If I hear a G, B, B flat or E played on a piano or string instrument, I can (most of the time) identify the Note. Whenever I hear a G, I think of Holst's Mars or Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker march, when I hear a B flat, I think of Chopin's Nocturne Op. 9 No.2, and so on, however I am a lot less accurate when the note is a 2+ Octaves above / below.

I can also, with almost 100% accuracy tell if a note is a white or black key on a piano (or stringed instrument)

I can't (at all) identify chords.

I don't have perfect relative pitch, I can identify perfect fourths & fifths, octaves, major thirds and major sixths with almost 100% accuracy, but with most other intervals I am not always sure if its a major or minor.

I played piano since I was 6 and recently started learning violin

Do I have actual perfect pitch, or can I train my hearing to achieve perfect pitch, or do I just have a very good pitch memory?


3 Answers 3


This turns into a question about semantics—you have "something," and people might disagree about whether "perfect pitch" is the right name for it. See this question and this one—and especially its accepted answer—for a glimpse of the confusion. The terms are loosely and unofficially defined. What matters more than the label you use is how you define the labels. What's clear is that you're identifying pitch classes on their own, rather than calculating distance from a reference pitch ("relative pitch").

I have similar abilities: as a violinist, I can identify pitches more accurately within violin range than below it, and have trouble with certain timbres like saxophone. I've heard this referred to as "acquired pitch," or "acquired perfect [or absolute] pitch."

If you're like me, the easiest way to tell, say, a major third from a minor is simply to identify the two pitches ("Thats a C, that's an E"), and figure out the quality of the interval by thinking about it rather than hearing it.


Sorry, it's not exactly perfect pitch (absolute pitch)!

It's good pitch memory - absolute pitch should be able to identify just about any pitcch on just about any instrument - 'That bee is humming a C♯, that glass resonates at a B♭'. You have memorised certain pitches - but if they occur on certain other instruments, maybee you're not accurate, which should be 100% of the time for those 'blessed' with AP.

Your statement about intervals concerns me: the 'majorness/minorness is quite different - but bear in mind that say, m7 sounds pretty well like aug6 - and all minor intervals don't occur in minor scales, necessarily.

Keep on identifying intervals, and test yourself daily for pitch identification - sounds like it's nearly there, but, as discussed in other answers here, AP is rarely an acquired asset, more an innate one - and maybe not an asset at all...


Sure, we can call that Perfect Pitch.

When you hear a note, you know what pitch it is. A, B♭, C, whatever. Good. When you hear two notes played together can you name them both? Like 'that's a C on the bottom, a B♭ on top'? If so, you only need to brush up a bit on theory to work out the interval. When you've got Perfect Pitch, Relative Pitch comes along for the ride!

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