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perfict pitch

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I've been trying to develope perfect pitch for the past few days by playing the C note over and over again and it is hard I kind of remember but I make many half tone mistakes its pretty frusterating. I hope that I'll be able to abtane it. I wonder how many of have it? and how importent is it for a music player. I read that developing relative pitch is more important but my relative pitch isn't bad.

It sucks that I wasn't born with perfect pitch.

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I've been trying to develope perfect pitch for the past few days by playing the C note over and over again and it is hard I kind of remember but I make many half tone mistakes its pretty frusterating. I hope that I'll be able to abtane it. I wonder how many of have it? and how importent is it for a music player. I read that developing relative pitch is more important but my relative pitch isn't bad.

It sucks that I wasn't born with perfect pitch.

 

Perfect pitch might be useful for a singer but I doubt it's very important for playing an instrument - otherwise most of us wouldn't be able to. According to Wikipedia it is most common amongst east Asians who speak tonal languages (where a word can have different meanings according to pitch) and can be acquired at a young age when the auditory system is developing, but there are no documented examples of an adult who has undertaking formal training acquiring it.

 

Having perfect pitch isn't necessarily a benefit, since it appears that those with it can find it uncomfortable to hear something played in the "wrong" key, or which doesn't use equal temperament. Why are you so keen to develop it?

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I've been trying to develope perfect pitch for the past few days by playing the C note over and over again and it is hard I kind of remember but I make many half tone mistakes its pretty frusterating. I hope that I'll be able to abtane it. I wonder how many of have it? and how importent is it for a music player. I read that developing relative pitch is more important but my relative pitch isn't bad.

It sucks that I wasn't born with perfect pitch.

Gee, does it also "suck" that you weren't born with an ability to remember a tune perfectly from listening to it just once?

 

"Perfect pitch" is an ability to accurately remember (one or more) pitches. There may be a few people who seem to be "born" with it, but most with that ability developed it over time... and not just a few days. If you're consistently getting within a half step either way after only a few days, I'd say you're making excellent progress!

 

I recall a study a few decades back (maybe you can google it?) where an attempt was made to teach children in a British school "perfect pitch" memory of a single note. It was reported that (virtually?) all of the students eventually learned to both recognize and reproduce that note consistently, and a follow up several years later showed that many (most?) of them still could. But I believe the learning in that case covered an entire school year.

 

I believe that most people with perfect pitch are musicians, who have developed the ability -- usually without trying to -- simply through being exposed repeatedly (thousands or even millions of times) to notes where they were aware of both the sound and the name of that sound. The ability to recognize or reproduce a particular single note is much more common than the ability to identify arbitrary pitches (or tell whether they're sharp or flat to "concert" pitch). E.g., many orchestral musicians know what a "concert A" sounds like, not because they've deliberately tried to learn it, but because they've tuned to it tens of thousands of times (or more), so that they can "hear" it in their minds even when it's not sounding. And I've been told that many brass players have a similar memory of how their lowest open tone should sound.

 

So don't give up. Just be more patient.

 

As for "perfect" pitch versus relative pitch, if I had to choose only one, it would be relative pitch every time. With only perfect pitch and no relative pitch, you probably wouldn't be able to use a capo on a guitar or alternate tunings on a fiddle, or play a tune on a G/D anglo that you learned on a C/G. Hearing a G on the push when you pressed the C button, you would hear that it was wrong and be unable to continue.

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Someone told me that perfect pitch was the ability to toss (the instrument of your choice) into a dumpster without hitting the sides.

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Can't think why you can be bothered, myself. I haven't got it, it's never occurred to me that I'm disadvantaged. It hasn't stopped me singing unaccompanied in public on occasion (without a pitch note). Can't imagine why you think it'll help with the concertina; it's not as though you're going to adjust the tune as you go, and I also picked up the recent comment that it could be a curse in some circumstances.

 

I'd find something worthwhile to practice.

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I think it can be helpfull if you wan't to be able to play a song or tune from memory in the right key.

or if you want to tune a guitar without a tuner though I guess it not really nessesary and it will come in time.

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I think it can be helpfull if you wan't to be able to play a song or tune from memory in the right key.

or if you want to tune a guitar without a tuner though I guess it not really nessesary and it will come in time.

 

It may be helpful but it's certainly not necessary. Pitching a song is more a matter of understanding how your voice works and what pitch is comfortable, and wit experience most singers can find the right key for them.

 

Having perfect pitch won't help you to remember what key a tune is in, but if you can remember then you'll have no problem finding it on your instrument.

 

I've never needed to tune a guitar to accurate pitch without a tuner. If you're playing with others you can tune to them, if you're playing solo it doesn't matter if it's not quite right as long as it's in tune with itself. Anyway, I always have a tuning fork in my guitar case so the question doesn't arise.

 

There are more useful skills to devote your time to learning.

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I think it can be helpfull if you wan't to be able to play a song or tune from memory in the right key.

or if you want to tune a guitar without a tuner though I guess it not really nessesary and it will come in time.

 

maybe you're not using the term consistent w/ scholarly terminology. I suggest reading this book: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Musicophilia by Oliver Sacks. He devotes one chapter to people with perfect pitch. This is really something inherent in certain humans that can't be trained. Frequently those who have it have an involuntary association between senses; for example, often whenever they hear a certain note, an image of a distinct color pops out in their brains, so a melody translates 1:1 to a sea of colors, making the musical experinece something that affects everything. Since I don't have it, I can only try to grasp it like a color blind person would try to get the idea of a full color spectrum.

 

Perfect pitch isn't a necessary requirement for genius musicianship, but it normally helps. But then again, a person with a perfect pitch frequently has problems transposing a tune because as opposed to a "normal" musician, the variation to him/her means something completly different (Jim already mentioned that). As I understand it, Perfect pitch can also be a burden.

 

I'd agree with Jim that your time is spent MUCH better learning to hear intervals (that is, train your relative pitch).

Edited by Ruediger R. Asche

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I think it can be helpfull if you wan't to be able to play a song or tune from memory in the right key.

or if you want to tune a guitar without a tuner though I guess it not really nessesary and it will come in time.

 

maybe you're not using the term consistent w/ scholarly terminology. I suggest reading this book: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Musicophilia by Oliver Sacks. He devotes one chapter to people with perfect pitch. This is really something inherent in certain humans that can't be trained. Frequently those who have it have an involuntary association between senses; for example, often whenever they hear a certain note, an image of a distinct color pops out in their brains, so a melody translates 1:1 to a sea of colors, making the musical experinece something that affects everything. Since I don't have it, I can only try to grasp it like a color blind person would try to get the idea of a full color spectrum.

 

Perfect pitch isn't a necessary requirement for genius musicianship, but it normally helps. But then again, a person with a perfect pitch frequently has problems transposing a tune because as opposed to a "normal" musician, the variation to him/her means something completly different (Jim already mentioned that). As I understand it, Perfect pitch can also be a burden.

 

I'd agree with Jim that your time is spent MUCH better learning to hear intervals (that is, train your relative pitch).

 

Years ago I used to perform regularly with a musician colleague who managed to persuade me that he had the gift of 'perfect pitch'. He played cymbals in a military marching band. Make what you will of that !

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I remember a reading a letter in a newspaper from someone with perfect pitch. It was in the days when playing music from former times on "authentic" instruments was much less common than it is now. He was saying how he had been looking forward to an "authentic" performance of one of Bach's Brandenburg concertos and how disappointed he was with the performance because the orchestra played the whole thing a semitone flat.

 

The orchestra were in fact playing in the then much less common tuning of A=415 which has since become something of a standard for historically informed performance of Baroque music. The author of the letter did not realise this and that it was deliberate. If he had had a good sense of relative pitch but not of absolute pitch he would have been able to enjoy the performance because he would not have been aware the orchestra were playing a semitone flat of concert.

 

No perfect pitch is not necessarily a total blessing

 

Geoff

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ido,

 

I agree with most that perfect pitch is not really worth trying to achieve if you don't happen to have it.

 

With a fixed-pitch instrument like the concertina, you know what button to press to get a given note. With tunable instruments like guitars, you tune either to concert pitch by a tuner, or to the fixed-pitch instruments you're playing with. From then on, you know what string/fret gives you the note you want. If you're noodling alone at home, concert pitch doesn't matter. If you're singing, you get your pitch from the accompaniment. If you're unaccompanied, exact pitch doesn't matter.

 

Relative pitch is important, unless you rely entirely on sheet music. You've got to hear the interval to the next note in advance, and skip that many buttons/frets on your instrument. For singers, relative pitch is absolutely essential, because for a singer, a melody line is a sequence of intervals, not a sequence of notes.

 

Having said that, it came home to me recently that the vocal chords are just another instrument. They have no buttons or frets, but they do resemble the fretless violin or the slide trombone. Violinists and trombonists (well, some of them!) have a sure feel for pecisely where to move their fingers/hand to for a given note. It's muscle memory, I suppose. The vocal chords are also controlled by muscles, and these can develop a memory, too.

Anecdotal evidence: I've been working up a little song I wrote lately - singing it through with and without accompaniment, just to get the words and phrasing right. Recently, I started singing it at the breakfast table, without having heard any musical sounds that day. It felt just like it did when I sang it to my concertina in C, so I went to the piano - still singing - and struck a C major chord. I was right on pitch!

Another indication for muscle memory in the vocal chords is when I'm practising a song with my group that I've sung dozens of times. I can usually start singing before the instrumentalists are ready, and when they join in, we're on pitch.

 

The only situation in which this would be really useful is when I have to start a song a capella, with the group joining in later. But in a performance situation, there's always the immediate memory of the last song to give me the absolute pitch.

 

What about the situation - say, at an impolite jam session where nobody tells you what key a piece is in, or when you want to play along with a recoding - where you have to identify the key? Perfect pitch would, of course, be ideal here, but it's easy to wait until the tune hits the tonic chord, and try to match the root note on your instrument.

 

So I say, concentrate on practising hearing intervals and chords!

 

Cheers,

John

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By the way, I've noted something that I consider to be a variant of the "perfect pitch" ability, though those who possess it seem to be quite unaware of the fact. I've observed it in several "traditional" singers, singing unaccompanied.

 

It goes like this:

 

The singer, observed on different occasions, always sings in exactly the same key.

 

But that's not all...

Occasionally, the singer will start in the usual key, but will have difficulty (e.g., difficulty singing the highest notes). He will apologize for the trouble and say that he will try a different key. He will then proceed to sing the song in the same exact key, but quite convinced that he has actually changed key.

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I think it can be helpfull if you wan't to be able to play a song or tune from memory in the right key.

 

I often find that a tune has been transposed in my memory by the time it gets played rolleyes.gif

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I remember reading an article in 'New Scientist' magazine, many years ago, which said

that most people can learn to have perfect pitch just by memorising one note. However

not everyone can do this.

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I started studying music on the Solfeggio method. About 4 or 5 of us 7year olds stood there like we were holding a violin, fingering the notes on the page in front of us and singing each note. I remember being miserable most of the time. The music teacher, who was Russian, I could never seem to understand and she always smelled funny to me. However that experience of learning to sight sing a note was very helpful and while I don't know if I have perfect pitch or not, I usually can sing the note on the page. Being in tune is another issue which is why playing the concertina makes any intonation issues not.

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