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Re: Question on perfect pitch
mimi9 #2873592 07/28/19 08:33 PM
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Originally Posted by mimi9
Yes, I did hear a story about a woman who played on an out of tune piano as a kid and, yes, developed perfect pitch based on the tones of the bad piano. It certainly wasn't helpful to her.

That's for sure possible. In my case, I've developed "perfect" (I prefer to call it relative) pitch listening to music on a turntable which was going slightly too slow, about half a semi-tone. Nowadays, to find the pitch of a note by ear, I simply choose the one slightly above what I have in memory for the twelve tones. I've learned this stuff simply so I can figure out melodies or music pieces by ear when I'm not close to a keyboard. Using similar auditory memory patterns, I can tap at 60 beats per second and be off by a +/- 1 tap maximum after a minute. I'm pretty sure anyone can do this with some practice as well. This to be is useful to identify the metronome of a piano piece, etc.

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Re: Question on perfect pitch
AWilley #2873594 07/28/19 08:40 PM
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Originally Posted by AWilley
...
By the age a person starts tuning pianos it's too late to develop perfect pitch.


What you described as your own experience is very common. Though I’d disagree with your comment above. The reality is that no one knows with total certainty when and how absolute pitch develops (despite Rick Beato’s rather strong minded opinion on it!). It’s most commonly developed in youth, but there are people who developed it into adulthood who had no reason to think they had developed in youth but forgot it.

Originally Posted by Chopin Acolyte
It makes me think: if someone like Rick Beato had another kid now and only played for him music on a totally beat-up, terribly out-of-tune piano, would that kid have later a totally crooked sense of pitch?


Absolute pitch is not absolute in terms of accuracy, it’s simply a way of saying that a person can know pitches without reference. A trumpet player with absolute pitch will often hear a Bb as C, or a french horn player an F as a C. And there are people who switch between instruments in different keys and adapt their sense of pitch based on the instrument.

Last edited by jsilva; 07/28/19 08:41 PM.
Re: Question on perfect pitch
jsilva #2873624 07/28/19 10:34 PM
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Originally Posted by jsilva

Absolute pitch is not absolute in terms of accuracy, it’s simply a way of saying that a person can know pitches without reference. A trumpet player with absolute pitch will often hear a Bb as C, or a french horn player an F as a C. And there are people who switch between instruments in different keys and adapt their sense of pitch based on the instrument.


Well said. It works for quick note identification apart from any other reference. But it is not sufficiently accurate to produce the exact pitch. Owen Jorgensen, former piano technician at Michigan State U music department used give people who thought they had perfect pitch something to think about with the following exercise:

He would invite anyone who thought they had "perfect pitch" to come into a classroom that had a piano. He would de-tune a note and then identify what it was supposed to be (let's say B-39) Then he would ask people to raise their hands when they thought it was at correct pitch as he would move the tuning pin for that string. The response was like a bell-curve -- with a few students raising their hands sooner and then others. Eventually he would arrive at a majority consensus for that note. Then he would move on to the next until he had a full octave -- only playing each note individually until there was a consensus that it was at correct pitch. Then, upon playing chords it became clearly evident that although the notes were whatever letter they were supposed to be, they were nowhere nearly in tune to be musically useful.

My brother has perfect pitch (better known as "pitch memory") and also tunes pianos and is a music professor, now retired. He doesn't use his pitch memory capability to actually tune a piano -- although it would certainly be sufficient for pitch raising.





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Re: Question on perfect pitch
Chopin Acolyte #2873630 07/28/19 11:00 PM
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I suspect these people with PP also have VERY good memory for some other things as well.

At the very least they certainly "wired" for it. Some people are equally "wired" for mathematics and can do amazing calculations in their head FAST.

Pwg

Last edited by P W Grey; 07/28/19 11:00 PM.

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Re: Question on perfect pitch
Chopin Acolyte #2873748 07/29/19 10:22 AM
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Pitch perception is odd. I can fake AP single note tests (without using relative pitch), as each one reminds me of some piece of music or other.

That's not real AP of course. I know people with the real thing, and they can do all sorts of things.

Re: Question on perfect pitch
johnstaf #2873777 07/29/19 12:01 PM
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Originally Posted by johnstaf
Pitch perception is odd. I can fake AP single note tests (without using relative pitch), as each one reminds me of some piece of music or other.

That's not real AP of course. I know people with the real thing, and they can do all sorts of things.


Don’t count yourself out just because other people can do things you can’t. Rick Beato’s son can do what he does so quickly not simply because he has an unusual natural ability but also because he practises it. What you describe is not an uncommon thing to hear from people when they describe how they (or someone else) realised they had absolute pitch. It can get better with practise. You may very well have the very beginnings of it which so far haven’t matured any further. But I don’t know, obviously, since I don’t know you smile

Re: Question on perfect pitch
P W Grey #2873787 07/29/19 12:25 PM
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Originally Posted by P W Grey
I suspect these people with PP also have VERY good memory for some other things as well.

At the very least they certainly "wired" for it. Some people are equally "wired" for mathematics and can do amazing calculations in their head FAST.

Pwg


I have perfect pitch and, whilst I do have a good memory, it's not exceptionally special for pitches. PP is not a memory thing at all, as far as I understand the neuroscience of how it works. Contrary to what some think, absolute doesn't mean "accurate". You can think of the 12 tones of the western scale as buckets and the PP ability is being able to assign the closest bucket to the tone being heard - the frequency doesn't have to be exactly at the centre of the bucket, but close enough. If I hear tones that are in between, it can be confusing to know which bucket to use. It's the same thing with colours - when does a red-orange become orange etc.? I find for an in-tune piano, I can assign the buckets instantly for any of the 88 notes (even though they are stretched, they're not stretched so far as to approach the bucket boundaries). Finally, I don't need to practice to retain this ability - I can just do it.

Paul

Re: Question on perfect pitch
jsilva #2873815 07/29/19 01:48 PM
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Originally Posted by jsilva
Don’t count yourself out just because other people can do things you can’t. Rick Beato’s son can do what he does so quickly not simply because he has an unusual natural ability but also because he practises it. What you describe is not an uncommon thing to hear from people when they describe how they (or someone else) realised they had absolute pitch. It can get better with practise. You may very well have the very beginnings of it which so far haven’t matured any further. But I don’t know, obviously, since I don’t know you smile


Thanks Jsilva. I'll look into it! Maybe I could try to build on it a bit.

Re: Question on perfect pitch
Chopin Acolyte #2873907 07/29/19 06:48 PM
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Here's a very long and interesting thesis on AP and anatomy (and it classifies AP into a continuum of ability): The neural correlates of absolute pitch

Paul.

Last edited by pyropaul; 07/29/19 06:50 PM. Reason: made link work
Re: Question on perfect pitch
pyropaul #2873912 07/29/19 07:06 PM
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Originally Posted by pyropaul
Here's a very long and interesting thesis on AP and anatomy (and it classifies AP into a continuum of ability): The neural correlates of absolute pitch

Paul.


DigiTool Stream Gateway Error: Cannot process request: null

Would you please make the link work? Thanks.

Re: Question on perfect pitch
Chopin Acolyte #2873949 07/29/19 09:00 PM
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I always thought perfect pitch referred to throwing a baseball at 90 mph across the stage and seeing if the guitar player could be enticed to take a swing at it. wink


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Re: Question on perfect pitch
Chopin Acolyte #2873954 07/29/19 09:11 PM
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Try this link: The Neural Correlates of Absolute Pitch

digitool.library.mcgill.ca/thesisfile21968.pdf should also take you there as the link seems to get mangled through some kind of viewer.

Paul.

Last edited by pyropaul; 07/29/19 09:12 PM.
Re: Question on perfect pitch
Chopin Acolyte #2874067 07/30/19 07:01 AM
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The second link works for me.

Re: Question on perfect pitch
Chopin Acolyte #2874108 07/30/19 09:06 AM
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Yikes! It's 100 pages long. That's going to take me a while. 😊

Pwg


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Re: Question on perfect pitch
P W Grey #2874131 07/30/19 09:35 AM
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Originally Posted by P W Grey
Yikes! It's 100 pages long. That's going to take me a while. 😊


I was able to speed-read it to find the interesting parts in about 10 minutes - though it all looks interesting!

Paul.

Re: Question on perfect pitch
Chopin Acolyte #2876802 08/06/19 11:42 AM
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Thanks for the link to the article The neural correlates of absolute pitch. I've only read the first section and ran through the table of contents, but I'm interested in reading the whole article.

I have played piano all my life, and never developed absolute pitch. My daughter started learning piano at 6, and at around 10 years old, we suddenly found out she had absolute pitch when her little sister sang a song and we overheard my ten-year-old saying "J, that's very good. That's the right song. But it's supposed to be in G, not in F." We tested it on the piano and yes--- she was right. Her sister sang it on an F, and when we replayed the recording of the song back, it was in G.

My daughter learned the movable-do method too, and I see that the article has a section on using the fixed-do method in development of absolute pitch, so it'll be a very interesting read.

There was one time when I showed my daughter a video of a professor who played a recording of Mozart Sonatina in C on Mozart's original instrument. My daughter turned to me and said "But he's not playing it in C. He's playing it in B-flat." (Or maybe she said B, I can't remember) Three minutes later, the professor in the video explained that pianos in Mozart's time was tuned lower.

As for precision, I don't know how to measure how precise my daughter is with her pitch.


Mom of Two Girls Who Used to Be Beginners
Re: Question on perfect pitch
Chopin Acolyte #2878644 08/11/19 07:10 PM
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There really is no such thing as "Perfect Pitch". The entire subject amounts to no more than an old wives tale. The You Tube videos not withstanding. It looks to me like he is reading a chart of the responses he is supposed to give. Even if he isn't and he is a very exceptional person (the one in ten thousand they supposedly say "have perfect pitch") , the ability to recognize pitch is all upon a continuum where there is no defining point yet to be established which meets any kind of truly scientific standard. Most of the Piano Technicians, musicians including vocalists I know personally "have" what is commonly called "Perfect Pitch". I must know a whole awful lot of those one in ten thousand people!

Of the people I know who insist that they have perfect pitch (they must all be one of those rare 1/10,000 people), they all use what they think is special about themselves to draw undue personal attention, to create problems where there are none and to impose themselves in a matter, only to create a problem for which there is no solution. All of that just to create the illusion that they are someone very special, to be admired for some kind of super power that has no practical use whatsoever.


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Re: Question on perfect pitch
Chopin Acolyte #2878651 08/11/19 07:19 PM
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Yes. The question to ask, maybe, when a person claims to have 'perfect pitch' is "What do you mean by that".

To say "If you play a note on the piano, I can tell you what note it is", is a very different thing from saying "I can identify that the A you are playing is at 440.3 Hertz and not 440.00 Hertz.

Re: Question on perfect pitch
Bill Bremmer RPT #2878688 08/11/19 09:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Bill Bremmer RPT
There really is no such thing as "Perfect Pitch". The entire subject amounts to no more than an old wives tale. The You Tube videos not withstanding. It looks to me like he is reading a chart of the responses he is supposed to give. Even if he isn't and he is a very exceptional person...

Of the people I know who insist that they have perfect pitch ... they all use what they think is special about themselves to draw undue personal attention ... All of that just to create the illusion that they are someone very special, to be admired for some kind of super power that has no practical use whatsoever.


You seem to have a very big chip on your shoulder! smile There are some who desire attention and perhaps some who lie about it, but there are many who don’t want attention. I rarely tell anyone I have it specifically because I don’t want the attention. You may notice I said nothing about myself in any of my replies in this thread and I cringe saying it now. But I decided to say so perhaps you can see a different side.

My years of study and observation of those who have it don’t make me doubt what Rick Beato’s son does. I can do that, albeit a bit slower since I don’t practise like he does. There is a spectrum of ability and it can be developed and get better.

And it does have some practical benefits. One easy one for you to understand is that if I’m working on a piano and I need to know which string is what note and I’m not easily able to play a key I just need to pluck the string. Of course that’s very small but has been quite handy on rare occasion. A more complex example is in dictation—those with more developed absolute pitch can transcribe music more easily than those who don’t.

But no one should be considering themselves special because they have it (most of them did nothing to get it anyway!). Some great composers and musicians didn’t have it.

Last edited by jsilva; 08/11/19 09:48 PM.
Re: Question on perfect pitch
Bill Bremmer RPT #2878776 08/12/19 06:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Bill Bremmer RPT
There really is no such thing as "Perfect Pitch". The entire subject amounts to no more than an old wives tale.



LOL Bill - you never give up on this. Did you even read the research paper I cited? You're far too hung up on what you think "perfect" means. FWIW, I have "it" - but, as I explained earlier, it's the ability to instantly throw a perceived pitch into a named note "bucket" - the more "out of tune" the pitch is, the harder it is to decide which bucket to throw it into. You're right in one sense, though, there is somewhat a continuum of ability, but, in that paper I cited, there is a clear difference between those that have it and those that don't. To be honest, I don't know why you're so vehement in your denial of this - especially when the neurobiology is pretty well established now.

Paul.

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