42

As someone with absolute pitch and trained in A440 12-tone equal temperament (i.e. the usual) with plenty of vocal music as a backup, I perceive notes that are several cents out of tune as "off" because I am not used to them. I have difficulty listening to music containing those out-of-tune notes unless the music is atonal. (Granted, I don't like listening ...


23

I think the answer boils down to what you mean by "knowing" the intervals. To do this [sing a tune back] you surely need to be able to know the intervals in the tune you have just heard and then replay it back with your voice. I don't think "knowing" these intervals in order to sing something back means you know if an interval is, e.g., a major or a ...


21

Remember that music isn't the only thing that has pitch. Most sounds in the natural world have a pitch as well, and a random sound outside could temporarily get stuck in our ears as a possible tonic. For me—and keep in mind I don't have absolute pitch—I often find myself singing in B♭. To make a long story short, I think this is because a number of ...


19

I don't think I agree with what you have been told. Perfect pitch is the ability to memorize, and recall, pitches. Now just because you can do it doesn't mean that you always actually do it. If someone with perfect pitch hears a note and it is slightly below A440 what does that mean? Is the note an out-of-tune A, an in-tune A for a baroque orchestra or a ...


18

I can share two anecdotes that suggest to me that, yes, these are two different skills that unfortunately can lead to someone with absolute pitch having no relative pitch (or at least very under-developed relative pitch). I've had several students in my conservatory classes that can sing every pitch in a melody perfectly due to their absolute pitch, but ...


17

Transcribing music is EXCELLENT ear training practice. I like to tell students that transcribing one song to completion is like an entire semester of ear training. Don’t just listen for intervals and notes, but form, where tension is created and released, see if you can name all the instruments, sounds, or stereo techniques (panning, phasing, etc). ...


16

You might be listening to the timbre of the different notes. I remember watching this video , where the person describes learning perfect pitch from the timbre of the instrument. His process is to become familiar with the timbre of different notes and then mentally playing the instrument in his head in order to find the correct pitch when he hears it from a ...


12

In western staff notation every clef represent fixed set of notes so the what is written can easily be conveyed to any musician without much knowledge of the theory behind the notes just the knowledge of this is X note. Also note the key signatures themselves are set in a fixed pattern to simplify the reading for musicians. Even in the more loosely defined ...


12

Ear training is an unfortunate problem here in America. For children during their earliest formative years, precedence is given to visual and tactile learning. While this learning is undoubtedly important, too often are ears left under-developed. If hearing were trained the same way as sight, everyone would have perfect pitch. If I were teaching this ...


12

Perfect (or absolute) pitch is the ability to instantly recognize a note or to instantly produce the sound of a requested pitch. Someone with absolute pitch can immediately sing for you a D♭, or they can immediately tell that the Star Wars Theme is in B♭ without looking to the score. Pitch memorization is exactly what it sounds like: a memorization of a ...


11

The 440Hz reference point is a convention, but it's very consistently used. This means that if you can sense it, you will likely form your entire understanding of harmony and music with this included (e.g. people with perfect pitch often report different keys having a distinct "feel") - and why wouldn't you? Humans learn by finding patterns, and so if you ...


11

(This could be closed as opinion-based, but I also think there's only one answer...) Learn scale-degree functions. Each scale degree has its own particular function, and therefore its own particular sound; the tonic scale degree (scale-degree 1) has a particular sound to it, and the leading tone (scale-degree 7) has a completely different sound. The best way ...


11

Yes, one can have perfect pitch but not relative pitch. Here's a question from SE Music Practice and Theory seeking help with exactly that issue: How can I develop relative pitch if I have perfect pitch? On the research side, the article "Perfect pitch reconsidered" touches on this issue. A quotation from the abstract: AP [absolute pitch] can ...


11

I can answer this question first hand. I have absolute pitch. It used to be very close to "perfect pitch", although it has degraded a little as I have got older. I do not have any sense of relative pitch whatsoever. This used to confuse my father, who had a very fine sense of relative pitch, and did not have absolute pitch. He tried to develop my ...


10

There is a large difference between tone deafness and an undeveloped voice. Unless your parents are musicians, comments like that can be hurtful and can stifle musical exploration and creativity. Tone deafness is actually quite serious and is as it suggests - an inability to distinguish between certain sounds. This is akin to color-blindness, where a ...


9

Tim is correct that it's about the 3rd, 5th, and 7th, but I don't agree that in the blues they are flattened by exactly one semi-tone. That is an approximation when writing down the notes or when playing them on a piano, but on any instrument on which in-between notes can be played, these notes will be intonated differently. Especially the 3rd and the 7th ...


8

I can tell you right now you're not tone deaf. Tone deafness is a myth and I'll tell you why. From an Anatomical Point of View If you were tone deaf, you wouldn't be able to understand voice phrasing. You wouldn't be able to Even recognise between playing 2 notes on the piano. you wouldn't even be able to understand speech. http://www.ted.com/talks/...


8

A few answers: It's definitely possible for non-musicians to have perfect pitch without being quite aware of it. If one starts to play an instrument, or study music, however, one will quickly become aware of ones abilities and limitations. About good ear in relation to specific instruments: if you play the piano, you don't need a good ear -- or even any ...


7

There are elements of both. The genetic side Some people have amusia, the inability to discern pitch. These people can't identify common melodies and struggle to tell voices apart. Some people have synesthesia, a condition where one sense triggers the impression of another. I know a pitch/color synesthete who sees pitch classes as colors, and tuning ...


7

Oddly enough, Absolute / Relative pitch actually exist in practice on a continuum. You yourself even alluded to this continuum. Instrumentalists often develop absolute pitch relative to their instrument. Why? Those are the sound they hear most. You can probably tune your guitar from new strings without reference. However, these skills aren’t transferable. ...


7

If you have absolute pitch, then no.1 will be the answer. No.2 for most people, when they will still be able to whistle or hum the tune in question, but having a random note as tonal centre/root/tonic. It won't really matter to them. Any 'random note' will not have the feel of any 'tonic' until you decide on one - the same as original or not, doesn't ...


7

The Levitin Effect The ability to intuitively sing a song in the key your originally heard it is known as the Levitin Effect.1 It is a cognitive ability separate from absolute (perfect) pitch insofar as the latter does not seem to be a prerequisite for the former. As stated in the Wikipedia article, the first description of the phenomenon is credited to ...


6

Recognizing intervals is purely a matter of memory recollection. Hence, the most important aspect of interval training is the amount of time you spend practicing, not the particular technique you use to practice. Reference songs (like Jaws) are useful because they anchor the interval to an existing memory. It's like taking a shortcut--you don't have to form ...


6

Absolutely. And pretty well essential for any serious player. One should be able to pitch any interval from a given note, hopefully vocally, and certainly on your instrument. Even if one doesn't understand what an interval is named, one ought to be able to hear an interval and play it, given a start note or key. start with 1, 3 and 5, which are the notes ...


6

The reason why we are able to learn relative pitch is found in psychoacoustics. In order to make sense of the jumble of frequencies that reaches our ear we are able to group certain frequencies and assign them to a single sound source. Our brains use a certain physical property of all natural (harmonic) sounds: that they consist of a certain base frequency ...


6

The absolute best exercise to train your relative pitch is to sing music on some kind of movable system. This is because movable systems—like movable do and scale-degree numbers—teach you the function of what you're singing, which is ultimately exactly what relative pitch is. (Fixed systems, like fixed do, do not teach function, which is why I believe it's ...


5

Typical musicianship includes ear training with the goal of relative pitch vs. absolute pitch in mind. There are tons of tutorials and books to get you started on training your ear to perceive differences of melodic steps as well as harmonic content but the most important part is to have a teacher. If you were to enroll in a college level music theory course ...


5

I encountered the same question when I started playing the jammer (in the form of the Hexiano Android app). Due to its isomorphic keyboard layout (and thus ease of transposition), this instrument lends itself very well to a relative-pitch notation. Eventually, I developed my own system of jammer tablature. Of course, it suffers from a lack of musical ...


5

My experience as a teacher of violin is that the ability to recognize pitch differences is not important when considering one's aptitude for playing violin. Training the ear is as much a skill as learning to physically play the instrument and will improve with time and work. A child's ability to distinguish between pitches is being trained even from inside ...


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