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Re: Perfect Pitch...
#497317 06/27/08 07:53 PM
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it's good that my teacher has it, and he would constantly point out at my lesson that i was playing tons of wrong notes... then we would check the music and he's right 99% of times!

Re: Perfect Pitch...
#497318 06/27/08 08:59 PM
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Originally posted by ProdigalPianist:
The only way perfect pitch would help me as a pianist, is if I was messing around improvising...I can "hear" the chords I want to play in my head, but I have no earthly idea what notes they are...I have to hunt and peck.
It would help, but you don't need perfect pitch for this - good relative pitch will do the job nicely. Likewise with signa's teacher picking up on his mistakes - good relative pitch enables you to do this as well.


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Re: Perfect Pitch...
#497319 06/27/08 10:28 PM
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Originally posted by signa:
it's good that my teacher has it, and he would constantly point out at my lesson that i was playing tons of wrong notes... then we would check the music and he's right 99% of times!
That doesn't really have anything to do with perfect pitch. Teachers and players who know a piece well can hear the wrong notes without absolute pitch.

Some would argue that in atonal music, you would need absolute pitch to be able to detect wrong notes, but once again, if you know the piece and how it's suppose to sound, even a dissonant harmony has its unique traits.


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Re: Perfect Pitch...
#497320 06/28/08 03:09 AM
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Neurologist Oliver Sacks devotes a chapter to the subject of perfect pitch in his latest book, Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain. You can read an excerpt from that chapter here:

http://www.columbia.edu/cu/alumni/Magazine/Fall2007/PitchPerfectMatch.html

Re: Perfect Pitch...
#497321 06/28/08 04:45 AM
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Since the actual frequency of notes have varied wildly over time and locale, I've always wondered what people are really talking about when they talk about perfect pitch. It can't possibly mean that they identify A as a frequency of 440Hz, since the frequency for A has been fairly arbitrary. So, if the frequencies for notes aren't set in stone, what are people with perfect pitch identifying? And what would "perfect pitch" mean in tuning systems other than 12-note equal temperament?

Re: Perfect Pitch...
#497322 06/28/08 05:25 AM
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Wr, imagine a colour wheel with its gradual shifting of colours, but there is an area you could call red, blue, yellow, green. You can see these colours and shades. Society decides to call one particular shade of red, "A", and you can see where yellow sits beside red. You don't call it yellow because of its position beside red, like the colour-blind people do - it is unmistakably yellow. But if A = 440 in that shade of red, you know they'll be calling a more orangy yellow "yellow". The colour spectrum is a constant. A dog remains a dog whether it's called "chien, Hund, dog, or kalb".

In regards to equal temperament - these pitches are not mathematically fixed in an arbitrary manner. Musical tones are vibrations that work more or less well together and so sound more or less pleasant. Think of someone wearing a red skirt and purple blouse = "clash". *First* the sounds worked well together a particular way, *then* we created a system for arranging them and gave that system a name.

Equal temperament is fixed blindly mathematically, and for ears who can hear, the combination of sounds is often "off". Two notes work together when they are played at the same time, but within the framework of a scale they also work together - in equal temperament they only "kind of" work together. The fine ear will hear that they don't quite fit.

Equal temperament was invented because if you have a piano that is tuned to the pitches that fit together for one key, if you play music in another key with those fixed pitches, those combinations sound really bad instead of somewhat off. So we've chosen "somewhat off" and that is how the piano is tuned. I wonder how someone with very fine pitch sensitivity can stand playing the piano, or do they dampen their hearing?

Re: Perfect Pitch...
#497323 06/28/08 06:00 AM
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For what it's worth, here is a review of two available courses for acquiring perfect pitch. The claim here, of course, is that this is a skill that can be learned. Caveat emptor.

http://www.reviewsnest.net/perfectpitch/index.htm?gclid=CPKO--H8lpQCFQOIFQod4XLWtw

Re: Perfect Pitch...
#497324 06/28/08 06:33 AM
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Caveat, indeed. Relative pitch having the role of helping one toward perfect pitch? I understand that everyone here has a piano or keyboard, a set of ears, and possibly a working voice. They only expense is the instrument, and it's already been paid for.

Meanwhile, for interval recognition, there are scores of sites giving drills of various kinds. The world is replete with things that produce sounds - ever listen to the major third of a car horn? What range does the wail of a fire engine cover? When you walk down the street and hum a song, do you pay attention that the second time you hit the A it's the same A as the first one? How much do you truly listen to what you hear and produce? That alone improves the kind of recognition you need for music. And it's free.

Re: Perfect Pitch...
#497325 06/28/08 01:46 PM
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Personally, I do not believe that there is such a thing as perfect pitch. If I understand "perfect pitch", a person can identify a predefined frequency with accuracy (i.e., 440Hz). The concept "one second" is a defined by humans (the duration of 9,192,631,770 periods of the radiation corresponding to the transition between the two hyperfine levels of the ground state of the caesium 133 atom); as I know it, there is no inherent frequency standard or reference built into humans. Who defined 440 Hz as A above middle C? Humans can't identify a legth of time "second" within one hundreth accuracy, but one can get a sense of what a second feels like. Similarly, there is more likely an ability or talent to identify when a frequency is within a range that has become familiar to the listener. Those are my two cents!


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Re: Perfect Pitch...
#497326 06/28/08 02:09 PM
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dkeene,

I think your making the same mistake I have been making when it comes to perfect pitch. Like I said earlier, A1-C8 is a very small snipet of what frequency/sound really is. But since agriculture we have been inclined to name everything.

The names we have given certain frequencies, the temperaments we have developed, are like maps of sound (or frequency).

Its just like a map of the sea. While the map is nothing like what the real ocean is like, you would be lost in the somewhere in the ocean without it. While the western scale covers only a small amount of frequency range, as a person with perfect pitch, you would be lost without that 'map'.

In a way perfect pitch is like relative pitch... because the person with perfect pitch relates a certain sound to what we have considered, for example, the perfect A. He or she recognizes that a tone is closest in frequency to a particular note, give or take a few cents, and gives it the name we have designated it.

I think your grievance is less about the topic and more about humans naming organic things. It is what we do, like it or not. We name the maple tree a maple tree. We name 440Hz A. It is why we have thrived as a species!

just my .02 cents laugh


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Re: Perfect Pitch...
#497327 06/28/08 03:00 PM
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Originally posted by dkeene:
Personally, I do not believe that there is such a thing as perfect pitch. If I understand "perfect pitch", a person can identify a predefined frequency with accuracy (i.e., 440Hz). The concept "one second" is a defined by humans (the duration of 9,192,631,770 periods of the radiation corresponding to the transition between the two hyperfine levels of the ground state of the caesium 133 atom); as I know it, there is no inherent frequency standard or reference built into humans. Who defined 440 Hz as A above middle C? Humans can't identify a legth of time "second" within one hundreth accuracy, but one can get a sense of what a second feels like. Similarly, there is more likely an ability or talent to identify when a frequency is within a range that has become familiar to the listener. Those are my two cents!
You may be taking the adjective "perfect" too literally here. We're about talking human beings, not scientific instruments.

If you looked at a computer monitor with a color defined by the RGB color model encoded in 24 bits per pixel as: RED=255, GREEN=0, BLUE=0 you would, no doubt, identify that color as "red." If it were changed to RED=254, GREEN=2, BLUE=1 you would probably still call it "red" even though it technically isn't the same color.

A person with perfect pitch would probably call A439 or A441 an "A" because it is closer to A than it is to A flat or A sharp.

We didn't need to use a pitch pipe in my high school's a cappella chorus. The director would have the lead soprano give us the pitch. I thought it was simply uncanny how she did that.

Re: Perfect Pitch...
#497328 06/28/08 07:59 PM
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Originally posted by cjp_piano:
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Originally posted by signa:
[b] it's good that my teacher has it, and he would constantly point out at my lesson that i was playing tons of wrong notes... then we would check the music and he's right 99% of times!
That doesn't really have anything to do with perfect pitch. Teachers and players who know a piece well can hear the wrong notes without absolute pitch.

Some would argue that in atonal music, you would need absolute pitch to be able to detect wrong notes, but once again, if you know the piece and how it's suppose to sound, even a dissonant harmony has its unique traits. [/b]
i didn't say it's the proof of his perfect pitch, rather i stated that he does have perfect pitch. he asked me to test his such ability before, several times, and he named all the chords or notes i played correctly without watching me playing. it's a fact and there's no argument about it from me. in any case, he's a musician, and has musician's ears.

Re: Perfect Pitch...
#497329 06/28/08 08:42 PM
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Lord. I've never before posted anything on a "perfect pitch" thread. Emotions run very high on this topic, and I just don't understand why.

I have "it." My parents and teacher noticed it when I was around 6. It's not a big deal. I just have the ability to identify a note that I hear. It's not a big deal to me. I had teachers who used me to demonstrate perfect pitch by asking me to identify atonal note clusters, but I resented it. That didn't make me a better musician. Frankly, when I sing in a choir that flats slightly on an a capella piece, I wish I didn't know.

There is no doubt that my brain is "tuned" to A-440. That's why listening to pieces played on original instruments and tuned significantly lower that A-440 drives me nuts.

Don't feel like you're a lesser musician because you don't have "it." Relative pitch is what matters. While I excelled at ear training tests, these tests were designed for relative, not perfect pitch.

Anyone who spends any amount of time trying to develop perfect pitch is wasting his or her time. First, the study conducted by the U. of Cal. demonstrated that one cannot develop perfect pitch unless one begins formal musical training before age 6 or so. Second, you're better off improving the abilities that you have, rather than trying to develop an ability that you probably don't. It's just not worth the effort.

Re: Perfect Pitch...
#497330 06/28/08 09:21 PM
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Originally posted by signa:
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Originally posted by cjp_piano:
[b]
Quote
Originally posted by signa:
[b] it's good that my teacher has it, and he would constantly point out at my lesson that i was playing tons of wrong notes... then we would check the music and he's right 99% of times!
That doesn't really have anything to do with perfect pitch. Teachers and players who know a piece well can hear the wrong notes without absolute pitch.

Some would argue that in atonal music, you would need absolute pitch to be able to detect wrong notes, but once again, if you know the piece and how it's suppose to sound, even a dissonant harmony has its unique traits. [/b]
i didn't say it's the proof of his perfect pitch, rather i stated that he does have perfect pitch. he asked me to test his such ability before, several times, and he named all the chords or notes i played correctly without watching me playing. it's a fact and there's no argument about it from me. in any case, he's a musician, and has musician's ears. [/b]
Okay, well testing his ability like that is different than pointing out wrong notes in a lesson. I was simply saying that doesn't have anything to do with perfect pitch. I wasn't denying your teacher having perfect pitch either, sorry!


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Re: Perfect Pitch...
#497331 06/29/08 11:18 AM
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Swingal, you probably have relative pitch
Yes, but does he have Perfect Relative Pitch, or Near-Perfect Relative Pitch? I would assume some peoples' relative pitch perception is better than others. And similarly, some peoples' Absolute Pitch perception is better than others. So some people might have "perfect relative pitch", and others "perfect absolute pitch". So I guess all I'm saying is "why do they call it Perfect Pitch"? Isn't Absolute Pitch the better descriptor?

Re: Perfect Pitch...
#497332 06/29/08 07:41 PM
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Originally posted by BruceD:
Quote
Originally posted by cjp_piano:
[b] I think it can be learned. It think we are all born the ability to be that sensitive to the frequencies.

Haven't you ever wondered why alot of Chinese have perfect pitch? Is it a coincidence that their language is very pitch oriented and as they learn to speak at a very young age, they learn to copy the exact pitches and inflections of the sounds?
Is there any proof that the incidence of absolute (perfect) pitch is higher among Chinese than among other nationals?

While I know that Chinese is a "pitch" language, is the pitch element of spoken Chinese absolute or relative? If it were absolute, I would think that that would lead to uncountable instances of misunderstanding or miscommunication for those who don't have "absolute (perfect) pitch."

Regards, [/b]
I speak Thai which is also a "pitch" language. I think that is a very misleading term. You don't have to say one word as an A440 to be understood, it's nothing close to that. In thai there are 5 tones, rising, falling, flat, and there there is a mountain type of tone and a valley type of tone. It doesn't matter what pitch you start at. You start on any pitch you want and then for a rising tone you go up, for falling, down.

Chinese has one tone Thai doesn't as far as Thai people tell me. It's the same as Laotian (which I can speak reasonably well), the "high flat tone". Which is just a tone that is constant but at a higher pitch than the other normal flat tone. At least for Laotians the actual pitch of that tone changes depending on if that person is mad at someone or just talking normal. Just like in English the way we say our words and the "tones" we use are important. In Thai and Laotian they just over exaggerate the required tones to give their inflection.

I've heard of the study on the Chinese and perfect pitch too. Although I can't really argue with research I just know that tonal languages aren't like a lot of people seem to think they are. I don't have perfect pitch, and I can talk on the phone with Thai people and they usually think I'm Thai (I'm white). So no, there is no problem in communicating.

Just my 2 cents!

Re: Perfect Pitch...
#497333 06/29/08 09:31 PM
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Originally posted by keystring:
Wr, imagine a colour wheel with its gradual shifting of colours, but there is an area you could call red, blue, yellow, green. You can see these colours and shades. Society decides to call one particular shade of red, "A", and you can see where yellow sits beside red. You don't call it yellow because of its position beside red, like the colour-blind people do - it is unmistakably yellow. But if A = 440 in that shade of red, you know they'll be calling a more orangy yellow "yellow". The colour spectrum is a constant. A dog remains a dog whether it's called "chien, Hund, dog, or kalb".

In regards to equal temperament - these pitches are not mathematically fixed in an arbitrary manner. Musical tones are vibrations that work more or less well together and so sound more or less pleasant. Think of someone wearing a red skirt and purple blouse = "clash". *First* the sounds worked well together a particular way, *then* we created a system for arranging them and gave that system a name.

Equal temperament is fixed blindly mathematically, and for ears who can hear, the combination of sounds is often "off". Two notes work together when they are played at the same time, but within the framework of a scale they also work together - in equal temperament they only "kind of" work together. The fine ear will hear that they don't quite fit.

Equal temperament was invented because if you have a piano that is tuned to the pitches that fit together for one key, if you play music in another key with those fixed pitches, those combinations sound really bad instead of somewhat off. So we've chosen "somewhat off" and that is how the piano is tuned. I wonder how someone with very fine pitch sensitivity can stand playing the piano, or do they dampen their hearing?
Well, I understand what you are saying about the color spectrum, but the difference with sound is that "red" has remained "red" over time, even if there are different shades of it, but "A" has not only varied over time, but has varied depending on usage, too, so much so that A and A flat and G and G flat and F might all have the same frequency.

But, yeah, I do understand that "perfect pitch" is some kind of ability to map frequency fairly accurately to some tuning system without any external reference.

Re: Perfect Pitch...
#497334 06/30/08 01:04 AM
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I think it can be learned. Sometimes in the morning, before I've played piano, I'll try to make an E in my head, then hum it, then play it and I'm right more than half the time. Also, once, during a tornado, I was down in the basement, bored. I was trying to figure out what pitch the siren was. I used my absolute pitch to hear an E, then relative to figure out what the siren was -- an A. I ran up to check and I was right.

But that's about the extent of it. I suppose I could develop the skill.

And that's very interesting, about Chinese speaking with absolute pitch.

Re: Perfect Pitch...
#497335 06/30/08 05:40 AM
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My training involved paying attention to certain things while singing a scale, which had to be perfect "relatively" as well as pitch-wise. I only had a brief spell.

The weird thing that happened was this: I would hear a tone and wonder if I knew its pitch. I can go to any instrument I play, and if I allow my fingers to fall where they want, I'll produce that pitch. Then I look and see what I played.

So I was told that this is normal, but it's turned my idea of what we perceive on its head. It means that part of my mind has a sense of where pitches are located in the instrument, and I can perceive that pitch and access it. But my conscious intellectual mind can't reach that. This has to have implications to playing itself. It can also be a stepping stone to getting to be able to name the pitches that obviously, somewhere inside, I can recognize - just that the name resides in my fingertips presently. Which feels decidedly weird.

But there had been a clue years ago when I had only begun violin and was restricted to the notes at the lower end. A truck was backing up outside and I was annoyed at its endless beeps. So I reached high up on the strings and mimicked the sound because I was annoyed. But how did I know where to find that sound? And on piano, can we - do we ever - reach unerringly for a pitch knowing where it will be?

Re: Perfect Pitch...
#497336 06/30/08 11:40 AM
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I have a condition known as "fairly close pitch."

This is how I discovered my condition:

I sing the lowest note in my voice range (I'm a mezzo).

It's usually somewhere between B2 and C3. In the morning ('cause I'm tired) it's B2 and later on in the day it will be C3. After that I use my relative pitch to get to the other notes.

best wishes,
Valerie

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