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I was playing bach's 2part invention #13 from Jan- mid March. so after March.20, I never played it, nor did I hear anybody playing it. yestoday, I was thinking about this piece, and it played in my head. Then I sang it ( treble line). mi la do.......... To my amazement, I found that my voice matches on the piano . I opened up the piano tuning software , and found that my voice for la is 430 hz, give and take.
I couldn't believe this and this morning I immediately sang it without even getting out of bed, it is 455 hz on the piano tuning software.
Does this mean I have at least some potential for absolute pitch???? So excited.
Last time I heard beethoven's symphony #5 is about 1 year ago , at least I sat down on my piano and ear playing it out the first 3 notes. then I look at the sheet music, the difference is 2 semi tones.
I tried a few other famous musics that I didn't hear recently, some are off by a semi tone, some are 2 or 3 semi tone.
I think it is pretty common to have pitch memory for pieces that you practice a lot or listen to a lot. I can sing the opening pitches for the pieces in my current practice list, go to the piano and play them, and I am very close. Not perfect, but close enough.
I was taking a collaborative piano class, aka accompanying singers. We were given some music to prepare, and at the next class we were to play for some singers. Another student went first, and I immediately sensed something very wrong. Right music, wrong key. Only after I got up to play, and was relieved to hear the correct pitches, did I learn that I had the low version of the aria, and the high version was in a different key. So even though I had only practiced it for a week, I had memorized the pitches and could tell that something was very wrong.
How can you use this superpower? To help in memorizing a piece. If you can play the piece back in your head, away from the piano, at the right pitch with the right tempo, rhythm, dynamics, repeats, etc., then you have an aural memory of the piece. Add muscle memory and analysis and you've got it...
I read that in China the absolute pitch is much more widespread than in the West, it's because of the Mandarin language in which there are several 'tones' and the meaning of a word depends on the tone, so a child learns to identify pitch more precisely from early age and that often leads to some degree of absolute pitch.
For nearly a year during the period of my wilderness years after university when I didn't have access to a piano, I tried to develop perfect pitch (believing then that it was possible, just as it became possible for me to play previously 'impossible' pieces simply by gradually developing my technique over years). E flat was what I aimed for initially, as I was listening to a lot of music in that key (Emperor, Eroica, K543, K365 etc), plus A (ditto - Franck & Kreutzer Sonatas.....and also, all orchestras start with A in concert, for obvious reasons). I carried a violin pitch pipe (G, D, A, E) with me everywhere, so I could practice at any time by humming what I thought was E flat and A, then checking with the pipes.
After a year, my 'hit rate' had not improved: when I woke up in the morning and tried to sing a specific note, my success rate was no better than random. Only after I'd been listening to music (in any key) did I start to get the pitch of specific notes right, but I realized I was using my sense of relative pitch to do that based on my memory of what I'd heard a few hours ago. If I listened to a piece of music I'd never heard before, I could easily tell what key it was in (if it wasn't atonal), but again, based purely on my memory of what I'd been listening to before (of which I knew the key).
That was long before the HIP movement became established. Many years later, I heard an interview with a well-known singer who had started singing Baroque and Classical with HIP bands, during which she was asked about her perfect pitch. She said that it was a big relief when she finally "got rid of it" because she could switch between singing with non-HIP orchestras and HIP ones with no problem (as well as singing with orchestras in Europe which use higher pitches than A=440), whereas when she tried it initially, the discrepancy between the notes she saw in her vocal score and what she had to sing (and what the orchestra was playing) - a semitone lower than what her brain told her - kept confusing her. As a singer myself used to sight-singing (albeit without her 'problem' ), I could sympathize....
As for how she got rid of her perfect pitch problem - well, she kept forcing herself to use only her relative pitch by singing from scores in 'wrong keys', practicing using Schubert songs etc that were transposed for different voices. (Which, of course, is the way singers without perfect pitch sight-sing: it doesn't matter if the key we sing in isn't the key the music is printed in our scores.) It took her a year before she became comfortable.
In other words, everyone should develop a good sense of relative pitch. Perfect pitch can be a liability. It is possible to 'lose' it if you really need to, but you can't "develop" it if you haven't already got it as a kid.
"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
It's called the Levitin effect. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Levitin_effect "The Levitin effect is a phenomenon whereby people, even those without musical training, tend to remember songs in the correct key." I'm affraid it's rather common and not a sign that you are developing perfect pitch. But... if you realy want to you can use it to fake it, by developing your relative pitch and using the effect to find the correct pitch of a base note.
Kawai K3 upright - Roland FP30 digital piano Started from scratch august 2014
I've heard a lot of Mandarin speakers have it as well. If you got all of those notes right, you have either perfect pitch or extremely strong musical memory. I can often guess a note by singing a C scale or by spurious accident, but that's about it.
In my case, I'm often within a semitone, but that's about it. I tried that app -- the first note it played was a B, I thought it was C. Oh well.
I can often tell the key of a piece, but I don't have perfect pitch.
For me, there is some aural quality that pieces in a particular key share. It's very difficult to describe, but d minor has a quality that reminds me of the Bach/Busoni Chaconne, or c minor reminds me of the andante (in that key) from the Schubert piano trio in E flat. Sometimes it's easy, and sometimes it's not.
If a piece is playing back in my head, and I notice things about it that I didn't notice while listening to it, it's always at the correct pitch.
Perfect pitch is different. I know quite a few people with it from my college days, and I'm not like them.
There's perfect pitch, and then there's relative pitch. If you can "think" about a song in your head that you've heard before in the right key, that's nothing really special. Lots of people with musical training can do that too. And from that "base" melody that you know the key of, you can accurately guess what keys other songs are in.
Re there being more Chinese speakers who have perfect pitch, this is true of all people whose birth language is a tonal language (not just Chinese). Scientists think it's the way an infant's neurons in their brains are wired as they grow up. Infant brains are very malleable and it's been documented over and over again that if babies are not exposed to certain things by a certain age, they will *never* learn it, or never learn it at a native level. Language is one of these things.
I think it can be learned. I’ve been able to sing a tuning A for a long time. I played violin in orchestra as a kid. It’s also my opening note when I chant mantras, it’s just comfortable for me to sing. From that note, I can sing the others. It’s just relative pitch.
Lisa Chief Cook & Pot Scrubber @ Cunningham Piano Club 🎹 Cunningham Studio Grand & Yamaha CLP645
"I tell my piano the things I used to tell you." - Frederic Chopin
I do have good relative pitch but not pp. With a good memory I can remember melodies in my head. Playing the melodies on a piano depends. An easier Key with few sharps & flats like C, F, D, Bb I have no problem playing on the piano. A key like Eb, Ab, C# I have to think about it and still get some notes wrong.
>Does this mean I have at least some potential for absolute pitch???? So excited.
Absolute pitch (AP), often called perfect pitch, is a rare ability of a person to identify or re-create a given musical note without the benefit of a reference tone.
So Yes. if you see/remember some note and can sing it at the exact pitch, or the other way round if you hear some note and can tell exactly which note it is, that is perfect pitch.
BTW your reproduced pitch has to be very exact. having 430Hz one time and 455Hz another time is not good enough for "AP" as 430 is too low and 455 is almost bflat. I think you should be within something like 1Hz.
FAIK For AP, You need to be able to do this for just one note. All other notes can be derived, just like the entire instrument/orchestra is tuned bosed on a A4 tuning fork
BTW absolute pitch is as much a curse as a blessing.