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Topic: absolute pitch without relative pitch  (Read 2842 times)

Offline kevin69

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absolute pitch without relative pitch
on: December 09, 2013, 01:50:37 AM
Does anyone have good absolute pitch but poor relative pitch?

If you have good absolute pitch are the notes arranged linearly for you or are they absolutely distinct things (like different types of fruit)?

Offline awesom_o

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Re: absolute pitch without relative pitch
Reply #1 on: December 09, 2013, 02:05:04 AM
They are absolutely distinct.

They are only arranged linearly through kinetic association, in my case either horizontally through the keyboard, or vertically through the fingerboard.

Offline kalirren

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Re: absolute pitch without relative pitch
Reply #2 on: December 09, 2013, 02:17:14 AM
Yes, I have good absolute pitch but poor relative pitch.  It's because I have good absolute pitch that I have poor relative pitch.

My absolute pitch works like a series of flags demarcating regions in a continuous linear space.  One says 'A', and the next one up says 'A#/Bb', and the next one says 'B', and so forth.  The flags demarcate the lowest pitch that will be accepted by my brain as being a note of that name - they are also what I think of as "exactly in tune," despite them consistently being biased lower than what people call "the center of the pitch."  My internal 'A' above middle C is ~435 Hz.

This is the metaphor that I grew up with for 12 years before I went to college and learned how to listen to beat frequencies for consonances in intervals.

Choir directors like my absolute pitch when I help the section find notes after weird jumps, but dislike it when it drags the section's pitch down.
Beethoven: An die Ferne Geliebte
Franck: Sonata in A Major
Vieuxtemps: Sonata in Bb Major for Viola
Prokofiev: Sonata for Flute in D Major

Offline Bob

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Re: absolute pitch without relative pitch
Reply #3 on: December 09, 2013, 05:34:16 AM
(Absolutely!  yuck yuck yuck)

I don't have it, but I've heard the same thing as above from a few people -- Perfect pitch, but not great relative pitch, even that perfect pitch interferes with learning/developing relative pitch.  One person had to translate the notes they heard and then figure out what the interval was.  They didn't know just by hearing it.
Favorite new teacher quote -- "You found the only possible wrong answer."

Offline kevin69

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Re: absolute pitch without relative pitch
Reply #4 on: December 09, 2013, 07:14:58 AM
That was something  I was going to ask: does absolute pitch make a  transposed melody an entirely different  thing from the original, with only a rhythm in common?

Offline Bob

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Re: absolute pitch without relative pitch
Reply #5 on: December 09, 2013, 11:55:03 AM
I remember a couple perfect pitch people saying it was uber annoying when they heard the real pitches but had to look at the "wrong" notation.  It's probably like seeing the words for color where those words are in the wrong color.

Favorite new teacher quote -- "You found the only possible wrong answer."

Offline kalirren

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Re: absolute pitch without relative pitch
Reply #6 on: December 09, 2013, 11:10:07 PM
Quote
That was something  I was going to ask: does absolute pitch make a  transposed melody an entirely different  thing from the original, with only a rhythm in common?

Not for me.  It's still the same melody.  I can transpose vocally, no problem.  Instrumentally it's more of an issue because there are topographical, string issues to work out.

Quote
I remember a couple perfect pitch people saying it was uber annoying when they heard the real pitches but had to look at the "wrong" notation.  It's probably like seeing the words for color where those words are in the wrong color.

Yes, this is precisely what it feels like.  Precisely.

This is why, if you ever conduct a choir, or work with a vocalist - if your final goal is to sing the piece transposed, work out the piece as it's written first, and only then transpose it.  I had exactly one choir director who did it the wrong way around, and the 7 members of his 12-member choir who had absolute pitch were very, very unhappy with him come semester's end.
Beethoven: An die Ferne Geliebte
Franck: Sonata in A Major
Vieuxtemps: Sonata in Bb Major for Viola
Prokofiev: Sonata for Flute in D Major

Offline birba

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Re: absolute pitch without relative pitch
Reply #7 on: December 11, 2013, 11:30:15 AM
I'm just curious.  How can you have perfect pitch and not have relative pitch?

Offline kevin69

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Re: absolute pitch without relative pitch
Reply #8 on: December 11, 2013, 11:42:56 AM
A 'C' is an apple.
A 'D' is a banana.
An 'E' is a strawberry.

You can recognise both immediately (perfect fruit) but have no notion of how different they are (relative fruit). Is the difference between an apple and a banana the same as between a banana and a strawberry?

Offline birba

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Re: absolute pitch without relative pitch
Reply #9 on: December 11, 2013, 03:18:23 PM
Please be patient with me.  I still don't get it.  Are you talking about intervals?
I thought relative pitch was where they give you "c", for example, and you take it from there.

Offline Bob

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Re: absolute pitch without relative pitch
Reply #10 on: December 12, 2013, 12:23:19 AM
Perfect/absolute is just naming the exact pitch name to the pitch sound.  I'd say it's not just  calling it a piece of fruit.  The pitch IS the fruit. 


Relative pitch is what they sound like in relation/relative to each other.  Intervals -- Doesn't matter what the pitches are.  A perfect fifth sounds the same regardless of where it is.  It's got that fifth sound.  Or if it's low to high, maybe it reminds you of a Star Wars.  Change the key... Fifth is still there, sounding the same. 

If you're using movable Do, those solfege names are sounding the same regardless of what key you're in.  Do-Sol sounds like... Do-Sol, a perfect fifth.  The pitches could be offkey...  C flat 50 cents... C flat 50 cents to G flat 50 cents (or slightly more flat, 3 more cents or whatever it is to actually be in tune)... That's still a perfect fifth.  For relative pitch hearers, it will still sound fine.  People with perfect pitch are probably going to be noticing (freaking out) that C is really flat. 

With relative pitch, no perfect pitch, and movable Do -- Listener hears  Mi, Re, Do.
With perfect pitch only -- listener hears E, D, C.
Favorite new teacher quote -- "You found the only possible wrong answer."

Offline kalirren

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Re: absolute pitch without relative pitch
Reply #11 on: December 12, 2013, 01:38:55 AM
@birba:

I don't know anyone who has absolute pitch, but no sense of relative pitch at all.  I do know at least one person (me) who has poor relative pitch because they have absolute pitch.

If I hear, for example, an A, it's an A to me, and not any other kind of note, and I can of course name it without fail.  This is having absolute pitch.

But if you play for me an interval, A-E, slightly out of tune, I will accept it as a perfect fifth when it is more out of tune than a person with better relative pitch would, because while I am listening for whether or not the two notes are falling within their ranges, the other person is listening for the actual relative intonation of the notes.  If you started with the interval perfectly in tune, and slowly changed the interval's width to make it out of tune, they will notice that it is out of tune before I do.
Beethoven: An die Ferne Geliebte
Franck: Sonata in A Major
Vieuxtemps: Sonata in Bb Major for Viola
Prokofiev: Sonata for Flute in D Major

Offline birba

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Re: absolute pitch without relative pitch
Reply #12 on: December 12, 2013, 08:57:59 AM
Thanks guys.  You've sort of explained it! I think when you have perfect pitch these concepts are quite difficult to imagine.
 

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