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Relative pitch is the ability of a person to identify or re-create a given musical note by comparing it to a reference note by identifying the function of a given pitch and/or identifying the interval between those two notes. Relative pitch is often used in contrast to absolute pitch, or the ability to know pitches without reference to any other pitches.

Relative pitch implies some or all of the following abilities:

  • Determine the distance of a musical note from a set point of reference, e.g. "three octaves above middle C"
  • Identify the intervals between given tones, regardless of their relation to concert pitch (A = 440 Hz)

  • the skill is used by musicians to correctly sing / play a melody or chords and interpret musical notation. Alternatively, the same skill allows someone to hear a melody for the first time and name the notes relative to some known reference pitch.