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aMusicComposer

Who has Perfect Pitch? Does it help you?

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You know we can't keep instruments or voices in EXACT tune we want, for example we may make a clarinet which produces A4 on 440 Hz, but it may actually sound on 440.15 Hz.

these microtonal frequencies are existed in all voices we make, but we can ignore them while they don't make any changes to our main line of music.

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9 hours ago, aMusicComposer said:

This is extremely interesting. I wonder why this is if you go flat whole singing in a choir.  Strange really.

 

Oh, all choirs tend to drift flat.  It happens when people are unsure of a note.  Overshooting the pitch somehow feels stupider than undershooting, so when people are unsure, they end up singing tentatively and singing flat.  It also happens if people are worried they are going to crack on a top note.  Or if people are just vocally tired.  They try not to over-sing, and the result is again, slightly flat.  In a choir, since you're constantly retuning to each other for blend, everyone ends up retuning to try and make the one voice that's off fit back in correctly, so by the end of an a cappella piece, if several notes have gone a little flat in individual voices during a 3 minute piece, the whole choir has recalibrated the idea of where the key is several times, and may be a tone below where they should be.  But what's interesting, is that it means everyone is hearing pitch, hearing small gradations of pitch, and  establishing that slightly off note as a new "do" and using relative pitch to decide that means "mi" is now THIS slightly off note, and "re" is now THAT slightly off note.  People who actually have perfect pitch generally only like to be in choirs with other people with perfect pitch, or sing accompanied pieces, because if someone has a vocal production issue that means a note sounds a bit squidgy, people with perfect pitch don't readjust the key to an in-between-key.  They know where the key really is, and they stay there stubbornly, and that off note sticks out like a sore thumb, but the key stays constant until the end of the piece if there are enough stubborn perfect pitchers in the group.  But if there is only one person with perfect pitch, they are the ones who sound off when they don't adjust.  And they really hate adjusting, because they know deep in their hearts that they are right.  They tend to become directors so they can use their powers for good instead.  Makes it easier to diagnose problems quickly when you can just hear a note and know it's not what you see on the page without solfeging.  So the real question is, if you asked a random musician to sing you a note, having kept them in complete musical silence for several hours beforehand, would they have the same thing happen that happens to me, and sing you an actual note, and not halfway in between?  I suspect most would.  But what does that mean about how our brain processes this stuff?  

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