Yeah, I got perfect pitch...

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by william tele, Dec 9, 2016.

  1. garytelecastor

    garytelecastor Poster Extraordinaire

    You know I never had it when I went to school, but I can pick out keys and notes all the time now. Also, I find that the pre-glued shingles work the best. Not so difficult to get that dang pitch off the carpet.
    Wallo Tweed likes this.
  2. garytelecastor

    garytelecastor Poster Extraordinaire

    I got out of a band about 2 years ago where the lead singer played a song in the wrong key for 3 months. We just kept waiting to see if he would notice, but he never did. I finally had to tell him he was in the wrong key.
  3. garytelecastor

    garytelecastor Poster Extraordinaire

    Gotta go, Kung Fu is on. Later
  4. Clive Hugh

    Clive Hugh Tele-Afflicted

    Sep 15, 2006
    Western Australia
    I was told once that we all have the ability for perfect pitch otherwise the nuances of speech would be incomprehensible. Having said that I have heard people who seem incomprehensible so maybe it affects the ability to speak too?
  5. Tonetele

    Tonetele Poster Extraordinaire

    Jun 2, 2009
    South Australia
    I have more what Steve Holt ( Page 1) said- a well developed ear.
    I can tell what key a song is in and go from there, also detecting what note (s)
    are needed e.g. the A in a G6chord in Take It Easy.
    I seem to know and be able to find notes needed here and there.
    Some people say I have a perfect pitch ear but I just think it's 50 years of playing and a classical musical education before I even got my hands on a guitar. JMHO
    jimash likes this.
  6. Colo Springs E

    Colo Springs E Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Mar 4, 2003
    Colorado Springs
    I thought perfect pitch was throwing a banjo into a dumpster and having it land on a ukulele.
    RLee77, Anode100, rz350 and 1 other person like this.
  7. therealfindo

    therealfindo Tele-Holic

    Jun 26, 2012
    German orchestras (since Karajan) now play at 442 and sometimes 443. Unless they're a baroque band - I'm pretty sure we did Händel at 413, which is basically a semitone lower.
    ndcaster likes this.
  8. GuitarJonz

    GuitarJonz Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 16, 2003
    With such a great gift, comes great responsibility. Sing off key occasionally to test your band mates.
  9. gtrjunior

    gtrjunior Tele-Holic

    Nov 14, 2016
    NorthEast U.S.
    Yeah, that's a gift alright! I, like others have mentioned have decent relative pitch but definitely not perfect pitch.
    That said, there have been times when I hear a song and instantly recognize a Note/chord but only because in my mind I hear it as "oh, that's the same note/chord from that other song".
    I can always tell when an open G chord is played...I just rings with a certain timbre. Same with an A chord. Doesn't matter if it's tuned down a half step etc. it always rings the same.
  10. RetroTeleRod

    RetroTeleRod Poster Extraordinaire

    Oct 24, 2012
    Oklahoma, USA
    If I may be so bold, I think I might see his problem right there Larry. In my experience with this course it's easy to try too hard, if you will. If I attempt to force myself to note (pun intended) the differences in the tones, it just won't happen. The times when I relax and just enjoy listening then I can hear the distinctions. As I mentioned earlier I'm far from perfect pitch at present, but I have personally seen enough results to believe that it can be learned.
    YMMV and all that. ;)
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2016
  11. MilwMark

    MilwMark Poster Extraordinaire

    Apr 29, 2013
    near Arnold's
    I'm not so sure you are describing perfect pitch (really absolute pitch) @william tele. Or that there is agreement on what constitutes "absolute pitch". Sounds more like solid relative pitch to me maybe? I don't really know.

    If you're having fun with it, that's cool. From what I've read true absolute pitch can be as much a burden as a benefit. Playing in orchestras or bands is near impossible. Anyone being "out" OR, FASCINATING TO ME, playing a song in a different key than the original, can actually cause distress?

    @garytelecastor - your anecdote about the singer intrigues me. My response would be - who cares? If he was singing it in tune for the key he chose, and it's playable in the key he chose (hint, it always is, with a CAPO) why does it matter if it's in the "right" (I would say "original") key?
  12. Toto'sDad

    Toto'sDad Telefied Ad Free Member

    Jun 21, 2011
    Maybe it's a piano player thing. My daughter in law who's a wonderful pianist, and violinist can play just about anything she picks up. I gave her a very expensive chromatic harp and she was playing very complex melodies on it in short order. She can identify keys and notes while carrying on a conversation. She plays guitar but doesn't like them, she just plays one for convenience when her and her two daughters sing, when a piano wouldn't be convenient. (she sight reads perfectly too) One time I was working on a bluegrass lick (she hates bluegrass) and couldn't quite get it, she came from another room took my guitar played the lick perfectly and said I think this is what you're trying to accomplish.

    When I'm around my daughter in law and watch her play and sing, (she can sing acapella in a beautiful soprano with no tuner aid, and be perfectly on pitch) I feel a little bit like a pygmy in the jungle watching a jet plane fly high overhead. I look up there and see the big bird in the sky, but I don't know what it is or how it got there.

    It doesn't surprise me that William Tele has this ability. Else how would he be a master of both the accordion AND the bagpipes? My ears are nearly as well tuned, I can if I close my eyes and listen real carefully tell the difference (3 out of 5) between a Prius driving by, and the Am Track going by honking his horn (if I'm sitting first in line at the RXR crossing.)
    Paul in Colorado likes this.
  13. RetroTeleRod

    RetroTeleRod Poster Extraordinaire

    Oct 24, 2012
    Oklahoma, USA
  14. RetroTeleRod

    RetroTeleRod Poster Extraordinaire

    Oct 24, 2012
    Oklahoma, USA
    Here's a section from the Diana Deutsch article I mentioned in the last post on that very subject...

    "The case for a link between absolute pitch and speech is strengthened by consideration of tone languages, such as Mandarin, Cantonese, and Vietnamese. In these languages, words take on entirely different meanings depending on the lexicaltonesin which they are enunciated, with tones being defined both by their pitch heights as well as by their pitch contours. (In Beijing Mandarin, for example, the first tone is high and level, the second is mid-high and rising, the third is low and initially falling and then rising, and the fourth is high and falling.) This contrasts with nontone languages such as English, in which pitch is employed to convey prosody and emotional tone, but is not involved in determining the meaning of individual words. For example, in Mandarin the word ‘ma’ when spoken in the first tone means ‘mother’, in the second tone means ‘hemp’, in the third tone means ‘horse’, and in the fourth tone means a reproach. So pitches in such languages are employed to create verbal features, analogous to consonants and vowels. Therefore when speakers of Mandarin hear the word ‘ma’ spoken in the first tone and attribute the meaning ‘mother’, or when they hear ‘ma’ spoken in the third tone and attribute the meaning ‘horse’, they are associating a pitch - or a series of pitches - with a verbal label. Analogously, when people with absolute pitch identify the sound of the note F# as ‘F#’, or the note B as ‘B’ they are also associating a pitch with a verbal label."
  15. ndcaster

    ndcaster Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Nov 14, 2013
    over the years, I've sung in very good choirs with people who have perfect pitch

    they were chronically irritated

    I'm happy with very good relative pitch, which certainly can be developed -- my kids are all string players (violin and cello), and they're bigger sticklers than I am -- I don't know what to call it, but I think it has to do with their used to tuning very pure adjacent fourths and fifths
  16. jmiles

    jmiles Friend of Leo's

    Nov 29, 2003
    "they can almost tell you how many cents sharp or flat you were when you just sang that last line"

    I can do that. Really handy for playing pedal steel guitar, no frets. There's a local ad for a store that I have to turn off whenever I hear it. The girl singing misses the last note and is about 3 cents flat.
    I used to work for the late Jerry Brightman at Performance Pedal Steel Guitars. I could drop a hammer on the floor, and Jerry would yell out from his office, "5 and 1/2 cents sharp of E flat ,JB." I'd assemble a double neck steel with a total of 20 strings, and Jerry would tune it perfectly by ear. No tuner. All the more remarkable is that pedal steels use a tempered tuning, some strings sharp of 440 standard, some flat. And Jerry always got it right!
    Wiki has a pretty good page one Absolute Pitch, etc;
  17. gtrjunior

    gtrjunior Tele-Holic

    Nov 14, 2016
    NorthEast U.S.
    So I just read the last few posts...
    I do not have perfect pitch and based on the posts saying that people with it are chronically annoyed by others that don't...I gotta say, maybe it's better that I don't have it. It seems like being annoyed at others you're in a band with is already problematic without adding this on top of it!! Lol
  18. Larry F

    Larry F Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

    Nov 5, 2006
    Iowa City, IA
    When I was active in Chicago as a composer, I tried to attend as many new music concerts as I could. The performers were often from a group of 30 or so players from the Chicago Symphony and Civic Opera. Sometimes a new person would appear on the scene and become the darling of the local composers. Nowhere was this more evident when a mezzo-soprano with perfect pitch made the scene. What a goldmine for composers. When writing for voice in a non-tonal style (that is, one that is not based on the system of keys and chords that has prevailed in western music since Bach), a composer has to be very careful about preparing the singer to hit important notes on pitch. The basic principle is that the composer should have the accompaniment play the target pitch a few beats or more ahead of the voice entrance. This is sometimes called giving the singer their pitches.

    But a singer with perfect pitch in the new music idiom is a whole other story. Ideally, it could help relax the performance requirements in some voice writing.

    As it happened, Iowa called, and I returned to Chicago infrequently, not knowing if the singer was still active or not.

    I suppose there is a list somewhere of well-known singers who have perfect pitch. Thinking about it just now, I'm not sure if I'd be able to guess which ones had perfect pitch. (I just googled for such a list, and was not impressed with the "research" behind the ones that I saw.)

    Reading those lists, and the blog/article that accompanied them, it seems that not everyone shares the understanding that perfect pitch is the ability to remember the tuning of a given note, from thin air, without reference to any other pitch. This is different than the highly developed relative pitch that musicians cultivate.
  19. Paul in Colorado

    Paul in Colorado Telefied Ad Free Member

    Mar 17, 2003
    Fort Collins, CO
    Read this:

  20. garytelecastor

    garytelecastor Poster Extraordinaire

    This is really interesting. We still are very much "in the dark" about how the human mind processes learning speech. But one thing we do know is that during the first 2-2.5 years of life a hormone is produced by the body that enhances human learning in phonetics and other aspects of speech. As a matter of fact, if you place a baby in an environment where they are daily introduced to different languages they can learn all of it and grow up speaking all of the languages to which they were introduced.
    My father grew up in a home that spoke nothing but German. He was so adept at both German and English that during WW 2 he was used by Intelligence to deal with German Prisoners. Yet as he grew older he lost alot of his ability to speak the language. It seems the old adage "use it or lose it" also applies to language skills. Thus one could make the leap that this applies to music vocabulary as well. My older brothers used to speak of being at family reunions with my dad and listening to him speak to his father and grandfather in German. When we were kids he would interpret German spoken on television for us rug rats.

    Retro-My first introduction to perfect pitch was in college. We had a girl in the program who had grown up playing the organ and piano. She could tell you any of the white keys on a piano with no problem but when it came to the black keys she had to first find a pitch that was on the white keys that was near the "wanted" pitch and then she would know what it was. This was the first exposure I ever had to PP and as you say, it was due to a foundation tone and then determining the tone through interval.
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