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Tuning by Phone?


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Some one once told me in a pinch the dial tone is close enough to such and such a note that you can tune a guitar to it relatively easily.

 

Perfect pitch. I realise that this is off the topic, but I was always impressed by a band mate who could instantly positively identify any isolated random note played to him from any instrument. I wonder how many of us share that ability ?

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Some one once told me in a pinch the dial tone is close enough to such and such a note that you can tune a guitar to it relatively easily.

 

Perfect pitch. I realise that this is off the topic, but I was always impressed by a band mate who could instantly positively identify any isolated random note played to him from any instrument. I wonder how many of us share that ability ?

 

well, a lot of people can do "relative pitch," which is memorizing a reference pitch and comparing it to that. externally, really good relative pitch can seem to be perfect pitch. perfect pitch is hearing notes and knowing what it is--just how you can see brown and know it's brown. whether or not perfect pitch can be learned is up to debate.

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Some one once told me in a pinch the dial tone is close enough to such and such a note that you can tune a guitar to it relatively easily.

 

Perfect pitch. I realise that this is off the topic, but I was always impressed by a band mate who could instantly positively identify any isolated random note played to him from any instrument. I wonder how many of us share that ability ?

 

well, a lot of people can do "relative pitch," which is memorizing a reference pitch and comparing it to that. externally, really good relative pitch can seem to be perfect pitch. perfect pitch is hearing notes and knowing what it is--just how you can see brown and know it's brown. whether or not perfect pitch can be learned is up to debate.

 

I guess most of us have the ability to do 'relative pitch', but I believe that there are those who have the ability to identify a note without the benefit of a memorised reference pitch and that is what I understand to be what is called 'perfect pitch'. I may well be wrong. I would expect that 'perfect pitch', ( if it indeed exists ! ), is something that you are born with, rather than something which can be acquired through learning.

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I guess most of us have the ability to do 'relative pitch', but I believe that there are those who have the ability to identify a note without the benefit of a memorised reference pitch and that is what I understand to be what is called 'perfect pitch'. I may well be wrong. I would expect that 'perfect pitch', ( if it indeed exists ! ), is something that you are born with, rather than something which can be acquired through learning.

 

As a student, I hung out with music students - I was the only non-music student in the Music Department Madrigal Choir. And only one of the department members had "perfect pitch", in the sense that the choirmaster could say, "Give me an A!" and this person hummed an A that was at concert pitch when compared with a tuning fork.

 

This "perfect pitcher" had one slight problem, however: he was never quite sure whether his A was really an A, or perhaps an Ab. When he was a small child, his parents had an old piano that wouldn't stand up to concert pitch, and was tuned exactly a semitone flat, and he got this tuning into his head. When the parents realised that he had the ability to memorise pitch precisely, they got a new piano, which was kept at concert pitch, and our friend memorised that, too. So he had two "A"s in his head, and was at that time working hard on forgetting the "wrong" one.

 

So, in his case at least, "perfect pitch" was, strictly speaking, relative. What set him apart from the rest of us was that the pitches he related to were ones he had heard many years before, as a child, and that he was dead on concert pitch.

Our choirmaster - like most of us - had a pretty good "short-term pitch memory". He could play a starting note on the piano, talk for five minutes, and then hum the starting note.

 

Obviously, you can't be born with concert pitch, because concert pitch is defined by convention, and not by physics. What does appear to be innate is the capability to memorise pitches permanently and precisely.

 

As a singer, I may sometimes appear to have perfect pitch. This is the case at group practices, for instance, when we decide to do a particular song, and I start singing on my own, and am dead on pitch when the instruments start playing. However, I attribute this to "muscle memory" in my vocal cords, which gets me close to the starting note (this only happens with songs that I've been singing freuently in the same key for a long time), and to the fact that I've been listening to and singing to tuned instruments all evening, which gives me a "concert-pitch groove" in my short-term memory, so I can calibrate the selected note.

 

Cheers,

John

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In the olden days the fluorescent lights in the School of Music at Florida State University hummed at a flat B flat. That came in handy a time or two.

The chorus master of the choir I sing in (and former member of the Kings Singers) blows his nose in Bb. He uses this when he has no more accurate alternative available.

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I noticed a funny thing that might relate to perfect pitch. I don't consider my pitch recognition to be all that great. But I was just playing a tune in G that starts with three notes of equal length, B-C-D. I accidentally moved my hand to the wrong spot on the right side, and played "A-Bb-C." I instantly thought, "oh, that's another tune I play." Which starts with the same notes, but I play it in F. It seems that whenever I play "B-C-D" in rapid succession, I think of the first tune, and when I play "A-Bb-C," I think of the second tune. It seems to have a different "nyah" to it, if you know what I mean, even though they're the same intervals. In general, it seems I can notice if I start playing a tune (with the same fingering, remember, I'm playing a Hayden duet) a tone sharp or flat, and it sounds "wrong." At least if I'm very familiar with the tune. This isn't perfect pitch by a long shot, but it does mean that maybe I can zero in on a particular pitch better than I thought, at least with practice.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I was told years ago the phone dial was A440, I tried it with my guitar tuner and it appeared so.

 

so, what does somebody blessed with "Perfect Pitch" do when they hear Gamelan music? Everybody who claims perfect pitch claims it with the western equal tempered 12 note scale.

 

We have no such claims for 15, 20, 22 note scales, Japense scales, or even "just tempered" scales.

 

and let me ask you this: how many ways can you split the octave? How many "notes" exist between c and c'?

 

I'll answer this for you: infinity

 

well Ok not infinity, as the human ear must have a minimal freq of difference it can detect, that would be the limiting factor as to how many "notes" could be recognized within an octave.

Edited by Hooves
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