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Thread: David Lucas Burge's Perfect and Relative Pitch courses

  1. #376
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    Those are not benefits to a guitar player.

    Alright. Perfect pitch is quite simply the internalization of the 12 tones. They all have their unique flavor in music. Once you internalize them, you get several abilities to add to your arsenal of music.
    Such as? Until you give the "such as," you have not given an example.
    Improvising--You can truly manipulate the tones, and so you can REALLY GRASP what sound has to offer. You can compose/improvise in your head anywhere/anytime/anyplace.
    I and a million like me already can, and we don't have AP. Thus, this isn't a benefit to guitarists with AP.
    Enjoyment of music--This is something that just has to be experienced. Your overall awareness of life, nature, and sounds greatly increases the quality of your life. This is my personal opinion (and obviously a personal benefit), but this is the best part of this ability. Your passion and intensity that you put into music is greatly increased simply because you enjoy it more, and the audience will enjoy your music more as a result.
    I, like many, many others have obsessed on the love of music for over 40 years, to the point of it immaturely affecting income and other responsibilities. My music collection is legion, my instruments are many, and the decades of playing and loving are a fond memory. The love of music is so great that I am willing to put up with kids carrying on about synesthesia and AP just to peruse a bulletin board dedicated to "breathing music." AP is hardly required for this...
    Performance--You know what the note sounds like before you play it. This allows you to become far more confident in your music, and thus be more active and less reactive in your musicmaking.
    This is a reiteration of #2 above. I and a million like me already can, and we don't have AP. Thus, this isn't a benefit to guitarists with AP.
    Intonation--A big OBVIOUS here: your intonation will be very accurate, but the word "perfect" is misleading.
    Your guitar's intonation will even stay set for upwards of 3 songs before you have to adjust it again (provided it is off enough to matter). So.. tuning a guitar is helped by AP. I'll buy that.
    Rythmic accuracy--Because you're so much more aware of sound and of life, your rythmic accuracy greatly increases.
    "Rythmic accuracy" has nothing to do with accurate recognition of a pitch's frequency.
    Musical memory--Incredible increase in memory, because you'll know what the colors sound like as opposed to simply hearing if it's higher or lower.
    ...if it is cognicised, then it is not muscle memory; it is #2 above.
    You're absolutely right, Relative Pitch is the cake and Perfect Pitch is the icing. But the icing can make all the difference. I'm a classical musician and I intend to audition for highly competitive jobs. This skill can potentially mean the difference between getting hired and not getting hired.
    A classical trombonist? Unless it is a slide trombone, the pitches are tied significantly to the manufacture of the instrument, you know. AP won't help you as much as a hefty wad of cash to plop down on a supreme instrument.
    If you know that music is your absolute passion (no pun intended...), then I recommend getting this skill. If it's your hobby, you may not want to take the time to get it. If you do, however, you'll be handsomely rewarded.
    Gotcha. Real musicians pursue it, and hobbyists ignore it. Forgive me for accusing young guitarists of obsessing on it because they imagine that it will give them some sort of esoteric status.

    But you still haven't cited a benefit other than tuning...
    "If a child learns which is jay and which is sparrow, he'll no longer see birds nor hear them sing."

  2. #377
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    PP is color hearing. A benefit would be you being able to literally hear an a note and hear the color of the note. (emotion: sad, happy, loving, Bold etc.). Perfect Pitch in composition is great because you'd be able to choose notes on color like a painter. In the flight of the bumblebees Nikolai Rimsky Korsakov wanted to make a song that reminded him of bumblebees I imagine. He had perfect pitch and used his tonal pallete for color to the song and relative pitch for musical structure.

  3. #378
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    I know that the F# sticks out. I guess if you're one of those musicians that is truly passionate. A perfectionist in a sense, you'd go for the PP...like I. I already have a pretty advanced relative pitch so what's the harm in going for PP?

    But I do recommend learning RP first, or atleast learn them simultaneously.

  4. #379
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    Mostly I agree with Blutwulf's responses, but I have a couple of points of difference:
    Quote Originally Posted by timothycshea
    You can compose/improvise in your head anywhere/anytime/anyplace.
    Relative pitch lets you do this too. Why would you care what key you were writing in, as long as the melody and chords worked together? The key should be flexible, adaptable to whatever a singer (or instrument) might require. AP might persuade you to fix the key to begin with, pointlessly.
    Quote Originally Posted by timothycshea
    Performance--You know what the note sounds like before you play it. This allows you to become far more confident in your music, and thus be more active and less reactive in your musicmaking.
    Good RP also lets you know what a note will sound like before you play it - in context.
    Context, of course, is what matters in music. Not absolute pitch.

    However, I do accept that AP allows you to know a precise note with no context. This would be useful in a couple of (related) situations: for a singer who needed to start singing before the band came in. If s/he knows the key, s/he needs no cue note to pitch correctly. Likewise, if you are accompanying a singer, and they start before you, you would know what key they were in without asking.
    These are not critical considerations. It's quite normal to either give a cue note, or discuss a key beforehand. Still, AP does give you an advantage there.
    Quote Originally Posted by timothycshea
    Intonation--A big OBVIOUS here: your intonation will be very accurate, but the word "perfect" is misleading.
    Not valid. Intonation is all about relative pitch, not absolute pitch.
    Yes, you could tune your instrument to begin with without a reference. So that's another advantage of AP. But that's not "intonation".
    (Perhaps for a single note instrument like trombone, it's more pertinent. Even so I think intonation is about remembering a previous note to which you compare the current one. Interval sensitivity = relative pitch.)
    Quote Originally Posted by timothycshea
    Rythmic accuracy--Because you're so much more aware of sound and of life, your rythmic accuracy greatly increases.
    Rubbish. Nothing to do with AP, obviously.
    (AP is not the only thing that makes you "much more aware of sound and of life" - it's actually a ittle offensive to suggest that those without AP are somehow less aware of "sound and life", or can't be as sensitive as those with AP. How would you know? Because you were less aware before you had AP? Sure - but everyone's awareness improves simply through time and practice.)
    Quote Originally Posted by timothycshea
    Musical memory--Incredible increase in memory, because you'll know what the colors sound like as opposed to simply hearing if it's higher or lower.
    I'm tempted to agree here. But as I said before, the "colours" you know and hear are not accessible to those without AP, so it's irrelevant whether you have access to them or not. It makes no difference whether you apply them or not.
    Imagine you were painter who could see ultraviolet light - what would be the point in painting with it, if (almost) no one else could see the results? The minority of people with that spectrum sensitivity might go "wow", but everyone else will be going "huh?" So (unfortunately or not) it's wasted capacity.
    Quote Originally Posted by timothycshea
    I'm a classical musician and I intend to audition for highly competitive jobs. This skill can potentially mean the difference between getting hired and not getting hired.
    Ah, OK! But does it really? Would they really reject a musician who didn't have AP, if he/she was as capable as one with it?
    I guess if there's a hypothetical choice between 2 identical candidates, and the only distinguishing feature is one has AP... maybe.
    But I suspect you are being chosen (when you are) because you are a good musician, generally.
    Or do they actually put candidates through AP tests?

    Quote Originally Posted by timothycshea
    If you know that music is your absolute passion (no pun intended...), then I recommend getting this skill. If it's your hobby, you may not want to take the time to get it. If you do, however, you'll be handsomely rewarded.
    Music is my passion, and (now, belatedly) my profession. I have no interest in getting AP. My time is too busy with other more important stuff (technical practice, transcription, lesson preparation, learning songs, etc, etc...).
    OK, I hear you say, AP would help with transcription, at least. Yep, marginally. It would save me a few seconds. That's not enough to persuade me to spend the months it would take to learn it.

  5. #380
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    You're forgetting that you haven't experienced it. I'm describing my experience with it, and if you want to blow that off, then that's fine. What I told you is true for me, because I have experienced it.

    On a side note, you all are acting like I'm saying improvising/composing/performing/enjoying music is IMPOSSIBLE unless you have perfect pitch. This would be incorrect. I'm not stating the case in an absolute sense (good god...these puns...), I'm stating the case to show you how perfect pitch gives you a different angle/set of skills that further adds to your musicmaking.

  6. #381
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonR
    Rubbish. Nothing to do with AP, obviously.
    (AP is not the only thing that makes you "much more aware of sound and of life" - it's actually a ittle offensive to suggest that those without AP are somehow less aware of "sound and life", or can't be as sensitive as those with AP. How would you know? Because you were less aware before you had AP? Sure - but everyone's awareness improves simply through time and practice.)
    That's EXACTLY what I'm saying. You're forgetting that you haven't experienced it and I have. I am FAR MORE AWARE of sound in general and of life with this ability than without it. It's like night and day. There is no disputing this, especially since you have not experienced it. I mean this sincerely by the way. And if it's offensive, it's because you choose to be offended by it. Those without AP truly are less aware of "sound and life" than those who are not. Sure, they can improve with relative pitch, but not NEARLY to the extent that this ability gives when it comes to awareness of sound.

  7. #382
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    Quote Originally Posted by timothycshea
    That's EXACTLY what I'm saying. You're forgetting that you haven't experienced it and I have. I am FAR MORE AWARE of sound in general and of life with this ability than without it.
    Of life? How do you know your increased awareness is due purely to AP?
    All kinds of focussed study of perception can increase awareness. Developing RP increases awareness. In addition, I'm far more aware of life (etc) now than I used to be, simply because I am older. (IOW, even without learning AP, simply by pursuing music you would have increased your sensitivity and awareness. You simply cannot know how much is attributable to AP.)
    It's the act of focussed attention that improves awareness. Perceiving one's acts of perception, if you like. Understanding how we see what we see and hear what we hear. Improving discrimination.
    AP is one way to do that, for sure. But there are many others. Some of them even more appropriate to making music than AP is.
    Quote Originally Posted by timothycshea
    Those without AP truly are less aware of "sound and life" than those who are not. Sure, they can improve with relative pitch, but not NEARLY to the extent that this ability gives when it comes to awareness of sound.
    But RP is the essential musical skill!
    AP is of no use in making music. It may increase your personal enjoyment of music, adding another dimension. But your audience, by and large, does not have AP. There is no point in incorporating anything dependent on AP in your music.
    The audience will not feel the impact of F# (say), as distinct from E or F or whatever. They are deaf to the difference. So you need to forget it.
    If the "right" key means you can play with the appropriate expression, good. But you have to be able to play with the appropriate expression whatever the key is.

    Suppose a band wants to play Foxy Lady, but their singer can't manage the F# key comfortably. So they change the key. It will sound BETTER in the new key, because the singer will be able to give it the max. Any special quality of F# disappears - because it has to. Absolute qualities of pitch, therefore, are a hindrance to the performance of music. They must be ignored or forgotten.
    A musician with AP, therefore - it could be argued - is a disabled musician. In the same way as a synaesthete - while appearing to have a strange gift - is disabled, by associating a particular sound with a colour or other sensory experience.
    If disability is perhaps too strong a word, maybe "bias" is better. AP gives you an irrelevant bias.

    I'm sure you, personally, have a richer experience of music than the rest of us do. But that's a problem, when you play for us.
    Perhaps we will see that you are putting a lot of expression into what you play. Perhaps we'll see (hear) that you are putting different kinds of expression into different pieces of music, and (once we check with the notation) that this seems to be connected with the key they are in. So what? The REAL expressive content of music comes from pitch relationships - not absolute frequencies. (And that's before we even consider aspects such as rhythm, tempo, dynamics, which have even more expressive potential...)
    A vibration of 440 Hz has no meaning - even if you can recognise its name. Add it to a vibration of 550 (or an equal tempered 554), then we have a recognisable musical element, a consonant harmony.

    AP strikes me as a little like being aware of qualitative differences between letters of the alphabet. "Hey, W has a real mean sound!, M, tho, there's a real gentle letter..."
    It's crazy because letters only reallly mean anything when strung into words and phrases.
    Same with notes.

    In short, what I'm saying is that AP is a (mostly) useless sensitivity (other than to you personally).
    And many people have a heightened awareness of "sound and life" - at least as much as needed for great musicianship - without having AP.

  8. #383
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    Any other explanation on my part will not change your mind it seems. It's interesting to note your fervent opposition to the ability because of its DETRIMENTAL effects on your playing, and yet you have not experienced it.

    Again, the audience subconsciously picks up on this ability.

  9. #384
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    Again, the audience subconsciously picks up on this ability.
    You have explained nothing, and supported no arguments. You have only made a few assertions like this, and become upset in the face of people not offhandedly accepting them. If there is a benefit to pursuing AP as a guitar player, then surely you should have been able to cite some sort of objective gain. Instead, you have reiterated over and over a constant refrain of unsupportable assertions and failed correlations.

    It's interesting to note your fervent opposition to the ability because of its DETRIMENTAL effects on your playing, and yet you have not experienced it.
    The only thing interesting about Jon's posts on this is his ability to not take advantage of the wonderful openings for insults. Nobody here is "fervently" opposed to it. If anything, it is patronizing amusement.

    This topic has been beaten to death on this board. Occasionally, when new guitarists pop in here to carry on about AP, someone will try to gently yank the poster's head out of his arse, but, alas, it always ends the same way. Some overexcited new poster gets his feelings hurt, and we and stand around wondering why so many new players think the Emperor is wearing splendid new clothes.

    Seriously, if you enjoy it, do it. If you imagine that it is detectable by the audience, go for it. If you discern the ability in all your favorite players, then have a blast. The worst thing that could happen is that you learn your fretboard better.
    "If a child learns which is jay and which is sparrow, he'll no longer see birds nor hear them sing."

  10. #385
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    Blutwolf, perfect pitch is simply a sensory perception. I'm describing my perception to you and its benefits. They are feelings, not facts. I haven't studied this thing on my own, I just feel it. It's an increase in auditory awareness. I'm not going to plug myself up to a computer before and after and see EXACTLY what the effects are to my playing. That's absurd.

  11. #386
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    I have also developed AP using the Burge method and others, and I am half amused, half annoyed by the close-mindedness and what I almost want to call bitterness of Blutwulf and JonR. How hard is it for you to accept the fact that AP benefits you as a musician? It may not be necessary, but, at least for me, it is an important part of the musical self. It seems here with all the energy you put into arguing against aquiring this skill that you are bitter for not having it, and you trust blindly the people who brag about having AP by saying "Oh, my ear is so SUPERFANTASTIC that those who do not play in tune are not worthy of my DEVINE ear". That's utter nonsense. It would be like saying that you wouln't want refined taste, because then you wouldn't like trash food anymore.

    I know you will have many arguments against what I have said, but I still think it all comes back to the fact that you are too lazy to be openminded, to do the labour, and to see what AP is all about for yourselves.


    Frod

  12. #387
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frod
    I have also developed AP using the Burge method and others, and I am half amused, half annoyed by the close-mindedness and what I almost want to call bitterness of Blutwulf and JonR. How hard is it for you to accept the fact that AP benefits you as a musician? It may not be necessary, but, at least for me, it is an important part of the musical self. It seems here with all the energy you put into arguing against aquiring this skill that you are bitter for not having it, and you trust blindly the people who brag about having AP by saying "Oh, my ear is so SUPERFANTASTIC that those who do not play in tune are not worthy of my DEVINE ear". That's utter nonsense. It would be like saying that you wouln't want refined taste, because then you wouldn't like trash food anymore.

    I know you will have many arguments against what I have said, but I still think it all comes back to the fact that you are too lazy to be openminded, to do the labour, and to see what AP is all about for yourselves.
    I'm not bitter. (I can't speak for Blutwulf... )
    I just can't see that the advantages offered by AP are worth the effort.
    I do accept that there ARE advantages. Just rather small ones.
    I'm sure it's very nice having AP. But do you think an independent listener (who didn't have AP and didn't know you did) would be able to tell the difference in your music? Given that - over the time you have been learning AP - your music would probably have improved for other reasons too?

    OK, it's quicker to transcribe music. It enables you to guess a key before you start playing. It enables you to tune your guitar to concert without a tuner. As I pointed out, all these save you a few seconds each time (the last one may also save you a few /$, I guess).
    Oh yeah, I suppose it enables you to impress people at parties too.
    All the other stuff (about perception of qualities in music not available to others) is wasted. What use is it, if your listeners can't hear it?
    I'm not talking about playing and enjoying music for yourself - I'm sure it enhances that experience (although, IMO, in a slightly odd way). timothycshea has been quite eloquent about how it's enhanced his personal enjoyment and experience of music. But that's beside the point. I'm talking about improving the role of a working musician.

    Can you give me some concrete examples of how I - as a teacher, performer and composer - might benefit from AP? In ways that my target audience (or students) might appreciate? In ways that good relative pitch can't provide?
    I've not heard any yet. (I'm open-minded, prepared to be convinced.)

    I agree with one point you make - I'm wasting far too much time on this thread!
    (That's because, like Blutwulf, I get exasperated at all the newbies who think, starry-eyed, that it must be such a fantastic thing to have, and they better pay for that course... Firstly, there are better ways to train your ear, and secondly, here are various free online trainers if you want them. Why make Burge a richer man than he already is?)

  13. #388
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    Edit: I had responded, but I have to admit that it has become a little boring. The fact that you guys lump Jon's polite posts in with my insulting ones says it all, really.
    Last edited by Blutwulf; 05-13-2008 at 12:09 PM.
    "If a child learns which is jay and which is sparrow, he'll no longer see birds nor hear them sing."

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    Firstly I want apologize for my hasty and hot tempered post.

    Quote Originally Posted by JonR
    But do you think an independent listener (who didn't have AP and didn't know you did) would be able to tell the difference in your music?
    I must ask: what does that have to do with anything? What is the point of a listener to know, or find out through your music, wether you have AP or not? A listener would maybe hear if he likes the music or not, so the question should rather be whether that little unplacable extra is because of AP with the preformer or not. But I don't know. There is no way to know for sure.

    Quote Originally Posted by JonR
    All the other stuff (about perception of qualities in music not available to others) is wasted. What use is it, if your listeners can't hear it?
    I'm not talking about playing and enjoying music for yourself - I'm sure it enhances that experience (although, IMO, in a slightly odd way). timothycshea has been quite eloquent about how it's enhanced his personal enjoyment and experience of music. But that's beside the point. I'm talking about improving the role of a working musician.
    Do you really mean to say that your personal enjoyment of music is irrelevant when it comes to working as a musician and preforming to an audience? Do you believe that an audience cannot hear it in your music if you enjoy yourself or not?

    I'm afraid I cannot give you any concrete examples of practical benefits from AP that you don't get from a tuning machine or whatever. But the point is that if AP increases your enjoyment of music, then go for it! If you still believe that it is of little or no importance in a real musical sense, look to Wagner, Haydn, Strawinsky and Tchaikovsky and, like them, prove that you don't need AP to create brilliant music. I find the challenge in working for it and the new dimention to music it gives me to be reason enough to go for it. I guess we'll never really find out if it is a waste of time or not.


    Frod

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    Hi- new user here.

    Sounds to me like everyone acknowledges some benefit to acquiring AP, but what is in question is the extent and relevance of the benefits. I personally don't have AP, as I am still trying to hone my RP, which I know in concrete and measurable terms will improve my musicianship immensely.

    I cannot say that I truly understand what AP has to offer in concrete and measurable terms, but that's not to say that there aren't any benefits. I can imagine that the effort involved in trying to acquire AP would open up the ears in ways not previously done. However, to what end I am still unclear. I am not so sure that any of the very eloquent posters here who are pro-AP can articulate the benefits in measurable ways, other than to say that there is some sort of qualitative increase in the enjoyment of music. Not to minimize the importance of that, but the magnitude of the effect is unclear, especially relative to other ways of increasing one's enjoyment of music.

    Overall, I think the point is that for most students of music, especially those for whom time is quite limited (like me), there is a huge risk in making the investment to learn AP when the benefits are unclear and when there are already many alternative areas of musical study in which the benefits are clear. I for one will unfortunately never have time for it!

    Also, I think it is fair to say that there is a correlation between having AP and being a time-honored and celebrated composer, but as to whether there is causation, the jury is most definitely still out. I am quite certain that there are thousands of examples of brilliant musicians who do not have AP.

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