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Is there any point in developing relative pitch if you have perfect pitch?

Yes
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Is there any point in learning relative pitch if you have perfect pitch? (Read 1335 times)

Offline boxjuice

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So basically, i recently realised that im developing perfect pitch. How do i know? Well this thing keeps happening where i hear a note while listening to music, watching tv (background music), accidentally nudging the keyboard, etc. and i recognise the note from another piece of music. For example the other day i was watching tv and there was a moment of silence on the show. Then a single note rang and the moment it started, i recognised it from Eine Kleine (g) and thought Eine kliene was about to play. It wasnt like i heard the note then thought about what pitch it might be, it was an instant recognition. Of course, the piece wasnt Eine Kleine but i rewinded the tv and checked the note against my keyboard and it was in fact a g. This started happening about 5 months ago and initially it happened rarely, but in the past week its been happening a few times a day. Before you ask, no, i havent been doing any perfect pitch training courses, this has all just come about naturally.

Now, the point of this thread, ive been doing relative pitch ear training for the past couple months and im wondering whether there's any point in continuing now that its clear i have pp. I mean, once i get full perfect pitch, will relative pitch become redundant?

Thanks

Offline thirtythreepi

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I've had perfect pitch for as long as I can remember, and there are a few problems that I've (personally) had with it:
1. If you're pedantic, you will get annoyed with people hum or sing and are off-key, singing the wrong key, changing key, etc. Of course if you don't mind then there's no problem.
2. For me, perfect pitch is if I hear a note it sounds like "do" or "re" and so on. This became a problem when I started singing in a choir, because unless I tried very hard to pitch it in my head, I couldn't hear the note, and would sing wrong notes - because I hadn't developed any relative pitch until then.
3. I recently realised that I also learn lots of my pieces by ear; once I know what they sound like, I memorise them extremely fast, but if I try to play a piece on a keyboard that's transposing up/down a semitone, or sing a piece I know in, say, baroque pitch, I won't be able to do it, because I remember what those notes sound like individually, but not so much in relation to each other.

Over time, if you study music a lot you will probably encounter similar problems, but learning relative pitch is something that is hard to do if you already have perfect pitch; if you place yourself in enough situations where you can't use perfect pitch, your relative pitch will develop by itself.

Offline boxjuice

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Interesting. Thanks for sharing your experience. So im in a pretty good position right now since my pp isnt developed enough to use a crutch while training rp

Offline themeandvariation

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Box,
It is good that you are noticing this development ..
It can be strengthened and further 'tested ' in many ways.
See if you can sight sing something - a melody, perhaps - that you've not heard before..
Start with something simple… perhaps in G - since we know that you already hear that note quite clearly.
Then w/o a piano reference to pitch, see if you can sing a few bars of melody.. Then check it - on the piano to see if it is right… or where you went wrong…
Listen to the sounds that are around you, humm them, and try to identify their name.. it may not come to you right away, but just keep humming the note, and a reference may appear… as it did for you watching TV.
Thirty3 is mentioning something also about when singing with others, the ear may not be used to zeroing in on the pitch, because of the harmonic movement of others concurrently… And i agree, that in this context, relative pitch could be helpful.. Pretty soon you just look at the score and 'hear the notes' -- literally…
(i noticed PP - {I seemed to already have it after a year of playing piano I was 8.} when playing a guessing game for which piano note being struck, it was very easy to identify them all.. Then 2 notes played at the same time… then 3, then 4 etc….
4'33"

Offline boxjuice

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Sounds like a good idea. Ive been playing for a year, so i guess im a little behind you haha. Honestly, im worried that it might not be pp and im getting a bit of imposter syndrome since im 20 and, well, they say adults cant get pp. But what ive described definitely sounds like pp, right?

Offline themeandvariation

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Hi.
Yes 'they' do Say that… and it may not be (always) true.. It may be something that is latent in you, and just starting to come out and be noticed.. It is nothing to worry about either way, but it does seem that there is some kindling there in you..  keep giving it attention, cuz it can be fun as well…

(For me, the only 'problem' with it arises if i am improvising on a piano which is 'flat' … because my fingers no longer match what my ear is expecting…and it can mess me up ;D

Explore it!
 
4'33"

Offline michael_c

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Now, the point of this thread, ive been doing relative pitch ear training for the past couple months and im wondering whether there's any point in continuing now that its clear i have pp. I mean, once i get full perfect pitch, will relative pitch become redundant?

No. Relative pitch and absolute pitch are two different skills, even if they are related. Here's quite a comprehensive article on absolute pitch, which cites a study showing that musicians with absolute pitch may be less skilled in relative pitch than other musicians without absolute pitch.

Offline indianajo

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We have just been through a long period (1927-2010) where pitch has been standardized at A=440 
Now, major orchestras are moving to 441 or 442.
Prior to 1927, major orchestras and pianos were tuned to A=427 or thereabouts.  In Mozart's day, pitch varied all over, with no good way to even measure it. 
If you ever intend to buy a bargain used grand instead of a $30000 premium new one, or intend to perform with a historically accurate instruments orchestra, or on a pipe organ built before 1929,it would better to concentrate on developing relative pitch instead of perfect pitch.  Just changing the fundamental pitch of these historical instruments to modern pitch, if possible,  leaves the question of out of tune overtones open.  Changing the overtone structure requires serious voicing skill, and physical modification.   

Offline themeandvariation

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There is no need to pin relative pitch to perfect pitch skills against each other.
One can develop both!
4'33"

Offline themeandvariation

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btw, the study cited by Michael is fairly limited in its scope, in that, the tones 'tested' only came from a very limited pitch range, and Only being generated by the piano… The pitch testing could have been much wider, and there could have been a diverse amount of instruments generating the sound, or even sound generated electronically.. or even the pitches of ambient noises :)
4'33"

Offline themeandvariation

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IndiJo,
"Just changing the fundamental pitch of these historical instruments to modern pitch, if possible,  leaves the question of out of tune overtones open.  Changing the overtone structure requires serious voicing skill, and physical modification."

I hadn't considered this problem with rising pitch reference  and its effect on old organs.. This is really a problem…

perhaps (idk) one reason for rising pitch is that the viols strung have more and more tension, and thus a stronger sense of sound projection.. like when the piano's 'harp frame'  changed from wooden to a cast iron plate  to allow a much greater tension in the strings, and thus a much louder sound projection…. (?)
4'33"

Offline perfect_pitch

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This is quite interesting. Let me give my opinion, having perfect pitch since birth.

I always thought that if you had perfect pitch, then relative pitch was irrelevant. If you can already hear and name the notes, then you shouldn't have to use the relative intervals to work out notes? I assumed that's an unnecessary step?

Having said that, my perfect pitch is a little freakish. I have a piano tuner (one of the best in WA, possibly Australia) who of course doesn't believe in perfect pitch... on the basis of believing that nothing is 'perfect' in the literal sense. Having 'perfect' pitch could technically mean that you can identify notes down to the 1000th of a hertz technically (e.g. 439.983 hertz) or beyond. A bit ludicrous, but he does make a point.

However, in the last couple of times when he has tuned my piano, I have begun to sway his opinion after he once put one of my strings out of tune and asked me how out of tune it was. I told him it was 3 hertz flat, however it turned out to only be 2.4 hertz out, but I had him quite flabbergasted at the ability to do this by ear. He's even questioned me about whether notes were sharp/flat, and without any reference note (except for the note in question), I've always been correct in identifying how close they are in pitch.

Now comes the weird thing... I've been told by musicians that those who have 'perfect' pitch go crazy if the note is the slightest bit flat/sharp, cringe at the sound of flat singers etc... but this doesn't happen to me. I can hear if something is out of pitch, and it is unpleasant to the ears, but I don't go mental every time the piano is out of tune. If this DID happen to you, you wouldn't be able to put the radio on, as most orchestras play with different tuning systems (e.g. A being 440 in WA, but maybe 443 in Europe), it might be 415 if Elliot Gardner is playing a Bach piece on a fortepiano).

Offline boxjuice

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I hate when people use the arguement of perfect pitch not existing because nothing's perfect. Those people have clearly never heard of a misnomer

Offline boxjuice

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So hypothetically, purely off of pp and with no relative pitch training could someone do, say, this:

(Skip to 07:30 if you dont wanna watch the whole scene, the context is as Mozart walked into the room, the emperor played a march, and Mozart repeats the march after only hearing it once)

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Zl-N2JleNeU

Ignoring the factor of being able to remember the piece, of course

Offline thirtythreepi

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One of the bonuses of perfect pitch (as cited by wikipedia) is an ability to remember pieces note for note long after you've heard them; of course it depends on other aspects of your ability on how well you can pull this off.

I told him it was 3 hertz flat, however it turned out to only be 2.4 hertz out, but I had him quite flabbergasted at the ability to do this by ear.

Personally, my perfect pitch is nowhere near as accurate as yours, I think mine is a bit of a special case in that I hear do, re, mi and so on with the notes, I don't think I've heard of someone else's doing this, it's probably due to the way I was taught music theory. However, when I hear a piece that is off-key, like this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7S2pm1g70DI, I can tell it's out of tune because I have to adjust my perception of what is C. If I go from listening to something in tune and then this, I can immediately tell the difference but after two seconds my brain adjusts to the key and I don't hear the difference as much. However, if the sound is off by more than a quarter-tone, then I hear some notes as being in one key and some notes being in the other, which is very off-putting.

Again, probably a unique experience, but the point I'm trying to make is that most people get annoyed when singers sing flat, not because they are singing it in a different key, but because they are changing key, singing out of tune compared to the accompaniment or something along those lines.

Offline boxjuice

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I dont know whats wrong with me. The day i last posted in the topic and the few days prior my pp was so strong. I was even correctly guessing pitches independently of the recognising it from another piece thing i spoke about, like Themeandvariations advised me to try. Hell, i even correctly guessed a fart which, not being a fixed pitch, is alot harder. But for the past few days its like all pitch perception has gone from me. Even when i recognise a tone from another piece, im getting it wrong. Anybody know whats wrong with me?


Offline indianajo

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I wonder if my Mother's piano being tuned only once an my life, and my teacher's being in tune, forced me to develop relative pitch instead of perfect. I also played Sunday school pianos also that hadn't been tuned in decades.   i certainly had no experience of always stable pitch when young.  

Offline boxjuice

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I tried googling "inner ear imbalance", but the results i got where all to do with the fluid in your ear which i cant imagine is what you ment, so could you elaborate, please?