Yeah, I got perfect pitch...

garytelecastor

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I always thought I might, but tonight, for some reason I kept putting it to the test. Tunes on tv I'd pick out their root and check the piano and nailed it, listened to a few youtubes then watched a football game (YAY!) and came back and vocally nailed the intros on all of them.

Is this really a deal or can everbody grap pitch out of the air?

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.
 

garytelecastor

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I only have good relative pitch.
I know when someone is out of tune on the bandstand.
Thankfully digital tuners are cheap and common.


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.
 

Clive Hugh

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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?
 

Tonetele

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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
 

therealfindo

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It is now pretty well accepted that a 440 is our standard pitch. There is a school of thought that A 432

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.
 

GuitarJonz

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With such a great gift, comes great responsibility. Sing off key occasionally to test your band mates. [emoji3]
 

gtrjunior

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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.
 

RetroTeleRod

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When I was working toward my PhD in composition at the University of Chicago, one of my friends and I decided to trade help with learning ear training.
... If anyone would have been a strong candidate for learning perfect pitch as an adult, it would be this guy. His whole academic schtick was being such a dedicated, systematic-learning, self-starter that he could master whatever he put his mind to. Except for perfect pitch. After three months, he would do no better on one of my off-the-cuff exams than he did in the first week.
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. ;)
 
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MilwMark

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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?
 

Toto'sDad

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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.)
 

RetroTeleRod

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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?

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."
 

ndcaster

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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
 

jmiles

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"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;
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Absolute_pitch
 

gtrjunior

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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
 

Larry F

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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.
 

Paul in Colorado

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Read this:

http://www.miltonline.com/2014/01/07/hertz-so-good/

This brings up something I have always wondered about. I'm not sure I can say this in the best way but hopefully you will understand what I mean. It is now pretty well accepted that a 440 is our standard pitch. There is a school of thought that A 432 is more in line with the vibrations of the universe. There are some pretty cool videos showing this. So I wonder, does somebody with perfect pitch hear A 440 or A 432? Maybe they hear A 432 but know A 440 is the accepted norm so they adjust either knowingly or unknowingly. Maybe they hear A 432 and A 440 drives them nuts. Perhaps true perfect pitch is they could tell you which tuning you are playing...I suppose that goes along the lines of being able to say if you are sharp or flat...anyway, just curious
 

garytelecastor

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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."

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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