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Author Topic: Perfect pitch???  (Read 714 times)
ranjit
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« on: November 01, 2017, 09:04:05 AM »

I was previewing an ear training software trying to identify seventh chords. Just as soon as I heard the notes of a Bb dominant seventh chord, I felt that it sounded very familiar. After a while, I realized that it reminded me of the starting of the third movement of Beethoven's Les Adieux sonata. I looked it up online, and I was right on point! Note that I had only heard it before, and had never bothered to check the actual notes. The last time I had heard the sonata was probably about a month ago. I have not listened to it much, maybe a dozen times or so, but I really liked the melody the first time I heard it, which was about a year ago.

Is this normal, and what does it mean, especially given that I do not have perfect pitch?
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visitor
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« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2017, 01:47:56 PM »

It means you Have a good memory
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ranjit
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« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2017, 04:29:19 PM »

It means you Have a good memory

I was especially surprised because it has been a long time since I have heard this piece. How can you have a good memory of pitch but not perfect pitch? If the memory of pitch gets good enough, how is it distinguishable from perfect pitch?
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rachmaninoff_forever
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« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2017, 05:22:40 PM »

I was especially surprised because it has been a long time since I have heard this piece. How can you have a good memory of pitch but not perfect pitch? If the memory of pitch gets good enough, how is it distinguishable from perfect pitch?

Well can you identify a Bb every time regardless of context?
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mjames
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« Reply #4 on: November 01, 2017, 06:23:58 PM »

yes its normal
anyone can do it
no you do not have perfect pitch, pretty sure he's in australia
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ranjit
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« Reply #5 on: November 01, 2017, 07:46:26 PM »

no you do not have perfect pitch, pretty sure he's in australia


Huh??two completely unrelated phrases strung together, was this meant only to confuse?

Well can you identify a Bb every time regardless of context?
Well, no. But, I've heard that people should also not be able to remember pieces in the correct key if they do not have perfect pitch. What is the difference between a Bb dom7 and an F dom7, say, of you only have relative pitch? There should be none. Also, the last time I heard this piece was about a month back, not just a couple days.
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mjames
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« Reply #6 on: November 01, 2017, 08:06:48 PM »

not having perfect pitch =/= being tone deaf, or being unable to transcribe pieces (or in your case parts) from memory

Anyone with a normal functioning brain will develop their "inner ear" either consciously or subconsciously as they learn and get better at playing an instrument. Being able to tell the difference between major and minor scales, melodic and harmonic minor scales, being able to pick out chords and chord progressions, seventh chords and major triads and so on. It means you're getting better, that's what happening to you.

If your answer to Rach's question is "well no" then it's not perfect pitch. Maybe you will develop it later on in your career...who knows
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rachmaninoff_forever
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« Reply #7 on: November 01, 2017, 09:03:53 PM »



Huh??two completely unrelated phrases strung together, was this meant only to confuse?
Well, no. But, I've heard that people should also not be able to remember pieces in the correct key if they do not have perfect pitch. What is the difference between a Bb dom7 and an F dom7, say, of you only have relative pitch? There should be none. Also, the last time I heard this piece was about a month back, not just a couple days.


There's another guy named perfect pitch on here and he lives in Australia

You can totally remember pieces in the right key without perfect pitch.  So Yeah that's just a fluke. It's normal to just remember random pitches from random pieces at random times.

And if someone opened the last movement of op 81a in F in stead of Bb I'm pretty sure we would both notice.
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perfect_pitch
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« Reply #8 on: November 01, 2017, 09:56:01 PM »

There's another guy named perfect pitch on here and he lives in Australia

Hello...    Smiley

And yes, there is a reason I called myself this name.
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rachmaninoff_forever
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« Reply #9 on: November 01, 2017, 10:41:02 PM »

Hello...    Smiley

And yes, there is a reason I called myself this name.

Cause you don't have perfect pitch but you wanna have it so you decided to name yourself it?Huh?
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ranjit
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« Reply #10 on: November 01, 2017, 10:48:42 PM »

You can totally remember pieces in the right key without perfect pitch. .

Then why can you not use the same as an internal reference to recognize pitches reliably?
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rachmaninoff_forever
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« Reply #11 on: November 01, 2017, 11:31:25 PM »

Then why can you not use the same as an internal reference to recognize pitches reliably?

You can it just takes practice

FOR EXAMPLE...

If I hear a note, I can be like 'okay I remember where c is so Ima sing c out loud or in my head and figure out what the note is relative to the pitch I have in my head'

So it's not perfect pitch it's just remembering a pitch in your head and figuring everything out relative to that.  But nobody practices it cause it's useless

Like I can sing the starting pitch of Grieg piano concerto every time but that doesn't mean I can hear every pitch automatically every time
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Derek
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« Reply #12 on: November 01, 2017, 11:41:39 PM »

I had relative perfect pitch briefly once. My parents grand piano has one Eb that has a funny timbre from the rest of the instrument. Maybe string gauge transition point or something of that nature. In any event, once I noticed the imperfection I became obsessed with it and a bit annoyed that the flaw existed, until I knew the sound of the Eb so well I could recall it in memory and then figure out what key other pieces were in relative to Eb chromatically. (just by listening)

I've since regained my sanity and I don't have anything approaching perfect pitch. Probably good relative pitch though.
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klavieronin
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« Reply #13 on: November 02, 2017, 03:58:10 AM »

I think you would know if you had perfect pitch. People with perfect pitch can recognise different notes as easily as most people recognise different colours. A B flat sounds like a B flat. An F sharp sounds like an F sharp. The reason you might have recognised it could have something to do with how the chord was arranged, i.e. the voicing as well as the pitch. But, no, I don't think you have perfect pitch. Maybe just pretty good pitch Wink.
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christianf19
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« Reply #14 on: November 02, 2017, 04:41:01 AM »

As mentioned above, most people with perfect pitch can recall the note without reference. My friend who has perfect pitch can even tell the correct pitch of things that are not notes in music. For example, a constant beep sound or a siren. She also said that very casual or amateur singing groups will sing slightly off key, and that makes it hard for her to sing along because she has to match their pitch in order for it to not sound odd.
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pianoplunker
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« Reply #15 on: November 02, 2017, 07:27:11 AM »

I was previewing an ear training software trying to identify seventh chords. Just as soon as I heard the notes of a Bb dominant seventh chord, I felt that it sounded very familiar. After a while, I realized that it reminded me of the starting of the third movement of Beethoven's Les Adieux sonata. I looked it up online, and I was right on point! Note that I had only heard it before, and had never bothered to check the actual notes. The last time I had heard the sonata was probably about a month ago. I have not listened to it much, maybe a dozen times or so, but I really liked the melody the first time I heard it, which was about a year ago.

Is this normal, and what does it mean, especially given that I do not have perfect pitch?

Nope
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perfect_pitch
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« Reply #16 on: November 02, 2017, 10:19:08 AM »

Cause you don't have perfect pitch but you wanna have it so you decided to name yourself it?Huh?

Nope, that's not the reason.

Jealous much???  
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quantum
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« Reply #17 on: November 03, 2017, 05:17:24 AM »

I think there are different levels of perfect pitch.  Complete or full perfect pitch happens when one can both recognize a pitch, and produce (sing) a pitch without external reference.  Then there are those that can recognize pitches consistently, but are not so confident singing a pitch.  Then there is relative pitch, which is far more useful for music making. 

Being able to recognize chords, chord progressions, melodies, or intervals at a specific pitch is common.  It may happen when those musical fragments are frequently occurring (say parts of a national anthem, TV theme, etc.), or when a piece of music forms a special connection with a person. 

I would say that the difference between perfect pitch and recognizing a list of musical fragments in the correct pitch, would be that people with perfect pitch would be able to apply this technique consistently.  That would include introducing a new musical fragment to the person, and have them recognize it at a later time.
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« Reply #18 on: November 03, 2017, 01:49:19 PM »

I think it's about time that some different names and different concepts should be formed and used.

There are two ways of perceiving pitch.  One is by relating it to another pitch.  For example, if I am in the context of a major scale, and someone plays degrees 1, 2, 3, I will know what 4 sounds like (a semitone above), and can sing it, or hunt around for the sound on an instrument.  Or if I want F, and I have the sound of C, I can sing my way up the C major scale to get F.  Or I may be able to hear intervals.  If someone gives me the sound of Eb and I know that's what it is, I can go a whole tone higher to get that F.  All this is relationional.  It's like "the guy who mows the lawns", or "the guy who lives in the red house", but if he's not mowing lawns or near the red house, you don't recognize him.

The other is to recognize a pitch in its own right.  It's wrong to associate this with names.  You can recognize an apple for what it is, even if you have no word for apple.  If I hear a single pitch, go to an instrument, and produce that exact pitch every time, then I am recognizing that pitch specifically.  If I am singing a piece that is written in A major, the starting note being D, and every time I sing that song and check, I'm always starting on D, then I have a recognition of that specific pitch.  It's not relational.

I think these are the two ways of perceiving pitch.  Words like "perfect" get in the way.  Tests of naming pitches eliminate anyone who can recognize them but has not learned names, giving a false negative.

I spent decades in a relative pitch world, and learned letter names very late in life.  But I have experienced the second phenomenon which I'll call "pitch recognition" in both ways I described in my examples.
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ranjit
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« Reply #19 on: November 03, 2017, 03:38:15 PM »

I think these are the two ways of perceiving pitch.  Words like "perfect" get in the way.  Tests of naming pitches eliminate anyone who can recognize them but has not learned names, giving a false negative.

You can not say a phenomenon does not exist because a test for it gives false negatives. All tests give false negatives. Perfect pitch does indeed exist, and is to a large extent independent of musical ability. Many people have realized that they have perfect pitch much later on in their lives.

That said, I agree with you about the two different ways of perceiving pitches, relative to another pitch, and in an absolute sense. I believe that this confusion often stems from the fact that "perfect pitch training" softwares or videos online often simply play a number of pitches in succession, due to which one can remember the name of a pitch, and find the next using relative pitch. This is not perfect pitch.

My question was whether people without perfect pitch can often remember pitches in a piece of music in an absolute sense, after a long period of not having listened to the said piece. I had heard a Bb dominant seventh chord, and immediately remembered the Les Adieux sonata, which spurred me to ask this question. In online videos, I have seen very good musicians without perfect pitch saying that they needed a reference note to sing because they did not have perfect pitch (the same is true even with orchestras). If absolute recall of pitches is possible without perfect pitch, why would this be the case?

Also, as far as I know, singing a song in its original key is considered to be a good indicator of perfect pitch. Many people say that they can not sing a piece in its original key as they do not have perfect pitch. Are they mistaken?

If the issue is with the name of the thread, I named it "perfect pitch?" because I could not come up with a better name.
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outin
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« Reply #20 on: November 03, 2017, 04:34:19 PM »


Also, as far as I know, singing a song in its original key is considered to be a good indicator of perfect pitch. Many people say that they can not sing a piece in its original key as they do not have perfect pitch. Are they mistaken?


Well...My experience is that being so used to singing I'm pretty familiar with my own voice range and can accurately sing with consistent pitch partly because of being so familiar with the physical side of voice production. Also one's vocal range and voice production ability limits how well one can sing in the original key, so it's not just a mental thing.

It can be difficult for me to sing with other people, because the songs are so "fixed" in my head to a certain pitch. I do no have perfect pitch but in my mind I seem to "translate" melodies that I hear/learn to my own singing voice. It happens in my head even if not audibly singing. So I remember the pitch in relation to my registers and my own voice producing system. Even when I think about my piano pieces I notice tiny physical sensations in my throat. It's a pity I cannot translate the pieces to the physicality of piano playing the same way Sad
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« Reply #21 on: November 03, 2017, 05:55:15 PM »

You can not say a phenomenon does not exist because a test for it gives false negatives.
You quoted me and then responded to something I did not say.  I did not write anything about anything not existing.  I proposed a different set of definitions, and then created those definitions.
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I believe that this confusion often stems from the fact that "perfect pitch training" softwares or videos online ....
This is the point to stop.  There are also "get rich quick" and "how to become a millionaire in a month" software and videos online.  It's rather meaningless stuff.
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If the issue is with the name of the thread, I named it "perfect pitch?" because I could not come up with a better name.
I have no issue with the name of the thread.  I am simply proposing to have a much different way of perceiving the thing.  Wink
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ranjit
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« Reply #22 on: November 03, 2017, 06:22:38 PM »

I have no issue with the name of the thread.  I am simply proposing to have a much different way of perceiving the thing.  Wink

Which is? It's rather obvious that in music, pitches can either be recognized in relation to each other, or in isolation. I don't think anyone disputes that. As far as I know, the first is exactly relative pitch, and the second is pitch memory.

Are you saying something about whether these abilities can be developed?
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rachmaninoff_forever
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« Reply #23 on: November 03, 2017, 06:53:21 PM »


Also, as far as I know, singing a song in its original key is considered to be a good indicator of perfect pitch. Many people say that they can not sing a piece in its original key as they do not have perfect pitch. Are they mistaken?


That's not perfect pitch that's just remembering a song

As far as learning perfect pitch is concerned, you can't learn perfect pitch.  You can remember pitches really well through training, so you might be able to trick people in thinking that you have perfect pitch, but once you stop practicing remembering pitches, you forget what they sound like.  Someone with perfect pitch doesn't have to practice because they don't REMEMBER pitches, they just know what they are just like seeing color
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rachmaninoff_forever
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« Reply #24 on: November 03, 2017, 07:02:35 PM »

Which is? It's rather obvious that in music, pitches can either be recognized in relation to each other, or in isolation. I don't think anyone disputes that. As far as I know, the first is exactly relative pitch, and the second is pitch memory

Pitch memory OR perfect pitch
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ranjit
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« Reply #25 on: November 03, 2017, 09:28:14 PM »

Pitch memory OR perfect pitch

Agreed.
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klavieronin
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« Reply #26 on: November 03, 2017, 11:39:58 PM »

I was involved in some research a couple of years ago which involved testing for perfect pitch. The way it was done was to take some popular songs and present the subject with 3 different versions, 2 in the wrong pitch and 1 in the original pitch (shifted out of pitch then back into pitch so people couldn't tell from the audio quality). The subject then had to say which of the 3 versions was in the correct pitch. It is thought that this is a more accurate way to test for perfect pitch as it eliminates the need for knowing the note names. Unfortunately when I did the test I didn't know any of the songs because I don't really listen to pop music Grin.
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keypeg
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« Reply #27 on: November 04, 2017, 02:18:31 AM »

One sometimes wonders about the people who invent these tests.
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quantum
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« Reply #28 on: November 04, 2017, 08:57:22 AM »

Another aspect of the question would be a pitch variance threshold of recognition.  For example when using historical pitches that are above or below A440.  Could someone recognize a Baroque music excerpt at a historical pitch, if they are unaccustomed to that pitch standard.  How about period instrument performers?  Have they adapted their sense of perfect pitch to work with historical pitch standards?  How well do they traverse A440 and historical pitches with their pitch memory. 
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« Reply #29 on: November 04, 2017, 01:26:49 PM »

I've had that happen.  The voicing and instrumentation can help that effect too.

Once in a while it's happened with individual tones, but it seems more like a chord (voicing/instrumentation) thing.

I don't think it's related to key, in terms of the chord related to the tonal center, at least for me. 
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« Reply #30 on: November 04, 2017, 07:39:36 PM »

A pitch is a thing in and of itself.  That is why I proposed those two new definitions and concepts.  Whether a given pitch ends up being called A, or A#, or Ab, because of the tuning system, it is what it is.  You may be able to recognize and duplicate that pitch.  This is the one way of getting at a pitch.  This is independent of how it's named.  The other way is where you get at a pitch via another pitch related to it.  "It's a whole tone up from where I am."  Since music is all about relative things, this is probably the more useful skill to have.

I actually don't understand why recognizing pitches would be at all needed for piano, since it is pre-tuned.  There are instruments where you must envision and produce a pitch yourself.  I don't play a brass instrument but I remember Tim does.  If he is around - Tim, are you going "relative" or focusing on the specific pitch, or both on brass (I think it was trumpet)?  On violin there is some relativity involved since there are four strings a fifth apart for reference, and you are also listening for sympathetic resonance.
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perfect_pitch
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« Reply #31 on: November 05, 2017, 01:18:40 AM »

I actually don't understand why recognizing pitches would be at all needed for piano,

Helps me learn a song - MUCH quicker. I can soak in the notes just by listening, then the only thing I have to do is work on the technicality and physicality of playing it.
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« Reply #32 on: November 05, 2017, 01:44:13 AM »

Helps me learn a song - MUCH quicker. I can soak in the notes just by listening, then the only thing I have to do is work on the technicality and physicality of playing it.

Exactly, I don't have perfect pitch but my inner ear has improved considerably (pre-piano me was tone deaf) ever since I started playing piano. Recognizing pitches helps in improvising, transcribing, and like you said learning pieces. Anyone who calls it useless is just jealous about not having it lol.
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« Reply #33 on: November 05, 2017, 02:40:10 AM »

Helps me learn a song - MUCH quicker. I can soak in the notes just by listening, then the only thing I have to do is work on the technicality and physicality of playing it.
I did that for songs even before working on pieces, since for many of us the voice is the very first instrument.  Regardless, hearing what the music sounds like can be an aid.  But that tends to be through relative pitch and/or in the context of the key and so on (which is basically relative pitch). 
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quantum
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« Reply #34 on: November 05, 2017, 04:36:23 AM »

A pitch is a thing in and of itself.  That is why I proposed those two new definitions and concepts.  Whether a given pitch ends up being called A, or A#, or Ab, because of the tuning system, it is what it is.  You may be able to recognize and duplicate that pitch.  This is the one way of getting at a pitch.  This is independent of how it's named.  The other way is where you get at a pitch via another pitch related to it.  "It's a whole tone up from where I am."  Since music is all about relative things, this is probably the more useful skill to have.

Actually, I think that naming systems are very important in this discussion.  It is after all how musicians communicate their affirmation that a sounded pitch is or is not a so called name. 

Within Western Art Music various standards of tuning have been used over the years, yet have carried basically the same nomenclature for note naming. That means the thing we call "A" could mean A440, or A432 or A 466. etc. - different pitches with one name.  Musicians that play historical instruments may need to use some of these historical tuning standards in current day performances.  In some cases musicians may need to navigate between standard concert pitch and historical pitch in a single sitting.  How does pitch memory adapt to this?  For any singers that have sung pieces in their original notated key and felt the entire piece slightly off in the vocal ambitus, understand the effects of trying to map a notation system to a tuning system to which it was not envisioned. 

One aspect that we need to account for is a pitch variance threshold of recognition (to which I mentioned earlier).  At which point does pitch memory distinctly define a small pitch variance as a "new pitch."

Another scenario: How would a classical musician with perfect pitch not well versed in jazz/blues respond to blue notes in an excerpt?  How would they classify such notes according to their pitch memory?  Would they try to "straighten" out that note to the nearest neighbor and call it by that name?  Would they describe it as being in between two notes? 

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« Reply #35 on: November 05, 2017, 12:51:51 PM »

Another scenario: How would a classical musician with perfect pitch not well versed in jazz/blues respond to blue notes in an excerpt?  How would they classify such notes according to their pitch memory?  Would they try to "straighten" out that note to the nearest neighbor and call it by that name?  Would they describe it as being in between two notes? 

I saw a video in which a child with perfect pitch was asked the same question. A note was played which was "one-eighth" of a tone above G, I think. That is, it was one-fourth of a semitone above G. The child replied that he heard it like a G with an Ab in the background.

The accuracy of perfect pitch varies. I recall reading that in an experiment, a piece was played to a group of people who had perfect pitch, but it was a third of a semitone off. They apparently did not notice the difference.
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« Reply #36 on: November 06, 2017, 12:41:55 PM »

Musicians that play historical instruments may need to use some of these historical tuning standards in current day performances.  In some cases musicians may need to navigate between standard concert pitch and historical pitch in a single sitting.  How does pitch memory adapt to this? 
This is where the thing called "perfect pitch" becomes a handicap, while if your relative pitch is strong, it's no problem.  You set your sights on the new Tonic and go with the flow, like a sailor on the rocking deck of a ship at high seas.

One of my children had the extreme form of "pp" (still has - now and adult) and it caused mischief.  He played violin, and had played where a Baroque instrument was involved that couldn't be tuned up.  For some reason they didn't retune, and in playing the regular music right after, there were initial wobbles as the expected pitch he remembered was off by a bit.

I was also in a choir once, which joined up with another choir, and the choirmaster had pp.  She used her own voice as pitch pipe.  When they joined us, she stood directly behind me and my ear.  The piano was flat.  The choir was even flatter, but they were together in their flatness.  Meanwhile the pp lady sang steadily in my ear internally tuned to A=440, out of tune with the flat piano, and out of tune with the choir which was closer to the piano at least.  She seemed unable or unwilling to adjust.  It was a horrid 10 minutes.
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keypeg
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« Reply #37 on: November 06, 2017, 12:47:24 PM »

I saw a video in which a child with perfect pitch was asked the same question. A note was played which was "one-eighth" of a tone above G, I think. That is, it was one-fourth of a semitone above G. The child replied that he heard it like a G with an Ab in the background.
That could have been my child.
I developed a degree of pitch recognition through an exercise I had been given, which had a different aim.  From then on, if I heard a pitch, I could go to the piano or other instrument, and my hand "knew" which note to play, I'd look down and say "Oh, that's Bb".  Later I could just visualize my hand touching a key.  One day I proudly told him, when the microwave beeped, "It's beeping at B."  His response: "It's between B and Bb" and told me about how much.  I just checked with the piano - it's flatter than B, sharper than Bb, and closer to B than Bb.
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j_tour
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« Reply #38 on: November 07, 2017, 12:06:19 AM »

Pitch memory OR perfect pitch

It occurs to me that perfect pitch vs. pitch memory is equivalent to those who are able to solve Raven's Progressive Matrices without much deliberation, vs. those who have learned to develop abstract thinking skills through practice or some larger amount of deliberate concentration.

So, the same thing, except speed counts.
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brogers70
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« Reply #39 on: November 07, 2017, 12:51:12 AM »

Most of us have perfect pitch with respect to vision. All it means is that when we see green, we don't have to first be shown blue and then say, "ahh, this is a longer wavelength than the reference blue by so many hertz so it must be green". When we see a color we recognize it. Of course there are subtleties - colors may appear different in different contexts and there's a limit to how small a difference in the wavelength of the light we can perceive, but in a generally true way, you recognize colors by the absolute frequency, not by comparing to a reference frequency.

With sound waves you can either recognize pitches by comparison to a reference frequency, in which case you're using relative pitch, or just by recognizing the frequency directly, as most people do with light, which, applied to sound, is absolute pitch. But where most people have absolute "pitch" with respect to color, relatively few have it with respect to sound. You might predict that in environments where direct perception of absolute pitch was important early in life, more people would have perfect pitch. Like maybe among kids who grow up hearing tonal languages.

I think that that kind of direct perception is different than the learned skill of knowing how a pitch feels when you sing it and being able to name it pretty accurately as a result.
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Bob
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« Reply #40 on: November 11, 2017, 01:22:26 PM »

Relative vs. perfect pitch seems like it's a brain function or something like an optical illusion where you can flip it around to see the image a different way.  Sometimes it's difficult to do that.  I'd say flipping for hearing pitch would be more difficult than an optical illusion.  I still think it's possible though.  It's along the lines of, "Stop listening for relative pitch function," or, "Stop seeing colors."

People who have perfect pitch seems to talk about pitches with more of an emotion.  How the notes feels.  Something like that.
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Favorite new teacher quote -- "You found the only possible wrong answer."
rachmaninoff_forever
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« Reply #41 on: November 11, 2017, 02:57:37 PM »

It occurs to me that perfect pitch vs. pitch memory is equivalent to those who are able to solve Raven's Progressive Matrices without much deliberation, vs. those who have learned to develop abstract thinking skills through practice or some larger amount of deliberate concentration.

So, the same thing, except speed counts.

No cause you have to practice pitch memory but you don't need to practice perfect pitch
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