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Can perfect pitch be trained (Read 1538 times)

Offline michzxl

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Can perfect pitch be trained
« on: September 09, 2018, 07:33:23 PM »
So up until this point I've been lead to believe that perfect pitch is something gained only by children who are questioned on different pitches just like we all were in terms of colours. This meant that after a certain age gaining this ability would be impossible and the closest thing would be training relative pitch. However after playing chopin nocturne op 9 no 1 in b flat minor for about 2 years im starting to question this because now lately out of nowhere when i think of the first note (b flat) and hum it its more or less the correct pitch. What can i conclude from this? Just curious.

Offline georgey

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Re: Can perfect pitch be trained
«Reply #1 on: September 09, 2018, 08:32:08 PM »
So up until this point I've been lead to believe that perfect pitch is something gained only by children who are questioned on different pitches just like we all were in terms of colours. This meant that after a certain age gaining this ability would be impossible and the closest thing would be training relative pitch. However after playing chopin nocturne op 9 no 1 in b flat minor for about 2 years im starting to question this because now lately out of nowhere when i think of the first note (b flat) and hum it its more or less the correct pitch. What can i conclude from this? Just curious.

Here is the definition of perfect pith (first thing that came up on my google search):

Perfect pitch: the ability to recognize the pitch of a note or to produce any given note; a sense of absolute pitch.

I am 60 years old.  I never trained or practiced developing perfect pitch.  I noticed that when I play a CD from the beginning every night when I listen to classical music to fall asleep, after a few days I can correctly reproduce the first note every time in tune having not heard it for 24 hours.  When I listened to the opening of Wagner’s opera Götterdämmerung about 2 years ago every night for a month, I think I have this permanently in my ear.  All I need to do is look at the score and see what the note is and I can then CALCULATE to recognize the pitch of a note or to produce any given note.  

I have relative pitch from my training many years ago in college.  If I practiced this for a while, I believe I may be able to demonstrate the requirements for perfect pitch as defined above after maybe a one second calculation for each note.  For me, this makes no sense to practice.  My having perfect pitch will not benefit me in any way.

I’m sure there are many here that can immediately demonstrate perfect pitch with no calculations.  I would be interested to know if they trained to do this.  Maybe perfect_pitch can give his thoughts.  ;)



Offline georgey

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Re: Can perfect pitch be trained
«Reply #2 on: September 10, 2018, 05:10:44 AM »
After not hearing Götterdämmerung in 2 years, I tried to see if I could get the root note of the opening minor chord.  Result: not even close.  I guess I would need to tune my ear up every week or so.  Opening chord is e-flat minor triad I see.  If I were serious, I would pick something like beginning of Mozart Jupiter symphony (C major).  But there is no point.  Would be a total waste of time for me and I would have to keep tuning up my ear.  Certainly a lot more than once every 2 years.  Does not come naturally for me.

Offline adodd81802

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Re: Can perfect pitch be trained
«Reply #3 on: September 10, 2018, 08:29:25 AM »
I agree with you.

I can reference a couple of pieces that I know VERY well and use that to identify a bunch of notes.

particularly op 9 no 2 is the same for me the opening couple of notes I have ingrained

BUT.

I feel like I couldn't use that too well to identify another pitch.

For example if I was in a piano exam and had to identify a note that was played, I feel like it would knock me off tune when re-humming the op 9 no 2 opening.

I often, when trying to recall music in my head, hum or think it 3-4 semitones lower than it actually is.
"England is a country of pianos, they are everywhere."

Offline georgey

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Re: Can perfect pitch be trained
«Reply #4 on: September 10, 2018, 03:37:44 PM »
I agree with you.

I can reference a couple of pieces that I know VERY well and use that to identify a bunch of notes.

particularly op 9 no 2 is the same for me the opening couple of notes I have ingrained

BUT.

I feel like I couldn't use that too well to identify another pitch.

For example if I was in a piano exam and had to identify a note that was played, I feel like it would knock me off tune when re-humming the op 9 no 2 opening.

I often, when trying to recall music in my head, hum or think it 3-4 semitones lower than it actually is.

I just woke up about 10 minutes ago with Brahms Op 111 string quintet 1st mvt in my head.  I last heard this about a week ago.  Been playing all 24 magnificent chamber music of Brahms in my car for the past month.  I read your post just now and then decided to hear this on youtube.  I was spot on here.  What I heard in my head immediately before listening on youtube matched exactly the recording on youtube.

You raise a good point.  I 'm sure I would have to work on this to make it reliable in a test environment, and even then I might get messed up like you say.  I could spend time on this as an experiment to see if I can develop perfect pitch at a late age.  I might try at some point when I'm less busy.

Edit: Just woke up?  Yea, I got up really late today.

Offline Bob

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Re: Can perfect pitch be trained
«Reply #5 on: September 13, 2018, 10:47:54 PM »
I wonder if young kids are less able to control their attention.... and it's something with that...
Favorite new teacher quote -- "You found the only possible wrong answer."