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mitchskates
08-05-2004, 02:03 AM
Hey All,

I thought I'd start with this post. I have learnt lots just reading all the posts.

Who here has perfect pitch? I have perfect pitch because mum taught me to read at 2.5 years old. It always works. All my brothers and sisters (1 brother, 2 sisters) have perfect pitch. I know someone that has perfect pitch but no relative pitch which means he can't sing a song in a different key...(freak). You need to have both if you want perfect pitch to have more uses that just a party trick.

Perfect pitch helps me play a song on the piano in any key immediately. Also, if I hear a rift I like I can immediately play it on any of my instruments. If you have perfect pitch but you can't do some of these things, you need to develop relative pitch (which is pretty easy if you have pp).

Let me know what you think about it all!

Later,

Mitch

Priest Becker
08-05-2004, 02:11 AM
I have relitive pitch and close to perfect pitch im always a note or 2 off but never more than that but I dont know what to do to develope perfect pitch. Too bad no one in my family is musical :(

Dommy
08-05-2004, 04:18 AM
No such thing as nearly-perfect pitch...

mitchskates
08-05-2004, 07:52 AM
I aggree

Rented
08-05-2004, 09:32 AM
I agree as well. Its like being almost pregnant :D

Anyway, a lot of people believe there is no such thing as perfect pitch. I really don't know myself, but what I don't understand is how anyone can have perfect pitch and not relative pitch. I mean in a practical sense, perfect pitch gives you relative pitch as well.

If I hit a C on the keyboard and ask you to sing the major third above that (E), the guy with relative pitch will be able to hit that note because he/she knows how to "raise" the C to an E. The guy with perfect pitch, on the other hand will just hit the E, not by "raising" the C to an E, but by just knowing how to hit an E. This is assuming the perfect pitch guy knows his theory, of course.

Another way of seeing it is though the replay of a previously unknown song. The RP guy will hear and remember the intervals between the notes, the PP guy will hear and remember the notes of the song. The result should be the same, shouldn't it?

I don't know if that made any sense :) I probably don't know what I'm talking about...
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phantom
08-05-2004, 01:33 PM
No such thing as nearly-perfect pitch...

as i read, perfect pitch can be trained.
so there must be a moment where you are getting closer to the goal of having perfect pitch - nearly perfect pitch.

Bizarro
08-05-2004, 04:05 PM
It's been established that relative pitch is incredibly important for musicians, sort of like reading is important for someone trying to read a book.

Perfect pitch isn't very important in the big scheme of things. When you're actually playing/performing you have constant reminders of pitches, as in I'm playing an "A" right now, so your relative pitch can establish the other tones easily.

Perfect pitch is more of a novelty and something that isn't really important. If you don't have it, then it won't matter as long as you relative pitch is well developed.

Training your ear for good relative pitch should be at the top of the list for every musician.

forgottenking2
08-05-2004, 04:13 PM
The term "perfect pitch" so aclaimed and focus of so many scams (just like get shredding chops in 2 weeks... get perfect pitch in 6 easy lesons and so on lol ) it's just a more accesible term for "Tonal memory" the kids who are "born" with perfect pitch are not really born with it how does a baby know what a pitch is? Saying that someone is born with perfect pitch is like saying that A painter is born with the ability to recognize 64 million colors (and that is not an exageration, I know this guy <He's an art teacher at the same school I teach> and he uses that many shades and tones of color... ) What those kids really have is an innate (means they are born with it) memory for sounds, so just like when you're little and you see the color blue and you ask your mom/dad "mommy/daddy what color is that?" a hundred times (you'll ask even after you know it just to make sure, kids are just like that) and then later you just know what blue is, it's the same thing with sounds, those kids are trained early on at a piano (I haven't hard of kids with perfect pitch who did not have early training on piano even if later they switched to a different instrument). Can you get it? Can you memorize a dictionary? Sure you can but what for? I believe it is a much better tool to know your intervals upside down, both vertical and horizontal, that way you'll be able to work off of the top of your head and in order to get it into any key all you need is a reference pitch. That's what I'm working on (still) and I can see the results now and the best part is: I don't have to pay anybody or listen to any kind of crazy promises to get the work done.

My 2 cents.

doctorvetsill
08-05-2004, 04:53 PM
I have always had perfect pitch. It's a scary thing. I was the guy, back in my days working retail, who would pick out the mistakes in the Muzak on the speaker system. The general reply was "huh?"

When I was little I would always put my ear up to the speaker of the stereo. My pitch was refined greatly in my 3 semesters of Solfege (sometimes called VAMP - Visual & Aural Music Perception) and Survey Of Music History (1 hour, 3 mornings a week, of listening to classical music while following the scores and applying theory to them).

Any other Solfege survivors here? ;)

Bizarro
08-06-2004, 12:52 AM
Amen, Jorge!

I've had ear training in college music theory. We used numbers (1-8, etc) instead of solfege. It's great, but very challenging to practice when you have roommates! You get a lot of "shut-up, I'm trying to study" comments! :)

Jorge, my ear is getting to the point where it's hard for me to play a guitar with a floating bridge. Unison bends just kill me since the whole bridge goes flat and it's about an 1/8 step out of tune! Listening to Steve Vai and other guys like him in a live video also hurts sometimes because of the Floyd Rose. I have good and bad ear days, sometimes they're tin, sometimes I can hear stuff! :)

fortymile
08-06-2004, 05:00 AM
i have nearly perfect pitch, which seems to have just arisen spontaneously from the (nearly) perfect relative pitch that i seem to have developed through lots of playing by ear. i don't think the one necessarily infers the other, though. i think that for people who have true perfect pitch, it must be more like keying in to the color of the frequencies. like you hear a b and it sounds like b in the same way that a stop sign looks red. that doesn't mean that you'll be able to hear two tones and understand the amount of "space" between them, however. i don't think having perfect relative pitch means you will have good relative pitch, since each skill involves processing totally different kinds of data. when i'm learning something by ear, i just have a feel for how much space lies between each note. it's a spacial skill for me which has nothing to do with hearing those colors like i was theorizing above.

but, oddly, i say i have nearly perfect pitch because of some weird things i find i am able to do without understanding how at all: if i have a tone in mind (something i just heard perhaps, and i want to find that note on the keyboard or guitar) 9 times out of 10 my finger goes to the exact right note and the only way i can explain it is that it feels connected to, like "aiming" in a game of darts or pool. like, when i shoot pool, i can often get behind the cue ball and rotate my cue through the arc of an angle, and suddenly i just see when the perfect angle has been acheived and at that point i shoot. i will often shoot on the fly like that, while in motion, and in the same way, when i try to find a note on an instrument my mind does a similiar thing by doing a bunch of weird judgments that are not really concious. like i'll look at the keyboard and move a "mental finger" above it saying, very rapidly, 'no, no, no, no, YES' and that will be the note.

it's mysterious to me but i love it. :)

Bizarro
08-06-2004, 05:44 AM
I have a similar thing. After I've been playing for a minute or two my fingers usually go right to any note that I hear or want to play. It's a function of good relative pitch and *pitch memory*, which is something that singers are usually really good at. Pitch memory means that once you hear a note, you get "grounded" so that you can find other notes via your relative pitch. Some people have pitch memory that lasts for an hour or two after hearing a note. Mine only lasts for 10-20 minutes before I need to play something to get a new reference point.

mitchskates
08-06-2004, 09:17 AM
Hey everyone,

Perfect pitch is INCREDIBLY useful. I know because I have it. If you don't use it correctly, it will be a gimick or even just a head ache.

Whats it like? Someone mentioned that true perfect pitch is like seeing red and immediately knowing its red. Thats EXACTLY what its like. If you have to concentrate even for 1/2 a second to work out what note it is, you don't have perfect pitch...or at least yet. When I hear a rift I don't have to remember a bunch of letters (A,B,C), my brain just remembers it for me and I just play it. Just like if you see a colour, your don't think "red" you just know its red until you verbalize it. Of course there is a point where your memory fails and you just can't remember that last bit. I'm not sure what it would be like to not have perfect pitch (because I can't turn it off) but I reckon that music sounds richer and fuller to people with perfect pitch. It must be just a jumble of sound at different intervals that sometimes sounds good? I have no idea...

Someone said that perfect pitch wasn't useful....Well I can't coment on their experiences but here are some uses I use it for. When you have perfect pitch you can do this things.

- When you sing acapella, you don't have to pull out this dorky whistle to hear the note first.
- When you play in a jazz band you can freak out my band members and copy their rifts exactly.
- You can play a piece of music in any key on any of the instruments that you play. Someone with perfect pitch can do this because if they hear a note, they can play a note, so you just play it in your head at a different key and they you can play it at the same time.
- You can compose songs without having an instrument around. You can hear it in your head and then right it down because you know what notes you are hearing.
- Many more....

Someone mentioned that they can pick the notes by going up and down the keyboard and saying "yes", "no". Thats awesome--that would be ESP wouldn't it?

All the best people.

Mitch

Bizarro
08-06-2004, 09:38 AM
Mitch, those claims are very far fetched. Most of them are attributes directly related to having good relative pitch, not perfect pitch.

"When you have perfect pitch you can do this things."

"- When you sing acapella, you don't have to pull out this dorky whistle to hear the note first. "
So? If you're singing by yourself, it doesn't matter. If you're singing with others then you'll need a reference note for EVERYBODY to hear. It doesn't have to be a whistle...
"- When you play in a jazz band you can freak out my band members and copy their rifts exactly."
This is really a relative pitch thing. It doesn't do much good if your technical ability isn't up to playing the part, either.
"- You can play a piece of music in any key on any of the instruments that you play. Someone with perfect pitch can do this because if they hear a note, they can play a note, so you just play it in your head at a different key and they you can play it at the same time."
This is absurd. Somehow perfect pitch will tell your fingers to hit different keys on the piano? What about a saxophone? Guitar is easy, move over a fret or two.
"- You can compose songs without having an instrument around. You can hear it in your head and then right it down because you know what notes you are hearing."
Again, this is really a relative pitch deal. Anyone can learn how to do this if they learn how to read music and work on their relative pitch.

"- Many more...."
I can't really dispute this one.

"When I hear a rift I don't have to remember a bunch of letters (A,B,C), my brain just remembers it for me and I just play it."
That's doesn't have much to do with perfect pitch either. This is basically a skill that a musician learns through transcribing. Anyone can do it with some work, and perfect pitch is by no means a requirement.

The focus should be on training your relative pitch, which is useful for a musician in all aspects of your discipline. Perfect pitch isn't required.

forgottenking2
08-06-2004, 01:53 PM
I have to agree with you Bizarro. It's all a relative pitch thing. Something I do when I have to transcribe and I don't have an instrument around: I sing and write without a cleff (!!!!) you know what that does right? It leaves the absolute pitch open, so that way when I got home and have a refference (like my keyboard or guitar) I just need ot figure out the first pitch and that's it. When you play in a band is even easier. Who cares what the original key of the song was? If your band is playing Johnny B-Good in Eb will you still play in Bb for the sake of your "perfect pitch pride"? :D

I know what you mean about the floyd rose... it is a pain to play more than 1 note at a time while bending or pulling/pushing on the bar... I actually switched to a fixed bridge... I still pick up the S-470 just to do some whammy stunts and what not but I mainly do single note stuff on that guitar.

I am also working on my ear big time. Bringing intervals out of the blue (there's this one that I've been doing since I was... 12 I think, where you hum an interval on top of anything that has a discernable pitch... dryer? Blender? Anyone? Try singing a perfect 5th on top of the microwave's hum... sweet stuff :p ) I still can't get some without reference in a chromatic setting, once you get the modality out, melodic major and minor thirds are SO FREAKING ALIKE! once I have a reference (like hearing a major 3rd once) it works fine. Harmonic intervals... I think minor 7ths and minor 2nds are the ones giving me the most trouble.

Anyway, perfect pitch is just tonal memory and that's that, not some super power that will make you an incredible musician, and the unability to "turn it off" or use relative pitch along with it may actually get in the way. How are you going to work in a non tempered sistem? 24 equal tone system? 19 equal tone system? anybody?

Just my two cents once again.

Rented
08-06-2004, 02:30 PM
Well, I also agree with all of what Bizarro said except for this bit:


"- When you sing acapella, you don't have to pull out this dorky whistle to hear the note first. "
So? If you're singing by yourself, it doesn't matter. If you're singing with others then you'll need a reference note for EVERYBODY to hear. It doesn't have to be a whistle...
Why doesn't it matter if you are singing by yourself? A song sounds different in different keys, the mood can change drastically.

You could be singing with others, but the song starts out acapella with the band joining in later in the song. Unless the singer uses a referece before starting out the song, they better have perfect pitch. Of course, its not really a problem using such a reference, so the use of perfect pitch there is debatable.

I don't think any skill should be undervalued, though, and I am sure perfect pitch has its great uses. I just can't think of very many right now. Oh, how about a piano tuner who lost his forks? :)
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Koala
08-06-2004, 03:35 PM
Didnīt even feel like posting in ths thread, but now Im with Biz.

Bizarro
08-06-2004, 04:53 PM
I don't want to go down any dark paths here... :) It's just that relative pitch is a very useful tool that EVERYONE can work on and get really good at.
Perfect pitch is something which is elusive and most people might not ever attain.

I hope I didn't offend anyone. I apologize if I did.

fortymile
08-06-2004, 08:11 PM
mitch...

no, it's not ESP. its like flipping through a rolodex really quickly and seeing one colored card jump out. its like: you hear a note and you get a general feel right away for which octave it's in, or which string it's on. that bit comes without thinking, you just know. so suddenly you just have 12 possibilities. my hand goes to the instrument and i get a strange tense feeling, pretty much what you would feel if you were aiming a gun or a bow. my hand moves toward the instrument and the rolodex flips and i just eliminate all the incorrect notes without thinking about it. i think bizarro has something here with this 'pitch memory' idea. usually when i do this i need to ground myself on the instrument first. i will have hit a random note LOWER than what i'm about to search for. at that point you can get an intuitive feel for how much SPACE is between where you are and where you need to be. no thinking about intervals is required. you feel a sense of distance between the reference note you just hit and your target note, and as your hand moves to the instrument it just knows, in the same way that you know how to aim. it feels like my interval sense is tied to whatever lobe of the brain judges distances.

fortymile
08-06-2004, 11:31 PM
oops, forgot to mention the most important part of that....

that process described in itself above would be considered relative pitch, but once i find a reference note, i can walk away and come back a bit later and do a new tone without a new reference note, so i guess that'd be pitch memory, like bizarro says

mitchskates
08-08-2004, 03:25 AM
Bizarro if people with relative pitch can do those things I guess that proves me wrong.

On that point of being able to transfer a song to different instruments immediately and in different keys. I'm not making that up...I can do that. The question is how perfect pitch creates this ability. Well first of all we can all (except for tone deaf people) sing a song in different keys right? (Some perfect pitch people can't sing in a different key but thats only because they don't have an relative pitch but thats another matter) If you have perfect pitch, whatever you hear you can play, because you know what note you are hearing. So consequently, assuming you know the notes on your instrument, you can just play what "you hear" inside your head--whether it be the song in a different key. This can transfer to different instruments then also. Does that make sense? I'm pretty sure thats how it works.

forgotKing2, I certainly belive that perfect pitch doesn't mean that you are a super musician. By far the most of the best muscisians do not have pp. I just think its something that makes a lot of things easier--when it is combined with relative pitch.

As an aside Mozart had pp which allowed him to sit and listen to a 30 minute symphony and then right it out with like only 2 mistakes at home. Mind you, that was also a very good memory! I could maybe right out the first 3 bars lol.

Someone mentioned on the top of this page (I can't check because I'll lose what I'm writing, sorry) that there would be a sense of pride or something about playing something in the right key and I wouldn't be able to play it if it started in a different key. The opposite exactly!! I often play things in different keys because some keys seem to have a nicer ring about them. If I started playing my guitar and singing in a different key with a band they first of all, probably wouldn't know what the new key was, second of all they haven't learnt it in the new key so they couldn't play it (unless it was simple chording only--that they could transpose). The only guy that might be allright would be the drummer!

Someone also mentioned that I wouldn't be able to play an instrument that was not tuned to even-temperment. Well, I think pp would be a huge advantage, because I'd just have to play it to know how differently it was tuned. Remember, most people with pp can hear accuracy not to a semitone, but to a 10th of a semitone. If they couldn't they wouldn't be able to tune thier guitar the same every time.

fortymile, I reckon that there is some ESP involved in what you do. You say it isn't conscience. Well if it isn't conscience it must be inconscience which makes it something else. I suppose you couldn't rule out maybe your sub-conscience having pp and.....anyway, this is probably all crap....let me know what you think.

Mitch

fortymile
08-08-2004, 03:54 AM
thats maybe a good way to put it. my subconscious has PP. it feels like that.

C-major
08-15-2004, 06:11 PM
can perfect pich run in the family? cuz my dad's got it; and it's kicks *** big time! not that people without it are inferior mucians, not at all.

but i sometimes can nail a not really dead on, without hearing anything else but that note, and i've tuned my guitar a couple o' times just by listening (it took me a while and the guitar wasn't THAT much out of tune) so what i really wanne say is, how do you know you have it? i('m only playing for like a year and a half, and i haven't taken any lessons so far; but i do play every day for a few hours.

Keep on roking in a free world!! bye

Wudluv2sweep
08-15-2004, 07:38 PM
So what is perfect pitch exactly? it sounds like it can be trained, i mean someone said pp people can hear to a 1/10th of a semitone, but think like this: most musicians can guess what octave a note is in if they hear it without anything to relate it too, i mean say u went this is an e, and then played an e, most people would be able to find the right octave e, if you get me, so really pp is just like that but way more accurate, instead of saying which octave is this e you just ask what note is this, and then i guess you get even more accurate like that 1/10th semitone thing?so you know the E is flat or sharp or whatever? or am i completely wrong?

Skeletor
08-15-2004, 08:58 PM
I couldn't tell you what a note is but I can match it easy. Always could.

davidvanhalen
08-16-2004, 06:47 PM
ok man, first of all: there's a term called tonal memory, and EVERYONE has it, well except for deaf people, people with perfect pitch just have a more developed tonal memory for a lot of reason, maybe they were traine since childhood wich makes it easier to develop and it also helps if you have musicians in your family(mother or father) this is not medically proved but it's likely to be true, second of all; yes EVERYONE can develop perfect pitch, and it is usefull for things like transcrabing or whatever. however relative pitch is just as usefull or maybe more, the thing is everyone has perfect pitch or the potencial to have it, it just have to be developed, its just a memory function it's no magic or miraculous gift, its just like memorazing colors or smells, i mean you're not born being able to recognize the smell of chicken or chocolate or knowin' from memory the smell of cologne, it's deveoped by constant contact with it, it aplies to colors, tones, smells and even feelings.

Guitardeth
08-18-2004, 05:59 PM
A friend of mine has it and we listen to radio he can say: "The chord progression is Asus2, Eb, B and D" and when he shows it on the guitar it's correct. And sometimes when I play and he looks by he says it's not correctly tuned. And his right again.

But seriously, I wouldn't like to have such a perfect pitch I coulnd't stand listen to music when it's not tuned after A440 or whatever. Music is expression, and the music is only 3/5 of music, the other 2/5 is the carisma, feeling and bodylanguage. It's like talking on msn, you missunderstand a lot, can't express yourself the way you want. You're limited in other words. Like when u use power-tab, the same problems accure.

Hm, got of the topic a little, sorry ;)

Thorsten
08-18-2004, 06:23 PM
I think I donīt have perfect pitch but from all these years of playing I have a good memory of that A 440hz tuning note in my ear. So if I have that note I can derive any other note from it just by going up or down the scale, no big trick...

Bizarro
08-19-2004, 12:43 AM
TK, I have a similar thing with "A" myself. I can usually sing an A if I need to... I think that's because of 20 years of guitar playing and I'm always using that as a reference note for everything I do. It's probably a pitch memory thing.

John Tuohy
08-19-2004, 12:57 AM
Well, I'll tell you whats really cool about perfect pitch. I myself do not have it, but a friend of mine who goes to the same school does. Not only does he have it, but his guitar teacher realized this at a very young age (11) and helped him develop it. Heres some really neat things that this kid can do.

-We were watching a performance of the Dave Holland Quintet. If anybody has ever heard them, they play very challenging music, with very out-there chord progressions. He took out a pencil and paper in the midst of one of their songs, and since he liked the song so much, he jotted down the chord progression (it was like 23 bars long or something with whacked out changes) for later use.
-You can hold down 11 of the 12 notes on the bottom octave of the piano and say "Jon, what note am I not playing?" and he can tell you within a split second. This could be very useful when it comes to hearing dense harmony.
-My favorite thing that he does, is on a nice day, he sits outside on a park bench with a cd player, and transcribes solos without any instrument near him. He did the entire "I Can See Your House From Here" album (John Scofield and Pat Metheny), all solos and heads in a one week time span.

I don't know about any of you, but being able to do those things would be pretty friggin' cool. Is it the most important acspect of being a musician? Certainly not. It is an essential skill? No. Would it be fun and cool to be able to do what my friend can do easily? Yes, very much so.

John Tuohy

mitchskates
08-20-2004, 09:02 AM
> I don't know about any of you, but being able to do those things would be pretty
> friggin' cool. Is it the most important acspect of being a musician? Certainly not. It
> is an essential skill? No. Would it be fun and cool to be able to do what my friend
> can do easily? Yes, very much so.

Amen brother....lol...I agree. I reckon its you that can do that....but you are just being modest.

People just don't seem to realize how good this pp thing is.

Mitch

gibsg99
08-20-2004, 10:14 PM
Hey Everybody,

I have the dreaded PP, as well as RP, and while I don't claim to be a superior guitar player because of it, I believe that it has played an important role in my development as a musician. Because of these abilities, I can do the following:

*Transcribe, and compose music to a tee, without the aid of my guitar. By the way, I can't read music, so I write in tab. Sure, this may be aided by my knowledge of some music theory (I know how alot of chords and scales are formed, as well as location of every note on the fretboard, without looking), but thanks to PP, I know precisely how what I am writing down is going to sound when I pick up my instrument. (Since I primarily play guitar, I never felt the need to learn to read standard notation. Tab is much easier, and it's all I need).
Being able to learn music by ear has also probably saved me some money, since I don't always need to buy books in order show me how its done. I will admit that books do help sometimes in teaching me peices of music- a lot of guitar solos are simply too fast for me to hear each individual note, without slowing down the recording, or stopping a rewinding over and over again, which I lack the patience for.

*I can tune my guitar to any key I want (Including "inbetween" keys), without a tuner, or a reference note.

*If I am jamming with other musicians, or song on the radio/cd, I know what key I am in, without asking, or fumbling around the fretboard and looking for it.

Now, I am sure that there are millions of musicians that can play better than I can, many that probably don't have PP, but I can't deny that PP and RP have been extremely helpful to me in multiple ways.

The only downside, if any to PP, is that it is truly an annoyance to me if an instrument is even slightly out of tune. For instance, when I was watching the finalists of American Idol, most people thought that they sounded spectacular, while I heard a ton of imperfections, pitch-wise, that the judges failed to notice. But, then again, it was a live performance, and since the contestants were probably pretty nervous, its understandable. It just makes it less pleasant to listen to.

In addition, a lot of music on the radio uses identical chord progressions, and these rehashings are aparent to me the second I hear the first few notes. It makes it more difficult for me to find music on the radio that I think is fresh and worth listening to.

Sorry this post is so long. I just felt like adding my 2c's. I just feel like it's almost like some people don't fully understand, or appreciate how useful something such as perfect pitch is. Honestly, my life as a musician would be noticeably different, and more difficult without it.
Peace...

Bizarro
08-21-2004, 05:37 AM
It shouldn't be forgotten that nearly everything described here is an attribute of good relative pitch skill too. It's not just a perfect pitch trait.

A well trained ear does not require perfect pitch. You'll notice that Steve Vai and Joe Satriani do NOT have perfect pitch, but they have some of the greatest ears around. Steve Vai is a legendary transcriber.

Nearly everybody that transcribes for a living relies on RP and they transcribe without an instrument. The singer in my band often puts on a song in the car and asks me how to play it. I can generally figure that stuff out as I'm listening to it and show/tell him how to play it. I don't have perfect pitch, but my relative pitch is decent (but far from perfect...). Relative pitch is something which you can learn/teach and the methods and means of learning it are very practical and easily accessible by everyone.

Sure, perfect pitch would be great, but it's more important to focus (and work on)things which you can learn, not things which you may never learn or acquire...

RandyEllefson
08-21-2004, 07:16 PM
perfect pitch cannot be trained. You either have it or you don't. If you develop extremely good relative pitch, it's still relative. I don't care if you have the ultimate most "perfect" version of relative pitch - it's still relative. You stop using it for a year, 2, 5, 50 years, and it will go away - because it's not perfect pitch.

tom_hogan
08-21-2004, 08:03 PM
i played violin as a child and have developed a reasonable sence of relative pitch

the way i managed to develop my tonal memory is by jamming along to vocal lines from songs that i am familiar with, and from hours of transcribing. But this was developed i was not born with it

And i can only really work with half steps ( no quarter bends ect)

tom

fortymile
08-22-2004, 01:39 AM
what happened to me today felt like a still-nascent perfect pitch skill developing, but i guess it's still just tonal memory. (it raises a question though):

i'm sure i wasn't born with perfect pitch, but today i was sitting in a bookstore and heard a bass progression i loved and wrote down the riff by visualizing a keyboard. but i couldn't be 100 percent sure of the intervals (i felt) until i knew the right starting tone, so i just found it there in the cafe in my head. with no instrument around, i was able to match the starting tone i perceived with what i later verfied to be the actual starting tone. i knew it was the right one. i didnt immediately perceive it as a 'g' -- i had to check it against my do-re-mi scale stored up in my memory. but it happened pretty quickly and effortlessly, and it gets faster the more i do it. so thats the question: if i keep progressing with it faster and faster and get sort of autistic with pitch-identification--even if i'm using a memorized reference scale--doesn't there come a time when it'll have to be admitted that it's become fully automatic, and at that point, don't i have perfect pitch?

the definition of perfect pitch is that you're able to consistently identify pitches. if you can learn to do that instantly,does the mental algorithm you're using matter? i can already feel the reference scale starting to submerge, almost like i'm not actually doing comparisons really. in this case i could tell by the tone color that the tone had to be a certain minimum distance above c. i wrote off c, d, and e at once based on the sound alone. (then did a scale comparison which took like 3 seconds)

it's ok if i dont have perfect pitch. i havent spent any amount of time sincerely pining after it. besides, i think tonal memory and perfect relative pitch are very cool--and make for excellent parlor tricks. but this question of whether it can be learned, well, i doubt that its impossible. seems like even "natural borns" learned it. like, when they were small children they focused on sounds over visuals, and so mapped thier brains out in a certain way to "become cozy with tones." if this is what's happening, it's still learning. only difference is, that kind is happening when the brain is very young and plastic.

this all reminds me of the turing test in AI. the idea goes: if an artificial intelligence is able to fool a human judge into thinking the AI is a self-aware human, then it must actually be sentient. personally i don't agree with the turing test idea at all, but it's the same sort of question as what's going on here with perfect pitch. if i can fool you perfectly into thinking i have perfect pitch then in a certain sense i do. (although it will not be the thing you are talking about, which is instant apprehension and naming of tones, in the same way that the illusion of consciousness doesn't mean the AI feels anything.)

again, though, i feel like i am sensing some tone colors here.

gibsg99
08-22-2004, 05:28 AM
hi,

I know that I already wrote earlier, but I thought that I would add this:
I think that i may have "learned" perfect pitch when i was very young (probably around 8 or 9 years old)...or maybe I was born with it; its hard to say. All I know is that I have it.

When I was very young, I had a keyboard that had the names of the notes under the keys, which helped me to identify the names of the notes i was hearing, and then i found it very easy to name the notes easily without the keyboard.

So, did I actually learn pp? Good question. All that I know is that since I was very young, I always thought that music had various "colors", and when I learned how to play an instrument, I could put two and two together. Keep in mind that I am definitely not a piano player. I quickly gave it up to learn guitar, which I have stuck with for more than 14 years now. I say this to abolish the myth that young children that play piano are more likely to have perfect pitch.

So, in short, I believe that people with PP can definitely be born with it. Can it be learned?? Well, can anybody on this thread actually say that they have learned PP? It seems like people that have tried learning it have come close, but have developed Relative pitch more than anything else.

So, while perfect pitch will in no way substitute for actual practice and dedication to an instrument, I think that it must be something that you are born with, at least in most cases. If it can be learned, than why don't more people have it?

fortymile
08-22-2004, 09:21 AM
probably because the kind of learning you have to do to acquire it is most easily gained when your brain is still growing and you haven't settled into your adult perception regime yet--still fluid, you can shape it around music. but it's still learning.

according to one theory, anyway. the one that goes that a newborn's brain is a totally untrained neural net. genetics endows certain brain regions with certain tendencies, but then learning and development select for which neural networks are retained within the larger network of the brain itself. the baby grows, perceives, and the neurons link up based on what it tends to engage in most. those links are the ones that are retained, while the unused connections die off/are replaced or subsumed. darwinian selection on the level of neural networks. this kind of knowledge descends and becomes a part of you, forming your basic OS, so to speak.

i think it's a good theory, partly because i've never seen a baby that was born with anything except the ability to eat, yell, and excrete. :)

but why not reprogram your OS?

most adults, they say, cant learn certain things well. i've never entirely been a believer in that. i think most adults only sort of can't. maybe most adults cant put themselves back into the right kind of childlike state where the right kind of rewiring could take place. MAYBE its impossible, but maybe thier ideas and adult associations interfere, preventing them from descending to the level where they might create thier own understanding of what theyre trying to learn. learning of this type isn't memorizing--it's a full-body feeling. you have to ferret out the understanding of a thing like this and ultimately 'get it' to where you aren't dependent upon any real outside references--the only reference you're allowed is your own mental muscle. isn't that how kids--who cant read and who dont have adult modes of understanding things--generally make sense of the world and truly come to understand certain things?

back in school, there were people who just clearly couldn't write a sentence (and they were in school for fiction writing). i thought---why can't they learn! of the few skills i have (in whatever area), i seem to recall that as a kid i paid attention to things deeply until i 'figured it out' on a 'mine' kind of level. almost as if i created the knowledge myself.

i think that's how this could be learned, if it can be learned. i bet maybe a buddhist monk of the sort that has, like, voluntary control over his heart rate and such could pull it off, given a few years!

but as an adult with only a mild interest, i dont think i have the time.

and, on the other hand, maybe you do just gravitate towards certain things because you have some inborn proclivity. who knows! its fun to think about though. i hope "they" figure out soon.

one more thing...it seems sort of necessary to believe that perfect pitch can be learned, if only because there are so many other things out there of which people say 'it can't be learned.' but hey...i want to learn those things. very badly. not perfect pitch. but those other things...they all fall into the same category; they all come under fire with the 'youre either born with it or not' meme.

and as a 'would-be-whatever,' isn't it your solemn duty to reject this kind of thinking in all things? if you didn't, you might never become anything.

mitchskates
08-23-2004, 01:23 AM
fortymile, do you (have you) done a degree in ai? I'm in my final year of Information Technology and even though I'm doing a Software Engineering major, I have done about 5 AI electives. I find it very interesting. I have developed a few neural networks and find them interesting, but limited.

I agree with your theorys on how a child learns. You mention that what they learn in those early stages creates their Operation System. Well, on that small point I beg to differ. My Mum has a degree in psychology and so I've read a few of the personality type books she loves reading. From what I've gathered from these books and personal experience, is that we are born with the personality that we will have with for the rest of our lives. I don't know if you are familiar with the Myers-Briggs personality typing system, but it basically puts you in one of 16 catagories. Once an extravert...always an extravert. That personality changes the way one learns or takes in information. So what I'm coming to is there has to be something there at birth, otherwise new information would mean nothing to the baby. I think learning section of the brain is programmed allready with a specific personality.

Mitch

fortymile
08-23-2004, 09:28 AM
i have a bachelor's in psych, and a master's in fiction writing (forum posts may not reflect ability). i love science. i'm getting into AI more and more (on a layman's level) because i write sf stories and kind of need to be informed. i'm definitely not an expert though, mostly because i have a layman's patience with it.

with the psych stuff, we're still in the dark ages, though what we do know is about to explode, especially with new fMRI techinques and such, where we can map brain function in real time. i tend to agree with you, though, that we come wired with certain inborn personality tendencies. there is something at birth. your emotional makeup (really important) and basic capacity for intelligence are probably hardwired. but then the environment helps with the shaping a bit, you know? (sometimes drastically). killing off some little networks and strengthening the ones you use frequently.

and on the other hand, as a former user of prescription antidepressants, i've felt my personality undergo a complete 180 degree turn when the right chemicals were tweaked, and found that there are more potential me's than just the one i am. i once saw myself change from complete introvert to something very different. for a year or so anyway. need about 80 mg fluoxetine for that. for me the experience has made me forever question my limits. i simply didn't know there was another way to be. now i have the memory of it. i know there is.

i dont know if you've heard of the creativity machine, but it's a neural network of a very cool type:

http://www.siliconvalley.com/mld/siliconvalley/7883405.htm

sorry for babbling. i drank tonight. *hic*

Jamessesb
08-31-2004, 05:02 AM
I aggree
i bought those tapes by david burkes & i found it very interesting; incorporating the sense of sight in hearing.
when we talk about perfect pitch, do we mean singing the correct "A" or "la" or hearing the frequency of 440-445 hz vibration?
i think perfect pitch is hearing the frequency of each pitch correctly & the ability to duplicate the sounds of these notes correctly is the relative pitch. one with a perfect pitch can easily say if someone's off pitch or not, but one with relative pitch can sing on pitch most of the times, i think?!
i'm so thankful, i'm blessed with 2 fine ears :p, and now i'm working hard to be able to sing properly :o, thanks to all your shared wisdom.

sallyjenkins
10-08-2004, 01:50 PM
it is cool to read the way this forum has run its' course.

mitch started the forum stating he had pp due to learning to read at a young age. others such as priest stated they had almost pp, which seemed to start an interesting debate, whether it is learned or natural. personally, i believe pp must be learned. forgottenking2 makes a good point, it is more a memory thing, though most likely sub-conscious through years of learning. bizarro seems to make this type of learning by recognising pitch memory.

though i couldnt help to note a quite obvious contradiction. doctorvetstill claims to have always had perfect pitch, yet somehow has amazingly refined perfection by attending Solfege. but this begs the question, how does one refine perfection?

gibsg99 also brings in an interesting topic, American Idol, or more generally the Idol in the different countries. Maybe the pitch problems are not so much a result of nervousness, but is it that many are untrained, or if trained, still not really that good. i have noticed on american idol and australian idol the number of talentless people who appear to go on there thinking they are good. even those that get in around the top 100 or 200 or so, whilst relatively good compared to who else, quite often suck when looking at them properly. they maybe pitchy, jitter nerves through their voice etc. am i cynical or are these idol shows a juggernaught for the talentless? lol.

mitch (sorry for using you as a reference point, just you bring up the different points) states that there must be something which is mildly innate otherwise a baby would have nothing to reference something to. well, even in the womb, babies do learn, so this is most likely the reference point, a point not of natural but of something learned. it is recognised that babies learn the parents voices(well, mothers at least, depends if the father sticks around) whilst in the womb. whilst a reference point is definitely handy, but not necessary for learning. actually i do have a question based on that, is your mother a musician or psychologist? i am just intrigued by the learning so young, especially since there appears so much music talent in the family though you say your mother has a psych background.

i better stop rambling, tell me what you think. XXX Sally

waycooljunior19
10-17-2004, 08:54 AM
I find this all rather fascinating. A question, though: if the definition of perfect pitch is that you're able to consistently identify pitches, what is the definition of relative pitch? And how do you go about training yourself in relative pitch?

Paul

MadhatteR
10-27-2004, 11:52 PM
From what I know, relative pitch is being able to hear intervals. If someone plays a note & tells you to sing a major third above it you can do it without nessecarily knowing the names of either notes.

I agree that PP is tonal memory, meaning it can be learned. What about Middle-eastern musicians who play scales that use 1/4 steps in addition to 1/2 and whole steps? I'm sure there are some of those guys who can name any note that is played in their type of music.

waycooljunior19
10-28-2004, 06:27 AM
From what I know, relative pitch is being able to hear intervals. If someone plays a note & tells you to sing a major third above it you can do it without nessecarily knowing the names of either notes.
That makes sense, and I see where that would be as helful, if not more helpful than being able to hear a note and know what it is.

Thank you for your answer MadhatteR

fortymile
11-09-2004, 12:39 AM
"...new research from the University of California, San Diego has found a strong link between speaking a tone language – such as Mandarin – and having perfect pitch, the ability once thought to be the rare province of super-talented musicians. "

http://www.plebius.org/article.php?article=659

oRg
11-11-2004, 11:45 PM
IMHO opinion there is no such thing as perfect pitch. Perfect pitch would be the ability to tell the difference between 440 kHZ and 441 kHz. The only thing in the world that can tell that difference is a digital instrument measuring it. Not even analogous meters can accurately tell you the pitch. Now if your talking about pitch difference between 440 kHz and 466 kHz (the difference between A and A#) then someone wouldn't have perfect pitch but just be able to recognize a certain note within a certain tolerance of ą13kHz.

fortymile
11-12-2004, 08:48 AM
i think it not important to measure right down to the 1's place. you're takin' it too literally but technically youre prolly right. it'd be a rare mang who could do that.

omry
05-11-2005, 12:14 PM
Mitch you said your mom taught you to read when you were 2.5 years old... what did you mean? because i want to teach my brother's son how to play the guitar and perfect pitch would be very helpful to him..

mattyvegas43
05-23-2005, 06:24 PM
Are there any perfect pitch training courses that ACTUALLY work? Because most of them are obviously not what they claim to be e.g "Get Perfect Pitch In 30 Days Or Your Money Back!"?

silent-storm
05-23-2005, 08:14 PM
Are there any perfect pitch training courses that ACTUALLY work? Because most of them are obviously not what they claim to be e.g "Get Perfect Pitch In 30 Days Or Your Money Back!"?

I am living proof that the davis lucas burge program works.

Although I am also a firm believer that it will NOT work unless you have someone to test you. The excersizes are made so that it's possible to test yourself, but I found that my muscle memory on both guitar and piano were so much higher then my ears that I was able to instantaneously narrow the note down within a semi tone or two without even listening to the note.

I also didn't like how there was SO much time spent in C Major. I got through 12 or 13 of the 24 lessons before I started comming up with my own excersizes. That took me about 8 months or so partly because a lot of the time was focused on ear training for school. I listened a few lessons ahead and at lesson 15 or 16 the majority of the stuff was still in C Major with the occassional sharp or flat.

So it worked for me, but I had someone to test me nearly every day and started making up my own stuff after I had developed about half the perfect pitch I currently have.

MrJo
05-30-2005, 08:56 PM
I have the david lucas burge program, but I haven't had the time to get round to doing it at the moment.

I also met a guy from my college yesterday who has perfect pitch, he realised he had it when he was around 10, hes a piano player, its so cool. There were songs playing in the club we were in, and I was like testing him. I was saying oh that chord sounds like an E major chord, and he was like "aah no its a B major" then i was testing him on the keys of songs, I'd randomly say "what key is this song in" and he'd listen for a few seconds for some chords to be played, then he'd reply straight away "its in C#".

After meeting someone for the first time with perfect pitch, i really want to try the david lucas burge course because the stuff he could do was so cool.

silent-storm
05-31-2005, 02:56 AM
I have the david lucas burge program, but I haven't had the time to get round to doing it at the moment.

I also met a guy from my college yesterday who has perfect pitch, he realised he had it when he was around 10, hes a piano player, its so cool. There were songs playing in the club we were in, and I was like testing him. I was saying oh that chord sounds like an E major chord, and he was like "aah no its a B major" then i was testing him on the keys of songs, I'd randomly say "what key is this song in" and he'd listen for a few seconds for some chords to be played, then he'd reply straight away "its in C#".

After meeting someone for the first time with perfect pitch, i really want to try the david lucas burge course because the stuff he could do was so cool.

Don't let the "coolness" of it be the only reason. Relative pitch is far more important. No matter how many 'party tricks' you're able to do, everything always seems to come back to relative pitch....that, and I've never met someone my age that had perfect pitch and was significantly better then me or anyone else my age.

Just my oppinion

asanti
08-25-2005, 10:09 PM
Silent-Storm, you really think that doing the exercises alone won't help developing perfect pitch in the course??
I'm on masterclass 6 and i still don't hear those colors, by the way i just started a new thread about this course...

silent-storm
08-26-2005, 01:47 AM
I honestly have no recollection of what was going on in lesson 6 or 7, but give it a year of drilling it in your head before you get worried about not hearing things.

I suppose if you were a very beginer instrumentalist you could play a note and honestly not have a clue as to what it is. But as soon as you start memorizing songs you start learning muscle memory and associating that with pitch and I believe that it creeps into the note guessing far to easily for practicing alone to be all that effective. There are some things on your own that are great, such as trying to think of a note in your head, then singing it to see if you are anywhere near close. But for straight guessing you can't come close to having someone play it for you...in my oppinion.

Oh and I also have a big problem with the fact that it stays in C major for so flippin long on the piano stuff.

krom
03-05-2006, 06:09 PM
When I got a catchy tune. I check the first note on an instrument.

Next time I'm hearing the ****ing tune in my head, I know exactly which note the first one is. I check it on the instrument
and there it is, perfect pitch.


P.S.
I noticed about perfect pitch owners. They always talk about their abilities. But they never say how they aquired them. Maybe they don't give a **** about it, cause they already have it.

thesander
05-11-2006, 06:56 PM
im doing david lucas burge. and i can now sing every singel note and also hear them. but not like. really fast. and i can only hear the notes when played on a piano. i cant really transpose a solo by one time listening. i will keep on practising. but, do i have perfect pitch when i can do the things i can do now? and what is it?

joeyd929
05-12-2006, 12:55 AM
Many people claim Beethoven had perfect pitch because he wrote music while being deaf. I wonder though. Relative pitch is someting you can learn by studying intervals and ear training. Once you learn to recognize the intervals you have relative pitch.

Theoretical pitch is when you know what a chord sounds like on your guitar and you know how it looks on the staff. So my point is you can think of a G chord, to C chord , then to a D chord. In your mind you know this a I IV V progression. YOu already know what it sounds like and know how to write out the notes.

When people see me do this they think I have this amazing talent but it is really no different than someone who understands algebra explaining an example without any actual physical or tangable item, just the math.

We all know what that sounds like so if I write out the chords without the guitar or piano in front of me I already know exactly what it will sound like. Or even a I VI II IV, or a II V I. This is what I call theoretical pitch. Yes, I too could probably do this totally deaf.

I am a firm believer that "perfect pitch" is something that some people can do. Like I play a note on the piano and you know EXACTLY which key is being played.

The piano scale ranges can be learned at a deeper level as individual entities. Middle C sounds different than Big c, an octave below. I am a firm believer that perfect pitch is an obtainable goal but probably the most difficult.

It would be kind of like studying Kung Fu, taking years of concentration and dedication to master.

I personally use relative pitch and theoretical pitch all the time but perfect pitch is something I do not yet have mastered..but I will...

silent-storm
05-12-2006, 03:58 AM
I would trade perfect pitch for perfect relative pitch any day.

abstractnoize
05-12-2006, 12:58 PM
I would trade perfect pitch for perfect relative pitch any day.

In total agreement. Perfect pitch with no Relative Pitch is like knowing your alphabets and not knowing how to form words and thus sentences with them.

Would like to add that am using David Lucasī Relative and Perfect Pitch courses which I borrowed from my local library.

Am still stuck on a couple of lessons in both but am not giving up. Itīs good noting the improvements I have achieved so far. It was a total shocker to admit just how bad my ears were. Iīve played piano for over 10 years and never once did my teacher teach me how to recognise intervals! We just read, read, read and played from that!

I havenīt been attending classes for the last 5 months. I just decided to train my ears personally for a while.

joeyd929
05-12-2006, 06:36 PM
There are some "freaks of nature" that just have perfect pitch at birth. but for the rest of us, I think it is all inclusive. To acquire perfect pitch you have to master relative pitch and theoretical pitch.

hairballxavier
05-12-2006, 08:31 PM
Seems to me that what we call an "A" note sounds different depending on the voices. An "A" from a flute sounds much different than an "A" from Janis Joplin or the squealing brakes on an automobile. We as humans, never hear one pitch alone except perhaps in a bad case of tinitus.

Overtones are everywhere. How do the "perfect pitch" gurus account for this fact?

Do they only hear what they want to?

And if so then they are "blocking out" the other tones perhaphs.

What usefulness could that possibly have?

joeyd929
05-12-2006, 10:43 PM
Seems to me that what we call an "A" note sounds different depending on the voices. An "A" from a flute sounds much different than an "A" from Janis Joplin or the squealing brakes on an automobile. We as humans, never hear one pitch alone except perhaps in a bad case of tinitus.

Overtones are everywhere. How do the "perfect pitch" gurus account for this fact?

Do they only hear what they want to?

And if so then they are "blocking out" the other tones perhaphs.

What usefulness could that possibly have?

Well, using Beethoven for example, he wrote symphonies with violins, flutes, cellos, voices, so who knows. All while DEAF... My personal opinion is that perfect pitch is perfect pitch.

However, perfect pitch is like that little piece of parcley they put on a dinner plate at a restaurant. You really don't need it to get the full effect of the meal.

I don't have it but I do have a good ear. It has gotten me through enough musical encounters so I really don't care if I ever have "perfect pitch", as long as I can master relative pitch I can achieve the same results.

Many people do mistake relative and theoretical pitch for perfect pitch because they lack the knowledge of what we are actually doing. What can be mistaken for perfect pitch is really just educated listening in some cases.

AyKay
05-13-2006, 01:07 AM
I'm still working on my relative pitch, but earlier today I was listening (mentally) to a Scarlatti sonata I played for exams recently, and I walked over to a keyboard and plunked the first few notes and they were a match, so I have whatever that is.

edit : I intensely memorize everything I play (on classical guitar), so I can tell you my fingering (both hands) for every note I play.

silent-storm
05-13-2006, 09:37 AM
ok, I have a strong oppinion on this case that I have already stated, but this thread gets brought back every couple months and there can't possibly be any real additions to this subject. It's all already here.

I've wanted to say this for a while now, but I've been waiting patiently thinking it would just happen by itself, but no...

die thread die!

thesander
05-13-2006, 03:35 PM
actually. perfect relative pitch is when you now a c. and think relative pitch from that tone to find other tones. you can get perfect pitch from perfect relative. if you can learn a c. then you can learn all the other tones. i would prefer perfect. cause then you dont have to count tones from that c you know.

joeyd929
05-13-2006, 06:06 PM
It's not really that much of a thinking process for me because once you know intervals and can recognize them they are all the same no matter what key you are in.

Aripitch
05-22-2006, 02:51 PM
I think that I have perfect pitch, but I'm not completely sure because I had an unsual experience as a child. I could play any simple melody on the piano without any prior musical training from about ages 4 - 6. Sometimes, when picking out a difficult melody, I would play it only in the key of C even though I knew that this was the incorrect key, at that age! I continued to learn more complex music by ear with no training. At age 8, I took a very basic violin course taught in public school and while I felt "held back" in the classroom, I practiced very vigorously and played pieces by ear at home. Every time that I played a note flatly, I would stop and repeat the entire piece until it was perfectly in tune (which helped me to gain solo parts at auditions)! I took a course in very (very) basic piano (children styled "arranged" pieces) from ages 10 - 12, but I felt that this course progressed too slowly and I eventually stop taking it. I began to progress further on my own and I began to compose (score writing) and arrange music for orchestra on my own with no training using no instrument in front of me. Still, as far as formal training on the piano, I was behind because I only knew how to play by ear and I never had lessons. In theory classes in college, the instructors trained me to use relative pitch and never told me about perfect pitch, I did not know what it was or how to use it. I registered for an eartraining course in college and after sight-singing an example from a textbook correctly, the professor asked if I had perfect pitch. I told him no, but he insisted that I did and set out to prove it to me. One day, when I wasn't expecting, he played a chord containing four notes and asked me to name them and give octave designation. After doing this correctly, he looked at me and smiled, thus proving that I have perfect pitch.
Since this time, I have tried different approaches to prove to myself if I really possess this skill. If I do, how did I obtain it? These are the things that I have been successful at (even though I still do not feel comfortable saying that I have "perfect pitch":
Transcribing using no instrument
Composing using no instrument
Arranging using no instrument
Playing pieces that I have never heard only by listening
Remembering tunes in correct key for a very long time (up to 15 years!)
Passing online perfect pitch exams with more than 97% accuracy
I've taken formal piano lessons for three years and I'm already at the skill level of those who have taken piano for 15 years. I've performed some of the most difficult Rachmaninoff and Debussy pieces after only three years of lessons!

I still have trouble feeling comfortable with using perfect pitch because I was told to use only relative pitch for so long when I started college until one professor realized my potential. When I pick out notes using perfect pitch only, I'm 100% correct. When I use the "perfect relative pitch" that I was trained in, I began to second-guess myself and then I become a semi-tone flat or sharp. How can I overcome this after years of training? Do I really have perfect pitch?

joeyd929
05-22-2006, 04:07 PM
I think that I have perfect pitch, but I'm not completely sure because I had an unsual experience as a child. I could play any simple melody on the piano without any prior musical training from about ages 4 - 6. Sometimes, when picking out a difficult melody, I would play it only in the key of C even though I knew that this was the incorrect key, at that age! I continued to learn more complex music by ear with no training. At age 8, I took a very basic violin course taught in public school and while I felt "held back" in the classroom, I practiced very vigorously and played pieces by ear at home. Every time that I played a note flatly, I would stop and repeat the entire piece until it was perfectly in tune (which helped me to gain solo parts at auditions)! I took a course in very (very) basic piano (children styled "arranged" pieces) from ages 10 - 12, but I felt that this course progressed too slowly and I eventually stop taking it. I began to progress further on my own and I began to compose (score writing) and arrange music for orchestra on my own with no training using no instrument in front of me. Still, as far as formal training on the piano, I was behind because I only knew how to play by ear and I never had lessons. In theory classes in college, the instructors trained me to use relative pitch and never told me about perfect pitch, I did not know what it was or how to use it. I registered for an eartraining course in college and after sight-singing an example from a textbook correctly, the professor asked if I had perfect pitch. I told him no, but he insisted that I did and set out to prove it to me. One day, when I wasn't expecting, he played a chord containing four notes and asked me to name them and give octave designation. After doing this correctly, he looked at me and smiled, thus proving that I have perfect pitch.
Since this time, I have tried different approaches to prove to myself if I really possess this skill. If I do, how did I obtain it? These are the things that I have been successful at (even though I still do not feel comfortable saying that I have "perfect pitch":
Transcribing using no instrument
Composing using no instrument
Arranging using no instrument
Playing pieces that I have never heard only by listening
Remembering tunes in correct key for a very long time (up to 15 years!)
Passing online perfect pitch exams with more than 97% accuracy
I've taken formal piano lessons for three years and I'm already at the skill level of those who have taken piano for 15 years. I've performed some of the most difficult Rachmaninoff and Debussy pieces after only three years of lessons!

I still have trouble feeling comfortable with using perfect pitch because I was told to use only relative pitch for so long when I started college until one professor realized my potential. When I pick out notes using perfect pitch only, I'm 100% correct. When I use the "perfect relative pitch" that I was trained in, I began to second-guess myself and then I become a semi-tone flat or sharp. How can I overcome this after years of training? Do I really have perfect pitch?

Stop worrying about it and accept the fact that you have this sort of musical ability. Weather or not it is perfect pitch is not relevant in my opinion.

It is like the fighter that learns to street fight. These type of fighters can take on trained marshal arts experts and win fights with only their street training.

The more they study the "proper" way to fight, the more likely they are to loose a fight because they start following rules that did not apply in past fights.

I personally think that you need to forget all this stuff and go back to what you can do naturally. But hey, that's me. You sound like a prodigy of sorts so what you can do naturally really does not need anything else.

Good luck

wilowgirl
07-10-2006, 01:57 AM
A friend of m :) ine has it and we listen to radio he can say: "The chord progression is Asus2, Eb, B and D" and when he shows it on the guitar it's correct. And sometimes when I play and he looks by he says it's not correctly tuned. And his right again.

But seriously, I wouldn't like to have such a perfect pitch I coulnd't stand listen to music when it's not tuned after A440 or whatever. Music is expression, and the music is only 3/5 of music, the other 2/5 is the carisma, feeling and bodylanguage. It's like talking on msn, you missunderstand a lot, can't express yourself the way you want. You're limited in other words. Like when u use power-tab, the same problems accure.

Hm, got of the topic a little, sorry ;)


sorry,Ive just been reading this topic(VERY interesting ) and I am with guitardeth.
It seems what everyone is trying to tell me is that.
Pp has some uses.
Relative pitch is better
everyone can learn pp
(and im not being slective here,but i totally agree withc the last one i dont think its some sort of gene nonsence)
and theyre also telling me some of what its like to have pp,allthough everything anyone who has pp says about what they can do is later contradicted by someone else.

what i can gather is that people with pp can recognise notes like colours.theyre brain knows them. anyone can learn it, and relative pitch is better and more usefull, and thati should concertrate on that.
anyway,thats what ive gathered.

sean creighton
12-14-2007, 05:34 PM
I am Sean Creighton and live in Florida.



I bought the Perfect pitch Super Course somewhere around two years ago and have been doing the drills daily since and have not developed perfect pitch.



I am currently on the lesson of reaching out and touching any white note on the piano and naming that note. I get anywhere from 1-11 in a row right before a wrong guess. I have listened to the CDs and have done everything stated in the Perfect Pitch Supercourse.



History: am songwriter and perform at homeless shelters in S. Florida and give away my CDs. I have an awesome job, beautiful wife who’s my best friend; have two kids who I have fun with. I kayak, fish, mountain climb, etc.



I’m working on my 7th CD. I've given away about 4 thousand CD with around 12 original songs each on them in the last 6 years. I sing and play allthe instrument on my CDs. People like them. I've written maybe 100 songs. Will send anyone free CD or email you my MP3 songs if you like, no problem.



I started the perfect pitch course on piano because I was learning to stay in pitch singing also. My primary instrument is guitar.



I started the Perfect Pitch Super course on piano 2 years ago and within around 9 months I was reaching out to any white key on the piano and naming the note around 80% of the time but was at that level for two months.



I got frustrated and called the perfectpitch.com site and the person recommended that I stop perfect pitch and do the complete relative pitch course first. So I started the relative pitch course but it was very, very, slow for me. I got stuck for weeks on different drills and then I realized I could no longer go to the piano, press any three keys and unlock them. I could tell during my melody writing that I was losing my hearing that I had gained. So I called the perfectpitch.com site back and the person said to stop relative pitch and to try perfect pitch on my guitar which is my primary instrument which I did.



One of the problems with the piano is that I travel a lot sometimes for three weeks and I would come back and would have regressed. I actually took that travel piano with me on 3-4 trips (dedicated or manic?). I have a nice travel guitar so I was able to take that with me on all travels.



Perfect pitch drills on the guitar were difficult when trying to recognize different pitches in different octave, it's less visual than piano where I can quickly check myself on the octave below middle C. The piano is more visual and I am quite familiar with it.



I then said to myself after minimal progress this is ridiculous and began perfect pitch drills back at the piano.



So....I am frustrated....I have done the drills/instructions in the Perfect Pitch Supercourse for 20 minutes a day for two years minus a very small bit of time and do not have perfect pitch....



I am frustrated but am a perfectionist and hate giving up.....so thought I would email you all prior to throwing in the towel...



One of the reasons I wanted perfect pitch was to improve my singing and most of all be able to hear if I am out of pitch a little when I record one of my songs.



I put in the time, stayed focused, did all the perfect pitch drills, ...I just don't get the failure.....



Sean Creighton



561-289-6354 cell



561-368-2391 home

email: sean.creighton@fda.hhs.gov

GuitarMaster
12-16-2007, 11:40 AM
oh my god

leegordo
12-16-2007, 03:42 PM
Ok, will someone out there please explain what is meant by the expression"Perfect pitch"? I think that some people do not know the true meaning of the saying .so, someone please oblige with the officially true meaning of the expression..........TAl

GuitarMaster
12-16-2007, 04:23 PM
Absolute pitch (AP), widely referred to as perfect pitch, is the ability of a person to identify or sing a musical note without the benefit of a known reference. (wikipedia)

the ability to identify the frequency or musical name of a specific tone, or, conversely, the ability to produce some designated frequency, frequency level, or musical pitch without comparing the tone with any objective reference tone, i.e., without using relative pitch (also wikipedia)

mcharis
11-13-2008, 12:16 PM
im learning perfect pitch about a month, and i can sing C, D and B

everytime i want to with no privious note to hear.
i know i don't have perfect pitch like other people but i believe im getting there and im gonna nail it.

luca19575
11-14-2008, 07:15 PM
perfect pitch can be learned for sure
after 10 months of daily practice of the david lucas burge course i can tell you
any tone almost immediately on piano and guitar (with other instruments i can sometimes be confused cause i didnt play them but by the time im sure i will be able to do it) so i reach what can be called the 1st level of absolute pitch
i also developed a slow "complete aural recall" (i can sing any tone even in the morning but i still have to "call" it and he comes out in 2-3 seconds thats probably why i cant get tones or keys while listening to the radio now i will do more meditation to get the tones "underskin") i can also tell if a piece is out of standard pitches (i made 3 distinctions: in-tune,in-between and "almost" in tune) but that is a thing that i was always be able to do it (maybe its because i had an old tape which i dont know why shift the pitches of "almost " a semitone and so probably i get used to the difference)
what is tricky for me is to hear 3 tones (or more) in a single octave and know them cause my ear is probably still too slow and while im identifing the tones the overtones starts to "solidify" and so i get confused (its like im hearing 4,5,6 tones i really dont know how many they are)
in fact im on MC 11 for the 2nd time (the 1st time i realize i couldnt do it and so i went back to MC7 playing single white tones using the full range of the piano trying to avoid the last octave and doing it quickly and i start to realize that after few days i can hear any single note and know what that tone is even a black one which i never used during the drills )
relative pitch is sure essential if you want to play good but absolute pitch is essential if you want to listen good (i started this training and i notice month after month that music sounds richer and i also feel more JOY than before even when listening simple simple pieces and also the world sounds richer)

28lorelei
11-03-2010, 01:24 AM
I have always had perfect pitch. It's a scary thing. I was the guy, back in my days working retail, who would pick out the mistakes in the Muzak on the speaker system. The general reply was "huh?"

When I was little I would always put my ear up to the speaker of the stereo. My pitch was refined greatly in my 3 semesters of Solfege (sometimes called VAMP - Visual & Aural Music Perception) and Survey Of Music History (1 hour, 3 mornings a week, of listening to classical music while following the scores and applying theory to them).

Any other Solfege survivors here? ;)

YES!!! in fact am taking a solfege course right now. It is advanced solfege: now we are doing soprano clef and will use Modus Novus later in the year. I have a very interesting class right now, since over half my classmates have PP (including myself). So when we sing Bach Chorales, the teacher doesn't even bother going to the piano to give starting notes, he just points at people...
and on the last dictation (2-line, soprano clef and bass clef) everyone save 1 person got 100%, so the teacher said we will do something much harder next time.

DukeOfBoom
11-03-2010, 01:50 AM
YES!!! in fact am taking a solfege course right now. It is advanced solfege: now we are doing soprano clef and will use Modus Novus later in the year. I have a very interesting class right now, since over half my classmates have PP (including myself). So when we sing Bach Chorales, the teacher doesn't even bother going to the piano to give starting notes, he just points at people...
and on the last dictation (2-line, soprano clef and bass clef) everyone save 1 person got 100%, so the teacher said we will do something much harder next time.

bbpphhh, arent you special.

28lorelei
11-03-2010, 02:04 AM
sorry if i offended u or anything

perfectpitch
07-07-2015, 07:30 PM
We are pleased to offer an online study about absolute pitch. This study is accessible via http://ssd.az1.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_bddUu0ZNNiQFtGZ and open to absolute pitch possessors who are at least 18 years old. It takes about five minutes total, and all participants will be eligible to win $50. Please pass this link on to anyone who would be interested in participating. If you have any questions, feel free to email perfect.pitch.studies@gmail.com