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#1134053 - 01/23/05 06:52 AM Perfect Pitch!!!  
Joined: Jan 2005
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black_coffee Offline
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black_coffee  Offline
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York, England
So what is perfect pitch exactly?

Is it a freakish 'photographic' type memory of sound? Is it a talent?

How rare is it? How important is it?

I've found out that I have it, but not sure if it's that much of a good thing or not... just interested in hearing about fellow pianists hearing ability...


He got smaller as the world got big, the whiz man never fit him like the whiz kid did...

Ben Folds (legend)
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#1134054 - 01/23/05 07:44 AM Re: Perfect Pitch!!!  
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Stevester Offline
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New Jersey
How did you find out you have it?.


"The true character of a man can be determined by witnessing what he does when no one is watching".

anon
#1134055 - 01/23/05 08:47 AM Re: Perfect Pitch!!!  
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Axtremus Offline
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Perfect pitch is the ability to hear a sound and knows its absolute pitch (e.g., you hear a kettle whistle when the water boils and immediately you know the whistle is a B-flat).

How do you know you have it? When you listen to a song you've never seen the sheet music of before, if in your head you know what notes are sung, you have perfect pitch. Close you eyes and randomly hit a note on the piano -- can you consistently guess right what notes you played without having to look at where your fingers hit the keyboard? If you can, you have perfect pitch (well, assuming your piano is in tune to begin with).

Contrasting that to "relative pitch." Relative pitch is the ability to hear intervals between notes. Say you play a note, you tell me that note is A=440Hz, then you play another note, and I can consistently guess right what that other note is without you telling me what it is just because I can hear the how far that note is from a reference you told me about, that's "relative pitch."

Relative pitch can be trained. ABRSM requires relative pitch training in their exams. Most college Music Theory 101/102 classes would also have some relative pitch training ("hearing the interval"). I'd say that every formally educated musician should be able to do relative pitch.

Perfect pitch... I think it's either you're born with it or you're not. I have seen claims that people can teach/train you to have perfect pitch, but I don't think those claims are credible.

#1134056 - 01/23/05 11:59 AM Re: Perfect Pitch!!!  
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black_coffee Offline
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black_coffee  Offline
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York, England
Quote
Originally posted by Stevester:
How did you find out you have it?.
Just that when I'm used to the sound of something - I can then know what pitch it is, without it being relative to anything.

I guess it's a lucky thing, makes transcribing easier anyhow. Unlucky tho, when people find out and ask you every five minutes what the pitch of the microwave is.

F# incidentally :-)

P.S. Thanks for the comprehensive reply Axtremus.


He got smaller as the world got big, the whiz man never fit him like the whiz kid did...

Ben Folds (legend)
#1134057 - 01/23/05 12:03 PM Re: Perfect Pitch!!!  
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PianoBeast10489 Offline
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Virginia Beach,VA
At our community college my teacher has us take ear training tests that test to see if you have perfect pitch. Though only 2 out of the 12 advanced students have it.

#1134058 - 01/23/05 02:05 PM Re: Perfect Pitch!!!  
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pete Offline
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port washington, ny, us
I was blessed with perfect pitch. when my son is playing the piano in the other room, and hits a wrong note, I can say F#, dear.
Also when I was in High school, I imitated the change period bell perfectly, and got my chemistry class ended five minutes early. I went to my thirtieth reunion recently, and heard the bell go off, and was pleased to hear it was still High E.
Other than that, it makes it hard to play a piano that is way out of tune.
I don't think it can be taught, but I believe some people may have it latently, and can improve it with training.

#1134059 - 01/25/05 10:00 AM Re: Perfect Pitch!!!  
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nan Offline
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San Francisco
Pete, how does perfect pitch work in regards to the different octaves on the piano. Can you tell which octave?

#1134060 - 01/25/05 10:20 AM Re: Perfect Pitch!!!  
Joined: Nov 2004
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seebechstein Offline
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seebechstein  Offline
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houston
Quote
Originally posted by PianoBeast10489:
At our community college my teacher has us take ear training tests that test to see if you have perfect pitch. Though only 2 out of the 12 advanced students have it.
That's not statistically significant, since the uncertainty in that sample is more than one student, and random guessing by a large sample will be 1:12 since there are 12 chromatic pitches in an octave.

Everyone that ever told me they had perfect pitch were incorrect when I played a note they couldn't see on the piano. I'm suspicious of yall's claims!

#1134061 - 01/25/05 12:18 PM Re: Perfect Pitch!!!  
Joined: Nov 2004
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ivorythumper Offline
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ivorythumper  Offline
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The Great American Southwest
According to some schools of classical anthropology, it would seem (theoretically) that perfect pitch is trainable, since sound is a phantasm stored in the imagination. (Think of Beethoven's 9th in your head -- that's an example of a sound phantasm). Memory is complex, and seems to have different processes for retention of external stimuli (sight, sound, touch, smell, taste) than for ideas (e.g., justice)

In the same way you know someone when you see them again, or even a picture of some one, or you know color or smell, you should be able to memorize sound pitch (at least within a bandwidth of the note intervals on a piano).

Any one with perfect pitch has to register it to a keyboard (A440 for instance) -- they have to make an association to begin with and then recall the association when they hear the sound.

I think it has to do more with a particularly good memory for a particular type of sensory stimulus (which might have something to do with an emotional response to a particular note) than anything else.


Estonically yours,

Ivorythumper

"Man without mysticism is a monster"
#1134062 - 01/25/05 12:42 PM Re: Perfect Pitch!!!  
Joined: May 2004
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neciebugs Offline
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neciebugs  Offline
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Chula Vista
Piano Beast....

Who teaches you? Is it at TCC? I am taking a few classes there prior to transfer. I would love to be tested... which class? hehe BTW, how was the John Williams concert if you went?

Take care!

Denise


Denise
2005 Schulze Pollmann 126/e Classico Upright (Maple with Sunburst inlay)
1965 Baldwin Model L 6'3" Grand (Satin Black)
#1134063 - 01/25/05 01:03 PM Re: Perfect Pitch!!!  
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PianoBeast10489 Offline
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Virginia Beach,VA
Quote
Originally posted by seebechstein:
Quote
Originally posted by PianoBeast10489:
[b] At our community college my teacher has us take ear training tests that test to see if you have perfect pitch. Though only 2 out of the 12 advanced students have it.
That's not statistically significant, since the uncertainty in that sample is more than one student, and random guessing by a large sample will be 1:12 since there are 12 chromatic pitches in an octave.

Everyone that ever told me they had perfect pitch were incorrect when I played a note they couldn't see on the piano. I'm suspicious of yall's claims! [/b]
they both correctly tanscribed a song by ear, then my teacher collected the scores we made, and their's was perfect.

#1134064 - 01/25/05 01:40 PM Re: Perfect Pitch!!!  
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PianoBeast10489 Offline
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Virginia Beach,VA
Quote
Originally posted by neciebuggs:
Piano Beast....

Who teaches you? Is it at TCC? I am taking a few classes there prior to transfer. I would love to be tested... which class? hehe BTW, how was the John Williams concert if you went?

Take care!

Denise
The concert was awsome! Thanks for asking. Its at ODU actually. Its not really a class though, my teacher, Suzanne Guy, is really involved with ODU, so she does a lot of things there. Her last recital was at the Dhine Fine Arts Center on the Steinway D! I'm not sure what class it is, but it the testing is on Saturday (of this week) but i think she has it reserved for just her students that day. Its a 45 minute ear training/ music theory test. I think that they use the college tests but im not sure. I am level 8 so i dont know if i am going to get the same test as people in lower or higher theory levels.

#1134065 - 01/25/05 02:37 PM Re: Perfect Pitch!!!  
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neciebugs Offline
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Chula Vista
Thanks PianoBeast!
She doesnt sound familiar... I am sure I will test in San Diego when I move there in the summer. I have my audition in 3 and a half weeks. I have NO idea what level I am. When I was a teen I played anually to be graded... I remember playing in the Moderately Difficult Category... however... that was over half a lifetime ago.
I would love to know how my pitch is... when I was in college in 1992 I audtioned for a chorale (which ultimately was conflicting with my schedule) and the dean of the Music Dept commented on my pitch, and suggested even if I couldnt schedule chorale, to take voice lessons so that I didnt lose what I had... So i did for a semester.

Thanks for the info!


Denise
2005 Schulze Pollmann 126/e Classico Upright (Maple with Sunburst inlay)
1965 Baldwin Model L 6'3" Grand (Satin Black)
#1134066 - 01/25/05 02:46 PM Re: Perfect Pitch!!!  
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PianoBeast10489 Offline
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Virginia Beach,VA
any time. You are moving to San Diego? My parents went on vacation once there and loved it. The only thing they didn't like was the drive home... cross country!

#1134067 - 01/25/05 02:52 PM Re: Perfect Pitch!!!  
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neciebugs Offline
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neciebugs  Offline
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Chula Vista
Yes, My husband is in the Navy, and we pack up in June. I lived there from 1991-1997 though, so it will be like going home! I cant wait. Although.. I will be driving alone with 3 children 5-11 accross country... FUN FUN FUN!!


Denise
2005 Schulze Pollmann 126/e Classico Upright (Maple with Sunburst inlay)
1965 Baldwin Model L 6'3" Grand (Satin Black)
#1134068 - 01/25/05 04:52 PM Re: Perfect Pitch!!!  
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Piana Justice Offline
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Greenville, NC
i also think perfect pitch means being able to interpret certain chords [F Major] when you hear a song.


[Linked Image]
#1134069 - 01/26/05 07:37 PM Re: Perfect Pitch!!!  
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Piano Guy Offline
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Southern Ontario,Canada
Then there is the one about the piano teacher [2 of them actually] claiming perfect pitch. Hadn't tuned the piano in 20 years "cause it sounds just fine". A=440...NOT


Richard, the"Piano Guy"
Piano Moving Tuning & Repair
From London ON to Fort Erie ON
#1134070 - 01/26/05 07:43 PM Re: Perfect Pitch!!!  
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Virginia Beach,VA
I took a sample test yeserday at my lesson. A test for perfect pitch she gave me was i had to write out a song that i heard, right hand only, then left hand, by listening to it. You had to get the rythm right too, and i got a 100 on it! I think that is just part of the test though, so im not going to say i have perfect pitch, because unless i sing it, it is hard for me to figure out by listening to intervals, oh thats a P5th, or thats a m3. I can identify augmented, major, minor diminished, etc. chords, and the chord that they are played which is perfect pitch, but i think you must be able to identify the intervals just by hearing them. Oh well. I will find out officially on Sat. And i asked my teacher if that interval stuff can be trained or not, and she said it DEFINATELY can be. The more you get used to trying to identify stuff such as that, you get familiar with it.

#1134071 - 01/27/05 04:42 PM Re: Perfect Pitch!!!  
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gregjazz Offline
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CA
Everyone, if you don't have perfect pitch or relative pitch, learn them! They give you such an advantage, and it'll be time well spent!

Well, I was born with both perfect pitch and relative pitch, so I can't say exactly how much work it'd take to learn them... smile


Greg Schlaepfer
Orange Tree Samples
http://www.orangetreesamples.com
#1134072 - 01/27/05 05:06 PM Re: Perfect Pitch!!!  
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RKVS1 Offline
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Topeka, Kansas
grrrrrrrrr....

( I THINK that was a low A, but it might have been Eb ) frown

#1134073 - 01/27/05 08:08 PM Re: Perfect Pitch!!!  
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pete Offline
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port washington, ny, us
Piano Beast, I think you are confusing ear training with perfect pitch. Perfect pitch is simply the ability to recognize a given pitch without a reference tone. As to recognizing intervals and triads, people with relative pitch can be, and are trained to do that all the time.

A couple of other things about perfect pitch. I found a test on the internet and took it. Turns out it was part of a scientific study being conducted at Berkeley into genetics and perfect pitch. anyway, they contacted me to tell me I had perfect pitch.

Also, I was much more confident about perfect pitch when I was younger. It does seem to be less certain now that I am older. (I am fifty.)

When I was five, my parents got their first piano.
I recall associating colors with each note. The notes E and G were blue and green. D was golden. C was red. A was amber, and the B was off white. I have read that other people with perfect pitch have associations with notes that reach across other senses. (Sorry, can't remember the name for that phenomenon right now. )

One other thing, for long periods of my life, I played on pianos that were out of tune, so for a few years, my sense of pitch was also flat. For the past thirteen years or so I have owned quality pianos that I keep in tune, so my sense is more accurate. So even "absolute" is relative. Got that?

would love to hear from others with PP regarding trans -sensory experiences.

#1134074 - 01/28/05 12:09 AM Re: Perfect Pitch!!!  
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gregjazz Offline
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CA
Quote
Originally posted by pete:
Piano Beast, I think you are confusing ear training with perfect pitch. Perfect pitch is simply the ability to recognize a given pitch without a reference tone. As to recognizing intervals and triads, people with relative pitch can be, and are trained to do that all the time.

A couple of other things about perfect pitch. I found a test on the internet and took it. Turns out it was part of a scientific study being conducted at Berkeley into genetics and perfect pitch. anyway, they contacted me to tell me I had perfect pitch.

Also, I was much more confident about perfect pitch when I was younger. It does seem to be less certain now that I am older. (I am fifty.)

When I was five, my parents got their first piano.
I recall associating colors with each note. The notes E and G were blue and green. D was golden. C was red. A was amber, and the B was off white. I have read that other people with perfect pitch have associations with notes that reach across other senses. (Sorry, can't remember the name for that phenomenon right now. )

One other thing, for long periods of my life, I played on pianos that were out of tune, so for a few years, my sense of pitch was also flat. For the past thirteen years or so I have owned quality pianos that I keep in tune, so my sense is more accurate. So even "absolute" is relative. Got that?

would love to hear from others with PP regarding trans -sensory experiences.
That's interesting about associating colors with tones. I don't associate the notes with anything at all. I just hear a note and say, oh, that's a Bb, or I hear a chord and say, oh that's a major 7, etc.

One of the really cool things you can do when you have perfect pitch is to transcribe music without any instrument nearby. Something that I like doing is to go to the library, check out a CD, listen to it there, and transcribe it. Perfect pitch is so worth having. Imagine being able to play anything that you hear. smile


Greg Schlaepfer
Orange Tree Samples
http://www.orangetreesamples.com
#1134075 - 01/28/05 12:50 AM Re: Perfect Pitch!!!  
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ProPianoGuyBC Offline
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JUST tried the test!!!
Don't have perfect pitch according to the internet test!
Darn!
ProPIano

#1134076 - 01/28/05 02:45 AM Re: Perfect Pitch!!!  
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ivorythumper Offline
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ivorythumper  Offline
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The Great American Southwest
Quote
Originally posted by pete:
I recall associating colors with each note. The notes E and G were blue and green. D was golden. C was red. A was amber, and the B was off white. I have read that other people with perfect pitch have associations with notes that reach across other senses. (Sorry, can't remember the name for that phenomenon right now. )
The phenomenon is called synesthesia -- meaning "joined perceptions" -- hearing color is fairly common. Even tasting sound (I had a synthesthic gf --quite a gifted pianist -- who described me as F# deep violet)! I thought she was Ab (not her bra size) and definitely a saffron yellow.

Scriabin and Messiaen might have had it (or artificially devised systems of correlation). Scriabin's color scheme was
C# Purple
F# Bright Blue/Violet
B Blue
E Sky Blue
A Green
D Yellow
G Orange
C Red
F Deep Red
Bb Rose/Steel
Eb Flesh
Ab Violet
Db Purple (same as C#)
Gb Bright Blue/Violet (same as F#)

Others see different colors. What are yours?


Estonically yours,

Ivorythumper

"Man without mysticism is a monster"
#1134077 - 01/28/05 05:46 AM Re: Perfect Pitch!!!  
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pete Offline
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port washington, ny, us
That's interesting about associating colors with tones. I don't associate the notes with anything at all. I just hear a note and say, oh, that's a Bb, or I hear a chord and say, oh that's a major 7, etc.

One of the really cool things you can do when you have perfect pitch is to transcribe music without any instrument nearby. Something that I like doing is to go to the library, check out a CD, listen to it there, and transcribe it. Perfect pitch is so worth having. Imagine being able to play anything that you hear.

I should make it clear that that color association- was much stronger when I was a little kid, and not so strong now.

As for being able to transcribe any music, or play anything you can hear. Transcsribe in the same key--yes I CAN do that, but within limits. Obviously a very complex piece with lots of thick chords takes a lot of listens. Something lyrical and melodic is easy. As for being able to play something after hearing it; I discovered I had a real affinity for doing that with pop music at a very young age, maybe seven. That was a mixed blessing; i had lots of fun entertaining friends and neighbors, but it meant I spent much less time practicing classical music. Made me a much less serious pianist; a piano player rather than a pianist. (But had a lot of fun at parties.) Someone else I know who comes from a musical family told me that her father had the same talent, and the same tendency, and never became a "serious" pianist as a result.
I guess the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. Pianists who have the ability to concentrate and learn a difficult technical piece until it is flawless envy the player who can hear a tune once and play it. If you have both discipline and an ear, then I guess you are elite.

#1134078 - 01/28/05 08:11 AM Re: Perfect Pitch!!!  
Joined: Oct 2004
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Rodney Offline
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Rodney  Offline
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Caledon ON, Canada
I thought some of you might find this interesting as it's right on topic.

------------------

Tone Language Translates To Perfect Pitch

New Research Shows Mandarin Speakers More Likely to Acquire Rare Musical Ability


http://ucsdnews.ucsd.edu/newsrel/soc/DeutschTone.asp


Rodney

#1134079 - 01/28/05 08:45 PM Re: Perfect Pitch!!!  
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 176
Fan of the Bösendorfer Offline
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Posts: 176
NYC
Rodney--thanks for posting that very interesting link.


Sarah
#1134080 - 01/28/05 09:04 PM Re: Perfect Pitch!!!  
Joined: Nov 2004
Posts: 830
PianoBeast10489 Offline
500 Post Club Member
PianoBeast10489  Offline
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Joined: Nov 2004
Posts: 830
Virginia Beach,VA
Quote
Originally posted by pete:
Piano Beast, I think you are confusing ear training with perfect pitch. Perfect pitch is simply the ability to recognize a given pitch without a reference tone. As to recognizing intervals and triads, people with relative pitch can be, and are trained to do that all the time.

A couple of other things about perfect pitch. I found a test on the internet and took it. Turns out it was part of a scientific study being conducted at Berkeley into genetics and perfect pitch. anyway, they contacted me to tell me I had perfect pitch.

Also, I was much more confident about perfect pitch when I was younger. It does seem to be less certain now that I am older. (I am fifty.)

When I was five, my parents got their first piano.
I recall associating colors with each note. The notes E and G were blue and green. D was golden. C was red. A was amber, and the B was off white. I have read that other people with perfect pitch have associations with notes that reach across other senses. (Sorry, can't remember the name for that phenomenon right now. )

One other thing, for long periods of my life, I played on pianos that were out of tune, so for a few years, my sense of pitch was also flat. For the past thirteen years or so I have owned quality pianos that I keep in tune, so my sense is more accurate. So even "absolute" is relative. Got that?

would love to hear from others with PP regarding trans -sensory experiences.
I take the official test tommorow anyway.

I know thats ear training, but i wasn't exactly sure.

BTW, what website was this test at, i would like to take it.

#1134081 - 01/29/05 12:17 AM Re: Perfect Pitch!!!  
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Posts: 316
gregjazz Offline
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gregjazz  Offline
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Posts: 316
CA
Quote
Originally posted by Rodney:
I thought some of you might find this interesting as it's right on topic.

------------------

Tone Language Translates To Perfect Pitch

New Research Shows Mandarin Speakers More Likely to Acquire Rare Musical Ability


http://ucsdnews.ucsd.edu/newsrel/soc/DeutschTone.asp


Rodney
I'm a bit skeptical about that, because in Mandarin the tones are relative, not absolute pitches. There are five tones in Mandarin: pitch going down, going up, a stable pitch, going down and then up, and a neutral tone -- which is said short and quietly. So when you learn Chinese, you pay attention to associate tones with words, otherwise it'll be a whole lot more difficult to comprehend.

In case you couldn't understand what I just said, here's a website that fantastically explains the tones in Mandarin:

http://www.wku.edu/~shizhen.gao/Chinese101/pinyin/tones.htm

And one more:

http://www.chinese-outpost.com/language/pronunciation/pron0015.asp

(the "mā mā mă ma" part is very commonly used to demonstrate tones) smile


Greg Schlaepfer
Orange Tree Samples
http://www.orangetreesamples.com
#1134082 - 01/29/05 04:40 PM Re: Perfect Pitch!!!  
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 84
Alanjazz. Offline
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Alanjazz.  Offline
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Posts: 84
England
In reply to Black Coffee. I understand that true by ear pianists that play completely without any knowledge of sight reading or theories of keys scales or chords will probably have pretty near perfect pitch. What I do is memorise the melody or copy a pianist in play-along. Once I know the the starting note I can mostly play the rest of the tune. This is jazz or blues music.And popular standards.

I have to usually look at the piano keys to see where my fingers go but not always. I know what all the sounds each key or chord make including harmonic chords as you use in jazz improvisation.

Does anyone else understand what I say?

Black Coffee, I lived in York between 1940 to 1951 with time spent in the R.A.F. from 1946 to 1948. Used to go to jazz concerts down Coney Street where Steve Race played and Vic Lewis.

Do you still live there?

Alan

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Can I Run Roland RD700nx Through Stereo Speakers?
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Improve your sight reading series
by Scottswald. 10/20/17 06:34 PM
Piano with a harpsichord lever?
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