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Thread: Perfect Pitch Club

  1. #1
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    Thumbs up Perfect Pitch Club

    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

  2. #2
    In Love With Fusion Priest Becker's Avatar
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    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
    Instrumental.

  3. #3
    I like music.
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    No such thing as nearly-perfect pitch...
    Hard luck and trouble...

  4. #4
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    I aggree

  5. #5
    Registered User Rented's Avatar
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    almost pregnant

    I agree as well. Its like being almost pregnant

    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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    Last edited by Rented; 09-12-2011 at 08:48 PM.

  6. #6
    iBreatheMusic Modthor phantom's Avatar
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    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.

  7. #7
    IbreatheMusic Author Bizarro's Avatar
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    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.
    -Bizarro
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  8. #8
    Mad Scientist forgottenking2's Avatar
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    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.
    "If God had wanted us to play the piano he would've given us 88 fingers"

  9. #9
    Fender Freak doctorvetsill's Avatar
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    Perfection?

    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?

  10. #10
    IbreatheMusic Author Bizarro's Avatar
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    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!
    -Bizarro
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  11. #11
    Registered User fortymile's Avatar
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    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.
    "All bad poetry is sincere" -- Oscar Wilde

  12. #12
    IbreatheMusic Author Bizarro's Avatar
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    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.
    -Bizarro
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  13. #13
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    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

  14. #14
    IbreatheMusic Author Bizarro's Avatar
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    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.
    -Bizarro
    Google is your friend

  15. #15
    Mad Scientist forgottenking2's Avatar
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    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"?

    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 ) 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.
    "If God had wanted us to play the piano he would've given us 88 fingers"

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