#1
I think it would be awesome to be able to pick out exactly what note is being played, just simply by listening.

...so, I was wondering if you could learn perfect pitch, or does it only come naturally?

Also, just out of curiosity, do any of you have, or at least think you might have perfect pitch?
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#2
You have to be born with it, or you can learn really good relative pitch which is almost as good. Not all as good as it seems, if you tune a guitar other than standard, you will be irritated that the open E string doesn't sound like an E.
#3
i think you can learn it or at least i hope i can ive been trying to train my ears for sometime now
im nowhere near having perfect pitch but if it can be learned im getting there
#4
It can come with a lot of practice. I still can't get every note, but I learned a few notes by ear, namely G *and not beacuse of the G chord*, but Some I can pick out every now and then, but it takes a lot of practice
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#5
my pitch is quite good, i can identify half of the notes by figuring out where they land in a Gmajor scale but i still find it hard. and by listenign to the chormatics in my head, figure out a couple more of the notes
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#7
If you learn to sing, you can gain relative pitch pretty easily. Sing some scales and intervals. Soon (few months to a year), you'll start to notice transcribing melodies and even picking out notes is much easier.

EDIT: A similar effect can be found in people who play the violin and the trombone, amongst other microtonal instruments. Considering a decent beginner violin or trombone is at least 800$, I'm guessing it's not an option for most of you.
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Last edited by demonofthenight at Aug 1, 2010,
#8
I have it, it's mostly useful for tuning guitars and working out songs in my head on long bus journeys. It's not like a tool that just makes you a better musician though, as I'm a relatively average musician. It also needs to be developed, somewhat. I wasn't able to just pick up a guitar with no music training whatsoever and be like 'the a string is slightly flat', it did take time.

I'm still not great at picking out individual notes, i can do it, it just takes a few seconds thinking, but it'll improve with practice.
#9
Quote by i am iron man
I have it, it's mostly useful for tuning guitars and working out songs in my head on long bus journeys. It's not like a tool that just makes you a better musician though, as I'm a relatively average musician. It also needs to be developed, somewhat. I wasn't able to just pick up a guitar with no music training whatsoever and be like 'the a string is slightly flat', it did take time.

I'm still not great at picking out individual notes, i can do it, it just takes a few seconds thinking, but it'll improve with practice.

Yeah my dad has perfect pitch and it mostly comes in handy for tuning and stuff.

It's insane, I can mess with the tuning of the guitar so much and in a few minutes he hands it to me and it's perfectly tuned.

Hopefully that means I might have an easier time learning it haha.
#10
Quote by pwrmax
You have to be born with it, or you can learn really good relative pitch which is almost as good. Not all as good as it seems, if you tune a guitar other than standard, you will be irritated that the open E string doesn't sound like an E.


I never got this about people with perfect pitch. I mean, if you tune a guitar to a different tuning, a half step down for example, wouldn't the person with perfect pitch just be able to call it the low Eb string and it would all be fine? I mean, it sounds an Eb, they know it's a Eb, so why not call it the low Eb string and then it wouldn't be irritating.
#11
Quote by timeconsumer09
I never got this about people with perfect pitch. I mean, if you tune a guitar to a different tuning, a half step down for example, wouldn't the person with perfect pitch just be able to call it the low Eb string and it would all be fine? I mean, it sounds an Eb, they know it's a Eb, so why not call it the low Eb string and then it wouldn't be irritating.

the kid i grew up with who had perfect pitch hated music. the one other kid in hs who was in band and actually had perfect pitch both loved and hated it. he liked being able to pick out what note was being played at any point in time. he hated the fact that they all inevitably sounded "off" guitar tunings didnt bother him so much as the strings themselves being slightly sharp or flat (especially like when you press down hard on the fretboard and it slightly sharpens the note)
#12
I know people who can sing, for example, a C on request but don't have perfect pitch in that they can't recognise any note. Most of them seemed to have learned this, often just by managing to internalize the first note of a song.

Good relative pitch is easily as useful as perfect pitch and, in many contexts, more useful. Sure, even I think it would be cool to just be able to know the notes but in any musical context you're going to have a reference note. And if you don't have a reference you can still just work on the assumption that it is in the key of C and transpose later if necessary.

Quote by demonofthenight
Considering a decent beginner violin or trombone is at least 800$, I'm guessing it's not an option for most of you.
Assuming you plan to upgrade, you really don't need to spend £500 (roughly $800) on a beginner violin and if you don't plan to upgrade then you wouldn't be buying a beginner violin.
#13
Perfect pitch and relative pitch are defined very confusingly.

Perfect pitch, according to certain research, is a freak phenom. You are born with it, and it is incredibly rare. Girl in my high school had it in band. She hated and loved it. Everytime the band was tuning though, she had to step outside because the "wavelengths" on all the instruments coming together would literally make her throw up.

Relative pitch is being able to name a note based off of a reference point. There are an infinite amount of degrees of relative pitch, which is why it can get confused with perfect pitch so easily. Most people have relative pitch.

Way to test perfect pitch: Have someone close their eyes and hit ANY note on a piano. But ONLY one. That person (if they have perfect pitch) should be able to tell you exactly what note it is and where it is on the piano. Most people cannot do this, especially most people that claim to have perfect pitch.

To test relative pitch: If the above fails, hit any chord on the piano. They should (if they have decent relative pitch) be able to tell you the quality of the chord, but probably not the exact notes in the chord (G, Bb, D for example).


And I totally agree to the above poster. I'd rather have relative, that way anything that is "slightly" out of tune won't make me hit my head against a wall.
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#14
I can usually remember the sound of the low E string and sing it out and I'm able to use it as a reference point to sing the other strings, but that's not really perfect pitch, that's more "I've been playing guitar for 8 years and have tuned the guitar so many freaking times I can remember the notes"

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#15
I think I mentioned before that psychologist Oliver Sacks recently wrote a book called "Musicophelia" which is about how music effects us physically and mentally, and what can go wrong with those perceptions as well.
According to Sacks, about 15% of the population have "perfect pitch" or "absolute pitch" as he calls it. However, that's only one aspect of music. Many people have an almost complete inability to identify pitches, or hear any difference between them.
Some perceive music generally as a painful mashup of sounds.
Others have good ability to perceive pitches, but cannot maintain rhythm, or recall melodies accurately.... They may be labeled as "tone deaf".
Also, "perfect pitch" can go bad with age and/or hearing loss.
Some folks report that the ability to recognize pitches within a certain range will go away or become inaccurate....
Also, it can be a bit of a curse. We had a friend who had absolute pitch and it made him absolutely manic about tuning his guitar. To the extent that it really hurt his performances; he would stop and re-tune during songs, spend long, painful minutes on stage getting it exactly right...
Kind of tuned the audience off....
#16
"absolute pitch is pretty rare in the general population — maybe 1 in 10,000 have it." - Oliver Sacks
Sorry bro, but that doesn't equal 15%..

Just because somebody can't recall a melody accurately does not mean they are tone deaf.. it means they aren't trained to do so. Studies show only 4% of the population (world) are tone deaf. Tone deaf is not hearing pitches properly, you perceive no difference between a middle C and a D above middle when they are played melodically.

Please double check "facts" before posting them

Read More http://www.wired.com/entertainment/music/magazine/15-10/ff_musicophilia#ixzz0vPJ1EpaQ
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#17
If I remember correctly, you have to be born with perfect pitch. Most people have relative pitch, and that usually takes a while to actually develop it and name a note at will. Now, I am able to tell a few different notes, but it might take me a while.
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#18
Perfect pitch seems to be as useful as being able to pick out all the ingredients that went into a meal.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#19
^Winner of the best analogy award!!
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#20
Quote by i am iron man
I have it, it's mostly useful for tuning guitars and working out songs in my head on long bus journeys. It's not like a tool that just makes you a better musician though, as I'm a relatively average musician. It also needs to be developed, somewhat. I wasn't able to just pick up a guitar with no music training whatsoever and be like 'the a string is slightly flat', it did take time.


For the record, you don't have perfect pitch. Perfect Pitch and Relative Pitch are two completely DIFFERENT things. Perfect pitch is an ability that very few people have, and are generally born with, though don't necessarily know it. Someone with perfect pitch will be able to determine the pitch of simple things such as equal tempered tones and non-equal tempered, "untuned" instruments, and sometimes even be able to determine the pitch of speech and other sounds.

Relative pitch on the other hand is something that can be learned, usually by singers first, that helps us recognise intervals, then moving onto full chords, harmony and melody. The easiest way to test you're own relative pitch is melodic dictation. For instance, I can sing a C on command, then attempt to sing other notes by working out their pitch relative to C.

I definitely do not have perfect pitch.
#21
I forgot to mention that age affects memory as well! I didn't have Sacks' book in front of me; read it when it came out.
#23
i'm trying to learn perfect pitch. i just took a test on the uni of california website and it said
Pure tone score
23.25
Piano tone score
23.5

Your score indicates that you may have absolute pitch, but you scored slightly below our cutoff for 'AP1'. We have stringent criteria for inclusion in this category, so this does not necessarily mean that you do not possess absolute pitch. Perhaps you would like to try our test again sometime.

Below is a graph of where your score (red dot) ranks amonst other participants.


there's a graph as well which is more usefulas it shows that i'm just before the line.
i used to be the most tone deaf person ever but i've started listening to the sounds of everything i hear (beeps in lifts, traffic light green man, car horns, etc.) and trying to figure them out. some days everything sounds like an f (i'm having a tone deaf day today and i took that test) and other days i can just "feel" the notes and i can check it and i'm right.

it's interesting to be able to do. given a few seconds, i can work out all the notes in a chord. you can't think about it much either, you just have to get a feeling from all the notes and you often get a feeling from certain notes straight away. obviously, i'm not as natural as people who develop it at a young age, but i believe i'll get there.
if you look at kids with perfect pitch on youtube, there are progressive videos of them learning more and more notes and getting faster with practice. it's something you develop for sure.
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