Perfect Pitch

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Branson, Sep 19, 2015.

  1. SteveRicks

    SteveRicks Fortissimo User

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    Looks like you were thanking folks and wrapping up the conversation. I want to reiterate what I commented earlier and you included in several of your points taken from the discussion. It's not easy putting into words. A person with real perfect pitch does not have a set of tuning forks in their head that specify " these are the correct pitches and anything else is wrong." If they grew up with C at 261 Hz then they likely "learned" that pitch was C and therefore think anything else is incorrect. If they grew up hearing it as 254 then they will likely think that is correct. Again, there is nothing innate in the brain that specifies one pitch as correct or another as incorrect. That would be learned. So, when a player is playing a440 but grew up in Germany typically tuning to A443, they feel the a440 is flat. Purely learned. Also pardon earlier post where I notice I said Cis440. Should have said 261 hz (and that is even slightly flat :) - hey it's been 45 years. The point being there is not any right or wrong, other than what we define as a pitch. A person with perfect pitch may learn a certain pitch as their reference for correct, be able to continually reproduce it, so think other pitches are off.
     
  2. Branson

    Branson Piano User

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    I understood your comments relating to hz.

    I have no problem picking out any recognizable pitch and duplicating it instantly on my instruments. I play trombone and all the trumpets although I can only do it on my Bb horns. I have no reference note to draw from.

    Another interesting fact is that I don't need my horn to know the pitch for the instant I hear the pitch, my finger or slid hand move/s to the correct fingering or slide position.

    Now how does that happen?
     
  3. richtom

    richtom Forte User

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    Here is as good of a definition of perfect pitch as I've seen. It is from Wikipedia, but is factual.

    Absolute pitch (AP), widely referred to as perfect pitch, is a rare auditory phenomenon characterized by the ability of a person to identify or re-create a given musical note without the benefit of a reference tone.[1][2]

    AP can be demonstrated via linguistic labeling ("naming" a note), auditory imagery, or sensorimotor responses. For example, an AP possessor can accurately reproduce a heard tone on their musical instrument without "hunting" for the correct pitch.[3][4] Researchers estimate the occurrence of AP to be 1 in 10,000 people.[5]

    Generally, absolute pitch implies some or all of the following abilities, achieved without a reference tone:[6]

    Identify by name individual pitches (e.g. A, B, C♯) played on various instruments.
    Name the key of a given piece of tonal music.
    Reproduce a piece of tonal music in the correct key days after hearing it.
    Identify and name all the tones of a given chord or other tonal mass.
    Accurately sing a named pitch.
    Name the pitches of common everyday sounds such as car horns and alarms.

    People may have absolute pitch along with the ability of relative pitch, and relative and absolute pitch work together in actual musical listening and practice, but strategies in using each skill vary.[7] Those with absolute pitch may train their relative pitch, but there are no reported cases of an adult obtaining absolute pitch ability through musical training;[citation needed] adults who possess relative pitch but do not already have absolute pitch can learn "pseudo-absolute pitch" and become able to identify notes in a way that superficially resembles absolute pitch.[8] Moreover, training pseudo-absolute pitch requires considerable motivation, time, and effort, and learning is not retained without constant practice and reinforcement.[9]

    Some folks confuse absolute pitch with pitch perfect.

    Even though I played a Bb instrument, in music school I had zero problems hearing a piano note and writing it down correctly. If it was an F# on the piano, I wrote F#, not a G#.

    There were a few students in my class that never could figure out chords in ear training. They didn't make it.

    Truly musical people without perfect pitch do figure this out. Those that don't are not musicians, they are just folks who play instruments.

    Rich T.
     
  4. Branson

    Branson Piano User

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    Great information and I totally agree on the following attributes with one exception-

    Identify by name individual pitches (e.g. A, B, C♯) played on various instruments. True

    Name the key of a given piece of tonal music. True

    Reproduce a piece of tonal music in the correct key days after hearing it.

    "Not in My case or others I have determined to have perfect pitch.
    The retention of keys and melodic lines seems not to be connected to perfect pitch.

    Identify and name all the tones of a given chord or other tonal mass. True

    One small technical observation- tone is not the same as pitch. Tone only relates to the timbre of the sound and pitch refers to the vibratory frequency.

    Accurately sing a named pitch. True

    Name the pitches of common everyday sounds such as car horns and alarms.- True
     
  5. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Branson,

    you disagree but on what grounds?

    8. “I believe that some have this gift/curse and that there is no easy explanation for the mechanism. I do think that most professional players develop a sense of pitch that is very predictable and stable. That is why they nick less notes. This is a learned mechanism and is not perfect pitch”.

    Absolutely correct on all but the last assumption!


    There were no assumptions. Professional players with and without "perfect pitch" have a sense of pitch that is stable. It is - at least in the case of those without perfect pitch (10,000 to one?), learned and does help them to nick less notes. I am one of those non perfect pitchers.

    As far as "One small technical observation- tone is not the same as pitch. Tone only relates to the timbre of the sound and pitch refers to the vibratory frequency." goes, "Tones in a given chord" refers to the individual notes and not the timbre. Tone is a word that has multiple meaning.

    I can say that during my music studies, the "perfect pitchers" did FAR ABOVE AVERAGE in notating pieces played. We discussed this back then. Perhaps their retention is simply the ability to focus on other things because pitch is a non issue for them, perhaps they practiced more than the rest. As with perfect pitch in general, I know of no objective studies or comprehensive reports that quantify this.

    I do appreciate your personal experiences, but it is a big world out there and I am not sure who would be qualified to label anything absolutely "true" or "false". Matches my experience, definitely.
     
  6. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

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    I am an idiot savant... I'll give it a go!
     
  7. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

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    I don't get it - if the OP already knows so much about perfect pitch, (apparently even having perfect pitch themselves) then was the purpose of this thread simply so he could tell us all how much more he knows about it than the rest of us?
     
  8. Branson

    Branson Piano User

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    How refreshing to carry on an intelligent discussion with fellow musicians and not have to debate “Which is the best valve oil”?

    No one has all the answers to all questions and for that reason I have benefited from these exchanges on the subject of perfect pitch.

    I would like to continue sharing information on this subject for as stated by “Moderator” little material has been available.

    To defend my previous statements, I have reprinted comments from both parties to make our discussion easier to follow.

    Branson-
    I disagreed with statement #6-
    #6 Reproduce a piece of tonal music in the correct key days after hearing it.

    Moderator-
    you disagree but on what grounds?

    Branson-
    I disagree on the grounds that I cannot remember melodies days after I have heard them, unless I already know them. Nor have any of the proven “Perfect Pitch” individuals I have visited with. I am assuming the use of the word Absolute is being substituted for the term perfect pitch in this statement.

    Moderator-
    There were no assumptions. Professional players with and without "perfect pitch" have a sense of pitch that is stable. It is - at least in the case of those without perfect pitch (10,000 to one?), learned and does help them to nick less notes. I am one of those non perfect pitchers.

    Branson-
    I agree.

    Moderator-
    As far as "One small technical observation- tone is not the same as pitch. Tone only relates to the timbre of the sound and pitch refers to the vibratory frequency." goes, "Tones in a given chord" refers to the individual notes and not the timbre. Tone is a word that has multiple meaning.

    Branson-
    I stand corrected for the term Tone has been generally accepted as the same as pitch and has several different meanings.

    Moderator-
    I can say that during my music studies, the "perfect pitchers" did FAR ABOVE AVERAGE in notating pieces played. We discussed this back then. Perhaps their retention is simply the ability to focus on other things because pitch is a non issue for them, perhaps they practiced more than the rest. As with perfect pitch in general, I know of no objective studies or comprehensive reports that quantify this.

    Branson-
    I agree that there should be an in depth study done. As far as a student placing more effort in the remembrance of melodic lines, it could be that those people you speak of with perfect pitch were also given a form of total recall which I definitely do not have just; ask my wife.

    Moderator-
    I do appreciate your personal experiences, but it is a big world out there and I am not sure who would be qualified to label anything absolutely "true" or "false". Matches my experience, definitely.

    Branson-
    I totally agree with your conclusion and for that reason I chose to label the earlier statement (#6 Reproduce a piece of tonal music in the correct key days after hearing it.) as being untrue.
     
  9. Buck with a Bach

    Buck with a Bach Fortissimo User

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    My wife was told by a piano teacher at an early age that she had it. Teacher was probably wrong, however, my wife can just about play any tune by ear in a short time after listening to it. Drives my SIL and myself nuts as we're strictly "by the Dots" musicians:roll::lol::dontknow::oops:
     
  10. gunshowtickets

    gunshowtickets Forte User

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    I worked at a music shop with guitarist who had perfect reference pitch, he could name insane chords on the fly.
    Another girl i knew in advanced music theory in high school had it and could name every note of 10-note chords.
    Almost unbelievable if I hadn't seen their capabilities first hand.
    There are a lot of "experienced" people i know who have developed a really good reference pitch system over their musical lifetimes. I'm still working on mine.
    The only problem is the majority of youngsters (past and present) are not encouraged to develop these reference pitch systems.
     

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