These great composers of the past: Beethoven, Mozart, Bach, Tchaikovsky, Brahms, and my personal favourite Elgar, all lived in a time where they had only a piano to work out their various symphonies or their serenade for strings for example, when it came to notating their work, preparing it for orchestration.
This would surely mean that their ear for music would have to almost be of ‘perfect pitch’ would it not? This is something you are born with I believe. The great composers would hear (Beethoven was of course deaf in his later life) the music (as stupid as it sounds...in their head) and then, naturally, notate the chosen melodies, harmonies on the manuscript. They did not have an ability to plug in a keyboard to a computer; no software for playback and so on.
My question is, if one's musical ear (as I have found) is not up to that... craftsmanship shall we say, can it be trained as such? Are there any good examples or best practices for training your ear to gain almost perfect pitch, where you can hear it in your head and then write it down almost immediately?
Elgar for example, would pore over Brahms’s 3rd Symphony, reading it all the hours god sent, but in order to hear that, he would have to have an idea of what that sounded like. Does a bad musician translate to someone who cannot hear this, unless it is played aloud?