them make keys different. I think most players would not employ them if they did.

I like the vibrancy of Ab major with a near perfect third from Ab to C. And, I like the darkness a lower b6 in Cm, so down a bit. Chopin pieces in Ab on a well tuned piano sound totally different, and the music itself takes on a different meaning because you hear more of what the composer heard and intended.
Probably so. I found this:
http://www.math.uwaterloo.ca/~mrubinst/tuning/tuning.html

But that only applies to music of that era. What happens to music of later eras, written in equal temperament? It would upset most pianists in jazz or rock, or players of later 19th century music, to find keys sounded different from one another.


To bring it back home: Perfect pitch in a pythagorean sense? Like the recalcitrant diva with the choir, you're in for quite a shock if you employ some kind of absolute pitch scheme outside of the musical context! Do to the ubiquity of pianos, and the ubiquity of equal-tempered instruments, I think people's sense of pitch is altered in a way that makes the idea of "perfect" pitch sort of irrelevant.Agreed.


Who here hasn't put on their favorite CD that they haven't listened to for months and months and started humming to track 1 in the correct key? And then, when it gets to track 2, you hum that in the correct key? This is not luck, you have "perfect pitch" to some degree, and it can be developed to a higher degree.Well I haven't done that, but generally this is true, as Levitin has shown. This is "pitch memory", but not refined anywhere near absolute pitch in most people.
It probably depends on having hummed along with that song before, many times. So (if your voice is in tune!) you retain a memory of how it feels in your vocal cords, because each pitch does indeed feel different as well as sound different - it has a different "place" in one's throat.
This is different from a purely aural absolute pitch.

ClashlandHands
11-30-2008, 07:37 AM
Db sounds bright to you, but dark? I don't understand. Db is on the edge of the changeover into sharp keys, so it's understandable that your interpretation of the key is different. To me, however, it sounds quite dark and spooky.
Someone once said talking about music is like dancing about architecture. Db is distinctive, but maybe bright and dark aren't the right terms. Yeah, I guess you're right. Dark. It's got that slow white third like Ab, but doesn't sound anything like Eb to me.



Huh? Db for piccolo is the same thing! It sounds pretty bad, especially since tuning a piccolo is harder than tuning a chainsaw.
Seriously? I mean, I can't say I've ever heard a piccolo played in tune, but I figured since the instrument's in Db maybe it played that one key in tune. My bad! Yep, and what do you call 2 oboists playing in unison? A minor second. HAR HAR HAR. Oi... it hurts.:rolleyes:

ClashlandHands
11-30-2008, 08:28 AM
Jon, you misunderstand me. I'm not talking about abandoning equal temperament entirely. I'm certainly not one of those purists who must have his Bach well tempered, though it is nice and explains a lot of why he wrote what he did in which keys. What, I'm talking about is using equal temperament as a starting place instead of a destination and then returning some key color in a subtle, but noticable way.


What you propose would mean totally re-organising our whole musical system.

No, no... and erase years of work?! 2^-12 is what they sold you. And, they told you that this was the way it had to be or else all of your 5ths would collapse, and your major thirds would succumb to weird diseases and whatnot. But, you can make subtle adjustments that make no difference to the people who can't hear any difference, but please those who can by giving a piano some vibrancy and character. I am really curious about some of these, especially the Young Tone 1799 tuning you unearthed and many of the well-tempered tunings of the 19th century. I'm not well versed enough with MIDI to figure out the note by note implementation on a Roland synth though.

As for guitar, I don't know if this matters much or if it can even be effected short of some weird kind of broken fretted Frankenguitar. I don't really play, but when I try to tune my high E to the harmonic of the low E, it's too sharp (on my made in China dollar store special:p), so maybe there is some tempering that goes on there.


Probably so. I found this:
http://www.math.uwaterloo.ca/~mrubinst/tuning/tuning.html (http://www.math.uwaterloo.ca/%7Emrubinst/tuning/tuning.html)

But that only applies to music of that era. What happens to music of later eras, written in equal temperament? It would upset most pianists in jazz or rock, or players of later 19th century music, to find keys sounded different from one another.

Yeah, this is the part I'm not sure about. Modern music would definitely sound different on a keyboard with added character. Question is, how much character could it take before chromatic drives sound choppy, and whatever other unforseen effects occur. 12-tone/atonal music is the only music that I would think would absolutely depend on key neutrality/equality. I don't think that perfectly balanced serialism would sound right with a jagged board.

BTW, if anyone knows how to get a hold of one of these Japanese Jankó keyboards (http://www.synthtopia.com/content/2007/10/18/the-chromatone-ct-312-keyboard/) (also doubles as a word processor!), let me know. AFAIK, They don't ship to the states, but this thing's INSANE!

luca19575
11-30-2008, 10:11 AM
hi guys i find a good methapor to describe how each key has a different sound
if you have a tale you can translate in any language you want
the story will be the same but it will sound different in any language
some of them sound similar (like italian and spanish or english and american)
if you translate a poetry it will lose something that had in the original language
in music its the same :every key is a "dialect" of the same language and there are many pieces that will lose a lot if you play in a different key cause even if the story is the same there will be one or two "dialects" in which the story will sound better for its particular kinds of "accents"

JonR
11-30-2008, 11:42 AM
Jon, you misunderstand me. I'm not talking about abandoning equal temperament entirely. I'm certainly not one of those purists who must have his Bach well tempered, though it is nice and explains a lot of why he wrote what he did in which keys. What, I'm talking about is using equal temperament as a starting place instead of a destination and then returning some key color in a subtle, but noticable way.Right... But how? And what key colours? If ET is your starting point, which notes are you going to move which way? And when and how much?
In ET, no key is primary, that's its point. Are you going to make (say) C major primary by tuning it more pure? That will of course colour other keys correspondingly.
Or do you work with whatever key the music is in, and tune that more pure (somehow)? Then, if you do that for every piece of music, every key will be the same colour? Or - sorry, without AP I'm struggling here ;) - every key will identically pure (because every one is tuned to itself), but presumably (through AP) they retain absolute differences?

I may be missing the point here...


No, no... and erase years of work?! 2^-12 is what they sold you. And, they told you that this was the way it had to be or else all of your 5ths would collapse, and your major thirds would succumb to weird diseases and whatnot. But, you can make subtle adjustments that make no difference to the people who can't hear any difference, but please those who can by giving a piano some vibrancy and character.Well, I'm one of those who would not notice any difference (except just possibly an annoying one), so this is all academic for me. ;)


As for guitar, I don't know if this matters much or if it can even be effected short of some weird kind of broken fretted Frankenguitar. I don't really play, but when I try to tune my high E to the harmonic of the low E, it's too sharp (on my made in China dollar store special:p), so maybe there is some tempering that goes on there.I don't know what you mean here. How can it be sharp if you tune it? You mean sharp compared to something else?
Or do you mean the harmonic of the E is out of tune, even when the open string is in? According to your ear, or to a tuner?

nine56
11-30-2008, 08:10 PM
Seriously? I mean, I can't say I've ever heard a piccolo played in tune, but I figured since the instrument's in Db maybe it played that one key in tune. My bad! Yep, and what do you call 2 oboists playing in unison? A minor second. HAR HAR HAR. Oi... it hurts.:rolleyes:

Haha! That's good.

The piccolo is a C instrument - I'm not sure where you heard Db :confused:

It's literally the same as the C Flute, but one octave higher.

nine56
11-30-2008, 08:13 PM
hi guys i find a good methapor to describe how each key has a different sound
if you have a tale you can translate in any language you want
the story will be the same but it will sound different in any language
some of them sound similar (like italian and spanish or english and american)
if you translate a poetry it will lose something that had in the original language
in music its the same :every key is a "dialect" of the same language and there are many pieces that will lose a lot if you play in a different key cause even if the story is the same there will be one or two "dialects" in which the story will sound better for its particular kinds of "accents"

I like that analogy (metaphor is a little different, but I understood what you meant :D). That's pretty much exactly how I feel about key color.

cristycole
12-02-2008, 04:57 AM
I used cassette tapes a few years ago to try to obtain it. it is VERY difficult. you do need some sort of formal training, which will cost money. my tapes were about 100 bucks i think. keep in mind that some people are born with perfect pitch, as in they will be able to obtain it easily and quickly, and then there are others who will NEVER obtain it... good luck to you. look up instructions tapes/dvds.
if you want to try doing it for free, use a piano and start memorizing notes!

ClashlandHands
12-02-2008, 08:46 AM
The piccolo is a C instrument - I'm not sure where you heard Db :confused:


Woops! Guess I had an abnormal piccolo experience! (One time, at band camp...) Says Db ones were used in military bands 100 years ago! How my high school had one in Db, I will never know.

http://www.grahamnasby.com/misc/concertband-instrumentation.shtml

ClashlandHands
12-02-2008, 10:12 AM
I guess I'm of the mind that there isn't a right or wrong way to tune a piano, I mean excluding any of the hundreds of mistakes a technician could make! There is only better or worse. Tuning is more of an art than an exact science. All I know is the tunings I've had which employed electronic meters to tune each note to the "correct" equal tempered pitch resulted in a scale that was so even that every key sounded kind of blah. And, the guys who use their ear and an A fork, seem to be able to give each key character without any particular key being obnoxiously bright or annoying. My assumption that if black key to black, black to white, white to white and white to black perfect fifths all sound slightly different, they must actually be slightly different even in equal temperament just due to subtle adjustments away from exactly equal temperament. Same goes for thirds. Why else would nine56 and I arrive at similar assessments of key color in so-called equal temperament? I mean, there really should be no key color if it's equal, and if there is key color than something else is going on that makes it not quite equal, yet still workable in an e.t. world with other e.t. instruments.


I don't know what you mean here. How can it be sharp if you tune it? You mean sharp compared to something else?
To itself. If I tune bottom to top, tuning each one to the previous string in perfect 4ths (except G to B), the high E always ends up way sharp from the low one, and I have to go back and temper everything inward. Which makes sense since a pythagorean 4th is much larger than an equal tempered 4th. Maybe, real guitarists just have pitch memory of the open strings, so it is a non-issue.


Or do you mean the harmonic of the E is out of tune, even when the open string is in?
Well, that too. It's a cheap guitar, so maybe this is better on quality guitars, but tuning to the harmonic doesn't work because the 2nd harmonic is significantly sharper than the open string. Maybe the node actually adds some sharpness?:confused:

ClashlandHands
12-02-2008, 10:35 AM
hi guys i find a good methapor to describe how each key has a different sound
if you have a tale you can translate in any language you want
the story will be the same but it will sound different in any language
some of them sound similar (like italian and spanish or english and american)
if you translate a poetry it will lose something that had in the original language
in music its the same :every key is a "dialect" of the same language and there are many pieces that will lose a lot if you play in a different key cause even if the story is the same there will be one or two "dialects" in which the story will sound better for its particular kinds of "accents"
I Love it! That's a good analogy. And, to take it to an absurd extreme, G is sort of Nordic, imho. Ab has a southern drawl, Gb is Mexican, Dm is Japanese...;)

JonR
12-02-2008, 12:03 PM
I guess I'm of the mind that there isn't a right or wrong way to tune a piano, I mean excluding any of the hundreds of mistakes a technician could make! There is only better or worse. Tuning is more of an art than an exact science. All I know is the tunings I've had which employed electronic meters to tune each note to the "correct" equal tempered pitch resulted in a scale that was so even that every key sounded kind of blah.Yes, but that's how they're supposed to sound: characterless! We put character into music by how we handle relative pitch (melody and harmony). Not forgetting rhythm, of course... ;)

Tuning every note exactly to ET disregards stretch tuning, of course - although that's not really relevant to this point (it makes upper and lower extremes sound more "in tune", but doesn't make keys different).


And, the guys who use their ear and an A fork, seem to be able to give each key character without any particular key being obnoxiously bright or annoying. My assumption that if black key to black, black to white, white to white and white to black perfect fifths all sound slightly different, they must actually be slightly different even in equal temperament just due to subtle adjustments away from exactly equal temperament. Same goes for thirds. Why else would nine56 and I arrive at similar assessments of key color in so-called equal temperament?Chance. Similar psychological or technical associations, perhaps. (Do you both play the same instrument(s), I forget?)


I mean, there really should be no key color if it's equal, and if there is key color than something else is going on that makes it not quite equal, yet still workable in an e.t. world with other e.t. instruments. With other ET instruments, surely something is going to sound out of tune? If you can perceive the tiny differences that "colour" the keys, wouldn't the discrepancies with ET instruments bother you?


To itself. If I tune bottom to top, tuning each one to the previous string in perfect 4ths (except G to B), the high E always ends up way sharp from the low one, and I have to go back and temper everything inward. Which makes sense since a pythagorean 4th is much larger than an equal tempered 4th.A pythagorean 4th is 2 cents flatter. Not "much larger".
Maybe you're thinking of the 5ths - tuning to 5th and 7th fret harmonics (if that's what you're doing) is using pythagorean 5ths (3:2), not 4ths. The 5th fret harmonic is 2 octaves (therefore exactly in tune, disregarding string inharmonicity); the 7th fret harmonic is 2 cents sharp of ET. So if you tune that string to the 5th fret harmonic on the string below, you tune it flat by 2 cents.
2 cents is negligible to normal humans. ;) (Between the 5 fret harmonic of low E and the 7 fret harmonic of A, it makes beats of 1 every 3 seconds. I guess that's a discernible effect, just. But who cares? And it's only between those harmonics. Between the open strings - or any note fretted on those strings - it's totally negligible.)

Here's the math (I'm disregarding the effects of string inharmonicity in order to keep things simple - I don't know how much effect that would have; I guess it would even out, but it might not...):

Let's assume we start with our low E at concert 82.41 Hz.
The 5th harmonic of that is 329.64. If we tune the 7th fret harmonic of the A string to match that, we end up with an open A of 329.64 / 3 = 109.88.
That's 0.12 Hz flat. Compared with an ET A string of 110.0, that would produce beats at around 1 every 8 seconds.... Utterly negligible!

OK, now we tune the 7th fret harmonic of the D to the 5th fret harmonic of A (109.88 x 4 = 439.52). That gives us a D of 146.51, which is 0.32 Hz flat. Compared with an ET D (146.83), that would make beats of 1 every 3 seconds... beginning to be noticeable, but still pretty negligible.

Tuning the G string to the D in the same way gives us a G thus:
146.51 x 4 / 3 = 195.34 = 0.66 Hz flat of an ET G (196.00). 2 beats every 3 seconds (compared with another G tuned to ET). Quite noticeable now, but still not unacceptable. (Normal guitar playing produces tuning discrepancies bigger than that.)

Now, how do you tune the B string? If to the 7th fret harmonic of low E, that makes it 2 cents sharp of ET.
82.41 x 3 = 247.23, compared with the ET 246.94. (Still only 1/3 of a Hz difference.)
Of course, this is now going to be heard against the flat G string. ("Flat" relative to ET, of course, tho nicely in tune with the lower strings.)
The usual problem between G and B is the clash of the 5th harmonic (found at 4th fret on the G string, compared with 5th fret of the B).
In ET, that's a 14 cent difference: ET G 5th harmonic (4th fret) = 980.0 Hz. ET B 4th harmonic (5th fret) = 987.76. That produces beats at a painfully noticeable 8 per second (nearly). This is enough (when playing with distortion) for guitarists to want to omit 3rds and play power chords.
(NB: cents values are consistent across the whole frequency range, but Hz values - which produce beats - are not. The same cents difference produces faster beats at high pitches than at low pitches. It's the rate of beats that governs how badly out of tune two notes sound.)

But what do we have between our purely tuned G and B?
The new (flatter) G is 195.34. The new sharper B is 247.23.
This G-B is in fact a pure Pythagorean major 3rd (81:64), as used in medieval intonation. http://www.medieval.org/emfaq/harmony/pyth2.html
However, judging by the clash in 5th and 4th harmonics, these two are now going to make an even nastier interval than in ET. The troublesome harmonics (976.70 and 988.92) are now over 12 Hz apart.
(A major 3rd that most of us would find pleasing to the ear is a 5:4 ratio, 14 cents flat of ET, and even flatter than this 81:64 ratio.)

What happens now if we tune the top E to the new sharper B, using 5/7 fret harmonics?:
247.23 x 4 / 3 = 329.64 = exactly in tune with our low E (which is what we should expect, because we tuned the B to that string as well).

But supposing we decide to tune the B string to a 5:4 ratio with the G (using 4th fret harmonic on the G and 5th fret harmonic on the B)?
195.34 x 5 / 4 = 244.18 = nearly 3 Hz flat of ET. If we now tune the top E to this B (using 5/7 fret harmonics), we end of with a top E that is (of course) noticeably flat of where it should be relative to the low E: 325.57, compared with 329.64.

To summarise:
ET Progressive Ratio with low E
Pythagorean 4:3
from low E:

E 329.64 329.64 (4:1)
B 246.94 247.23 (3:1) (81:64 with G)
G 196.00 195.34 (64:27)
D 146.83 146.51 (16:9)
A 110.00 109.88 (4:3)
E 82.41 82.41


ET As above, but
with B set at
5:4 with G

E 329.64 325.57 4:3 with B (320:81 with E)
B 246.94 244.18 5:4 with G (80:27 with E)
G 196.00 195.34 (64:27 with E)
D 146.83 146.51 (16:9 with E)
A 110.00 109.88 (4:3 with E)
E 82.41 82.41
So if your top E ends up noticeably sharp of where it should be, I guess you must be using some other method! (Or maybe that dang inharmonicity really does make that much difference... ? )


(BTW, it might seem that - if we can accept that pythagorean G-B major 3rd - we now have a guitar intonation that is totally "pure". But of course, once you start fretting notes, to make various chords or scales, using frets set to ET...never mind negotating different keys... nightmare... :rolleyes: Eg, just think about fretting a C on the B string; now you have a 4th with the open G that is way sharp.)


Maybe, real guitarists just have pitch memory of the open strings, so it is a non-issue.To some extent yes. But mostly not accurate enough to tune with no reference, exactly to concert. (The pitch memory of individual strings would disappear once heard relative to other strings; the power of relative pitch relationships HAS to be stronger...unless one has AP, and very poor RP, as some do.)


Well, that too. It's a cheap guitar, so maybe this is better on quality guitars, but tuning to the harmonic doesn't work because the 2nd harmonic is significantly sharper than the open string. Maybe the node actually adds some sharpness?:confused:What do you mean by the 2nd harmonic? You mean at the 12th fret? That note is sharper than the open string?
AFAIK, string inharmonicity suggests this is possible (in fact it suggests that any natural harmonic will not align exactly with where math suggests it ought to), but I don't have the technology to check it (and certainly not the ears to hear it!).

nine56
12-02-2008, 01:10 PM
Chance. Similar psychological or technical associations, perhaps. (Do you both play the same instrument(s), I forget?)

I think Clash has been a pianist most of his/her life. I started on flute, made my way to percussion, guitar and bass at in my early teens, and settled on voice halfway through high school. Started playing piano 1.5 years ago - but I heard the key qualities even before I began playing the piano. Now that I play, it's only verified this idea.

JonR
12-02-2008, 02:56 PM
I think Clash has been a pianist most of his/her life. I started on flute, made my way to percussion, guitar and bass at in my early teens, and settled on voice halfway through high school. Started playing piano 1.5 years ago - but I heard the key qualities even before I began playing the piano. Now that I play, it's only verified this idea.Thanks. Can you list what your associations are for each key (character and/or colour)? (all 24 major and minor, if possible!)
You mentioned a few earlier in the thread, which I can't find, but it would be interesting to see them all, and to see how much they align with ClashlandHands' associations - or indeed with any other readers who have absolute pitch - contributions extremely welcome!
(This is in equal temperament, btw - in which the keys are theoretically identical, and so only possessors of AP would be able to distinguish them.)

I was looking on the web for similar reports of key character/colour, but didn't come up with anything useful - only reports of pre-ET associations (which differed between composers even then).

But here's some related links you might find interesting:
http://www.columbia.edu/cu/alumni/Magazine/Fall2007/PitchPerfectMatch.html
http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C0CE1D6153EF930A15751C1A9669582 60&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=3
http://www.pnas.org/content/104/37/14795.full?ck=nck
http://www2.hmc.edu/~alves/justkeys.html

(BTW, I note the scientific research that does point to a genetic component, that is then developed through early musical training.)

luca19575
12-02-2008, 06:29 PM
the 1st article (columbia...) was very interesting
my thought is that few people possess AP just because the educational system is visually-oriented
if this thing will change in the future i think that all people(except a few minority) will have AP cause its not genetic its simply taking the sense of hearing at the same refined level of the sense of sight

luca19575
12-02-2008, 07:56 PM
i dont think its useful if everyone describes the characters of a particular key cause even if we hear in the same way we can use different words to explain
i attach a file(i hope that i did) that i think can explain the "colors" of the pitches (cause its not really like visual colors we have white,black, brown,red,blue if pitches would be the same everyone will have AP with no effort)
dont consider the black colour in the image and thats how i intend the pitch colours (variations of few beatiful colours)

nine56
12-02-2008, 10:19 PM
Thanks. Can you list what your associations are for each key (character and/or colour)? (all 24 major and minor, if possible!)
You mentioned a few earlier in the thread, which I can't find, but it would be interesting to see them all, and to see how much they align with ClashlandHands' associations - or indeed with any other readers who have absolute pitch - contributions extremely welcome!
(This is in equal temperament, btw - in which the keys are theoretically identical, and so only possessors of AP would be able to distinguish them.)


I haven't done enough listening in this way for minor keys - so i'll play some of them on my keyboard and give it a shot.


Major
C - Neutral, simple, bright
G - Brighter than C, but still simple and playful
D - Brighter than G, buzzy
A - Bright, buzzy, and joyful
E - Vibrant, buzzy
B - Extremely bright and majestic
F# - This is the confusing / gray area one. Certain things about it are bright, certain things feel dark. Let's leave this one blank for now
Db - Dark, mellow
Ab - Smooth, calm
Eb - Smooth, almost romantic, relaxed
Bb - Very slightly darker than C major, a little bit buzzier than Eb (this is where it gets kind of neutral for me)
F - Neutral, a small hint of darkness.

I'm trying to do minor right now, but it's too indistinguishable because my relative pitch hears minor and all I can think of is "dark". I'll try again some other time when my brain isn't fried from all of the music I have to take in =/ (finals week is coming - which means juries are coming so i have to practice alot)

I hope this helps though, I tried to be a little more elaborate. JonR, I want to challenge you to sit down at a piano and try listening for these distinctions, or some of your own. It's actually quite enjoyable in and of itself.

JonR
12-03-2008, 08:57 AM
I haven't done enough listening in this way for minor keys - so i'll play some of them on my keyboard and give it a shot.


Major
C - Neutral, simple, bright
G - Brighter than C, but still simple and playful
D - Brighter than G, buzzy
A - Bright, buzzy, and joyful
E - Vibrant, buzzy
B - Extremely bright and majestic
F# - This is the confusing / gray area one. Certain things about it are bright, certain things feel dark. Let's leave this one blank for now
Db - Dark, mellow
Ab - Smooth, calm
Eb - Smooth, almost romantic, relaxed
Bb - Very slightly darker than C major, a little bit buzzier than Eb (this is where it gets kind of neutral for me)
F - Neutral, a small hint of darkness.
Thanks very much! Hopefully we'll get some others to contribute too...

It looks at first glance as if (basically) you feel sharps contribute increasing brightness and flats increasing darkness or mellowness? (Which would be why F#/Gb is confusing.)
Is there no other character between keys? (Eg, some classical composers felt certain keys were "martial", or "pastoral", or whatever - admittedly those were before equal temperament, and may have been down to other associations. But would you say you don't get such specific associations?)

Have you tried blind tests (someone else playing to you, not necessarily on piano?). With the keys being changed at random?
(Eg, if one went through the cycle of 5ths, obviously keys would be getting brighter or darker depending on direction...)


I'm trying to do minor right now, but it's too indistinguishable because my relative pitch hears minor and all I can think of is "dark". I'll try again some other time when my brain isn't fried from all of the music I have to take in =/ (finals week is coming - which means juries are coming so i have to practice alot)OK! I can guess this kind of thing needs to be done with a clear mind... ;)


I hope this helps though, I tried to be a little more elaborate. JonR, I want to challenge you to sit down at a piano and try listening for these distinctions, or some of your own. It's actually quite enjoyable in and of itself.Well, I'm pretty sure I'd be distracted by the number of black keys (level of difficulty or complexity), or by whatever key came before (relative pitch).
Although I know my way round piano, I'm not a pianist. Obviously C major is going to seem "simple", "clear", "neutral", because it's just the white notes.
And I can imagine relative associations colouring my judgement of other keys.
Eg, compared with C major, sharp keys involve raising notes (even if the keynote may be lower than C). That suggests "brightness".
Flat keys, OTOH, involve lowering notes, which suggests "darkness". (In particular, after F, the keynote itself is a lowered pitch.) These are relative pitch judgements.
So I couldn't rely at all on my feelings from playing the piano myself. (I do know that the physical characteristics of the instruments change the key associations. Eg, the way keys feel on piano is different from how they feel on guitar. And - moreover - just knowing whether a key has sharps or flats colours my judgement. These associations have to be excluded from any test of inherent key differences.)

So it has to come from blind tests, where you don't know beforehand what key is being played. One wouldn't necessarily have to guess the key itself, only relate whatever associations the sound suggested.

I'm sure (from experience) that I'd have no idea what key someone else was playing in. Sometimes I can use my crude pitch memory (related to my voice) to take a stab, and sometimes end up as close as a semitone out. I would also be affected by the character (melody, harmony, tempo, feel, dynamic) of the piece being played - so it would have to be the exact same piece.
Even there, the player might impart their own associations, perhaps inadvertently. Eg, if they're playing in E major, perhaps they would play it more brightly than in Ab major, where they might want to add some softness...
So I guess it would need to be an automatic performance of some kind.(Pretty easy for computer software to transpose without changing tempo or anything else.)

In fact, I can see all kinds of problems with such a test, in excluding any possible relative pitch factors. Eg, how would you exclude pitch memory?
Obviously you would not be told if your guess on the first piece was right or wrong. But then when you hear the second piece you are going (inevitably) to judge it by how far away it is from the first one, and make assumptions accordingly. That would, of course, emerge as a test of relative pitch: if you got the keys wrong, but the intervals between them right, you have good RP, but bad (or no) AP; if you got the intervals between them wrong, but got some of the keys right, that suggests bad RP, but a degree of AP. (Good AP would, of course, get the intervals right as a by-product.)
What would happen if you were told the wrong answer to the first piece? Would that confuse you? (indicates AP) or would you not know? (no AP). You could still get the distances between the keys right (good RP), even if the specific key guesses were all out by the error you were given to begin with.

(Clearly I'm not an expert on scientific testing of pitch recognition! :rolleyes: They must have worked out ways of doing it...)


To be honest, I'm more interested in the kind of things luca19575 is talking about (but seems reluctant to spell out): associations you get automatically and irresistibly, every time you hear music (not when you are performing yourself). Not just "bright" or "dark" (and not visual colours, necessarily), but other emotional meanings.
Associations that remain the same for the same key, regardless of the style of the music.
After all, ClashlandHands has suggested these associations are shared (implying they are universal among those able to perceive them, including non-musicians I guess). I've yet to be convinced they aren't simple relative pitch associations (number of sharps or flats compared with C).

ClashlandHands
12-03-2008, 09:30 AM
I think Clash has been a pianist most of his/her life. I started on flute, made my way to percussion, guitar and bass at in my early teens, and settled on voice halfway through high school. Started playing piano 1.5 years ago - but I heard the key qualities even before I began playing the piano. Now that I play, it's only verified this idea.
Yep, piano since I was 5, so 26 yrs. Bassoon in HS, but haven't touched one since. I think my ability to discern key signatures is definitely better listening to piano than any other instrument. I'm going to have to go through the things Jon posted when I have a clearer head, but some of the points he made regarding the way harmonics work and the fact that all open guitar strings are "white keys" makes me think that the subtle cues I associate with key color would be different/misleading on guitar and other instruments.

ClashlandHands
12-03-2008, 11:10 AM
Yes, but that's how they're supposed to sound: characterless! We put character into music by how we handle relative pitch (melody and harmony). Not forgetting rhythm, of course... ;)
Well, when you put it that way you make equal temperament sound like a clean slate, a new lease on life! To complicate matters even more... do you ever play 12-string? Perhaps some of my dissatisfaction with some tuners' work over others' has to do with the different amounts of string inharmonicity within each key. (i.e. the 2 or 3 strings being struck by the hammer) I suppose there would be a way to tune a 12-string guitar where the pair was so perfectly in tune that you might get some cancellation. Or maybe the different stricking times would make that a non-issue. This is definitely another factor, though for the sake of the argument at hand, let's just say that the piano tuner did it right and consistent and tuned 2 strings of the triplet slightly below pitch and the other one slightly above to avoid cancellation and give the tone a slight chorused effect!



With other ET instruments, surely something is going to sound out of tune? If you can perceive the tiny differences that "colour" the keys, wouldn't the discrepancies with ET instruments bother you?

Sometimes. I think the timbral differences help separate the two sounds in my mind. If I'm accompanying a classical vocalist, I'm much more likely to notice where she's off pitch due to factors of the music itself rather than subtleties of pitch. The most notable of these being flat leading tones and flat major thirds because they are so strong harmonically. I can always tell vocalists who get this fact and know how to compensate. Of course this really applies to any raised interval.

I'll have to get back to you on all the math. Logarithms aren't my strong suit! From what I glean though, it sounds like there are a few cases where the differences between open, fretted & harmonic are significant, but mostly you can tune to the harmonics without concern for string inharmonicity.

Here's this though:

Major
C - Neutral, simple, buzzy
G - Brighter than C, simple and playful (yes! Clear,cool)
D - Bright, joyful, carefree
A - Almost cartoony bright, not as ballzy as B though
E - For whatever reason I hear this as clear like G, but more unstable than D or A. Uranium.
B - Extremely bright and majestic (yes!) Strong overtones seem closer to perfect 5ths.
F# - confusing. A well balanced all black key with extremely bright dom 7th
Db - Dark, mellow (yep, dark, yet hopeful)
Ab - Old, 1800s sound. Creaky staircase, whisky flavored, buzzy, buzzy thirds
Eb - Neutral and polite. Unassuming and more mature and less silly than D.
Bb - Very slightly darker than C major, a little bit buzzier than Eb (this is where it gets kind of neutral for me)
F - If you take a pond full of frogs and drive a '78 Nova into it... it would sound nothing like F major.:D What she said. (Unless you hit the horn upon impact.)


Minor
C - Serious, powerful
G - darker than C, more evil
D - old and fragile, thin
A - buzzier, slightly annoying, reminds me of medieval fairy tails
E - dark, but good. Staring off into an unknown future.
B - extremely dark and suicidal, future is known and it is grim.
F# - Spritely, confusing. Sortof medium-rare, but want's to move.
Db - Extremely dark, but not as powerful as B, sad
Ab - Clear. Much like Ebm
Eb - Diaphonous. Cobwebs. Small.
Bb - Neutral to Sad. Bluesy. "That's the way it's gotta be."
F - Big and powerful, like Cm but less so.

I didn't have as strong associations with the minors. More ambiguity.

luca19575
12-03-2008, 11:36 AM
JonR im reluctant to give a description of the keys cause i think it will not help anyone
try for yourself this 2 things im sure you will start to notice what im talking:
1) play some songs of tha alice in chains unplugged (i suggest nutshell and no excuses) with different tunings (D,D#,E,F) ;dont you hear that the softest and beatiful sound is when you use the D# tuning while the brilliant one is when you use the E tuning? (i can describe no excuses in this way: when played with D# tuning is like if i was a child and someone tell me a fable which is so beatiful that i dont want to end while with other tunings i will never get that feeling)
2) play a blues in F major then transpose it to E and then F# major;dont you hear that something important is missing (the "soul" of the blues ) in E its a little too brilliant in F# is a little too "powerful" in F has the right "melancholy" (for me
the F key is the best also for bossanova)

JonR
12-03-2008, 12:15 PM
Well, when you put it that way you make equal temperament sound like a clean slate, a new lease on life! To complicate matters even more... do you ever play 12-string? Perhaps some of my dissatisfaction with some tuners' work over others' has to do with the different amounts of string inharmonicity within each key. (i.e. the 2 or 3 strings being struck by the hammer) I suppose there would be a way to tune a 12-string guitar where the pair was so perfectly in tune that you might get some cancellation.what do you mean by cancellation?
Acoustically, two identical pitches would only cancel out only if the waves were of opposite polarity, the peaks of one coinciding with troughs in the other. Given the complex nature of musical tones (overtones and inharmonicity), this is hardly likely to ever happen.

Or maybe the different stricking times would make that a non-issue. This is definitely another factor, though for the sake of the argument at hand, let's just say that the piano tuner did it right and consistent and tuned 2 strings of the triplet slightly below pitch and the other one slightly above to avoid cancellation and give the tone a slight chorused effect!OK... ;)

I'll have to get back to you on all the math. Logarithms aren't my strong suit!Me neither. I try to avoid them... ;)

From what I glean though, it sounds like there are a few cases where the differences between open, fretted & harmonic are significant, but mostly you can tune to the harmonics without concern for string inharmonicity.That's my view. The harmonics are out of tune with ET, but not enough to be significant - given the other practical issues.


Here's this though:

Major
C - Neutral, simple, buzzy
G - Brighter than C, simple and playful (yes! Clear,cool)
D - Bright, joyful, carefree
A - Almost cartoony bright, not as ballzy as B though
E - For whatever reason I hear this as clear like G, but more unstable than D or A. Uranium.
B - Extremely bright and majestic (yes!) Strong overtones seem closer to perfect 5ths.
F# - confusing. A well balanced all black key with extremely bright dom 7th
Db - Dark, mellow (yep, dark, yet hopeful)
Ab - Old, 1800s sound. Creaky staircase, whisky flavored, buzzy, buzzy thirds
Eb - Neutral and polite. Unassuming and more mature and less silly than D.
Bb - Very slightly darker than C major, a little bit buzzier than Eb (this is where it gets kind of neutral for me)
F - If you take a pond full of frogs and drive a '78 Nova into it... it would sound nothing like F major.:D What she said. (Unless you hit the horn upon impact.)
Love the uranium and the whisky... :) (but maybe not together, eh?)
And F sounds intriguing... ;)
(I guess I do miss those kind of associations - it must make even boring music very entertaining... )


Minor
C - Serious, powerful
G - darker than C, more evil
D - old and fragile, thin
A - buzzier, slightly annoying, reminds me of medieval fairy tails
E - dark, but good. Staring off into an unknown future.
B - extremely dark and suicidal, future is known and it is grim.
F# - Spritely, confusing. Sortof medium-rare, but want's to move.
Db - Extremely dark, but not as powerful as B, sad
Ab - Clear. Much like Ebm
Eb - Diaphonous. Cobwebs. Small.
Bb - Neutral to Sad. Bluesy. "That's the way it's gotta be."
F - Big and powerful, like Cm but less so.

I didn't have as strong associations with the minors. More ambiguity.Great stuff.
I have to say tho: you quote Db and Ab minor. Do you perhaps mean C# and G# minor? If not, what difference does enharmonicity make, if any? (hehe, enharmonicity rather than inharmonicity... :rolleyes: )

How strong are these effects? How much are they masked or coloured by contradictory elements in a composition or performance?
Eg, if someone played a sad tune in D major? Or a vigorous, aggressive piece in Eb major? (Without you being told the key beforehand) Would it tend to make you misidentify the key? Or would you still recognise the key easily, but think the music was wrong or ill-judged?


BTW, I have to say I've had intimations of this sort of thing in the past. I remember an Elvis Costello tune called "Pump It Up", whose insistent forceful energy seemed tied to it being in B major, a rare key for pop. I couldn't quite imagine it working in another key. It wasn't exactly "majestic", but certainly strong and tough.
But then I remain suspicious, because there are so many other elements of that composition that give it that force (eg, an unusual chromatic riff, the instrumentation and tempo, etc - not to mention the title and lyrics!).
I think if i heard it in another key (without being told before), I would tell it was different (due to pitch memory), but I couldn't say I'd think it was any less bright or forceful. It wouldn't suffer by transposition.
Eg, to you, no doubt, a drop of a mere semitone to Bb would make a huge difference. For me the difference would depend on how far it was from the original key, not in the key itself. So Bb (or C) wouldn't sound very different from (my memory of) B, but E or F would.

(It would also be interesting to know if Elvis Costello, or any of his band, have absolute pitch, or if it affected their choice of key. To a guitarist, B major has a "meaning" related to the effect of its IV chord, E. To play B major for a while (a closed barre chord) then move to an open E chord is tremendously exhilarating, "liberating" - and that song certainly exploits that effect. But this is not inherent in the key itself - you would get the same effect if tuned down a semitone and playing in the key of Bb.)

JonR
12-03-2008, 12:29 PM
JonR im reluctant to give a description of the keys cause i think it will not help anyone It will help by adding to the sum total of human knowledge! ;)
I'm not suspicious of your reluctance, I understand these things might be hard to describe. (And I guess English is not your first language?)

try for yourself this 2 things im sure you will start to notice what im talking:
1) play some songs of tha alice in chains unplugged (i suggest nutshell and no excuses) with different tunings (D,D#,E,F) ;dont you hear that the softest and beatiful sound is when you use the D# tuning while the brilliant one is when you use the E tuning? (i can describe no excuses in this way: when played with D# tuning is like if i was a child and someone tell me a fable which is so beatiful that i dont want to end while with other tunings i will never get that feeling)
2) play a blues in F major then transpose it to E and then F# major;dont you hear that something important is missing (the "soul" of the blues ) in E its a little too brilliant in F# is a little too "powerful" in F has the right "melancholy" (for me the F key is the best also for bossanova)I don't hear any such effect with #2. (WIth #1, I don't know the alice in chains song you mention; and it would take me too long to get familiar with it and try it in all those tunings...)

I mean, E, F and F# certainly feel different (on guitar), but I can't separate that from any other possible effect of the key (of the kind you mean).
Eg, if I tune down a half-step and play an E chord as an F-shape barre - it still feels like F to me, not E. My pitch memory might spot a difference, but the main difference is going to be the feel of the strings.

I also like F for bossanova - but again it's down to the feel of the chords. F seems like a "warm" key to me. Where E (say) is "cold". But I'm pretty sure that's all down to the nature of guitar in standard tuning. (Not positive, you understand - just pretty sure...)
At least, if I did perceive qualities that seem to come from the key itself, I would try and ignore them, because other aspects of music interest me more. I need to concentrate on relative pitch issues (and timbre, dynamics, etc), because those are what matter to the vast majority of people, as well as to me.
(Sorry to bring my views into this again!)

What do you think of ClashlandHands' descriptions of the different keys? Do they align with your associations?

luca19575
12-03-2008, 02:03 PM
i think nine56 and clashlandhands give good descriptions i use some different words for some of them (G is a little happy key , A is brilliant C is calm...)but we are telling the same thing
for the minor keys i say this: they have the same type of sound of their relative majors but with a minor feeling (thats why they are probably harder to describe)
well you dont know alice in chains unplugged,but sure you know some suzanne vega's song (i remember few,just Luka:p Gipsy and Night vision)
she uses the F#tuning now to notice what im talking its best if you play open chords (which is let the last two strings play open) so play the first part of Luka (capo in F# and fingers like E , B , A , B with the last two strings always open )
dont you hear that the last two strings give a feeling of... a child which is bright but is also a real pest and wonder around screaming and asking a lot of things to all the people ?
dont you have a capo? years ago i discovered this metal finger which was a blessing for me i used to broke al least 1 string a week now i have my acoustic guitar with the D tuning (which is my favourite cause its similar to a piano-type sound and also i never heard a piece with the guitar tuned in C# or low) i change the strings when they become old and i can play all the songs that i like (just adding the capo )and they sound "very" right

JonR
12-03-2008, 03:47 PM
well you dont know alice in chains unplugged,but sure you know some suzanne vega's song (i remember few,just Luka:p Gipsy and Night vision)
she uses the F#tuning now to notice what im talking its best if you play open chords (which is let the last two strings play open) so play the first part of Luka (capo in F# and fingers like E , B , A , B with the last two strings always open )
dont you hear that the last two strings give a feeling of... a child which is bright but is also a real pest and wonder around screaming and asking a lot of things to all the people ?Haha! Not in the slightest!
Of course, if I associate that sound with the song "Luka", then of course it will remind me of those ideas (I seem to remember the song is about child abuse). It's clearly nothing to do with the sound of those strings, and everything to do with the theme of the song - assuming only that song uses that unusual combination of sounds.
If I didnt know the song, then obviously I'd get no such associations. And I'd amazed if anyone else (not having heard Luka) did, however good or sensitive their absolute pitch.

I think you may be confusing special associative links with absolute key qualities (or perhaps misunderstanding what I'm asking).
No one's denying that we can learn associations with certain musical sounds. Those things don't come from the sounds themselves, but get attached to them.

There are two issues (seems to me):
1. How much are those associations culturally driven? (Eg, sounds like "pastoral", "funereal", "festive", "martial", etc. These can be communicated in non-absolute ways, eg, by tempo, dynamics, harmonies, etc., which we can all recognise, in any key.)
2. Do any of these associations arise from absolute pitch or key - independent of the above effects?
(Eg, ClashlandHands' descripton of D major as "carefree" - does D major always contribute a carefree quality, no matter what different qualities might be expressed in other aspects of the music?)

My opinion is that #1 is almost entirely culturally driven. (I think certain qualities of tempo or rhythm in music might be universal, if they communicate agitation or relaxation.)
But #2 is what I'm interested in here - given that this is a thread about perfect pitch.;)



dont you have a capo? years ago i discovered this metal finger which was a blessing for me i used to broke al least 1 string a week now i have my acoustic guitar with the D tuning (which is my favourite cause its similar to a piano-type sound and also i never heard a piece with the guitar tuned in C# or low) i change the strings when they become old and i can play all the songs that i like (just adding the capo )and they sound "very" rightCapos do make a difference, in that (for me) they clearly remove - or change - the key differences that are down to guitar tuning.
Eg, in standard tuning, playing in the key of Bb is quite a different experience from playing in the same key with a capo on fret 3; and capo on fret 1 makes it different again.
This obviously means I'm impervious to any "Bb-ness" of the key itself.

Yet again, the key of Bb with capo on 3 (using G major shapes) does sound different to the key of G major in open position (or say, using the same shapes, the key of Ab with capo on 1). IMO, these differences are down to pitch memory, and (just possibly) the resonant frequencies of the guitar (speaking of acoustic).

I'm not trying to deny anyone's experience (or honesty) here, just trying to narrow down the emotional associations we get from music to something that can ONLY come from the key itself, and NOT from anything else (harmonies, rhythms, dynamics, melodic phrasing, instrumentation, physical qualities of particular instruments (to the player), memories of particular songs, etc.).

I don't have absolute pitch, and I'm trying to get some idea of how that affects key perception in those that do have it.
However, I do recognise that people who have always had AP may be unable to differentiate in this way, because music is a whole experience. It must be hard sometimes to say if it's the key alone that has a specific effect, or if that effect is down to something else.

Blutwulf
12-03-2008, 04:04 PM
There are two issues (seems to me):
1. How much are those associations culturally driven? (Eg, sounds like "pastoral", "funereal", "festive", "martial", etc. These can be communicated in non-absolute ways, eg, by tempo, dynamics, harmonies, etc., which we can all recognise, in any key.)
2. Do any of these associations arise from absolute pitch or key - independent of the above effects?
(Eg, ClashlandHands' descripton of D major as "carefree" - does D major always contribute a carefree quality, no matter what different qualities might be expressed in other aspects of the music?)

1. Wholly, except for variety produced by individualized environment (...kid who grew up in war zone while nonstandard music played while his dad died, "I'll always get a shivver when I hear the theme from 'Brady Bunch,' it is so depressing," said Bob, etc.)
2. No.

...but then, you knew what I'd say. JonR, once again I must say that you are impeccably gentlemanly, and non-adversarial.

abminor
12-03-2008, 04:25 PM
1. Wholly, except for variety produced by individualized environment (...kid who grew up in war zone while nonstandard music played while his dad died, "I'll always get a shivver when I hear the theme from 'Brady Bunch,' it is so depressing," said Bob, etc.)
2. No.

...but then, you knew what I'd say. JonR, once again I must say that you are impeccably gentlemanly, and non-adversarial.

I must admit there have not been a single objective claim in all that key color stuff. I guess one way to check would be listening to few songs transposed in several tonalities and check that the associations formed are consistent from one song to another. Of course the tonality would be kept hidden until the end of the test so one would answer something like:

song1:
tonality 1:bright with a sweet lemon test (or whatever :-)
tonlity 2:mellow but not too much
song2:
tonality 1:mellow but not too much
tonlity 2:bright with a sweet lemon test (or whatever :-)

And then the tester would check the tested's answers with the tonalities of that he would obviously know.

Honestly I'm not sure the key color associations would be consistent even among a single song if put two times the same transposition spaced enough or if one takes the test again the next day.

I maybe able to do it tonight if you're interested but I fear people don't like to face the truth.

abminor
12-03-2008, 04:32 PM
I think I could prepare this test with famous tunes and add one more question:
Which extract seems to be in the original tonality?

JonR
12-03-2008, 04:43 PM
1. Wholly, except for variety produced by individualized environment (...kid who grew up in war zone while nonstandard music played while his dad died, "I'll always get a shivver when I hear the theme from 'Brady Bunch,' it is so depressing," said Bob, etc.)
2. No.

...but then, you knew what I'd say. JonR, once again I must say that you are impeccably gentlemanly, and non-adversarial.Glad - if slightly surprised - that you are still visiting this thread!

I know it's OT to this topic, but what about crude aspects of music such as differences between jerky or rapid repetive rhythms and slow smooth ones? Wouldn't they have similar meaning across culture? "Fast and jerky" might mean "happy" or "angry" or "frustrated" - but hard to imagine it meaning "melancholy" or "peaceful". Slow and smooth might mean "sad" or "beatific", but its unlikely to get people up and marching, wherever they come from.

That's all I meant by "almost" entirely culturally learned. (Once you get pitch and harmony, of course, it's wholly cultural as you say.)

Blutwulf
12-03-2008, 05:58 PM
I know it's OT to this topic, but what about crude aspects of music such as differences between jerky or rapid repetive rhythms and slow smooth ones? Wouldn't they have similar meaning across culture? "Fast and jerky" might mean "happy" or "angry" or "frustrated" - but hard to imagine it meaning "melancholy" or "peaceful". Slow and smooth might mean "sad" or "beatific", but its unlikely to get people up and marching, wherever they come from.Oh, sure, you're right there. At its root and origins, music-as-art is an abstracted imitation of nature. This is most easily seen in rhythyms, and the jerky or rapid repetition will evoke imagery related to some natural phenomena (rarely a pleasant one, regardless of culture), just as the slow and smooth will evoke imagery related to a pleasant experience (regardless of culture. So yeah, there are going to be a handful of cross-cultural elements that go back to antiquity, but even at that the compositional portion will utilize a cultural model to create this impression. It all started somewhere, and at the origins, we can find a few objective models. Volume and cacophony are good examples of replicating natural phenomena as well.

But key center and note name are utterly unrelated to any of this.

luca19575
12-04-2008, 12:36 PM
[QUOTE=JonR]Haha! Not in the slightest!
Of course, if I associate that sound with the song "Luka", then of course it will remind me of those ideas (I seem to remember the song is about child abuse). It's clearly nothing to do with the sound of those strings, and everything to do with the theme of the song - assuming only that song uses that unusual combination of sounds.
If I didnt know the song, then obviously I'd get no such associations. And I'd amazed if anyone else (not having heard Luka) did, however good or sensitive their absolute pitch.

luca19575
12-04-2008, 12:47 PM
JonR sure my english is not good but also you understand only what you want to understand
i dont say anything about sing the song or remember the song i just said focus on the feeling the last two strings played open give it to you when using the F# tuning
this is my last try to let you hear differences between pitches:
(if you think the capo change something dont use it) put your fingers like Em,Asus2 and C maj7 and play these chords (with the rithm you want) in D tuning,then in Eb tuning,then in E tuning,then in F tuning, then in F#tuning (if you have money to buy new strings you can also use G,Ab and A)and focus on the feeling the last two strings give to you each time
are they different or just sound the same? if they are different can you explain with your words the difference ?
A VERY IMPORTANT POINT : when do this imagine that you are 4 or 5 years old again

JonR
12-04-2008, 02:40 PM
JonR sure my english is not good but also you understand only what you want to understand
i dont say anything about sing the song or remember the song i just said focus on the feeling the last two strings played open give it to you when using the F# tuning
this is my last try to let you hear differences between pitches:Your English is very good, but perhaps I don't understand you. (I don't mean to offend in any case.)
I can certainly hear the difference between pitches. Some are higher, some or lower. In combination, pitches produce harmonies with different characters, or emotional meanings (depending mostly on previous associations).
These meanings are the same across keys. Eg, a Cmaj7 chord has the same sound (sort of melancholy) as a Dmaj7 or an Fmaj7.

(if you think the capo change something dont use it) put your fingers like Em,Asus2 and C maj7 and play these chords (with the rithm you want) in D tuning,then in Eb tuning,then in E tuning,then in F tuning, then in F#tuning (if you have money to buy new strings you can also use G,Ab and A)and focus on the feeling the last two strings give to you each time
are they different or just sound the same? if they are different can you explain with your words the difference ?You seem to be talking about the open top 2 strings (B and E) in the context of those 3 different chords, Em, Asus, Cmaj7. Is this what you mean? (In standard tuning.)

Yes, there are differences, which are down to relative pitch. Each chord has its own character, due to the combination of pitches. What specific emotion (if any) we assign to those differences is down to previous associations - although I think most people will get very similar ones (because we've all heard the same sort of music all our lives, roughly).

Those differences remain the same (one chord to another) in different keys.

But but this is quite a different sort of thing from what I was asking before. I was asking what characters (if any) people assigned to keys - not chords.
Eg, do you think Cmaj7 has an essentially different character from Dmaj7? (Use the same voicing, same shape - capo on 2 for Dmaj7). To me, Dmaj7 is merely higher in pitch; it "means" the same thing.

A VERY IMPORTANT POINT : when do this imagine that you are 4 or 5 years old againWhy? Do you mean approach it free of any prejudices and associations learned since that age? How can I possibly do that? Do you really think you can?
Why is that "important"? Surely the way we understand music now, as adults, is what matters?

ClashlandHands
12-05-2008, 06:48 AM
Maybe you're thinking of the 5ths - tuning to 5th and 7th fret harmonics (if that's what you're doing) is using pythagorean 5ths (3:2), not 4ths.

Yeah, of course. If the pyth 5th is larger than an ET 5th then the 4th must be smaller since it's the inversion. My mistake.

I've been using a slightly different tuning method:
7th fret harmonic of the A string to 5th fret harmonic of the E string, etc. for the first 4 strings. This is I think possibly a bit better than the open string because string inharmonicity is present in both tones, so therefore even less of a factor in the end tuning. Also, it's easier for me to compare tones one octave apart than two.

The real problems appear to occur when you get to the higher 3 strings, and especially high fretted high strings.

Oh, also instead of 7th fret harmonic, I've been using the 19th fret harmonic. This shouldn't make any difference though unless where I'm picking in relation to the antinode is affecting it. Should be the same so I'm going to call this factor negligible since 7th fret and 19th fret are 2 sides of the same coin.



Now, how do you tune the B string? If to the 7th fret harmonic of low E, that makes it 2 cents sharp of ET.
82.41 x 3 = 247.23, compared with the ET 246.94. (Still only 1/3 of a Hz difference.)
Okay, so that's not much of a problem...


The usual problem between G and B is the clash of the 5th harmonic (found at 4th fret on the G string, compared with 5th fret of the B).

YES! That's pretty bad, and that's interesting to learn how power chord culture got started.


But what do we have between our purely tuned G and B?
The new (flatter) G is 195.34. The new sharper B is 247.23.
This G-B is in fact a pure Pythagorean major 3rd (81:64),
I was thinking pythagorean thirds were 5:4, but I guess that was even earlier. From, appearances this would seem to be not a lot of difference: a ration of 80:64 vs. 81:64, but I guess with pitch perception this is really significant. So, you're saying that guitars are more likely to have key color than pianos because of the fretting? I mean, I've heard guitarists talk of "open" keys verses non-open keys. Except, that it's sort of an inconsistent key color. Each octave would be slightly different. This is starting to make me think that absolute pitch as we call it depends on a lot of things which we can actually take apart and name as elements. One being pitch memory, so comparison to what is stored. Another being "real time" comparisons. Maybe, these instrumental inconsistencies are key to developing it. Like, a saxophonist might be able to hear where it jumps range and judge pitches from that. Pianos also have range jumps from 1 to 2 to 3 strings, and there tend to be tuning issues with the keys around certain places in the plate where the dampers and hammars are trimmed and angled to fit around the plate.

Similarly, I think the associations with key color and the shadings of the music written for that key are kind of a chicken and the egg puzzle. So, to try and separate out key color alone might not be possible. If a composer has a feeling about a key implying a certain color, and then chooses that key for her piece, she's enhanced that impression for those who follow who in turn choose that key over another for a similar "temperament" and it snowballs from there. Still, I don't think it's merely a range issue. I don't think F sounds the way it does because it's a convenient range for tenors or G for sopranos. I think there are other factors, tradition or remnants of historical temperaments that make pianos and probably other instruments sound not quite as even as equal temperament.
Maybe it's the overtones themselves. That is, somehow we're hearing the true untempered overtone compared to the fundamentals of other tones in the scale, and that is why there is still key character. How does that math look? Or to put it another way, take key and simplify it to the root of the scale. Is the difference in ET pitch consistent for each tone in relation to C pythagorean, or does it fluctuate in how close a particular tone is to the pythagorean? That would definitely account for the effect I think is still present. C would be identical, and everything else would have varying differentials.

Stuart Isaacoff wrote an interesting book about this if anyone's interested called "Temperament." It could very easily be a bunch of boring math, but he tells a very compelling story of the battles of egos and cosmologies.

JonR
12-05-2008, 04:43 PM
I've been using a slightly different tuning method:
7th fret harmonic of the A string to 5th fret harmonic of the E string, etc. for the first 4 strings. This is I think possibly a bit better than the open string because string inharmonicity is present in both tones, so therefore even less of a factor in the end tuning. Also, it's easier for me to compare tones one octave apart than two.That's the same method I was talking about, if I understand you right.
Harmonics at 7th fret on A and 5th on E are unison, not octaves.

The real problems appear to occur when you get to the higher 3 strings, and especially high fretted high strings.Can you expand on that?


Oh, also instead of 7th fret harmonic, I've been using the 19th fret harmonic. This shouldn't make any difference though unless where I'm picking in relation to the antinode is affecting it. Should be the same so I'm going to call this factor negligible since 7th fret and 19th fret are 2 sides of the same coin.They are indeed the same thing (making the string vibrate in 3rds), so there is no difference (not even a negligible one), either in theory or practice.
Except the 19th fret is more impractical, if you are comparing with 5th fret on the string below. (Or you using 24th fret on string below?)


I was thinking pythagorean thirds were 5:4, but I guess that was even earlier.
From, appearances this would seem to be not a lot of difference: a ration of 80:64 vs. 81:64, but I guess with pitch perception this is really significant.It's definitely noticeable if you hear them together. The difference is 21 cents, which makes for beats at 4 Hz (4 per second) around middle C (fewer at lower pitches, more at high pitches).
80:64 (5:4) is 14 cents lower than ET, and 81:64 is 7 cents higher.
Even so, most people would not notice the difference in harmonies, unless distortion was being used (which enhances the problematic overtones).

So, you're saying that guitars are more likely to have key color than pianos because of the fretting? I mean, I've heard guitarists talk of "open" keys verses non-open keys. Except, that it's sort of an inconsistent key color. Each octave would be slightly different. This is starting to make me think that absolute pitch as we call it depends on a lot of things which we can actually take apart and name as elements. One being pitch memory, so comparison to what is stored. Another being "real time" comparisons.Absolute pitch is something else. We have to exclude factors such as instrumental inconsistencies, "real time" comparisons (which are relative pitch judgments), maybe even pitch memory, although that must play a part in AP. (Pitch memory is going to be coloured by other associations, and those associations need to be excluded.)

Someone with genuine AP hears (say) an F as F, regardless of instrument, or real time comparisons. They may not be an instrumentalist, singer, or musician at all (though obviously they will have some music education to enable them to name notes). They just "know" what the notes are.

However, when it comes to particular associations for each key (colours, characters, emotional meanings, etc.), I'm certain they are all down to learned associations. In equal temperament, all keys are equivalent, and none can have any meaning in itself different from any other.
Musicians, of course, will attach psychological associations to them, because of instrumental factors (difficulty of fingering, different intonation demands, etc), number of sharps or flats ("sharp" means "bright", "flat" means "dark" or "mellow"), particular pieces of music in those keys, song with lyrics which have personal impact, etc etc.
These are not objective facts (they vary from person to person), so are of no use or relevance in actually making music for other people.

Eg, I feel (if pushed for personal associations) E major is "dark", "cold", "strong", "metallic". I feel F major is "warm", "mellow", "sunny". That's totally down to me being a guitarist, and the way those keys (particularly their tonic chords) feel to play.
If I tune down a semitone, so an E shape produces an Eb chord and an F shape produces an E, those associations change. It's now Eb that feels "dark" etc, E that feels "warm".
(It's not an exact equivalence, due to the loosening of the strings and some residual pitch memory. An open E shape does feel different in either tuning - but it's still not down to any inherent difference between E and Eb that would apply to any instrument.)
I pay no attention to these associations when playing, because I know they are only in my imagination. I may well exploit the way the guitar produces audible differences in chord shapes that use open strings, compared to barre shapes. But these are guitar-specific factors, not key-specific factors.


Similarly, I think the associations with key color and the shadings of the music written for that key are kind of a chicken and the egg puzzle. So, to try and separate out key color alone might not be possible. If a composer has a feeling about a key implying a certain color, and then chooses that key for her piece, she's enhanced that impression for those who follow who in turn choose that key over another for a similar "temperament" and it snowballs from there. Precisely! In classical music, before equal temperament, some keys were more dissonant than others. Those effects might have been exploited by certain composers, choosing a specific key to enhance a specific mood in their music (which would have been mainly communicated by other means: harmony, melody, rhythm, timbre, etc). If that piece is successful and famous, that key is likely to retain that mood association, even after equal temperament.


Still, I don't think it's merely a range issue. I don't think F sounds the way it does because it's a convenient range for tenors or G for sopranos.Don't follow you here. F and G aren't "ranges". Any range or register covers every key.


I think there are other factors, tradition or remnants of historical temperaments that make pianos and probably other instruments sound not quite as even as equal temperament. :confused: But pianos are in equal temperament. How can they sound as if they are not? A properly tuned piano is how equal temperament sounds!. (Well, I guess inharmonicity may mess it up somewhat, but it's as near as any real instrument can get. Maybe organs are a better example? And I guess synths would be even better...)


Maybe it's the overtones themselves. That is, somehow we're hearing the true untempered overtone compared to the fundamentals of other tones in the scale, and that is why there is still key character. How does that math look?It's exactly the same from key to key. Every note in any key is the same amount out of tune (with overtones of the tonic) as every note in every other key.

Or to put it another way, take key and simplify it to the root of the scale. Is the difference in ET pitch consistent for each tone in relation to C pythagorean, or does it fluctuate in how close a particular tone is to the pythagorean?I don't know what you mean here.
The difference in ET pitch (relative to any note you like) is consistent across keys. That's the whole idea of ET.
The divergence of ET scale notes from the nearest "pure" note varies with scale degree of course; but it is the same for the same scale degree in each key.


That would definitely account for the effect I think is still present. C would be identical, and everything else would have varying differentials.Identical to what? Only pre-ET temperaments related everything to C. (Eg, meantone temperament). Keys close to C were more in tune, keys furthest from C were most out of tune.


Stuart Isaacoff wrote an interesting book about this if anyone's interested called "Temperament." It could very easily be a bunch of boring math, but he tells a very compelling story of the battles of egos and cosmologies.Sounds interesting. The history of temperament is certainly a complex one, with different forces and demands. There is NO ideal system, this is the point. There has to be compromise one way or the other. It's just a question of the kind of music you want to make. Do you want to play everything in C, G or F? Fine, you can have meantone temperament, and everything will sound fine and dandy. Just stay away from Db or B, maybe even Ab or E... :( Do you want to be able to play in any key (without retuning), even modulate freely in the same piece? Sorry, you can't have meantone, or any kind of just intonation, you need ET (assuming you have to use fixed pitch instruments like keyboards), and everything will be slightly out of tune. :(

ClashlandHands
12-05-2008, 09:40 PM
That's the same method I was talking about, if I understand you right.
Harmonics at 7th fret on A and 5th on E are unison, not octaves.
Oh, I just discovered the 5th fret harmonic. Sorry for my lack of guitar knowledge here. No, I've been tuning to 12th fret, so exactly 1/2 the string length, so that would be an octave lower. You're saying 5th fret is better? More string inharmonicity, but the advantage of a unison, so stronger beats?



Absolute pitch is something else. We have to exclude factors such as instrumental inconsistencies, "real time" comparisons (which are relative pitch judgments), maybe even pitch memory, although that must play a part in AP.


From a scientific standpoint. But, I'm saying from a musical standpoint, even AP is never totally divorced from cultural/historical/musical associations, and doesn't exist outside the vacuum of the audiologist's booth. If anything so called APers are even more associative than non-APers, picking up pitch associations in everyday life like a magnet with iron filings. Perhaps we should ask them if this is true? So, how are these factors to be removed in testing of people who demonstrate absolute pitch? AP is an agreed upon skill, that the more attempts to measure it in a controlled environment and separate out factors deemed "not absolute pitch" or cheating or whatever, the less it has to do with music. Or, is that the point? That it has nothing to do with music, and that relative pitch can be enhanced to the point that there is no perceivable difference between the two in a musical context. (Save the diva disaster. A better musician would have chosen to be "wrong" there, and gradually worked them back up to pitch if possible. I think you might have said that.) If RPers can pull an F out of thin air, then what is the difference? Going back to the science end of it, AP I guess would be a relative process comparing fluid level in the cochlea, and the aural input data with what's stored as memory. So, yes I'd say trying to separate out relative pitch memory, or avoid measuring it in general is sort of missing the point: absolute pitch memory is still relative.



However, when it comes to particular associations for each key (colours, characters, emotional meanings, etc.), I'm certain they are all down to learned associations. In equal temperament, all keys are equivalent, and none can have any meaning in itself different from any other.

I'm not certain it is entirely learned associations, but in part. I guess, I think that key color associations are as inseperable as you are from your great-grandfather, say. That there is this bloodline of associations that permeates all music that is a collection of not-only intrumental quirks of the human mechanical variety (what feels good on a particular instrument), but also of what's been done in the past in what key. Of course, this depends heavily on the recording processes, written music and otherwise. But, ignoring for the moment quantum probabilities, I don't think Beethoven would have written the same notes he did for his Moonlight Sonata if he had started in Dm instead of C#m. (I mean apart from the obvious transposition of all notes.) The question is then, who first sawed off the roast to fit it in the pan? Someone, long ago decided Eb minor was really dark on piano, and you are welcome to undecide this, but the musicians you play with, my piano tuner, the string section of the LSO or whoever, might not be as willing to go along. The effect would be, to me that sad songs written in E major by guitarists might sound more bittersweet than to the guitarist. That a piece can be written in whatever key you choose, and mean whatever you like it to mean, but perception of key color will be a somewhat unyielding shading of your composition. All of these are learned associations you might say, but at some point they also become sort of genetic too.



Don't follow you here. F and G aren't "ranges". Any range or register covers every key.
Bass clef and Treble clef. There is generally a range associated with a particular piece in a particular key. So, at a certain point a vocalist, say, decides to jump down the octave and have the melody be in that octave if that's the key he's doing the song in. Yes, it could be in any octave, but tradition and technique kind of force melodies transposed to a range. Just trying to figure out if associative key color is range dependent within the confines of a single octave where key and range are inseperable. The range would be, I guess 6 semi tones, or 1/2 an octave away + or - the starting point. With this theory, G would sound darker than Ab, Ab darker than A etc. Not key dependent, but pitch dependent.


:confused: But pianos are in equal temperament. How can they sound as if they are not? A properly tuned piano is how equal temperament sounds!
A scientifically tuned piano sounds like equal temperament. But, a properly tuned one IMHO hints at those historical temperaments of yore, and has key color. It's Desafinado, as you Bossa Novistas would say.



It's exactly the same from key to key. Every note in any key is the same amount out of tune (with overtones of the tonic) as every note in every other key.
This is what I thought at first too, that equal temperament compared to C-Pythagorean, if the ET fundamental is tempered, so then must be the partials. And, this is true, there is no difference with itself. But, here's the math:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pythagorean_temperament

On the chart, it shows the varing differences between equal tempered tones and pythagorean tones. Since, all plucked strings still vibrate with pythagorean partials, wouldn't this account for perception of key color in equal temperament. That is, Pythagoras, though imperfect is still and always will be a reference point by which we measure other temperaments, ET included, unless we're comparing sine waves*. So, you're strumming along and you have open strings, and you have fretted strings, and the sound of F major that you hear (ET), is in relation to the open strings (Pythagoras). Or for me, the sound of all key signatures' color, or really all individual key's tempered color is in relation to the one untempered key, hopefully C, though as you note it could be any key.

Further, if the relationships between ET partials to concordant fundamentals is where key color comes into play, and pianos have a ginormous range, maybe this is why it's more obvious to piano players? Also, if harmonic content is dumped, the closer a particular instrument's sound is to a sine wave, maybe the less apparant key color is? So, Eb on a clarinet will sound more like G or D on a clarinet than Eb on guitar will sound like G or D on guitar because of the richer harmonic content in the guitar.

I think this shows that key color is not at all universal, but does still exist in equal temperament, and that those of us who think we still hear it are not crazy as I was beginning to think we were! :eek: :)

JonR
12-06-2008, 11:36 AM
Oh, I just discovered the 5th fret harmonic. Sorry for my lack of guitar knowledge here. No, I've been tuning to 12th fret, so exactly 1/2 the string length, so that would be an octave lower. You're saying 5th fret is better? More string inharmonicity, but the advantage of a unison, so stronger beats?I don't know about more inharmonicity, but the main advantage (other than the unison) is that you don't have to move your hand - you can place one finger over fret 5 and the other over fret 7. ;)

AP is never totally divorced from cultural/historical/musical associations, and doesn't exist outside the vacuum of the audiologist's booth. If anything so called APers are even more associative than non-APers, picking up pitch associations in everyday life like a magnet with iron filings. Perhaps we should ask them if this is true?I'm sure it is.

So, how are these factors to be removed in testing of people who demonstrate absolute pitch?You wouldn't actually "remove" them, but you can easily test for them. Identifying a pitch or key - saying what it is - is quite a different thing from saying what characteristics it has - saying what it is like.
You can check how many people can spot a Bb (say) - the AP-ers - and then ask them questions about what kind of sound it is, what kind of mood does that key represent?
That would test how universal such associations are.

AP is an agreed upon skill, that the more attempts to measure it in a controlled environment and separate out factors deemed "not absolute pitch" or cheating or whatever, the less it has to do with music. Or, is that the point? That it has nothing to do with music, and that relative pitch can be enhanced to the point that there is no perceivable difference between the two in a musical context. (Save the diva disaster. A better musician would have chosen to be "wrong" there, and gradually worked them back up to pitch if possible. I think you might have said that.) If RPers can pull an F out of thin air, then what is the difference? Going back to the science end of it, AP I guess would be a relative process comparing fluid level in the cochlea, and the aural input data with what's stored as memory. So, yes I'd say trying to separate out relative pitch memory, or avoid measuring it in general is sort of missing the point: absolute pitch memory is still relative.Relative to an internal "map" in the brain, yes.
The question is whether everyone has such a map - it just doesn't have the detailed features on it that an AP person's has - or whether non-AP-ers have no map at all.
My view is the former: we all have the map. We just don't have the place names entered on it! (We know the scale and approximate distances - we can measure RP from it - but the map is too blurred to identify exact positions, and we don't generally know where we're measuring from. IOW, it's like a map with a mileage scale (for RP), but no latitude or longitude. AP-ers have lat and long marked! Or maybe we can see all the towns on it, just as they can; they just all look the same, they don't have their names marked.)


I'm not certain it is entirely learned associations, but in part. I guess, I think that key color associations are as inseperable as you are from your great-grandfather, say. That there is this bloodline of associations that permeates all music that is a collection of not-only intrumental quirks of the human mechanical variety (what feels good on a particular instrument), but also of what's been done in the past in what key. Of course, this depends heavily on the recording processes, written music and otherwise. But, ignoring for the moment quantum probabilities, I don't think Beethoven would have written the same notes he did for his Moonlight Sonata if he had started in Dm instead of C#m. (I mean apart from the obvious transposition of all notes.) The question is then, who first sawed off the roast to fit it in the pan? Someone, long ago decided Eb minor was really dark on piano, and you are welcome to undecide this, but the musicians you play with, my piano tuner, the string section of the LSO or whoever, might not be as willing to go along. The effect would be, to me that sad songs written in E major by guitarists might sound more bittersweet than to the guitarist. That a piece can be written in whatever key you choose, and mean whatever you like it to mean, but perception of key color will be a somewhat unyielding shading of your composition. All of these are learned associations you might say, but at some point they also become sort of genetic too. Well, it's culturally inherited, not genetically inherited. The distinction is important.

You're right about the process, IMO.
An AP composer like Beethoven (it's not certain he had it, but it seems probable) decides to write a mood piece, later known as "Moonlight Sonata" - in fact it was dedicated to a woman he was supposedly in love with, the moonlight appelation was a critic's.
For reasons of his own (which we can only guess) he chooses C# minor. (Maybe he thought it was a romantic key, maybe an erotic one, who knows... maybe he just liked the feel of the keys...)
He applies his melodic, harmonic, rhythmic and dynamic skills to convey that mood in the composition. (He doesn't rely on its "C#-minorness".)

That composition then becomes famous, as an example of that particular mood. Later listeners (with AP) who are familiar with it will then (presumably) come to associate C# minor with that mood. So if they want to write a similar piece, they may choose the same key, and so - assuming their composition becomes well-known - they will thereby underline the association.

What matters here, of course, is that single pieces like this, with identifiable moods, DO become well-known across generations.
Even so, it's only AP people that can reliably pass on this information. RP people do (apparently) have some kind of pitch memory, but it may not relate to mood. Eg, if they heard moonlight sonata in D minor, they might recognise something "different", but wouldn't necessarily say the mood was spoiled. After all, all of Beethoven's compositional skills remain.
People not familiar with the piece - even AP people - would certainly not feel D minor was "wrong". How could they?


Bass clef and Treble clef.Ah, OK!

There is generally a range associated with a particular piece in a particular key. So, at a certain point a vocalist, say, decides to jump down the octave and have the melody be in that octave if that's the key he's doing the song in. Yes, it could be in any octave, but tradition and technique kind of force melodies transposed to a range. Just trying to figure out if associative key color is range dependent within the confines of a single octave where key and range are inseperable. The range would be, I guess 6 semi tones, or 1/2 an octave away + or - the starting point. With this theory, G would sound darker than Ab, Ab darker than A etc. Not key dependent, but pitch dependent.Well, "G darker than Ab" is relative pitch.
IMO, with singers, the "instrumental factors" are particularly important. I'm always surprised more singers don't have AP.
Eg, I'm totally untrained as a singer - I can barely pitch reliably using RP! - and, as I've said before, I don't have AP at all. But even I can feel how different pitches resonate differently in chest, throat or head.
I don't have the detailed "map" (see above) - it's more like a smooth continuum, a one-dimensional ruler, but with no markings on it. I know the bottom of my range is roughly E, so I can work out other notes with RP, to some extent. This enables me to guess keys, often within a whole step. (Some rudimentary - and unconscious - pitch memory may also play a part. I often hear a single note - say on a piano - and think immediately - "hey, that's the opening of [whatever]!" - even if that opening wasn't on piano.)

[response continues below...]

JonR
12-06-2008, 11:59 AM
A scientifically tuned piano sounds like equal temperament. But, a properly tuned one IMHO hints at those historical temperaments of yore, and has key color.OK, by "properly tuned", I guess you mean not in ET? (It's either in or it isn't).
I think we need input from a piano tuner here. How often are pianos tuned to some other temperament? (say, well-temperament, or meantone, based presumably on C major?) How often do pianists ask for such a tuning? I would think most would ask for their money back if some keys had different colours from others.


This is what I thought at first too, that equal temperament compared to C-Pythagorean, if the ET fundamental is tempered, so then must be the partials. And, this is true, there is no difference with itself. But, here's the math:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pythagorean_temperament

On the chart, it shows the varing differences between equal tempered tones and pythagorean tones. Since, all plucked strings still vibrate with pythagorean partials, wouldn't this account for perception of key color in equal temperament.No - because ET is not Pythagorean!
In ET, every key is out of tune with itself (compared to pythagorean "purity") by the same amount. Every key is internally the same, and each key relates to every other key the same way. That's the whole point of it, as I've said.

So, you're strumming along and you have open strings, and you have fretted strings, and the sound of F major that you hear (ET), is in relation to the open strings (Pythagoras).No. Open strings and fretted notes all have the same relationship in that respect.
There ARE differences between open strings and fretted notes, which all guitarists are aware of - and which make guitarists tend to assign different key characters - but they are due to other factors. It's not related to key in an absolute sense, however, because if you tune the strings differently, the open-fretted differences then affect different keys. (Tune down a whole step, then D major feels the way E used to feel. Only pitch memory and string tension will make a difference.)
Frets are set to ET, of course, but guitarists with sensitive ears can move fretted notes sharp or (with more difficulty) flat of ET to achieve more pure intonation if they want. Few bother.
Again, this has no impact on key character (would have the same impact on any key).

Or for me, the sound of all key signatures' color, or really all individual key's tempered color is in relation to the one untempered key, hopefully C, though as you note it could be any key."Hopefully untempered" - I see where you're coming from! ;)
If C is regarded as the reference, tuned more pure ("untempered"), then you probably have something like well temperament or meantone temperament. Other keys will clearly have individual characters in that case (at least, more out of tune the further they get from C).


Further, if the relationships between ET partials to concordant fundamentalsThis is a bit confusing, because there are no such things as "ET partials". You can't temper overtones! You mean partials of ET tones?
As I say - in any case - every key will have the same relationships... unless of course, you have a piano in non-equal temperament!

Also, if harmonic content is dumped, the closer a particular instrument's sound is to a sine wave, maybe the less apparant key color is? So, Eb on a clarinet will sound more like G or D on a clarinet than Eb on guitar will sound like G or D on guitar because of the richer harmonic content in the guitar.Harmonic content may well have a role in AP perception, I'm not sure of the research there. (Eg, whether AP-ers find sine waves harder to identify than musical tones - I think there is some difference, and they find musical tones easier, but not by much.)


I think this shows that key color is not at all universal, but does still exist in equal temperament, and that those of us who think we still hear it are not crazy as I was beginning to think we were! :eek: :)You're certainly not crazy if you are referring to a piano which is tuned to make C major more pure than other keys.
Otherwise, it cannot exist in ET - except via instrumental factors. (You would still not be crazy - you are just affected by the instrument you play.)
Eg, all the differences I mentioned perceiving on guitar are down to physical aspects of the instrument and playing techniques. They are unique to guitar tuned in standard (EADGBE). If I tune differently - or play on a piano - the characters of the keys change.

We seem to be talking round in circles here! IMO, the main points are:

1. In ET, every key is identical in character. Until you play it on an instrument (or sing it).

2. When you sing or play, certain keys may feel easier than others. On an instrument, in addition, certain keys will look different, and require different fingering techniques. (Let's assume for this argument the instrument is set to ET.) These differences are not necessarily mood-based, they don't necessarily have an emotional character or meaning. They vary from instrument to instrument, but players of the same instrument will probably agree on any perceived characteristics of a particular key.

3. A well-known piece of music, with a clearly understood mood or meaning, may over time cause that mood to be assigned to whatever key it was always performed and heard in. AP listeners will pick up on this; non-AP listeners will not. (Only RP-based mood effects are accessible to them, which include major-minor mood differences, as well as all the other mood-inducing factors of music.)
Musicians, however, will pick up on it, whether AP or not, if they perform it themselves. The key may become an essential part of the character of the piece, to them, even if it is not in absolute terms.

4. Different people may get different associations, according to different personal experiences - these would be independent of the mood or meaning assigned to the piece by most uninvolved listeners. Eg, one particular song may get associated with a traumatic life event or period, which imparts its feeling to all aspects of that song - which will include the key, if the person has AP.

Any disagreement with any of that, or anything you want to add?

ClashlandHands
12-08-2008, 12:14 AM
LOL, I think we've pretty much beaten this horse! I think you summed it up well, so I'll sum up too in case for some reason we're not saying exactly the same thing:

Perception of key color in equal-temperament is likely a product of: A. The look and feel of a key on an instrument. B. a culturally-specific, musically genetic lineage of compositions attaching themselves to keys/modes giving keys/modes "associative key color". C. Variance from true equal-temperament. D. Range. E. Timbre,

but can't be chalked up to any other scientifically explainable cause that we can think of right now.

ClashlandHands
12-10-2008, 11:13 AM
I just thought of another reason why pianists might experience key color. What if white keys and black keys detune at slightly different rates. I mean, it seems really far fetched, but maybe the shorter action of black keys or the fact that white key signatures fall under the hand better than black keys means that the white ones just get played more often. 58.3% of keys are white but only 41.7% of keys are black.

JonR
12-10-2008, 11:41 AM
I just thought of another reason why pianists might experience key color. What if white keys and black keys detune at slightly different rates. I mean, it seems really far fetched, but maybe the shorter action of black keys or the fact that white key signatures fall under the hand better than black keys means that the white ones just get played more often. 58.3% of keys are white but only 41.7% of keys are black.Hey, we're posting to two parallel threads at the same time! :rolleyes:
Sooner or later, they're going to merge, and there'll be some kind of nuclear explosion... :eek: :D

Those are of course pianistic factors. It's seems pretty obvious that pianists will develop psychological associations with keys (tonal) due to their arrangements of keys (white/black levers).

This is important and interesting, but doesn't get us very far (in the context of this thread). It's not related to perfect pitch, as its governed by physical factors, not aural ones.

Chordy_Ordy25
02-19-2010, 05:35 PM
I think it is possible to learn perfect pitch; it has a lot to do with personal organization and motivation. You got to organize yourself, work at least 10-15 minutes of perfect pitch practice time daily into your practice routine and really want to learn it and believe that you can do it, and relax. You don't even need to buy any special program. *I've been training for perfect pitch since about Dec. 11th 2009, and today I can honestly say that I have come a long way in what I'm able to hear. I can recognizing & distinguish between all the pitches universally with about 95-99% accuracy, I can tell when my guitar strings are between tones, and am starting to identify the keys of songs I hear. My singing voice has also improved, and I feel more comfortable singing a Capella; it's like I'm more cognizant of the way I'm sounding each pitch, even though it's not really a conscious effort, it just feels different. However, I am limited in that I can only recognize a few individual notes like D & Eb in real time music, and the only note I can really sing at will w/o reference is D. I'm also slow and diliberate with chords (b/c I seldom practice them, lol) But I believe that in time, I'll be able to master theses deficiencies, and sharpen my skills. To do thus I'm going to concentrate on 2- 3 notes at a time for a while, since up until now, I've been working with all 12 simultaneously. The progress I have*
made so far has definately had a positive, meaningful impact on my musical and personal life. I'm more relaxed, more creative, and more optimistic. It's like when I sit down to my keyboard or acoustic to compose, I'm not afraid to make mistakes, and I don't judge anymore whether sonething is good or bad. I just sit down and let my fingers move spontaneously, intuitively, and naturally. I've come up with some really nice, original material as a result. It's like I'm more emotionally acute, and my musical expression is more free and forthcoming and I feel more alive. I feel like *a little girl again at 25. It's great and I'm definately glad I put in the time and effort for perfect pitch and plan to continue to do so. I challenge and encourage all you who want absolute pitch to do the same.

Here is some advice to get you started if you haven't done so. Get organized, set up a schedule & stick to it. I would also suggest you make a journal of your pitch sessions, but this is optional. Try to practice first thing in the morning and/or just before bed when the mind is most clear and/or receptive to learning/remembering. Feel it out, experiment with different exercises and see what you feel comfortable with. Relax & have fun taking things in.*Do not practice while stressed; approach practice in a relaxed frame of mind, and set aside fear, expectation and critical analysis. Relax and let the pitches do the work of opening themselves up to you and leaving an impression on your mind. Might help to close your eyes. That's really all you have to do. Gaining a perception or impression of each pitch is key, but in order to do that, you have to let each one tell you about itself. Be patient! Hope that helps : ). * **

jimc8p
02-19-2010, 05:57 PM
I think it is possible to learn perfect pitch; it has a lot to do with personal organization and motivation. You got to organize yourself, work at least 10-15 minutes of perfect pitch practice time daily into your practice routine and really want to learn it and believe that you can do it, and relax. You don't even need to buy any special program. *I've been training for perfect pitch since about Dec. 11th 2009, and today I can honestly say that I have come a long way in what I'm able to hear. I can recognizing & distinguish between all the pitches universally with about 95-99% accuracy, I can tell when my guitar strings are between tones, and am starting to identify the keys of songs I hear. My singing voice has also improved, and I feel more comfortable singing a Capella; it's like I'm more cognizant of the way I'm sounding each pitch, even though it's not really a conscious effort, it just feels different. However, I am limited in that I can only recognize a few individual notes like D & Eb in real time music, and the only note I can really sing at will w/o reference is D. I'm also slow and diliberate with chords (b/c I seldom practice them, lol) But I believe that in time, I'll be able to master theses deficiencies, and sharpen my skills. To do thus I'm going to concentrate on 2- 3 notes at a time for a while, since up until now, I've been working with all 12 simultaneously. The progress I have*
made so far has definately had a positive, meaningful impact on my musical and personal life. I'm more relaxed, more creative, and more optimistic. It's like when I sit down to my keyboard or acoustic to compose, I'm not afraid to make mistakes, and I don't judge anymore whether sonething is good or bad. I just sit down and let my fingers move spontaneously, intuitively, and naturally. I've come up with some really nice, original material as a result. It's like I'm more emotionally acute, and my musical expression is more free and forthcoming and I feel more alive. I feel like *a little girl again at 25. It's great and I'm definately glad I put in the time and effort for perfect pitch and plan to continue to do so. I challenge and encourage all you who want absolute pitch to do the same.

Here is some advice to get you started if you haven't done so. Get organized, set up a schedule & stick to it. I would also suggest you make a journal of your pitch sessions, but this is optional. Try to practice first thing in the morning and/or just before bed when the mind is most clear and/or receptive to learning/remembering. Feel it out, experiment with different exercises and see what you feel comfortable with. Relax & have fun taking things in.*Do not practice while stressed; approach practice in a relaxed frame of mind, and set aside fear, expectation and critical analysis. Relax and let the pitches do the work of opening themselves up to you and leaving an impression on your mind. Might help to close your eyes. That's really all you have to do. Gaining a perception or impression of each pitch is key, but in order to do that, you have to let each one tell you about itself. Be patient! Hope that helps : ). * **
Do you mind me asking what made you want it so bad?

Chordy_Ordy25
02-19-2010, 07:31 PM
Do you mind me asking what made you want it so bad?

To be honest, I have been using relative pitch for years and wanted to shake things up, and try to challenge myself to learn something new and maybe enjoy a different experience in music. All the literature I've read that claims perfect pitch is impossible to acquire really kinda gave me that extra push to give it a try and see what would happen. So far, I'm pleased with the results of my few minutes of effort everyday. Perfect pitch is a fun, amazing experience, and I feel I'm improving everyday.

fingerpikingood
02-19-2010, 09:58 PM
perfect pitch is technically a birth given ability. just like the ability to see colors. you can compare it like this. every color is a pitch. relative pitch people see in gray scale. people with perfect pitch can see the colors.

if you practice, you can get really good at identifying different shades of gray in an absolute sense. but this is not perfect pitch. perfect pitch technically is effortless, just like seeing colors is effortless.

if yo uwork at it, you are develop a technique that simulates perfect pitch. now in semantics terminology wise, maybe there is no word to make the distinction. you coudl say either way both things are perfect pitch. but both things are quite different in reality.

but really, spending time acquiring the ability to simulate perfect pitch, to me, is not very valuable musically. it will basically allow you to tune your guitar without a reference. that's pretty much it.

the birth given ability though, might be interesting to possess. i don't know, i've never possessed it.

but if you're talking about different keys having different moods, then this is innate perfect pitch. not the developped faking of it. and these moods should have been present even before you ever started practicing anything.

if not, then this sounds to me something like a placebo effect.

Chordy_Ordy25
02-20-2010, 01:58 AM
perfect pitch is technically a birth given ability. just like the ability to see colors. you can compare it like this. every color is a pitch. relative pitch people see in gray scale. people with perfect pitch can see the colors.

if you practice, you can get really good at identifying different shades of gray in an absolute sense. but this is not perfect pitch. perfect pitch technically is effortless, just like seeing colors is effortless.

if yo uwork at it, you are develop a technique that simulates perfect pitch. now in semantics terminology wise, maybe there is no word to make the distinction. you coudl say either way both things are perfect pitch. but both things are quite different in reality.

but really, spending time acquiring the ability to simulate perfect pitch, to me, is not very valuable musically. it will basically allow you to tune your guitar without a reference. that's pretty much it.

the birth given ability though, might be interesting to possess. i don't know, i've never possessed it.

but if you're talking about different keys having different moods, then this is innate perfect pitch. not the developped faking of it. and these moods should have been present even before you ever started practicing anything.

if not, then this sounds to me something like a placebo effect.

I understand where you're coming from with the literature, but to me, the experience is very real. The universal recognition of pitches I now have I would consider very easy, even totally effortless for some notes. While it's true that I can only recognize a few of the pitches effortlessly in real time music, about 2 weeks ago I couldn't recognize any in real time, even with effort. I am also just recently noticing that the keys have different feels to them. So something must be clicking. Whether or not I continue to improve remains to be seen. Anyway, for the last 12/13 years I have been merely playing back/admioring other artists' work. I was one of those who had a really keen sense of "natural", untrained relative pitch who could just hear a song and play it back on key straight away upon hearing it with little to no hunting around. I rarely practiced and thought I already knew everything (shame, shame). But to tell you the truth, I felt my talents were insignificant because I wasn't creative and felt little desire to compose. Most of the time I felt totally incapable of it. The only time I did write was when I had a specific idea, and those were few and far between. But now, about 2 months into my AP training, I definately feel more creative/spontaneous/original. I feel like my talents have been enhanced. For the first time, I feel like a songwriter. It's awesome! It's like a turning point for me, and I really did not expect to get this through the training. And I really wasn't sure I was gonna be able to experience any type of absoulte pitch at all, but I was willing to believe in myself and give it a shot. And I'm glad I did because it has proven musically significant for me. I feel like a whole world has been opened to me. It's fun to be able to experience the differences in the pitches and keys. It feels like gradually more and more of my senses/ perception are being involved in the enjoyment of creating and listening to music. The experience does feel a little like deysavu (probably misspelled this, lol), like I heard this way before. Maybe I had it when I was a kid. or Maybe I always had a bit of a subconsious absolute pitch ability. Who knows? Even if I don't have, or never aquire full-blown "real" absoulte pitch, this "placebo" is giving me a larger dose of musical satisfaction with each passing week. I think I might be addicted, lol.

fingerpikingood
02-20-2010, 04:30 AM
I understand where you're coming from with the literature, but to me, the experience is very real. The universal recognition of pitches I now have I would consider very easy, even totally effortless for some notes. While it's true that I can only recognize a few of the pitches effortlessly in real time music, about 2 weeks ago I couldn't recognize any in real time, even with effort. I am also just recently noticing that the keys have different feels to them. So something must be clicking. Whether or not I continue to improve remains to be seen. Anyway, for the last 12/13 years I have been merely playing back/admioring other artists' work. I was one of those who had a really keen sense of "natural", untrained relative pitch who could just hear a song and play it back on key straight away upon hearing it with little to no hunting around. I rarely practiced and thought I already knew everything (shame, shame). But to tell you the truth, I felt my talents were insignificant because I wasn't creative and felt little desire to compose. Most of the time I felt totally incapable of it. The only time I did write was when I had a specific idea, and those were few and far between. But now, about 2 months into my AP training, I definately feel more creative/spontaneous/original. I feel like my talents have been enhanced. For the first time, I feel like a songwriter. It's awesome! It's like a turning point for me, and I really did not expect to get this through the training. And I really wasn't sure I was gonna be able to experience any type of absoulte pitch at all, but I was willing to believe in myself and give it a shot. And I'm glad I did because it has proven musically significant for me. I feel like a whole world has been opened to me. It's fun to be able to experience the differences in the pitches and keys. It feels like gradually more and more of my senses/ perception are being involved in the enjoyment of creating and listening to music. The experience does feel a little like deysavu (probably misspelled this, lol), like I heard this way before. Maybe I had it when I was a kid. or Maybe I always had a bit of a subconsious absolute pitch ability. Who knows? Even if I don't have, or never aquire full-blown "real" absoulte pitch, this "placebo" is giving me a larger dose of musical satisfaction with each passing week. I think I might be addicted, lol.

well if it's working for you then that's what matters really, but it's also possible that in your case you always had perfect pitch but never named all the notes. and the work you're putting in in naming them, is helping you organize and recognize them, and this is giving you your new dimension.

it may even be the perfect pitch avility that helped you ear out tunes easily, maybe relative pitch also, but for example if you never name cars, the world of cars might seem infinitely complex such a huge variety, but once you start naming them and paying attention to their names that world gets much smaller and they get much easier to recognize right away. this might be what is happening to you. you always had the innate ability for perfect pitch but you just never named the notes. without naming them, and comparing them say to the same note in another octave it might have been alot more confusing to you, and naming them is helping you more easily recognize them.

idk, how someone with perfect distinguishes octaves. maybe they seem a little different, or kind of linked, similar in a way, or maybe clearly exactly the same in most ways. idk. i can't really speculate on what perfect pitch is like. but i don't think that the fact effort and practice is helping you recognize notes is any evidence against the fact you have the innate talent for perfect pitch, and in fact i think your progress is evidence you do have it. and if this is the case, it really wouldn't surprise me if assimilating this sense you have and making sense of that data you're getting would help you musically. in fact i would think it almost necessary. particularly if you have relative pitch also. i mean making sense by ear of music is not an easy feat on its own. but when a major chord is different if played on D or on E, compounded into sounding different in degree within a key, and that different within modes, it's an extra level of complexity which multiplies the complexity.

I still think that those moods should have been present before you started practicing them though. but the difference is, you might not have known it, because you didn't know whether you should ascribe a given mood to the mode, or the tempo, or the instruments, or the chords, or the key either, even if you didn't know all these parts of theory either, you could only know a tune moved you in some way, maybe not exactly why. now you are learning why. not until you start isolating variables do you realize what portion of the mood you were getting from a tune came from the key, and not the tempo, or whatnot. this is why i think music might be making more sense to you. you are organizing music. isolating variables, finding the "definition" of things.

music theory is just the naming of stuff. imo nothing more. it can be kind of more, people use it to do more, but this is not what theory is to me. now your music theory is doing this organization, for you organization from naming. naming is very powerful. had we not simply named 1, 2, 3, where would we be now? and yet 1, 2, 3, was always visible and distinguishable to humans. you are recognizing what things are responsible for what effects, and that way you are learning to command them to achieve the effects you desire. for you though, i think it's a little different than for others because this must include isolating the perfect pitch variable. whereas for most others, we can just ignore that part because it makes no difference.

so i don't think you are creating an ability with your practicing, but simply making sense of one you already have.

mcharis
02-20-2010, 04:30 AM
ok, i have learn AP! after one year i learned AP.
whoever says that it is not possible, is wrong!








I understand where you're coming from with the literature, but to me, the experience is very real. The universal recognition of pitches I now have I would consider very easy, even totally effortless for some notes. While it's true that I can only recognize a few of the pitches effortlessly in real time music, about 2 weeks ago I couldn't recognize any in real time, even with effort. I am also just recently noticing that the keys have different feels to them. So something must be clicking. Whether or not I continue to improve remains to be seen. Anyway, for the last 12/13 years I have been merely playing back/admioring other artists' work. I was one of those who had a really keen sense of "natural", untrained relative pitch who could just hear a song and play it back on key straight away upon hearing it with little to no hunting around. I rarely practiced and thought I already knew everything (shame, shame). But to tell you the truth, I felt my talents were insignificant because I wasn't creative and felt little desire to compose. Most of the time I felt totally incapable of it. The only time I did write was when I had a specific idea, and those were few and far between. But now, about 2 months into my AP training, I definately feel more creative/spontaneous/original. I feel like my talents have been enhanced. For the first time, I feel like a songwriter. It's awesome! It's like a turning point for me, and I really did not expect to get this through the training. And I really wasn't sure I was gonna be able to experience any type of absoulte pitch at all, but I was willing to believe in myself and give it a shot. And I'm glad I did because it has proven musically significant for me. I feel like a whole world has been opened to me. It's fun to be able to experience the differences in the pitches and keys. It feels like gradually more and more of my senses/ perception are being involved in the enjoyment of creating and listening to music. The experience does feel a little like deysavu (probably misspelled this, lol), like I heard this way before. Maybe I had it when I was a kid. or Maybe I always had a bit of a subconsious absolute pitch ability. Who knows? Even if I don't have, or never aquire full-blown "real" absoulte pitch, this "placebo" is giving me a larger dose of musical satisfaction with each passing week. I think I might be addicted, lol.

JonR
02-20-2010, 12:35 PM
perfect pitch is technically a birth given ability.Can you cite evidence? Links to research?
Or at least expand on your view?
Do only a few people have it at birth?
Do we all have it at birth, but most of us lose it in childhood?
Do they (or we) have it fully formed at birth, or is a capacity that develops later - that requires an environmental stimulus to kick-start it? (IOW, do nature and nurture have to work together, or it doesn't happen?)

Or this just a belief based on common sense? ;) (It looks like some people must have been born with it, so they were?)


just like the ability to see colors. you can compare it like this. every color is a pitch. relative pitch people see in gray scale. people with perfect pitch can see the colors.
if you practice, you can get really good at identifying different shades of gray in an absolute sense. but this is not perfect pitch. perfect pitch technically is effortless, just like seeing colors is effortless.

if you work at it, you are develop a technique that simulates perfect pitch. now in semantics terminology wise, maybe there is no word to make the distinction. you coudl say either way both things are perfect pitch. but both things are quite different in reality."Perfect pitch" has to mean the ability to identify a given pitch with no other reference. It should make little difference whether you learn to do that, or whether you already have the ability.
I do agree (based on the experiences of other people I've read) that there is a difference between the learned and the "natural" skill. But if the end result (identification of pitch) is the same - if both types of subject score the same in tests - then does it matter how they do it, or what it feels like?


but really, spending time acquiring the ability to simulate perfect pitch, to me, is not very valuable musically. it will basically allow you to tune your guitar without a reference. that's pretty much it.I absolutely agree here. If, as an adult or teenager, you don't have it already (whether it was inborn or learned in childhood makes little difference, except to a scientist ;) ), then its minimal advantages are not worth the effort involved in learning it. For a musician, time is better spent on other kinds of training.


the birth given ability though, might be interesting to possess. i don't know, i've never possessed it.

but if you're talking about different keys having different moods, then this is innate perfect pitch.You would need to have PP to distinguish the keys of course - and whether that's "innate" (in whole or in part) is debatable, as I say.
Attaching mood qualities to different keys would be a totally learned process, assuming we are always listening to music in equal temperament.

It would be a similar process to synaesthesia, where associations with specific sounds are learned. So to some people, the key of G may be "yellow" - because, say, (having PP) a favourite record of their childhood might have had a yellow label, and been in G.
(I personally associate the key of A major with red, but I don't know why. I don't have PP, so don't recognise that key or see red when I hear it. But it feels that way when I play it. Not strongly by any means. It may just be that I like red and I like the key of A major!)

In the days before equal temperament, you would not have needed PP to distinguish different keys: good relative pitch would have been enough, because the intervals in different keys would have been subtly different, giving them a genuinely different character. (Though the moods attached to each one would still have been largely subjective, learned by specific associations.)

Crossroads
02-20-2010, 02:07 PM
To be honest, I have been using relative pitch for years and wanted to shake things up, and try to challenge myself to learn something new and maybe enjoy a different experience in music.

Well everyone uses RP all the time ... that's how any listener can appreciate any kind of variation in music ... otherwise everything would sound exactly the same. So even the most disinterested listener uses RP whether they like it or not ... that's just called "hearing".

As musicians most of us listen more intently to what we are trying to play, and thereby perhaps develop more acute recognition of relative pitch differences. You could practice that if you want. But that's a different matter.


All the literature I've read that claims perfect pitch is impossible to acquire really kinda gave me that extra push to give it a try and see what would happen. So far, I'm pleased with the results of my few minutes of effort everyday. Perfect pitch is a fun, amazing experience, and I feel I'm improving everyday.

I had the opposite impression from all these PP threads - people who are interested in PP and who buy the courses seem to think they do gain PP, so obviously they are not saying it's impossible.

What use it is, and why it would be a good use of the musicians valuable practice time (when there is more than enough essential stuff for them to practice anyway), I am far less sure.

Ian.

Chordy_Ordy25
02-20-2010, 02:45 PM
well if it's working for you then that's what matters really, but it's also possible that in your case you always had perfect pitch but never named all the notes. and the work you're putting in in naming them, is helping you organize and recognize them, and this is giving you your new dimension.

it may even be the perfect pitch avility that helped you ear out tunes easily, maybe relative pitch also, but for example if you never name cars, the world of cars might seem infinitely complex such a huge variety, but once you start naming them and paying attention to their names that world gets much smaller and they get much easier to recognize right away. this might be what is happening to you. you always had the innate ability for perfect pitch but you just never named the notes. without naming them, and comparing them say to the same note in another octave it might have been alot more confusing to you, and naming them is helping you more easily recognize them.

idk, how someone with perfect distinguishes octaves. maybe they seem a little different, or kind of linked, similar in a way, or maybe clearly exactly the same in most ways. idk. i can't really speculate on what perfect pitch is like. but i don't think that the fact effort and practice is helping you recognize notes is any evidence against the fact you have the innate talent for perfect pitch, and in fact i think your progress is evidence you do have it. and if this is the case, it really wouldn't surprise me if assimilating this sense you have and making sense of that data you're getting would help you musically. in fact i would think it almost necessary. particularly if you have relative pitch also. i mean making sense by ear of music is not an easy feat on its own. but when a major chord is different if played on D or on E, compounded into sounding different in degree within a key, and that different within modes, it's an extra level of complexity which multiplies the complexity.

I still think that those moods should have been present before you started practicing them though. but the difference is, you might not have known it, because you didn't know whether you should ascribe a given mood to the mode, or the tempo, or the instruments, or the chords, or the key either, even if you didn't know all these parts of theory either, you could only know a tune moved you in some way, maybe not exactly why. now you are learning why. not until you start isolating variables do you realize what portion of the mood you were getting from a tune came from the key, and not the tempo, or whatnot. this is why i think music might be making more sense to you. you are organizing music. isolating variables, finding the "definition" of things.

music theory is just the naming of stuff. imo nothing more. it can be kind of more, people use it to do more, but this is not what theory is to me. now your music theory is doing this organization, for you organization from naming. naming is very powerful. had we not simply named 1, 2, 3, where would we be now? and yet 1, 2, 3, was always visible and distinguishable to humans. you are recognizing what things are responsible for what effects, and that way you are learning to command them to achieve the effects you desire. for you though, i think it's a little different than for others because this must include isolating the perfect pitch variable. whereas for most others, we can just ignore that part because it makes no difference.

so i don't think you are creating an ability with your practicing, but simply making sense of one you already have.

I really think you're on to something. Because during my practice session this morning, before I read your post, I noticed that as I was randomly playing notes and recognizing "chromas" , the way I was listening felt a lot like how I listen when normally playing by ear, except with an ever so slight slant of
concentration on the pitch "chromas". It didn't feel difficult or complex, just felt like a relaxed focus. It felt kinda like being "inside" the music. And, when I first started training, it only took a day or two for all the white "chroma" to emerge. The same was true for the black keys, and I was wondering why it was so easy when it was supposed to be extemely hard. So it is possible I did have AP all along, but didn't realize it until I started honing the skill. The funny thing is though, before I started practicing I couldn't strike a pitch and identify it. I had to guess at pitches, and I was usually wrong. Go figure?
maybe I did had it, just hadn't honed in out.

jsepguitar
02-20-2010, 03:37 PM
This is one of the more interesting articles I've read on the topic of perfect pitch...

http://jazzimprov.com/util/articles.cfm?article_id=80

The authors theory is:

"Well, my feeling is that the perfect pitch persons of the world don’t have tuning forks in their heads. What they do have is the ability to retain relative pitch indefinitely. This is what I call perfect persistence of pitch."

JonR
02-20-2010, 06:15 PM
This is one of the more interesting articles I've read on the topic of perfect pitch...

http://jazzimprov.com/util/articles.cfm?article_id=80

The authors theory is:

"Well, my feeling is that the perfect pitch persons of the world don’t have tuning forks in their heads. What they do have is the ability to retain relative pitch indefinitely. This is what I call perfect persistence of pitch."Interesting view - but it's hardly a "theory".

There is something qualitatively different about PP, IMO. That author's idea of "persistence of [relative] pitch" doesn't really explain it, and also implies an incorrect definition of relative pitch.
It's true there is probably a degree of overlap, and many people who don't have true "absolute pitch" may have some kind of pitch memory (persistence of pitch), or a way of determining a pitch roughly using a kind of relative pitch skill.

Eg, I can fairly reliably tell whether my low E string is in tune, within a semitone or so - because it's the lowest note I can comfortably sing. IOW, my only reference is a feeling in my vocal chords, and (presumably) a rudimentary "pitch memory" of a kind. I "know" when it's more than a half-step flat or sharp, just from listening to that one string - even before I hum my own low E (which isn't a precise check in any case).
But I don't have perfect pitch to any degree (I know, I've done the tests...).

People with true absolute pitch can tell to within a few cents whether a note is in tune or not, as well as what it is. Of course, it may still be true that this is learned - probably in infancy or early childhood, based probably on constant exposure to music in the home, and perhaps being encouraged to sing.
It makes sense to me that PP could be acquired at the same time that language skills are acquired, as the infant brain is unusually sensitive to sounds with meaning, alert to anything that might have linguistic content. Music could fall into that category just as much as parental voices do, if the music is experienced in a meaningful context. Past infancy, the "program" for picking up language - that special hearing capacity - begins to atrophy; once we know how to speak our mother tongue, we don't need that capacity so much. As adults it's very much harder to learn a new language totally by ear - and that's comparable (perhaps) to how hard it is to learn perfect pitch as an adult.

Of course, this is just my "theory" ;).

But we have to define relative pitch precisely as something that requires an immediate reference. Eg, we can only identify (say) a C if we hear (say) an A before it and recognise the difference as a minor 3rd up (or major 6th down). RP requires no kind of memory for absolute pitch - only for the sound of an interval.
Naturally, that's a remarkable skill when you think of it. We can reliably identify all kinds of complex sounds from memory (the sounds of 1000s of words for a start, never mind the timbres of instruments like saxes or flutes) - but we do it all by relative pitch. But - unless we have PP - we can't do an apparently very simple thing like recognise a single pitch; something a cheap tuner does in a fraction of a second.
Absolute frequency is irrelevant in our normal lives (not only in music), that's the point. In our language, words mean the same thing however high or low-pitched the voice uttering them is.
Of course, high and low pitch does have meaning in voices, in terms of certain expressive factors - but only in relative terms.

It's true that perfect pitch is more widespread among speakers of languages that depend more on absolute pitch - such as Chinese, where different pitches can alter the meaning of a word. So there is certainly a link between pitch recognition skills and language.

Hence my second theory that ALL humans are born with PP capacity, but we don't develop it into the recognised musical skill of PP unless we are exposed to the right stimuli as infants.
(However, it's intriguing that not ALL Chinese have perfect pitch; a substantial minority don't. If pitch nuances were really that essential to their language, then surely they all would have it?)

fingerpikingood
02-21-2010, 02:24 AM
Can you cite evidence? Links to research?
Or at least expand on your view?
Do only a few people have it at birth?
Do we all have it at birth, but most of us lose it in childhood?
Do they (or we) have it fully formed at birth, or is a capacity that develops later - that requires an environmental stimulus to kick-start it? (IOW, do nature and nurture have to work together, or it doesn't happen?) Or this just a belief based on common sense? ;) (It looks like some people must have been born with it, so they were?)
"Perfect pitch" has to mean the ability to identify a given pitch with no other reference. It should make little difference whether you learn to do that, or whether you already have the ability.
I do agree (based on the experiences of other people I've read) that there is a difference between the learned and the "natural" skill. But if the end result (identification of pitch) is the same - if both types of subject score the same in tests - then does it matter how they do it, or what it feels like?
I absolutely agree here. If, as an adult or teenager, you don't have it already (whether it was inborn or learned in childhood makes little difference, except to a scientist ;) ), then its minimal advantages are not worth the effort involved in learning it. For a musician, time is better spent on other kinds of training.
You would need to have PP to distinguish the keys of course - and whether that's "innate" (in whole or in part) is debatable, as I say.
Attaching mood qualities to different keys would be a totally learned process, assuming we are always listening to music in equal temperament.

It would be a similar process to synaesthesia, where associations with specific sounds are learned. So to some people, the key of G may be "yellow" - because, say, (having PP) a favourite record of their childhood might have had a yellow label, and been in G.
(I personally associate the key of A major with red, but I don't know why. I don't have PP, so don't recognise that key or see red when I hear it. But it feels that way when I play it. Not strongly by any means. It may just be that I like red and I like the key of A major!)

In the days before equal temperament, you would not have needed PP to distinguish different keys: good relative pitch would have been enough, because the intervals in different keys would have been subtly different, giving them a genuinely different character. (Though the moods attached to each one would still have been largely subjective, learned by specific associations.)

i think we've discussed this before. there is the resulting ability as it appears to others, i.e. properly identifying pitch. being correct at "guessing" pitch.

and then there is an inborn ability that separates pitch in terms of different data. such as one identifies colors separately. different people are born with different abilities. some can see odor, some can identify different pitches. man was born with the ability to count but not the technique to do it.

you talk about having a high IQ, but what is this difference between humans? how do you explain to a person of lower intelligence what having higher intelligence is like? how do you explain color to the blind man? there exists a human feature that identifies tones in an absolute manner. believe it or not. this may or may not contribute to making music. nobody can know, nobody has both had and been without this feature. the feature is more than the results.

two can score the same on an IQ test, one memorized the answers, and one figured them out. the result is the same, but the difference of these two people is huge. and will manifest itself in ways one might find difficult to predict.

you think perfect pitch must mean something specific, just the resulting ability. this is not the case. words mean as we choose their definitions to be. maybe the definition man has constructed is this. but then mankind is missing a word, missing a definition. to me perfect pitch is the genetic ability, the developed technique is faking perfect pitch.

there are people born that experience tones differently than others. some have the ability to sense different pitches in some unique way for every pitch. others do not have this. most don't have this. this ability is rare. but, of course with enough practice a larger portion of people could learn a skill that identifies pitches. they could get good at "guessing" these two things are different in a very important way. you can call them whatever you want. you can believe that if you want i don't care.

no, in the end the result is not the same. the result appears to be the same to some other people. ya different music is the all the same to the deaf guy though. there is an important difference you find practicing perfect pitch pointless, but that's probably because you don't have the inborn ability of perfect pitch, or whatever you want to call the genetic trait which allows to discriminate between pitches without reference.

if all that matters in the test is the score, then no it doesn't matter. art is not a thing you can test and ascribe a score to.

some need to practice different things in order to achieve similar results. every human is different.

again, if you have the inborn ability to discriminate between different tones, then honing the skill is of utmost importance for being a musician. i don;t think you read my last post completely, it may have been in another thread, cause there are two perfect pitch ones, but i described why this would be important in detail.

the differences in tunings before equal temperament i find are far from subtle. i've heard people talk about them as being subtle, and i heard people were up in arms when equal temperament came along because it was destroying the character different keys had. but i find it's much more than character and subtle differences. to me it's cringingly bad. i can't believe they used to play that way.

Crossroads
02-21-2010, 09:29 AM
again, if you have the inborn ability to discriminate between different tones, then honing the skill is of utmost importance for being a musician.

But that's Relative Pitch (not AP).

As I said above -we can all do that (even the most disinterested non-musician listeners) - if you could not hear the difference between different tones then all music would sound identical.

Ian.

Crossroads
02-21-2010, 09:36 AM
The more I read these threads the more I think they suffer from two fundamental mistakes -

(1)Many people here keep confusing AP ability with normal Relative Pitch - they talk about having AP, but what they describe is only RP.

(2)Many of those who have bought & studied from AP courses, want to believe it's important and want to believe they will gain an ability of fundamental importance which other musicians don't have.

But that is not a rational objective way to asses the value of AP (or anything else) ... your pre-conceived ideas are likely to lead you to the very conclusion you wanted in the first place, even if that conclusion is clearly wrong or unjustified.

As far as I can see the decision should be very simple - can you really justify spending time practicing AP, when there are already so many vital things to practice that it's almost humanly impossible to perfect all the essential things even practicing all day every day for a lifetime?

The answer to that question is - YES you could justify AP practice, but only if it is truly thought to be more important than any of the other essential practice elements. So the real question is - how important is it to have AP?

Afaik, only a tiny percentage of great musicians are thought to have AP. And some of those have said the AP was actually a nuisance to them which they try block out.

So it does not seem that AP is actually essential in any way at all. And perhaps not even desirable.

In that case, it seems to me it would be a criminal waste of time practicing AP instead of spending that time really learning scales (say), or really working on a special piece of music so that you have every note of it sounding exactly as you want (or perfected as near as possible).

So why are so many people convinced they should persist with AP?

Well the answer to that may have to do with the very common human failing of wanting to find a short-cut or magic-bullet to artistic/musical ability ... they want to believe that simply perfecting AP will make them superior to the 99.9% of other musicians who lack AP ... it's a simple one-stop idea that seems vastly easier than the complex array of other things which serious musicians need to practice and perfect.

And of course guys like Lucas Burge know that. They know people want a simple clear message such as " develop AP ". So that's obviously a good basis for making a profit selling the idea to people who are looking for a solution ... not quite so easy to sell the idea that the musician needs to spend 8 hours a day practicing dozens of complex & technically awkward demanding things for the rest of their life.

Ian.

fingerpikingood
02-21-2010, 07:12 PM
But that's Relative Pitch (not AP).

As I said above -we can all do that (even the most disinterested non-musician listeners) - if you could not hear the difference between different tones then all music would sound identical.

Ian.
no relative pitch is the ability to discriminate intervals. tone pitch of one tone relative to another. perfect pitch is the ability to discriminate pitch in an absolute sense.

there are people born with the ability to perceive pitch in an absolute sense. you can train to fake this, and yes, i agree this would be a misallocation of practice time. but if you are born with the ability to perceive pitch in an absolute sense, then this practice time i find is as necessary to do as any other type of practice that people who only have relative pitch need to do.

if you have relative pitch, you need to practice pitch in a relative sense. if you have perfect pitch you need to practice perfect too.

JonR
02-21-2010, 07:48 PM
no relative pitch is the ability to discriminate intervals. tone pitch of one tone relative to another. perfect pitch is the ability to discriminate pitch in an absolute sense.

there are people born with the ability to perceive pitch in an absolute sense. you can train to fake this:confused: How can you fake it?? You have to identify a pitch with no reference. If you can learn to do that, it's not "fake".

if you have relative pitch, you need to practice pitch in a relative sense. if you have perfect pitch you need to practice perfect too.That doesn't make any sense.
As a musician, one's relative pitch needs to be improved, honed. (However good it is, it can always be improved.)
But if you have perfect pitch already, how can you "practice" it? Perfect is perfect!

Chordy_Ordy25
02-21-2010, 08:04 PM
The more I read these threads the more I think they suffer from two fundamental mistakes -

(1)Many people here keep confusing AP ability with normal Relative Pitch - they talk about having AP, but what they describe is only RP.

(2)Many of those who have bought & studied from AP courses, want to believe it's important and want to believe they will gain an ability of fundamental importance which other musicians don't have.


But that is not a rational objective way to asses the value of AP (or anything else) ... your pre-conceived ideas are likely to lead you to the very conclusion you wanted in the first place, even if that conclusion is clearly wrong or
unjustified

As far as I can see the decision should be very simple - can you really justify spending time practicing AP, when there are already so many vital things to practice that it's almost humanly impossible to perfect all the essential things even practicing all day every day for a lifetime?

The answer to that question is - YES you could justify AP practice, but only if it is truly thought to be more important than any of the other essential practice elements. So the real question is - how important is it to have AP?

Afaik, only a tiny percentage of great musicians are thought to have AP. And
some of those have said the AP was actually a nuisance to them which they
try block out.

So it does not seem that AP is actually essential in any way at all. And perhaps not even desirable.

In that case, it seems to me it would be a criminal waste of time practicing AP instead of spending that time really learning scales (say), or really working on a special piece of music so that you have every note of it sounding exactly as
you want (or perfected as near as possible).

So why are so many people convinced they should persist with AP?

Well the answer to that may have to do with the very common human failing of wanting to find a short-cut or magic-bullet to artistic/musical ability ... they want to believe that simply perfecting AP will make them superior to the

99.9% of other musicians who lack AP ... it's a simple one-stop idea that
seems vastly easier than the complex array of other things which serious musicians need to practice and perfect.

And of course guys like Lucas Burge know that. They know people want a simple clear message such as " develop AP ". So that's obviously a good basis for making a profit selling the idea to people who are looking for a solution ... not quite so easy to sell the idea that the musician needs to spend 8 hours a day practicing dozens of complex & technically awkward demanding things for
the rest of their life.

Ian.


True, musicians could be making 1 or both of the mistakes you highlight. Or, they could simply be a person bored with an old or usual way of doing things. They may be a curious person with a penchant for novelty, for learning & experiencing new things, things they aren't used to, like me. I didn't buy, an AP course, but I scheduled about two 15 minute sessions of AP listening time into my regular practice routine everyday, and so far I'm delighted with the results. I find the AP drills are sparking my creativity, opening my ear/musical experience, and enhancing my skills.

JonR
02-21-2010, 08:08 PM
i think we've discussed this before. there is the resulting ability as it appears to others, i.e. properly identifying pitch. being correct at "guessing" pitch.

and then there is an inborn ability that separates pitch in terms of different data. such as one identifies colors separately. different people are born with different abilities. some can see odor, some can identify different pitches. man was born with the ability to count but not the technique to do it.

you talk about having a high IQ, but what is this difference between humans? how do you explain to a person of lower intelligence what having higher intelligence is like? how do you explain color to the blind man? there exists a human feature that identifies tones in an absolute manner. believe it or not. this may or may not contribute to making music. nobody can know, nobody has both had and been without this feature. the feature is more than the results.I think I know what you're getting at, but it makes no difference in the end.
All that matters about perfect pitch is the result: the ability to identify a specific pitch. It's of no practical relevance how it is done.
To someone who learns it as an adult, it will probably not feel as "natural" as it does to someone who has always had it (ie had it for as long as they can remember, let's not say "inborn" because there is no evidence I'm aware of).
I do accept that are a few people to whom recognising pitch is as natural as recognising colour.
I don't accept it's inborn (until I see the evidence); I do accept it may be different in character from learned PP (learned later in life); but I don't accept that the difference matters.



two can score the same on an IQ test, one memorized the answers, and one figured them out.You can't "memorise" answers in an IQ test! :rolleyes:
The whole point of an IQ test is figuring out answers to questions you haven't seen before. (Someone may be lucky and guess a correct answer now and then. Someone without PP might guess a correct pitch now and then. It won't happen again.)



if all that matters in the test is the score, then no it doesn't matter. art is not a thing you can test and ascribe a score to. We're not talking "art", we're talking about a measurable phenomenon. Whether a person has PP can easily be tested scientifically.
It may be possible (I don't know) to test for a difference between "natural" and "learned" PP. But all you need to do is get the answers right.
PP is nothing to do with art - nor much to do with music.



the differences in tunings before equal temperament i find are far from subtle. i've heard people talk about them as being subtle, and i heard people were up in arms when equal temperament came along because it was destroying the character different keys had. but i find it's much more than character and subtle differences. to me it's cringingly bad. i can't believe they used to play that way.Just intonation is generally regarded as beautifully smooth, certainly more in tune than ET - in the keys that are tuned of course (less in tune in other keys). Personally I can't reliably tell the difference, so it's certainly "subtle" to me!

It's certainly true that equal temperament was a long time coming, possibly because people felt the old way was so much better - more "natural". They presumably didn't care too much that some keys were out of tune - because they either avoided those keys, or retuned.
It was the promise of the ability to modulate freely between all 12 keys that won the day - but modulation of that sort hadn't been important before. The music that ET enabled was enormously more complex than previous music. The whole of the classical and romantic periods were built on it.

(Drifting OT now... ;) )

JonR
02-21-2010, 08:14 PM
True, musicians could be making 1 or both of the mistakes you highlight. Or, they could simply be a person bored with an old or usual way of doing things. They may be a curious person with a penchant for novelty, for learning & experiencing new things, things they aren't used to, like me. I didn't buy, an AP course, but I scheduled about two 15 minute sessions of AP listening time into my regular practice routine everyday, and so far I'm delighted with the results. I find the AP drills are sparking my creativity, opening my ear/musical experience, and enhancing my skills.It's just a shame that any music you make based on AP factors will be lost on the vast majority of your listeners.
And on the minority who have AP, their response to pitch will be different from yours.
(It would be like a painter using colours when the vast majority of his audience is colour-blind; and the few that can see colour are likely to see them differently from the artist, or at least attach different associations to them.)

The whole meaning of music resides in RP differences: that's its language.

Of course, I accept that AP drills may be improving your ear generally (it would be surprising if they didn't), and offering you another perspective on listening to music. But the AP itself is superfluous to the business of a musician, which is making music for - and with - others.

Chordy_Ordy25
02-21-2010, 08:52 PM
It's just a shame that any music you make based on AP factors will be lost on the vast majority of your listeners.
And on the minority who have AP, their response to pitch will be different from yours.
(It would be like a painter using colours when the vast majority of his audience is colour-blind; and the few that can see colour are likely to see them differently from the artist, or at least attach different associations to them.)

The whole meaning of music resides in RP differences: that's its language.

Of course, I accept that AP drills may be improving your ear generally (it would be surprising if they didn't), and offering you another perspective on listening to music. But the AP itself is superfluous to the business of a musician, which is making music for - and with - others.

Any music I make is a reflection of and is ultimately based on who I am as a musician. Any work I put forth is a reflection of my experience, skills, style, preferences, and musical development as a whole. Not just AP or just RP. Furthermore my skills in AP will not necessarily hinder others' ability to enjoy my music. Look at Stevie Wonder, he is a blind man and has AP. But as we all know, his music has near universal acclaim and appeal for people of various ages and backgrounds. Sure his listeners may not see things exactly as Stevie does, but on some level, they can all relate. This is true not only for Stevie, but for other musicians who don't have AP as well. How is having AP or any other skill that helps you create a sad thing?

Crossroads
02-21-2010, 09:00 PM
no relative pitch is the ability to discriminate intervals. tone pitch of one tone relative to another. perfect pitch is the ability to discriminate pitch in an absolute sense.


Nope. Sorry, - you said " inborn ability to discriminate between different tones " ... that is Relative Pitch, not AP. Here's your actual quote -



again, if you have the inborn ability to discriminate between different tones, then honing the skill is of utmost importance for being a musician. i don;t think you read my last post completely, it may have been in another thread, cause there are two perfect pitch ones, but i described why this would be important in detail.

Ian.

Crossroads
02-21-2010, 09:27 PM
True, musicians could be making 1 or both of the mistakes you highlight. Or, they could simply be a person bored with an old or usual way of doing things.

When you say the " old boring usual ways ", you actually mean learning scales and keys etc. If you want to replace that with AP practice then imho you are very clearly in danger of making that mistake of hoping for a magic bullet, ie hoping for an easy one-shot route to success.

I doubt if any successful musician ever got anywhere without practicing what you call the " old boring usual ways " very thoroughly indeed.

But in sharp contrast - I expect 99.99% succeeded very well without ever developing AP (and probably never seriously practiced it or attempted to achieve it either).


They may be a curious person with a penchant for novelty, for learning & experiencing new things, things they aren't used to, like me.

Sure but why are you suggesting that could not apply just as much to people who learn to play by the accepted route of established practice elements etc.?

I often hear people who think they are "artists" or "gifted" talking as if it was only them who ever wanted learn novel or new ways to approach things. But in my experience that is totally untrue.

Everyone can pursue those sort of subjective personal ideas just the same. You are not somehow excluded from such thoughts and ideas just because you are pursuing music in what most people would call a serious and proper way.



I didn't buy, an AP course, but I scheduled about two 15 minute sessions of AP listening time into my regular practice routine everyday, and so far I'm delighted with the results. I find the AP drills are sparking my creativity, opening my ear/musical experience, and enhancing my skills.

OK, if you are happy with the results and happy spending your time on AP, when you could be spending it practicing scales or perfecting a special piece etc., than that's up to you, a personal judgement.

But others may read this thread without ever posting in it, so I think it's useful for me to point out that not everyone thinks AP is anywhere near as useful as you think it's going to be.

In fact, I'd say that 99% of aspiring musicians (certainly guitarists) do not regard AP as anywhere near essential, and probably not even remotely useful.

Ian.

fingerpikingood
02-22-2010, 12:22 AM
I think I know what you're getting at, but it makes no difference in the end.
All that matters about perfect pitch is the result: the ability to identify a specific pitch. It's of no practical relevance how it is done.
To someone who learns it as an adult, it will probably not feel as "natural" as it does to someone who has always had it (ie had it for as long as they can remember, let's not say "inborn" because there is no evidence I'm aware of).
I do accept that are a few people to whom recognising pitch is as natural as recognising colour.
I don't accept it's inborn (until I see the evidence); I do accept it may be different in character from learned PP (learned later in life); but I don't accept that the difference matters.

no this is not all that matters. again. read my other post. in each case the human is significantly different in an innate way, and therefore how they practice must also be. it's the same as you perceive it. but that doesn't matter. because you aren't making the music. he is.

it's inborn. get to grips with that. live with it. it's not so miraculous. you differentiate between wavelengths of light in a "perfect pitch" typed way. some people perceive different tones as different. perceive them as different. they may not have named them. but they still perceive them differently. you don't perceive them that way. neither do i. some people do. this is a fact. you can ignore it if you want. but that doesn't mean it's not true.

i'm not gonna ignore for your sake because you wish to be ignorant of it, just like i'm not gonna refrain from talking about evolution just because one believes in creationism. it is this way. get used to it. this should be easy for you to grasp given your "high IQ" the scientists are working on finding what exactly are the genes involved in this ability. only when they figure this out, (and they will, perhaps not in our lifetime, but if humans continue to thrive scientifically as we are now, they will) will you realize you were wrong. I promise you there is an inborn gene that causes people to perceive tones differently.

It's like that little philosophical idea where you and i could say "well maybe your red is my blue, and my green is your purple" yes, this could be true, and we know to some extent, that in at least some cases, something like this is for sure happening because of colorblindness. but we don't really know, it could be different for every person technically. we would't know. very difficult to tell how it is that another perceives. so then, how would you be able to figure out if one human perceives absolute pitch. perceives differently. and another perceives the same, but has practiced enough to be able to call out pitches in an absolute way. how do you do this? well why don't you figure out. you're the one with the high IQ. I would have figured you would have already done this by now, and already arrived at the same conclusion i have.


You can't "memorise" answers in an IQ test! :rolleyes:
The whole point of an IQ test is figuring out answers to questions you haven't seen before. (Someone may be lucky and guess a correct answer now and then. Someone without PP might guess a correct pitch now and then. It won't happen again.) yes you can memorize the answers to an IQ test. if say, you had the answers key before hand ( i guess you failed that one lol). I know what IQ tests are, and I also know their limitations. that was exactly my point though. and anyways you can practice and learn the kinds of techniques used by IQ tests to get good scores at them even though you're not as smart you can score higher on IQ tests if you practice lots of IQ typed questions. you're supposed to be just figuring stuff out, but there are techniques everywhere for getting good at figuring anything out and you can practice those. just like rubik's cubes.


We're not talking "art", we're talking about a measurable phenomenon. Whether a person has PP can easily be tested scientifically.
It may be possible (I don't know) to test for a difference between "natural" and "learned" PP. But all you need to do is get the answers right.
PP is nothing to do with art - nor much to do with music.

it doesn't matter whether or not you can distinguish pitches in an absolute sense end result wise. this is a fairly useless ability in music. but it matters whether you can distinguish pitch in an absolute sense naturally, because this means you need to practice music differently than otherwise. this matters art wise. being able to perform the trick under test conditions is a pointless thing to consider. it's completely moot.


Just intonation is generally regarded as beautifully smooth, certainly more in tune than ET - in the keys that are tuned of course (less in tune in other keys). Personally I can't reliably tell the difference, so it's certainly "subtle" to me! you and I must be somehow innately different then I guess. my piano VSTs i have give you the ability to tune your piano to different tunings, I can't stand any of them. the difference between Stretch tuning and Equal tempereament tuning is somewhat subtleish to me, but stretch is still so much nicer. every other tuning i've tried just sounds like a couple of notes or just one are tuned way wrong.

fingerpikingood
02-22-2010, 12:26 AM
Nope. Sorry, - you said " inborn ability to discriminate between different tones " ... that is Relative Pitch, not AP. Here's your actual quote -



Ian.
ya, differentiate between different tones in an absolute sense. sorry i should have been more precise in my wording.

but to be picky the other way, i was actually correct in my wording because technically relative pitch does not discriminate different tones but different intervals.

a person with relative pitch can never tell you what tone something is. only how far apart intervals are. unless of course they have been given the foreknowledge of one tone which, by having the ability to distinguish intervals will allow them to tell you the tone of other notes. thus why they call it relative.

it is not the ability to tell that two tones are different. everybody can do this. this is neither relative nor perfect pitch. everybody can tell that tones are different. you'd have to have monotone hearing if you couldn't.

Chordy_Ordy25
02-22-2010, 01:04 AM
When you say the " old boring usual ways ", you actually mean learning scales and keys etc. If you want to replace that with AP practice then imho you are very clearly in danger of making that mistake of hoping for a magic bullet, ie hoping for an easy one-shot route to success.

I doubt if any successful musician ever got anywhere without practicing what you call the " old boring usual ways " very thoroughly indeed.

But in sharp contrast - I expect 99.99% succeeded very well without ever developing AP (and probably never seriously practiced it or attempted to achieve it either).



Sure but why are you suggesting that could not apply just as much to people
who learn to play by the accepted route of established practice elements etc.?

I often hear people who think they are "artists" or "gifted" talking as if it was only them who ever wanted learn novel or new ways to approach things. But in
my experience that is totally untrue


Everyone can pursue those sort of subjective personal ideas just the same. You are not somehow excluded from such thoughts and ideas just because you are pursuing music in what most people would call a serious and proper way.



OK, if you are happy with the results and happy spending your time on AP,
when you could be spending it practicing scales or perfecting a special piece etc., than that's up to you, a personal judgement.

But others may read this thread without ever posting in it, so I think it's useful
for me to point out that not everyone thinks AP is anywhere near as useful as you think it's going to be.

In fact, I'd say that 99% of aspiring musicians (certainly guitarists) do not
regard AP as anywhere near essential, and probably not even remotely useful.

Ian.

Well, you know, I never said I didn't thoroughly practice things like scales, chords, etc. As a matter of fact, in my original post, I mentioned a regular practice schedule (in which I add AP drills to). Admittedly, I wasn't crystal clear, but that was what I meant. I understand the importance of practicing other things besides AP;that's a given. Also, as it goes for "novelty" I was suggesting that I am likely NOT the only person who is practicing AP to have a new experience in music. I figure a lot of other people besides me want AP not because it's an easy solution, but because they want the experience (which, thanks to practice, I've gotten a taste of) and that was the message I thought I was conveying in my original post. You don't have a high opinion of AP, and you've made that very clear, but you've got to understand that some people, even if it's just .01%, feel differently. Not everyone is going to dismiss AP practice even if the majority view it as non-essential, unuseful, or a time-waster in musical development. As long as a person sticks to studying the basics, adding a few AP practice drills is not going to hinder them. It may even be a further help to them in opening their ear (as it has been for me). I wouldn't necessarily advocate AP practice for pure beginners who don't have a handle on any of the basics, but for others with more experience like me (been a musician for 13 years), what real harm could result? And if someone chooses not to practice AP, there's nothing wrong with that either. Why should differences in opinion be a debate, or issue of concern?

Crossroads
02-22-2010, 09:01 AM
ya, differentiate between different tones in an absolute sense. sorry i should have been more precise in my wording.
but to be picky the other way, i was actually correct in my wording because technically relative pitch does not discriminate different tones but different intervals.

OK, but "different tones" are "different intervals" - the difference between the tones is an "interval".

Put it more simply - if you are determining the name of any one particular note by comparing it to the sound of another note (ie "two different tones"), then that IS Relative Pitch.

But I know that you do understand the difference between AP vs. RP. So I wasn't really talking about you personally when I said many people throughout this thread seem to confuse AP with RP.

I was just talking of the broad mass of contributors here who have spoken in favour of AP courses, and who often seem to be talking about RP when they thought it was AP.

RP is essential for everyone who hears music. That's the way we distinguish one note from the next.

And for musicians (certainly for guitarists) I'd agree it's very useful to develop your ability as much as possible in recognising RP differences.

But I don't think it's necessary to do specific set exercises for that if you are already practicing from a proper regime where you are forced to listen to yourself playing scales and arps (based on interval differences, ie RP) etc., and particularly when learning & transcribing songs where you are again forced to listen very closely to the differences between each note.

Imho, that automatically gives us more than enough RP practice on a daily basis, whether we intended it or not.

If we go back to the beginings of contemporary electric guitar, or at least to the 1960's blues-rock resurgence with guys llike Clapton & Hendrix, then I doubt if any of those guys had ever even heard of RP, let alone ever practiced it (let alone practicing AP).

By the time Eddie Van Halen began to change things around 1980, you had a new breed of electric guitar player who was now far more technical and moving more clearly towards classical influences in the material they practiced and played. It's possible some of those guys like Paul Gilbert and Shawn Lane were now practicing RP from their early years/lessons, and maybe a few even tried learning AP. But in their instructional books, DVD's and interviews etc., few if any of them ever mention RP or AP.

Things may be different in the world of classical music. And particularly perhaps for singers. I don't know what those people do. Though it would not surprise me if classical students were forced to practice RP, and perhaps at admission interviews they are even selected partly on the basis of showing some AP abilities form the start.

But again, those classical musicians who have later spoken about their AP abilities, often seem to say that in fact it's more of a nuisance than any actual help, and they end up trying to block it out.

So in short - afaik there is no reliable evidence to suggest that AP is a vital characteristic amongst great musicians. Quite the opposite in fact.

And for that reason, I'd personally recommend that players like Chordy_Ordy concentrate on practicing and perfecting what I'd call the vital things like scales, modes, arps, left-right technique, learning & perfecting favourite songs, transcribing, sight reading etc.

Ian.

Crossroads
02-22-2010, 09:27 AM
Well, you know, I never said I didn't thoroughly practice things like scales, chords, etc. As a matter of fact, in my original post, I mentioned a regular practice schedule (in which I add AP drills to). Admittedly, I wasn't crystal clear, but that was what I meant. I understand the importance of practicing other things besides AP;that's a given. Also, as it goes for "novelty" I was suggesting that I am likely NOT the only person who is practicing AP to have a new experience in music. I figure a lot of other people besides me want AP not because it's an easy solution, but because they want the experience (which, thanks to practice, I've gotten a taste of) and that was the message I thought I was conveying in my original post. You don't have a high opinion of AP, and you've made that very clear, but you've got to understand that some people, even if it's just .01%, feel differently. Not everyone is going to dismiss AP practice even if the majority view it as non-essential, unuseful, or a time-waster in musical development. As long as a person sticks to studying the basics, adding a few AP practice drills is not going to hinder them. It may even be a further help to them in opening their ear (as it has been for me). I wouldn't necessarily advocate AP practice for pure beginners who don't have a handle on any of the basics, but for others with more experience like me (been a musician for 13 years), what real harm could result? And if someone chooses not to practice AP, there's nothing wrong with that either. Why should differences in opinion be a debate, or issue of concern?

OK, that's all fine, and I don't disagree with any of that.

But I'd just point out that when people in this thread (not necessarily you), say they are allocating practice time to AP courses, then that is by definition time which is lost from practicing other things such as scales or whatever. You can't do both things at the same time.

And one thing I've learnt in my several decades of playing is that the most important thing in any musicians practice is "time" - it's essential to make good and full use of your practice time.

I don't think any harm will result from you or anyone else studying AP. And it might quite easily do some good, in various respects. So no problem there.

However, I think the problem arises if people get the idea that AP is so important that it becomes their main goal in practicing music. If you read through this thread you will clearly see that many people here who extol the virtues of AP are indeed elevating it to that status.

If they really think it's that important, then that's their business. Good luck to them. It might even genuinely help them a great deal, especially if they wholeheartedly believe in it.

But for others reading this thread, I think it's necessary to get AP courses into a realistic perspective. Namely - afaik, few if any of the greatest (or even the most ordinary!) musicians have seriously claimed it was necessary for them to have AP.

Put it another way - it's as if people told me that I should start each daily practice session with 15 min silent meditation. You might be able to argue that had some musical use ... but it's still 15 min. out of every session when I could & probably should have been practicing something of direct and essential importance.

IOW - time is "time", and if it's lost then it's lost for ever ... it's a question of priorities.

Ian.

JonR
02-22-2010, 10:25 AM
no this is not all that matters. again. read my other post. in each case the human is significantly different in an innate way, and therefore how they practice must also be. it's the same as you perceive it. but that doesn't matter. because you aren't making the music. he is.What matters with music is who is listening, not who is making it. Every musician has to understand how music is heard by most people, not how it is heard by a small minority with AP: innate or learned.


it's inborn. get to grips with that. live with it.Prove it!
I'm only asking for some links to scientific research. If you are so sure, you must have good reason to be. You must have read scientific research that points incontrovertibly in that direction.
Yes?


it's not so miraculous. you differentiate between wavelengths of light in a "perfect pitch" typed way. some people perceive different tones as different.But everyone perceives colour due to the physical biology of the eye (rods and cones). Only a small minority are "disabled" through some flaw, to be colour-blind.
The reverse is the case with AP.
Why not argue - as I would - that everyone is born with AP (potentially), same as everyone is born with colour perception. It's education and experience that causes AP potential to atrophy early on - because it is not useful to most humans - while colour vision (and relative pitch) is retained and developed.
That theory has appeal to me, because of its logic. I don't know if there is scientific evidence to back it up. (I seem to remember reading some research that supported the idea - and it's certainly widely accepted that childhood is generally a process of narrowing down the broad potential of infancy to develop what is practically necessary in life, while jettisoning capacities that aren't.)

The idea that a few humans could be specially gifted with AP is illogical (what would be the evolutionary benefit? unless it's a hangover mutation from some distant past?), which is why I don't believe it until I see evidence.
It's true that all humans, in all cultures, are musical, so some musical sense could be inborn. But all musical cultures depend on RP, not AP.


I promise you there is an inborn gene that causes people to perceive tones differently. So that's a belief of yours then. That's fine. I hope you're willing to change that belief if science eventually proves you wrong. .
Personally I'll retain an open mind - well prepared to accept scientific findings - but I prefer to start from a position of scepticism.
(Of course I recognise that my position is no less "common sense" - from my perspective - than yours is. We have each developed logical viewpoints based on what we observe in life, and how we rationalise it.)



yes you can memorize the answers to an IQ test. if say, you had the answers key before hand ( i guess you failed that one lol).If you get an IQ test which has questions you've seen before, that test result would be not valid and you know it.
Same as someone being tested for AP who happens to know (because he's cheated) what pitch is about to be played. So gets the right answer that way.


I know what IQ tests are, and I also know their limitations. that was exactly my point though. and anyways you can practice and learn the kinds of techniques used by IQ tests to get good scores at them even though you're not as smart you can score higher on IQ tests if you practice lots of IQ typed questions. you're supposed to be just figuring stuff out, but there are techniques everywhere for getting good at figuring anything out and you can practice those.To a certain extent that's true. IQ tests have been generally discredited because they have a cultural bias. I know I've seen questions in IQ tests that depend to some degree on knowledge, not on intelligence. (Eg, which of the following is not a capital city...)
But within the culture they are designed for, they are pretty reliable. It's hard to fake them.


just like rubik's cubes. Not sure how relevant they are. They presumably require some kind of intelligence, but it's not the kind I have.:(


it doesn't matter whether or not you can distinguish pitches in an absolute sense end result wise. this is a fairly useless ability in music. but it matters whether you can distinguish pitch in an absolute sense naturally, because this means you need to practice music differently than otherwise.OK, I agree here.
Someone with "natural" AP needs to unlearn it to some degree. They may need to practice RP much harder than someone without AP does.
IOW, AP may seem like a musical skill, on the face of it, but it isn't.

Same as someone with 20/20 vision won't necessarily make a great artist!


you and I must be somehow innately different then I guess. my piano VSTs i have give you the ability to tune your piano to different tunings, I can't stand any of them. the difference between Stretch tuning and Equal tempereament tuning is somewhat subtleish to me, but stretch is still so much nicer. every other tuning i've tried just sounds like a couple of notes or just one are tuned way wrong.OK, you have better ears than me.
I might well be able to tell the difference - if tested - between stretch and non-stretch tuning, or between ET and other temperaments. But I'm not sure it would bother me too much.
As I said, I suspect you could play me a piece in an unusual temperament and I might not be able to tell anything was wrong or different about it. I might just get a hint of some tuning issue, I guess, but I might equally think I was imagining it.

I should say that I didn't have a musical upbringing. Music played no practical part in my childhood - I heard music on the radio occasionally, of course (we had no TV till I was 13), but none of my family were musical. My parents had a gramophone (yes, before the days of "record players" or "stereos", let alone "hi-fi"), but I think they only had 5 or 6 records, and didn't play them very often.:rolleyes:
IOW, you could say I was musically "deprived" as a child. And I clearly had no innate musical "gift" of any kind. So I've always been at a disadvantage in that sense.
I have of course, in my musical career, met and worked with people who have phenomenal musical skill, and one or two with AP. It certainly looks like they were born that way. But "looks like" is not good enough; it's not evidence of anything. All of the most "gifted" musicians I've met had musical childhoods - IOW, they learned that stuff from early childhood, if not infancy. They didn't have to be born with anything, that's the point. Music is only as natural to them as speaking their mother tongue is. They weren't born being able to speak!
Naturally, the observation that musical ability runs in families can support either side of the argument. It could be explained both by genes and/or by parental example, support and encouragement. Quite possibly it's a mixture of both.
And equally, the observation that musical skill sometimes doesn't have a family precedent is explainable either way: random genetic mutation, or specific environmental influence different from their parents'.
My view - short of seeing scientific research - is that it's safer to look for environmental factors first. Digging into childhoods often reveals explanations for later musical "gifts" (or unusual skill in any sphere). It may not always offer complete explanation (leaving a gap to be filled presumably by genetic explanations) - but often it does, and it always goes a long way.

JonR
02-22-2010, 10:35 AM
Any music I make is a reflection of and is ultimately based on who I am as a musician. Any work I put forth is a reflection of my experience, skills, style, preferences, and musical development as a whole. Not just AP or just RP. Furthermore my skills in AP will not necessarily hinder others' ability to enjoy my music. Look at Stevie Wonder, he is a blind man and has AP. But as we all know, his music has near universal acclaim and appeal for people of various ages and backgrounds. Sure his listeners may not see things exactly as Stevie does, but on some level, they can all relate. This is true not only for Stevie, but for other musicians who don't have AP as well. How is having AP or any other skill that helps you create a sad thing?It's not a "sad thing" at all. I'm sure it makes music more enjoyable (or at least interesting on a whole other level) for those who have it. It's just irrelevant to most people, and therefore of no practical use to a musician who makes music for other people.
Stevie Wonder's music is not great because he has AP. He clearly has excellent RP as well. That's why his music works and is successful.
If he decided to write a piece based on his feeling about (say) G minor and how it was different from (say) A minor, that aspect of the piece would be lost on his audience. For it to work as music (for a general audience) it would need to have other qualities, to do with RP. Being Stevie Wonder, of course it would! But any AP aspect is superfluous.
Minor keys mean something. The pitch of G doesn't. The key of G minor means precisely the same as the key of A minor, or any other minor key. It has to. (It only becomes different in relation to another key.)
If we start assigning AP qualities to music, we start losing the vast majority of our audience.
(Hence the humour of Nigel Tufnel's assertion that "D minor is the saddest key". We all know that's ridiculous, because it implies that AP matters, and also that anyone possessing it is somehow superior.)

fingerpikingood
02-22-2010, 12:52 PM
:confused: How can you fake it?? You have to identify a pitch with no reference. If you can learn to do that, it's not "fake".
That doesn't make any sense.
As a musician, one's relative pitch needs to be improved, honed. (However good it is, it can always be improved.)
But if you have perfect pitch already, how can you "practice" it? Perfect is perfect!


because the result is to determine pitch in an absolute sense. but in one way, the ability is inborn and the other way it is learned by practicing alot.


well maybe it's different for you, but i've never noticed any difference in my ability to hear. the only practicing i've needed to do is to name the chords so that i could recognize them. this gave me a better "ear".

if you have an extra ability that is identifying pitch in an absolute sense, then there is an extra variable at your disposal. good or bad is moot. but you need therefore to name these extra things. because now, Dmajor chord is not just major chord. it is not just major chord in I degree. it is Dmajor chord in I degree. an extra thing to discern. it's extra work. us we only have to deal with intervals.

so ya, you don't have to practice what you're hearing. i don't see how that's even possible. only what your brain is cognitively doing with the information can change. the sensing of sound deteriorates as you get older.

I woulda thought that woulda been obvious to you cause your IQ is so high.

fingerpikingood
02-22-2010, 01:03 PM
What matters with music is who is listening, not who is making it. Every musician has to understand how music is heard by most people, not how it is heard by a small minority with AP: innate or learned. well if you can't reproduce what your mind is thinking you won't make music that other people perceive as good. if you have perfect pitch, doing perfect pitch exercises will help you achieve that. it doesn't matter how you think others perceive it. you don't need to think what it's like for others to perceive. you just make, and others like or don't. but if you have AP and RP and you're making good music as you perceive it, then people without it will surely appreciate it as well, but in different way. but if you don't practice your AP then you won't recognize whether the gloomy feeling you're getting is from the D of your Dminor. or from the minor of your Dminor, or from your Dminor key. because you see. people with AP receive data like this.

there are many people who have this and report things like this. getting moods and stuff from tones and keys. and they don't practice for hours doing it.

there are lots of people born with lots of abilities others aren't born with.

to prove it prove it i would need to understand the entire human genetic code, which i don't. and frankly i couldn't care less whether you believe me or not. but it's that way. i'm telling you. do with that what you want. but until you accept that, alot of stuff will be hard for you to understand about AP.

I am sure because it is obvious if you listen to people with AP. i could practice all day identifying pitch, but that won't make Dmajor scale sound gloomier than Cmajor scale in an instrument independent way. I wouldn't get upset or frustrated when somebody plays a song in a different key. i'd just recognize that fact.

i don't see how this is not obvious to you.

"disabled" depends on your point of view. a genetic mutation is a genetic mutation, there is no more likelihood that it is an advancement nor a set back, which in fact is necessary for evolution, right? you know evolution?

you need to distinguish the difference of extra sensing and ability given existing senses.

having extra senses is not unlikely it is necessary for evolution to occur.




If you get an IQ test which has questions you've seen before, that test result would be not valid and you know it. very good. that was my point.

Chordy_Ordy25
02-22-2010, 05:02 PM
It's not a "sad thing" at all. I'm sure it makes music more enjoyable (or at least interesting on a whole other level) for those who have it. It's just irrelevant to most people, and therefore of no practical use to a musician who makes music for other people.
Stevie Wonder's music is not great because he has AP. He clearly has excellent RP as well. That's why his music works and is successful.
If he decided to write a piece based on his feeling about (say) G minor and how it was different from (say) A minor, that aspect of the piece would be lost on his audience. For it to work as music (for a general audience) it would need to have other qualities, to do with RP. Being Stevie Wonder, of course it would! But any AP aspect is superfluous.
Minor keys mean something. The pitch of G doesn't. The key of G minor means precisely the same as the key of A minor, or any other minor key. It has to. (It only becomes different in relation to another key.)
If we start assigning AP qualities to music, we start losing the vast majority of our audience.
(Hence the humour of Nigel Tufnel's assertion that "D minor is the saddest key". We all know that's ridiculous, because it implies that AP matters, and also that anyone possessing it is somehow superior.)

I understand all of what you are saying, and I respect it, but the aim of my original post was to show how in practice, created music is never truly based on one sole element. When one writes, really the whole of his or her skills/experiences/senses/tastes/opinions/etc come into play. The fact that listeners in general will likely never sense/integrate these elements in the same way as the artist does is a given. Differences in perception do not create an objective loss of these elements. They are still there. Just about anyone can relate to a song written by someone else. Music is a universal language. Personal perceptions/experiences of it need not be identical in order to relate on some common thread. Though musical senses and tastes vary from person to person, in the end, it's a win-win situation, because everyone can derive meaning and gain in their own way. And IMO, that's the beauty and power of music. To me, it is a gift/pleasure of any artist to be able to create music that resonates with and captivates the masses. Sure, most all musicians have and train in RP, but I don't necessarily believe that RP in itself is what enables a musician to enjoy success of this magnitude. Nor do I believe AP is either a prerequisite, or hinderance to an artist's enjoyment of pulling in a mass audience of admirers.

Also, I don't believe that assertions such as "D minor is the saddest key" are in themselves an implication that AP matters, or that those who have it are superior. I believe that all listerners, AP or no AP enjoy the "subtleties" of music in a very personal way. So if a person feels especially moved by a piece in D-minor and calls it the saddest key, IMO, there's nothing wrong with that. It's just a personal perception/observation, a way of explaining his or her feelings in a concrete way. When it comes to appreciation of music there is no right/wrong, superior/inferior to me, just different dimensions, aspects, and viewpoints. Just my two cents. In no way do I have it all figured out, lol. I just try to keep an open mind to appreciate and respect the possibilities.

fingerpikingood
02-23-2010, 12:05 AM
I understand all of what you are saying, and I respect it, but the aim of my original post was to show how in practice, created music is never truly based on one sole element. When one writes, really the whole of his or her skills/experiences/senses/tastes/opinions/etc come into play. The fact that listeners in general will likely never sense/integrate these elements in the same way as the artist does is a given. Differences in perception do not create an objective loss of these elements. They are still there. Just about anyone can relate to a song written by someone else. Music is a universal language. Personal perceptions/experiences of it need not be identical in order to relate on some common thread. Though musical senses and tastes vary from person to person, in the end, it's a win-win situation, because everyone can derive meaning and gain in their own way. And IMO, that's the beauty and power of music. To me, it is a gift/pleasure of any artist to be able to create music that resonates with and captivates the masses. Sure, most all musicians have and train in RP, but I don't necessarily believe that RP in itself is what enables a musician to enjoy success of this magnitude. Nor do I believe AP is either a prerequisite, or hinderance to an artist's enjoyment of pulling in a mass audience of admirers.

Also, I don't believe that assertions such as "D minor is the saddest key" are in themselves an implication that AP matters, or that those who have it are superior. I believe that all listerners, AP or no AP enjoy the "subtleties" of music in a very personal way. So if a person feels especially moved by a piece in D-minor and calls it the saddest key, IMO, there's nothing wrong with that. It's just a personal perception/observation, a way of explaining his or her feelings in a concrete way. When it comes to appreciation of music there is no right/wrong, superior/inferior to me, just different dimensions, aspects, and viewpoints. Just my two cents. In no way do I have it all figured out, lol. I just try to keep an open mind to appreciate and respect the possibilities.
agreed, and i think it's also important to consider that if AP makes a msuician feel that Dminor is a sad key, they will play beautiful sad songs in Dminor inspired by the sadness of Dminor. this will not be lost on the audience.

most people have terrible sense of rhythm and horrible ear, and yet everyone listens to music.

art is art. people like art for different reasons. it is not a quantifiable science.

absolutely anything can contribute to great art. any sense, or lack thereof, or life event, so many things. it is not a skill with a maximum and a minimum that people start at the bottom and aspire to travel to the top. it is not linear. it is emotion, messages, feeling, one individual putting out his/her honesty in the form of music, maybe poetically, maybe melodically, maybe rhythmically, maybe all these things. it doesn't matter how many chords they use, what key they are in, how they perceive, blind or not, even deaf or not. absolutely any trait can contribute to one's art.

other people not possessing AP doesn't make a single difference. the artist makes music inspired by this ability of theirs. using it, and they make a product. another perceives it differently sure. one colorblind person and another perceives a painting differently. and maybe like different paintings or the same ones. an artist can be colorblind and make paintings they love the color combinations of and others love it also, or find it intriguing art because they don't and know a colorblind person did it.

art is art. music is art. and such a wonderful thing that is. one of the greatest features of mankind. we are all different. different talents. different sense. we perceive the world differently. every one of us, and that's so awesome.

Chordy_Ordy25
02-23-2010, 04:53 AM
agreed, and i think it's also important to consider that if AP makes a msuician feel that Dminor is a sad key, they will play beautiful sad songs in Dminor inspired by the sadness of Dminor. this will not be lost on the audience.

most people have terrible sense of rhythm and horrible ear, and yet everyone listens to music.

art is art. people like art for different reasons. it is not a quantifiable science.

absolutely anything can contribute to great art. any sense, or lack thereof, or life event, so many things. it is not a skill with a maximum and a minimum that people start at the bottom and aspire to travel to the top. it is not linear. it is emotion, messages, feeling, one individual putting out his/her honesty in the form of music, maybe poetically, maybe melodically, maybe rhythmically, maybe all these things. it doesn't matter how many chords they use, what key
they are in, how they perceive, blind or not, even deaf or not. absolutely any trait can contribute to one's art.

other people not possessing AP doesn't make a single difference. the artist makes music inspired by this ability of theirs. using it, and they make a product. another perceives it differently sure. one colorblind person and another perceives a painting differently. and maybe like different paintings or
the same ones. an artist can be colorblind and make paintings they love the
color combinations of and others love it also, or find it intriguing art because
they don't and know a colorblind person did it.

art is art. music is art. and such a wonderful thing that is. one of the greatest features of mankind. we are all different. different talents. different sense. we
perceive the world differently. every one of us, and that's so
awesome.

I know, isn't it great? The possibilites with music are endless because we are all different and percieve things differently. It can never get boring or old. It's Music is one of the great equalizers that allows us to be creative, unique, to communicate and enjoy life. That's just so powerful and meaningful. I just love
it! I could go on and on. I'll be a musician forever, even if it is just a hobby, lol.

JonR
02-23-2010, 11:33 AM
I understand all of what you are saying, and I respect it, but the aim of my original post was to show how in practice, created music is never truly based on one sole element. When one writes, really the whole of his or her skills/experiences/senses/tastes/opinions/etc come into play. The fact that listeners in general will likely never sense/integrate these elements in the same way as the artist does is a given. Of course. There's obviously a whole lot more to music than methods of pitch perception. But that narrow angle is what this thread is about. I'm just concerned that perfect pitch is being promoted as something that is significantly useful to a musician - something that improves musicianship. It doesn't.
As I'm sure you agree, musicianship is about a whole lot more than that. I also agree with you that musicians (at least when being composers or improvisers) need to play according only to their own inspirations, without being limited by second guessing what audiences might want or understand.
Art is about following one's own vision, regardless.
(Of course we can choose to be solely commercial musicians instead, and follow and satisfy the audience's tastes alone. There is enjoyment there too, even if it lacks any significant personal expression.)



Differences in perception do not create an objective loss of these elements. They are still there. Just about anyone can relate to a song written by someone else. Music is a universal language.Within a particular culture, yes. To a limited degree across cultures.


Personal perceptions/experiences of it need not be identical in order to relate on some common thread. Though musical senses and tastes vary from person to person, in the end, it's a win-win situation, because everyone can derive meaning and gain in their own way. And IMO, that's the beauty and power of music.Agreed. It's a language, but - as someone said - an untranslatable one. That means we can each invest our own meaning in what we hear. That might mean we miss something important in a composer's intention, but that's his/her problem, not ours. There's more than enough music in the world for us to pick what we enjoy, and to enjoy it in any way we like.
It's up to the composer how far he/she wants to go in understanding how the general public perceives music. Given the vast variability in listeners' hearing abilities and attitudes, it's understandable that - in preference to the lowest common denominator commercial approach - a composer is going to say "the hell with it, I'm doing just what I like!":) There's no sensible middle ground - unless one is speaking to a very narrow, well-understood audience; and that of course does happen in well-defined sub-genres of jazz, rock and art music.
In that case, one is sharing a mutual language with that audience, that no one else may understand.



To me, it is a gift/pleasure of any artist to be able to create music that resonates with and captivates the masses.It's always intrigued me that very few musicians who succeed in this (at least in the broadly commercial sphere) understand how they do it. The biggest stars just seem to strike lucky doing what they enjoy. And then some of them imagine they're in control of it - revealed by their confusion when they change direction and the audience loses interest. They can't see themselves how their fans see them; they think the fans love them (and therefore will follow them in anything they might decide to do), rather than their music. A form of hubris, IOW.


Sure, most all musicians have and train in RP, but I don't necessarily believe that RP in itself is what enables a musician to enjoy success of this magnitude. Nor do I believe AP is either a prerequisite, or hinderance to an artist's enjoyment of pulling in a mass audience of admirers.I agree, though that's a little beside the point, IMO.
"Pulling in a mass audience of admirers" may have very little to do with any intrinsic musical factors anyway. It's the eternal complaint of unsuccessful musicians that musical talent/skill as such is unrewarded, in comparison with good looks, charisma, personality, etc. (We're still talking mass audience here.) A certain musical competence is required - no obvious mistakes - but virtuosity or genius beyond that is mostly irrelevant - it may help, it may not.


Also, I don't believe that assertions such as "D minor is the saddest key" are in themselves an implication that AP matters, or that those who have it are superior.What I meant was that it was a joke based on such a false assumption. We all accept that such assertions are pretentious- we know minor keys are "sad", but it's silly to say one minor key is sadder than another. The joke wouldn't really work if it was generally accepted that AP factors did matter. (Although Tufnel's other pretensions would still be funny.)


I believe that all listerners, AP or no AP enjoy the "subtleties" of music in a very personal way. So if a person feels especially moved by a piece in D-minor and calls it the saddest key, IMO, there's nothing wrong with that. It's just a personal perception/observation, a way of explaining his or her feelings in a concrete way. Sure. Mistaken, of course, but that's not our business. Unless they go on from that personal response to make a general assertion.


When it comes to appreciation of music there is no right/wrong, superior/inferior to me, just different dimensions, aspects, and viewpoints. Just my two cents. In no way do I have it all figured out, lol. I just try to keep an open mind to appreciate and respect the possibilities.Me too. ("Try" being the operative word...;) )

JonR
02-23-2010, 12:12 PM
well if you can't reproduce what your mind is thinking you won't make music that other people perceive as good. if you have perfect pitch, doing perfect pitch exercises will help you achieve that. Is that what you meant to write?
I can't make sense of that last sentence.


it doesn't matter how you think others perceive it. you don't need to think what it's like for others to perceive. you just make, and others like or don't. but if you have AP and RP and you're making good music as you perceive it, then people without it will surely appreciate it as well, but in different way. but if you don't practice your AP then you won't recognize whether the gloomy feeling you're getting is from the D of your Dminor. or from the minor of your Dminor, or from your Dminor key. because you see. people with AP receive data like this.If you have AP already, it doesn't need "practice". If that's really what you meant, you need to explain it.
RP is different, there are degrees of it - it can always be refined.


there are many people who have this and report things like this. getting moods and stuff from tones and keys. and they don't practice for hours doing it. Sure. Doesn't mean they were born with it, if this is what you're saying. It means they already have AP, which could be inborn, or could have been learned a long time ago. We don't know which, just from common sense observation.


there are lots of people born with lots of abilities others aren't born with.Really? Born with "abilities"? Or with "capacities" or "potentials"?
It's really important here to be clear about terms.
The word "abilities" suggests things that are learned. We can all walk and talk (unless we are "disabled") - they are "abilities", but we not born being able to do them. When born, we have few "abilities" other than being able to scream and suckle.
But of course we are born with many "potentials". We learn to walk and talk (among other things) because we are in a sense "programmed" to find the learning processes easy.
There may well be genes that favour the development of particular abilities. That remains to be established. What we can say for certain is that in most cases of "talent" - people who appear to possess special skills way in advance of the majority, especially precociously - it turns out that they learned it all in childhood. (I say "most". There are the odd cases which are harder to explain as purely down to environmental factors - but still not impossible.)
It's certainly true that these people (whatever their area of expertise) tend to have a particular personality: single-minded, even bloody-minded, obsessive, able to spend hours daily training or practising without losing interest. "Geniuses" across all disciplines share that trait, at least as young people. I guess that's something that might be genetic, but it's not specific - it's not musical talent, or artistic talent, or sporting talent, or scientific talent. The choice of occupation seems not to be inborn, but down to environment - something happens or inspires them in childhood to follow a particular path, and their dogged personality does the rest.



to prove it prove it i would need to understand the entire human genetic code, which i don't. and frankly i couldn't care less whether you believe me or not. but it's that way. i'm telling you.I'm intrigued why you're so 100% sure about this. Why can't you admit it's only a conclusion drawn from your observations and reasoning?
That's what my view is. I'm not 100% sure about anything I say - I'm open-minded, prepared to accept evidence that points the other way. I eagerly await genetic evidence in either direction.


do with that what you want. but until you accept that, alot of stuff will be hard for you to understand about AP.What do you think I don't understand about AP?


I am sure because it is obvious if you listen to people with AP.That's your only evidence?
The fact that people with AP feel that it's natural - that they can't remember ever not having it, it's as natural as seeing colour - is no proof at all that they were born with it. None of us can remember learning to speak either. I doubt most people can remember learning to walk.
It's "obvious" if I listen to an English person speaking English that they do it with a totally natural, subconscious skill. It seems impossible they could have learned to do that as infants. They certainly can't remember learning to do it. But of course, if they'd been born in China, they be speaking Chinese with the same level of "natural" skill. (I'd find it damn near impossible to learn Chinese now. About as hard as I'd find it to learn AP.)

Of course, it makes little difference in practice. Whether they were born with AP, or learned it in infancy, it comes to the same thing in the end. Only a scientist or researcher would care how it came about.


i could practice all day identifying pitch, but that won't make Dmajor scale sound gloomier than Cmajor scale in an instrument independent way. I wouldn't get upset or frustrated when somebody plays a song in a different key. i'd just recognize that fact.

i don't see how this is not obvious to you.The difference is obvious. Some people (as adults) have it, some don't. Those that do find it totally natural. Those that don't find it difficult (if not impossible) to learn it.

The fact that you find it impossible to learn doesn't mean that others do.
Plenty of people have learned it as adults. This is anecdotal, admittedly. I would very much like to see such people tested scientifically, and the results compared with those who have "natural" AP. Would you like to predict the results? I wouldn't.

fingerpikingood
02-23-2010, 05:38 PM
Is that what you meant to write?
I can't make sense of that last sentence.

if you can't reproduce the sounds in your mind. you can't make good music. if the sounds in your mind are pitch specific, you need to be able to play your instrument in a pitch specific way.


If you have AP already, it doesn't need "practice". If that's really what you meant, you need to explain it.

I was born with relative pitch. i needed to practice it. just because i can hear the difference between a minor and major chord, doesn't mean it is easy for me to identify them right away. it doesn't even mean that i'd recognize them in different circumstances such as in different degrees of keys right away. the different "environment" might confuse me at first. but after practice i can recognize it. nothign changed about my perception in this case. ability to perceive the notes is always the same. only the naming of them changed. your ears don't change. in poker your eyes don't change but your ability to identify tells does. same in music. but some people are born being able to hear differences between tones. different tones. each tone sounding in its own specific way. you need to practice music in that way so that you can recognize whether a character of a note is the character of the note itself, or it's position in degree in the scale, or it's relationship with the chord it's in. if the song is sad because of its tempol, or because of the key it is in, or because of the mode it is in.

when you know nothing you cannot know these things. you just recognize it as sounding the way it sounds. you don't know it is the sound of the minor key you are hearing.

and if you have the inborn ability to discriminate tones in an absolute sense, then you also cannot know whether the mood of your song is due to the individual tonic itself. for you and me what the tonic is makes no difference. C aeolian sounds like D aeolian. if you have the inborn ability to absolutely perceive pitch then these will both be different. but you won't know that's why they sound different until you know about modes, and that the difference is not modes, that the difference is not tempo, you need to isolate variables to learn, that is how it works. with the ability to identify pitches in an absolute sense you have more variables to work with, so you need to practice those in order to isolate them, that way if you find D major sounds sad, and C major happy, you play D major when you want a sad song. if keys sound this way to you you need to do that. you need to practice it. i would have thought that isolating the variables would have been something simple for someone of such high IQ to figure out. i would have though it would have been obvious.



-i could practice perfect pitch forever and it won't give me different emotions from different keys. i'll just be able to name them. they will still sound the same. you can't change the way stuff sounds to you, only what sense you make of the data. otherwise it would be like changing what the colors you see are. it's impossible. you are born with a set of hearing. granted it may mature as you age, and talking since birth i think it must. but the rest is your mind interpreting the data, this does not ascribe emotion to the stuff. unless of course you did some clockwork orange kind of stuff. this happens to the mind. but this would be a very difficult kind of association to make for pitches in an absolute sense.

getting moods from keys means they were born with it. it does. think about it. it's from keys. cross instrument, cross style, too many variables for association. the keys sound different to them. they don't sound the same but are identifiable. the sounds they hear are different. the sound itself. it is not hearing like you and i hear plus practice. the sound sounds different. a person with RP hears sound differently than a person without it. it is not just practice. there is practice required to be able to recognize the intervals and name them and stuff. yes. but they've always sounded the same. you can refine your ability to hear in this way. recognizing inversions and all that. but your hearing was always the same. you just got better at the data you can obtain from it.

some people are born with a kind of hearing that sounds different on different pitches. it sounds different. it's not the ability to recognize the subtelty. it is obvious. but you need to name it still. someone can have perfect relative pitch in a sensory hearing kind of way but never practice music and not be able to recognize a major chord.

some people don't have hearing like i know i have. they cannot hear realtive pitches like i do. I have had this since i was born. it is not that i have practiced music that has given me this. i have always had this. same with rhythm. sure i practised my muscles to be able to reproduce it, and got more creative.

ability is ability either inborn or achieved. disability is the opposite of that.

there are genetic traits these are more or less sutiable for different things. these and environment determine jobs and quantity of success at them.


because my reasoning is good. sometimes reasoning alone is good enough to be 100% sure about something.

what you don't understand about AP is that there are 2 types. the type that someone learns it with regular hearing, and the type where the person is born with tone specific hearing.

the only evidence of AP is people with it. that's why i said if you want absolute proof in scientific evidence kind of way, you'll have to wait for genetic code to be mapped. you won't live that long.

no it is different. absolute pitch is more than just the results. just like the IQ test. if you copy the answers, then you compelted the test but fraudulently. this test would not tell us about the person's mind. you can fake AP but this does not tell us about the person's mind.

in the one case hearing is different from the other. the actual hearing of the individual. the sounds they hear. it sounds different. sound is a construction of the human brain. not something that exists in the outside world that our ears allow us to perceive. sound is invented by the brain of humans. and for some humans it invents in a tone specific way. the hearing is different.

this matters more than just how the outside observer observes it. it matters to the musician making the music. they perceive sound differently. in an inborn way. the sound sounds different to them. this affects how they make music. it affects the music they make. anything that affects the music someone makes in such a profound way is important for musicians. the distinction is important.

just the fact that someone can identify a pitch doesn't matter. that ability is useless as you know. only good for tuning. but when your hearing is different when different pitches have a different sound to you, when different keys have different sounds to you, then this matters alot.

it's like imagine to you you hear different modes. but everyone else always only hears C major. you will play as though you hear modes, this will affect your tempo and your emotion and all that. and so what if everyone else only hears that in C major. they will hear something different than you, but still all the things they do hear, all the emotion and timing and all that stuff will be translated. it matters. but only the inborn kind matters. but if it's inborn you need to practice it.

i don't find perfect pitch impossible to learn. i find obtaining emotions from keys the way people with inborn ability discriminate tones in an absolute sense impossible to learn. because they hear sound differnetly than i do. just like i find developping the baility to see infra red is impossible.

but if i practiced i'd be able to call out notes in an absolute way. but my hearing will not have changed. this won't cause keys to have moods either.


we've already discussed this at length. if you wish to reply to this thread, please choose your response carefully and make it concise, because i don't feel like writing another novel on my next post.

Chordy_Ordy25
02-23-2010, 07:35 PM
Hmm...both of you posters, JobR & fingerpikingood, have interesting intellectual perspectives and theories on the subject of absolute pitch. But I must say, that in practice, at least in my case (I'm 25 years old), it appears that "real" AP can be acquired in adulthood (and is likely picked up, rather than inherited in childhood). And yes, an adult can get instant recognition of the different moods of the different major and minor keys, chords, etc; it's happening to me. I don't have to strain, it's just obvious. Some weeks ago, it was very subtle, but is gradually becoming stronger. I don't have to strain or use conscious effort either, it's just obvious. Yes, I have RP
as most mucisians do. And no, I did not recognize the different moods or note characteristics before I started training.

fingerpikingood
02-23-2010, 07:54 PM
Hmm...both of you posters, JobR & fingerpikingood, have interesting intellectual perspectives and theories on the subject of absolute pitch. But I must say, that in practice, at least in my case (I'm 25 years old), it appears that "real" AP can be acquired in adulthood (and is likely picked up, rather than inherited in childhood). And yes, an adult can get instant recognition of the different moods of the different major and minor keys, chords, etc; it's happening to me. I don't have to strain, it's just obvious. Some weeks ago, it was very subtle, but is gradually becoming stronger. I don't have to strain or use conscious effort either, it's just obvious. Yes, I have RP
as most mucisians do. And no, I did not recognize the different moods or note characteristics before I started training.
I am quite confident that you have an ability to recognize features of sound that most humans cannot. your brain interprets wavelengths in some way that most brains don't. character of notes change as they go up the register, for most others the pitch simply goes "higher" this is analogous to one person seeing only in grey scale and the other in color.

the differences may have been somewhat subtle though, but as you are training yourself you are noticing it more.

you are certainly not changing the physiology of your brain.

if i practice perfect pitch i won't develop character of notes. I won't develop character of keys. i'll just hear the music the same and call it D major.


the question is, are songs you knew before, say a song in D minor. does it seem more sad to you now? actually this question won't be telling since if you recognize D more now, and notice more the subtleties you will likely hear more sadness in the tune than before.
i'm not saying your AP is real or not. what i'm saying is, that if it is real you are not acquiring it now. you have always had it. now, you are simply developing the skill that your genetic talent allows you to develop.

things like this are strange. to you your hearing is normal, to the next guy his hearing is normal. between the both of you you seem like you hear just like the next guy. you cannot experience their senses.

I am slightly colorblind and i cannot imagine a world with more colors. I cannot imagine how the next guy can see differently than me.

to be honest, i'm not certain that the average person can acquire AP with practice. i can admit it would be possible. i mean let's compare the grey scale guy and the guy that sees color together, the grey scale guy could theoretically learn to associate the correct shades of grey with the correct colors. if you showed them a color spectrum. in teh real world he'd be screwed because all colors can be in different shades, but i think a grey scale color spectrum would be closer to possible, or we could say just 3 colors even for the sake of argument. the point is, the guy could discern the colors even though he sees only in grey scale, but he won't get the warmth necessarily of the yellow and red. he might if you associate the "yellow" and "red" shades of grey with warm things. yes.

but in listening to music you don't associate certain keys with certain moods this way, because all keys play all moods, because most people can't tell the difference.

i'm quite skeptical it is something you could learn and be good at without being born differnetly than most, but I could admit the possiblility exists.

but anyways there you go JonR there's a reason to learn AP right there. just to prove that it is/isn't possible and to see if you can develop said moods from doing it.

Crossroads
02-23-2010, 08:38 PM
Yes, I have RP
as most mucisians do. And no, I did not recognize the different moods or note characteristics before I started training.

Just to be clear, though it's about the 4th time I've explained it in this thread - all humans have RP (unless they have medically defective hearing) - that's how any of us can distinguish any kind of variation in sound. It's not just confined to musicians.

The only distinction for musicians is that we inevitably concentrate on listening to those Relative Pitch differences on our instrument, whether we specifically intend to do that or not.

For musicians it's an inevitable consequence of listening carefully to music as we are trying to copy/learn ... and that's especially true and especially acute when we try to transcribe music, because in that case we are forcing ourselves to listen in a particularly careful and focused way to pick out the precise differences between the sound of each successive note.

So just to be clear - RP is NOT just confined to musicians. Everyone has RP ability. But serious musicians who practice a lot, learn a lot of songs by listening carefully, and transcribe a lot of music by listening very intently, can develop a more refined sense of RP recognition.

AP is of course, something entirely different.

Ian.