2017 was our 20th year online!

Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 3 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments.
Over 100,000 members from around the world.
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

Shop our online store for music lovers
SEARCH
Piano Forums & Piano World
(ad)
Best of Piano Buyer
 Best of Piano Buyer
(ad)
Faust Harrison Pianos
Faust Harrison 100+ Steinway pianos
(ad)
Wessell Nickel & Gross
PianoForAll
Who's Online Now
39 members (crazyRyoga, Beowulf, Boboulus, bohemiatotal, clothearednincompo, Almar, brennbaer, Adem, beeboss, 9 invisible), 421 guests, and 566 robots.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
(ad)
Estonia Pianos
Estonia Pianos
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Hop To
Page 1 of 2 1 2
What's "relative pitch"?
#1327332 12/17/09 09:37 AM
Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 6,163
S
6000 Post Club Member
OP Offline
6000 Post Club Member
S
Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 6,163
Is "relative pitch" a meaningful concept in its own right, or is it defined solely in contradistinction to absolute pitch?

If only a very few possess absolute pitch, does everyone else have relative pitch?

How is relative pitch quantified? What do people mean when they say they have "very good" relative pitch?

Steven

Re: What's "relative pitch"?
sotto voce #1327338 12/17/09 09:46 AM
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 1,124
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 1,124
Well I think pitch can certainly be relative to the sounds you hear.....meaning you hear a pitch and then another and you recognize the interval....so you know what the sounda are relative to each other.....but I've always thought that relative meant if someone played a key of the piano and you were to guess it...perfect pitch would know the pitch...relative would be really close...say 1/2 step.

rada

Re: What's "relative pitch"?
rada #1327341 12/17/09 09:48 AM
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 1,124
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 1,124
btw...just thought I'd offer this as well...when I tested into music school that is exactly one thing they did...they played 2 keys on the piano [ one at a time] to see if I knew 'relatively' where those sounds were...

rada

Re: What's "relative pitch"?
sotto voce #1327342 12/17/09 09:48 AM
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 1,941
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 1,941
Relative Pitch: The ability to recognise any interval, and the ability to recognise any pitch having been given a starting pitch. But this definition assumes some training to give names to the pitches and intervals.

Extremes of range would make it harder.

If you play 2 pitches and ask someone which was higher, and they can't do this, maybe they don't have any ability to hear relative pitch (assuming this sort of person exists).
Or you could see if someone could identify whether 2 pitches were close or distant (compare pairs of pitches). No training needed for these tests.

Just some thoughts, I am not an expert.


[Linked Image]
Composers manufacture a product that is universally deemed superfluous—at least until their music enters public consciousness, at which point people begin to say that they could not live without it.
Alex Ross.
Re: What's "relative pitch"?
rada #1327343 12/17/09 09:48 AM
Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 6,562
6000 Post Club Member
Offline
6000 Post Club Member
Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 6,562
For me relative pitch means that one needs a reference (every time, or somehow everytime) to spot the rest of the pitches, while absolute pitch needs no reference.

Re: What's "relative pitch"?
Nikolas #1327351 12/17/09 10:01 AM
Joined: Jun 2008
Posts: 6,117
6000 Post Club Member
Offline
6000 Post Club Member
Joined: Jun 2008
Posts: 6,117
I sometimes wonder about that. I cannot name a note when played on the piano but I can come close. For me, my relative pitch is a liablity because I am so sensitive. I can listen to an orchestra and tell you which violin has a string out of tune. If I hear one off-pitch note, it's excruciating. No one else seems to notice. My piano technician finds me irritating. When I sing in an a capella choir, I find myself struggling to keep everyone on pitch. I'm glad I don't have perfect pitch. I'd probably go crazy.


Best regards,

Deborah
Re: What's "relative pitch"?
Nikolas #1327365 12/17/09 10:19 AM
Joined: Mar 2007
Posts: 1,803
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Joined: Mar 2007
Posts: 1,803
My relative pitch:

Let me hear a middle C, then play any of the 12 tones, and I can identify the 2nd note.

I hear them as scale degrees instead of intervals. I can also hear a sharp or flat of a scale degree.

To train your ear for this, practice singing the major scale with numbers 1 thru 8, instead of do, re, mi,..... You will soon be able to hear G, preceeded by the C (reference pitch) as the 5th scale degree. Hence the interval of a perfect 5th. All the other scale degrees will start to sound familiar with practice.

BTW I don't have perfect pitch.


Joe Whitehead ------ Texas Trax
Re: What's "relative pitch"?
Studio Joe #1327444 12/17/09 12:10 PM
Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 13,837
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 13,837
To me, relative pitch (which I have) means being able to find any other note given a reference pitch.

So, if you play a note on the piano and tell me what it is, I can tell you what the next note you play is because I can relate it to the first. In other words, I can hear the interval.

Another way of looking at it - if you played a melody for me on the piano, I could write it down. But since I don't have perfect pitch, I might not notate it in the correct key.

People who have good relative pitch can do this fairly easily and quickly. I can take dictation on an 4 measure phrase of four-voice chorale in 4-5 hearings. Some can do much better. Some can't do it at all.

I seem to manage composition, improvisation, sight-reading, and transcription fairly well without perfect pitch. Since I've never had perfect pitch, I don't really feel like anything's missing, and I attribute my relative pitch to good Kodaly instruction throughout middle and high school.


"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

www.pianoped.com
www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed
Re: What's "relative pitch"?
rada #1327459 12/17/09 12:32 PM
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 23,096
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 23,096
Originally Posted by rada
....you hear a pitch and then another and you recognize the interval....

Exactly. (And, that therefore if you know what's the first note, you know what's the second note too.)

It's quite separate and distinct from perfect pitch. "Perfect" is better, but I'm not sure it's a huge advantage over relative. Then again I'm biased because I've got the latter but not the former. smile

Re: What's "relative pitch"?
Canonie #1327462 12/17/09 12:34 PM
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 23,096
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 23,096
Originally Posted by Canonie
...If you play 2 pitches and ask someone which was higher, and they can't do this, maybe they don't have any ability to hear relative pitch....

Interesting.....we're getting into different levels of "pitch ability."

I think the ability to know "which pitch is higher" doesn't at all mean someone has relative pitch; it just means they have a decent ear. I'd guess there many people who would be almost 100% able to do that but lack relative pitch.

Re: What's "relative pitch"?
Mark_C #1327472 12/17/09 12:47 PM
Joined: Dec 2009
Posts: 59
N
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
N
Joined: Dec 2009
Posts: 59
well the term relative pitch certainly would encompass the ability to distinguish higher from lower, its just that whenever musicians/students are tested on relative pitch it naturally goes much farther than that. Its the same skill, but because it can be developed easily through training, (unlike perfect pitch which is difficult or impossible to learn depending on who you ask) there is a big difference between 'levels' of relative pitch ability.

Perfect pitch has equally varying levels of ability...some people can name single notes correctly maybe 70% of the time, while others can effortlessly transcribe complex chords. Myself, I can sing/imagine C3 or F3 without a reference pitch, because my singing experience has taught my vocal chords to remember the muscle coordination and connected it to those frequencies; I certainly dont have what people would call perfect pitch yet I can find any note by reference to C or F. So I am like those who can tell lower from higher without distinguishing intervals.

Re: What's "relative pitch"?
NickN #1327531 12/17/09 02:24 PM
Joined: Feb 2009
Posts: 222
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
Joined: Feb 2009
Posts: 222
To use colors as a comparison: absolute pitch is determining the color pink just by looking at it while relative pitch is determing something is pink by understanding it is several shade lighther than red.

Re: What's "relative pitch"?
Motorama #1327560 12/17/09 02:57 PM
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 485
C
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
C
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 485
Relative pitch is when someone is able to identify an interval RELATIVE to a starting note. That's why they call it relative pitch - because its relative.

Absolute pitch is when someone knows a pitch so well that he can immediately tell you what note it is.






I don't get it. What's all the fuss about Absolute pitch? All it is is just knowing a pitch so well that you are able to recognize it, use it, sing it, etc.

Last edited by noSkillz; 12/17/09 02:59 PM.
Re: What's "relative pitch"?
sotto voce #1327599 12/17/09 03:50 PM
Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 441
R
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
R
Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 441
Originally Posted by sotto voce
What do people mean when they say they have "very good" relative pitch?

I would say that this mostly has to do with speed and required effort. If you hear a middle C followed by some other tone, do you have to think for a while to figure out what the second tone is or is the exact relationship to C immediately apparent without effort. If the latter, then you have very good relative pitch.

As for the discussion about knowing which note is higher, it is not always that easy. Here's a nice test: http://tonometric.com/adaptivepitch/
I find it quite hard to tell for notes separated by 0.375Hz or less. At 0,046875Hz it is rather impossible...

Re: What's "relative pitch"?
RogerW #1327651 12/17/09 05:04 PM
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 6,949
6000 Post Club Member
Offline
6000 Post Club Member
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 6,949
I can hear a single note and tell you what note that is, but Franz Mohr calls that relative pitch, so I don't know.

Last edited by Orange Soda King; 12/17/09 05:04 PM.
Re: What's "relative pitch"?
Orange Soda King #1327675 12/17/09 05:42 PM
Joined: Aug 2009
Posts: 6,453
6000 Post Club Member
Offline
6000 Post Club Member
Joined: Aug 2009
Posts: 6,453
There is a short article in the Wikipedia on relative pitch:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Relative_pitch

I seem to have relative pitch, but not perfect pitch...



[Linked Image]

Music is my best friend.


Re: What's "relative pitch"?
Orange Soda King #1327714 12/17/09 06:35 PM
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 23,096
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 23,096
Originally Posted by Orange Soda King
I can hear a single note and tell you what note that is, but Franz Mohr calls that relative pitch, so I don't know.

Are you sure that's what he meant?

If that's really what he said and meant, he's just wrong.
These terms have specific and well-defined meanings. If some people misuse them, it's not our fault.

Re: What's "relative pitch"?
Canonie #1327717 12/17/09 06:38 PM
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 23,096
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 23,096
Originally Posted by Canonie
Relative Pitch: The ability to recognise any interval, and the ability to recognise any pitch having been given a starting pitch. But this definition assumes some training to give names to the pitches and intervals.....

.....and we can take that last part even further. "Training" can not only give you the knowledge to give names to the pitches and intervals, it can give you relative pitch.

I didn't have it till I studied music theory and "ear training" in college, and probably still wouldn't have it otherwise. We were drilled on all the intervals -- and that's why I know them and how I have relative pitch.

Re: What's "relative pitch"?
Mark_C #1327740 12/17/09 07:10 PM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 28,874
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 28,874
Tossing your mother in law out the window?

Re: What's "relative pitch"?
pianoloverus #1327817 12/17/09 08:55 PM
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 1,941
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 1,941
stop making me giggle, pianoloverus!

Re NickN, yes that's why I mentioned ability to distinguish higher and lower because I began my first post thinking "of course I know what relative pitch is.." then I came up against the problem of trained vs untrained RP. Training definitely makes a difference to the level of RP skills as well as the, er flavour. For example I can write out a Bach chorale, but a jazz piece of the same complexity would definitely take a lot more effort, those strange jazz harmonies and progressions are not burned into my brain in the same way. The sounds can be confusing. But you'd probably say I have very good relative pitch, I can hear any interval without thinking of mnemonics, an interval is an absolute sound.

My RP skills were still completely intact after a few decades of not playing music at all, I was surprised how good they were after being unused for that long. The day I discovered this (wrote down a piece from a CD without reference to a keyboard) was a bit of a revelation and was my first small step toward becoming a full time musician. The memory is very vivid, probably because these RP skills have been such a help in this development.


[Linked Image]
Composers manufacture a product that is universally deemed superfluous—at least until their music enters public consciousness, at which point people begin to say that they could not live without it.
Alex Ross.
Page 1 of 2 1 2

Moderated by  Brendan, Kreisler 

Link Copied to Clipboard
What's Hot!!
News from the Piano World
100,000!
---------------------
NEW! Sell Your Piano on our world famous Piano Forums!
---------------------
Posting Pictures on the Forums
-------------------
Forums RULES & HELP
-------------------
ADVERTISE on Piano World
(ad)
Pianoteq
Steinway Spiro Layering
(ad)
PianoDisc

PianoDisc
(ad)
Piano Life Saver - Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
(ad)
Mason & Hamlin Pianos
New Topics - Multiple Forums
iPad pro (2020) MIDI Output not consistent
by Almar - 01/18/21 05:33 AM
used Kawai RX-1 or new Kawai GL-30?
by Guido, Roma - Italy - 01/18/21 05:23 AM
Roland F701 vs FP-90X (?)
by Mulberg - 01/18/21 02:17 AM
Garritan CFX, Sustain Release Samples ???
by DigitalMusicProduc - 01/17/21 11:18 PM
Download Sheet Music
Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads
Forum Statistics
Forums42
Topics204,350
Posts3,048,280
Members100,102
Most Online15,252
Mar 21st, 2010
Please Support Our Advertisers


Faust Harrison 100+ Steinways

Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver

 Best of Piano Buyer

PianoTeq Bechstein
Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers

Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads



 
Help keep the forums up and running with a donation, any amount is appreciated!
Or by becoming a Subscribing member! Thank-you.
Donate   Subscribe
 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
| Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter |


© copyright 1997 - 2021 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.4