#1
My teacher says that i should learn relative pitch. But I have perfect pitch, and i can hear stuff well anyway. Besides, i don't like relative pitch. It is really hard to learn, and when i hear music in a different key than it sounds weird. I still know all my scales and my theory, so why should i even learn relative pitch?
#2
well transposition is much harder if you're just using perfect pitch. honestly if i had perfect pitch i'd definitely be too lazy to learn relative, but i don't so i didn't have much of a choice really :P
#3
Absolute pitch is an insanely rare thing to have; I've only heard of autistic people who have it.

So, what you're saying is that if you hear any tone you can name exactly what it is on the spot? Did you learn how to do this?
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#4
Well, knowing that the two notes you're hearing are A and E is much less useful than knowing that they're a perfect fifth, basically. With perfect pitch, you can transcribe things easily. With relative pitch, you can play music. Both, put together, leave you really well equipped for any kind of music.
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#5
Quote by JimDawson
Absolute pitch is an insanely rare thing to have; I've only heard of autistic people who have it.

So, what you're saying is that if you hear any tone you can name exactly what it is on the spot? Did you learn how to do this?


nah man i know several people who have perfect pitch and aren't autistic
#7
Did you learn how to do this?
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#8
i don't think i learned. maybe i did, but i was really little and my mom plays piano and we would "play" together before i knew how to talk or anything. So all my life i have had this, but i can't say whether or not i learned it. My brother (who plays trumpet) also has it. Maybe it's genetic?

Also, I don't understand how relative pitch is better? when me or my brother hear music in our heads, we can write it without anything. Can you do this with relative pitch?
#12
lol of course. Another "I know my theory".

...modes and scales are still useless.


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#13
jesus ever since i posted that it's like they rise from the mud to spite me
modes are a social construct
#14
If you have perfect pitch, you already have relative pitch. You can clearly identify specific notes and distances between them. I don't see what your problem would be then.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#15
^ do you?

If you hear a chord does perfect pitch allow you to identify the chord type? (i.e. Maj 7th, m7b5, 6/9 etc?)

I don't know I'm just wondering. If you have perfect pitch does it mean you have relative pitch?

Even if you have perfect pitch what can be wrong with continuing to develop your ear further?
Si
#16
If you had perfect pitch, you could say x note is a C, and y note is a B. And if you know that x is a C and y is an B, you could also tell me that they are a major 3rd apart. If you had relative pitch you could tell me that they were a major 3rd apart, but couldn't identify the notes played (although when developed you can get pretty close).

I don't actually think that TS has perfect pitch - it just looks like an excuse to avoid learning music theory.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#17
Quote by AlanHB

I don't actually think that TS has perfect pitch - it just looks like an excuse to avoid learning music theory.


Yeah, it's sort of strange. He says he knows his theory and he knows perfect pitch ... so it seems like relative pitch should be super easy. Something doesn't add up.
#18
But if a person were able to hear a pitch and identify that pitch by ear and it is something they have been able to do since they were a child does that mean that when they hear a cluster of chords together they will have the ability to isolate each note individually or recognize the sound of a particular harmonic interval?

Of if three four or more notes are played together will being able to identify a pitch by ear automatically enable a person to identify the relationship between those notes or to hear deeply enough to identify each note within the chord.

I understand they might be able to identify the fundamental chord as it is the most prominant sound of a chord but isn't relative pitch gained through focused training and fine tuning the ear to hear these kinds of specific relationships more deepy?

If this is the case then just because he has perfect pitch does not mean he will have relative pitch by default.

Melodically I can understand what you are saying. Play an A then a C and you know it's an A and a C so you know it's a minor third. But if you play them at the same time will someone with perfect pitch simply be able to isolate those inividul sounds by default?
Si
#19
^^^ You're reading too much into it dude. Practically speaking the situation where a person knew the notes played but not the distance between them is highly unlikely considering you could identify all the notes between them also.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#20
I've been reading a lot of peer reviewed journals on Perfect Pitch lately. If you have Perfect Pitch, you should be able to identify the exact the frequency of something and reproduce it vocally. So if I was to say sing 441hz, you would be able to reproduce it.
Naming any note is easy to learn, but not very useful (unless you want to compose music on a train like me). Trust me, this is coming from a guy with tonal memory. :P
#21
Quote by macashmack
i don't think i learned. maybe i did, but i was really little and my mom plays piano and we would "play" together before i knew how to talk or anything. So all my life i have had this, but i can't say whether or not i learned it. My brother (who plays trumpet) also has it. Maybe it's genetic?

Also, I don't understand how relative pitch is better? when me or my brother hear music in our heads, we can write it without anything. Can you do this with relative pitch?

uber jealous. when i hear music in my head i just kinda listen to it and go where i want with it. its always an on the spot sort of thing. im tone deaf. completely tone deaf. it saddens me.
#22
I actually agree with 20tigers.

A small analogy.

I might be able to see red, yellow and orange...

but i need knowledge of that orange is the relationship between red and yellow.

I don't know if he hears a chord as "orange" or recognizes the "red and blue" in them.

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Last edited by xxdarrenxx at Feb 4, 2012,
#23
Quote by AlanHB
^^^ You're reading too much into it dude. Practically speaking the situation where a person knew the notes played but not the distance between them is highly unlikely considering you could identify all the notes between them also.

I don't know if you quite got what I was getting at. Darren seems to be on to what I'm saying.

Just because you can recognize any single pitch and identify it does that mean you can automatically hear deeply enough to recognize a number of tones when they are played harmonically.

It's not a matter of whether you can identify the distance between two pitches that you can identify. That seems pretty reasonable.

What I'm asking is more from a harmonic perspective. Can they actually identify all the pitches within a given chord in the first place? or can they just identify one or two of them?

For example if I played a D Maj7 chord it has a certain sound and someone with good relative pitch will be able to recognize it as a major seventh chord by it's sound but if they don't have perfect pitch they could only tell me it is a major seventh chord.

So if someone has a seemingly natural perfect pitch ability and they hadn't put in a real effort to train their ear they might be able to tell you that the chord is some kind of D chord on account of being able to hear the most prominant sound of the chord (the root) but maybe not that it is a major seventh. (Particularly if some of the chord tones are sandwiched between five other notes in a six note voicing of the chord.)

Does someone with perfect pitch automatically have the ability pick out all those chord tones without ever having trained their ear to listen that deeply.

And would they have to sit down and try to listen to each chord tone individually then identify what chord it is by identifying the individual notes and looking at the structure of the chord and the relationships as opposed to a good relative pitch which may just hear a chord as a major seventh by recognizing the unique sound a major seventh chord makes?
Si
Last edited by 20Tigers at Feb 4, 2012,
#24
Quote by 20Tigers
I don't know if you quite got what I was getting at. Darren seems to be on to what I'm saying.

Just because you can recognize any single pitch and identify it does that mean you can automatically hear deeply enough to recognize a number of tones when they are played harmonically.

It's not a matter of whether you can identify the distance between two pitches that you can identify. That seems pretty reasonable.

What I'm asking is more from a harmonic perspective. Can they actually identify all the pitches within a given chord in the first place? or can they just identify one or two of them?

For example if I played a D Maj7 chord it has a certain sound and someone with good relative pitch will be able to recognize it as a major seventh chord by it's sound but if they don't have perfect pitch they could only tell me it is a major seventh chord.

So if someone has a seemingly natural perfect pitch ability and they hadn't put in a real effort to train their ear they might be able to tell you that the chord is some kind of D chord on account of being able to hear the most prominant sound of the chord (the root) but maybe not that it is a major seventh. (Particularly if some of the chord tones are sandwiched between five other notes in a six note voicing of the chord.)

Does someone with perfect pitch automatically have the ability pick out all those chord tones without ever having trained their ear to listen that deeply.

And would they have to sit down and try to listen to each chord tone individually then identify what chord it is by identifying the individual notes and looking at the structure of the chord and the relationships as opposed to a good relative pitch which may just hear a chord as a major seventh by recognizing the unique sound a major seventh chord makes?


According to the laws of Physics, you're absolutely correct. When a chord is played the frequencies combine to make one wave form. Of course there are also instances where specific frequencies go out of phase. True perfect pitch comes from the ability to identify exact frequencies, so a chord would and should screw with their heads immensely. Feel free prove me wrong, because I've haven't studied Physics in a long time.
#25
I assume they can. They can identify specific pitches and distinguish them from other pitches. With no training they wouldn't be able to identify the names of the notes or chords however. As perfect pitch is something you're born with, and is uncommon, it's even less common to actually have a musician with perfect pitch. I've only met one person who claimed to have perfect pitch and I believed them.

As for the "frequencies" argument, it does not explain why a person with perfect pitch can pick the note irrespective of instrument be it guitwr, piano, voice etc. The differing frequencies is at the heart of why the instruments sound different from eachother.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#26
Well if you have perfect pitch and you play music, I guess it would be pretty safe to assume that you know at least the basics of intervals and chordal theory, so I think if you played someone with perfect pitch a D maj 7, they're still going to pick up the D and probably the major 7th. It's not like just because they have perfect pitch they suddenly can't hear what the chord sounds like.

ITT: People who don't have perfect pitch try and argue why not having it is better

Also I know at least 5 people with it, most of them are stuck up pompous orchestral players.
#27
When i say i know music theory, i meant i can read music. Sorry for the confusion.

Also, my teacher says that a C-G is the same and a A-E, but that isn't true at all. All those notes sound completely different.

Maybe it's sorta like i can't hear them going up and down? only one or the other?
#28
Yea that's a good analogy i guess. I hear the notes inside but not the notes together iguess
#29
Quote by macashmack
When i say i know music theory, i meant i can read music. Sorry for the confusion.

Also, my teacher says that a C-G is the same and a A-E, but that isn't true at all. All those notes sound completely different.

Maybe it's sorta like i can't hear them going up and down? only one or the other?

I think your teacher is talking in terms of intervals here. In which case he's right, they are the same.

But you have perfect pitch, so you can probably here the tiniest discrepancies in the frequency's.
#31
Well, he says that if i have relative pitch i would be able to write and improvise better.

In truth, I'm just kinda lazy and i don't want to learn it, seeing as i already have perfect pitch and i would rather spend my time on my technique than learn a skill that I don't think would really add to my ear.

But, what the hey, i guess ill try to learn some relative pitch recognition, and see if it makes my composition better
#32
and when i hear music in a different key than it sounds weird. I still know all my scales and my theory, so why should i even learn relative pitch?


Also, my teacher says that a C-G is the same and a A-E, but that isn't true at all. All those notes sound completely different.

Maybe it's sorta like i can't hear them going up and down? only one or the other?


You can hear the A-ness and E-ness of the notes, but it's also essential to be able to hear the distance between them, independently of their letter name. Most people only hear the distance between pitches - they wouldn't even care if the notes were half way inbetween letter named pitches.

First of all, you must understand that the way you are perceiving music is fundamentally different to the vast majority of your audience. This pretty much demands you try and develop reasonable relative pitch.

Secondly, in popular music performance it is considered a relatively trivial thing to hear a thing in one key, learn it in another, and then later that night perform it in another at the behest of a singer with a sore throat. You must be able to do this confidently, which won't happen until you can perceive the relative distances between notes as clearly as the letter names.

I'm sure Alan can see why relative pitch and not just perfect pitch is important regarding the second example.

What I'm asking is more from a harmonic perspective. Can they actually identify all the pitches within a given chord in the first place? or can they just identify one or two of them?


I've never known anyone with perfect pitch to have any trouble with any combination of notes they can hear, anything audible, they can name, whether dispersed across a huge range, clustered together... anything I could come up with.

To take it to a colour metaphor once again - if there's a red dot on a green page, unless the dot is so small (quiet) that you actually can't see it, you're going to know it's red. You can't not see the "redness" of red just because it's alongside green... or blue and purple and orange.


Quick illustration of importance of relative pitch -

http://www.iloveaspergers.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/rainbow.png

Look at that. Now, try and mentally shift each colour "Three colours up" and hold the correct image in your head. This is what transposing is like for people with perfect pitch without good relative pitch.

Most people with perfect pitch have decent relative pitch, but it's perfectly possible to have someone with perfect pitch unable to recognise "Happy Birthday" in two keys as the same melody.
#33
Quote by macashmack
But, what the hey, i guess ill try to learn some relative pitch recognition, and see if it makes my composition better

Could you tell the difference between a root and 1st inversion of a major triad?

Or a root position diminished triad and m7b5?
#34
Quote by Freepower

I'm sure Alan can see why relative pitch and not just perfect pitch is important regarding the second example.


Yeah, and the fact TS didn't pick it up would lead me to thing that he knows nothing about music theory.


Quote by macashmack
Well, he says that if i have relative pitch i would be able to write and improvise better.

In truth, I'm just kinda lazy and i don't want to learn it, seeing as i already have perfect pitch and i would rather spend my time on my technique than learn a skill that I don't think would really add to my ear.

But, what the hey, i guess ill try to learn some relative pitch recognition, and see if it makes my composition better


The only way I could accept that you have perfect pitch and absolute ignorance of basic intervals would be the truck driver example - where a truck driver has perfect pitch but has never played an instrument, he can hear the specific sounds and tell them apart from other ones. But he would not know the name of a note, chord, key etc. He knows nothing about music theory.

Another way that could be explained would be that you were locked in a sealed chamber whilst a note was played over an intercom proceeded by a loud voice saying "A#" or "E" and this conditioned you to link the specific sounds to the names, without any context of what they meant.

But another example which is also likely, is that you couldn't give a toss about music theory, that you just want to focus on getting fast like your guitar heros, and are looking for an excuse not to, in a music theory forum of all places. And that's pretty much what you've told us above. I'm not even going to address how perfect pitch should factor into your thinking, but you'll stay at the level of one of those two examples above without learning music theory.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#35
Quote by GoldenGuitar
According to the laws of Physics, you're absolutely correct. When a chord is played the frequencies combine to make one wave form. Of course there are also instances where specific frequencies go out of phase. True perfect pitch comes from the ability to identify exact frequencies, so a chord would and should screw with their heads immensely. Feel free prove me wrong, because I've haven't studied Physics in a long time.


If this were true, then none of us would be able to listen to a chord and pick out the specific notes.

But this is, in fact, pretty easy to do.

The new sine wave that is created by the combination of frequencies is not a simple sine wave - it is irregular. That's why we can hear the individual notes being played.
#36
Quote by HotspurJr
If this were true, then none of us would be able to listen to a chord and pick out the specific notes.

But this is, in fact, pretty easy to do.

The new sine wave that is created by the combination of frequencies is not a simple sine wave - it is irregular. That's why we can hear the individual notes being played.


You make a good point, because people with perfect pitch can hear the overtones in a note.
Last edited by GoldenGuitar at Feb 4, 2012,
#37
I had seen this thread while banned and it made my head spin - I have perfect pitch so I can give you this in terms of how my brain functions, maybe it'll lay some of this to rest.

First things first:
Quote by macashmack
ha i wish i could be mozart. Ok i guess ill just tell my teacher i ain't learning it

Don't do that. Perfect pitch and (strong) relative pitch are two wildly different skills, and ignoring one because you have the other will only hurt you.
Quote by AlanHB
If you have perfect pitch, you already have relative pitch. You can clearly identify specific notes and distances between them. I don't see what your problem would be then.

I wouldn't agree with this. At the basic level, you have the tools to formulate a solid sense of relative pitch, yes, but the ability to apply it is a different thing altogether. If TS has perfect pitch and his brain functions like mine, useful relative pitch is actually quite annoying to wrap the head around. Since I can just hear a note and know what it is, this lends itself to locking in a very absolute mindset. For example, if I hear A, D and then an E, there are three ways I could envision one hearing this:
1. Some note followed by a perfect fourth above, followed by a major second above.
2. An A followed by a perfect fourth above, followed by a major second above.
3. An A, a D and an E.

My mind would go with method 3 every single time, since each pitch to me is simply that pitch regardless of any of the intervals around it. As such, although I could hear the notes and name the intervals, the sense of relative pitch (which to me is simply hearing the notes as they relate to one another, hence the term "relative") isn't actually there. I had a professor who showed me this in college; when she was playing dictation exercises at the piano, she'd have me notate the example in a different key. I can tell you that for someone with perfect pitch, there is nothing more annoying in the entire world. If I had a strong sense of relative pitch I'd simply hear something in one key and be able to transpose it reasonably well, but the notes are too absolute to think in a different key. Essentially, I'm locked into one mindset and can't break out of that easily.
Quote by HotspurJr
Yeah, it's sort of strange. He says he knows his theory and he knows perfect pitch ... so it seems like relative pitch should be super easy. Something doesn't add up.

Again, it's not. It's difficult to explain to someone who doesn't have perfect pitch, simply because the absolute association of a pitch with a letter is difficult to work around if you're trying to think about the music in any other way.
Quote by macashmack
Also, my teacher says that a C-G is the same and a A-E, but that isn't true at all. All those notes sound completely different.

The intervals are the same, yeah, but if you have perfect pitch then you'll be hearing the notes specifically; as such it'll be hard to think of those two intervals as being the "same thing".