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Who has Perfect Pitch? Does it help you?

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I have perfect pitch but I am the only person I know with it. Does anyone here have it to some degree? if so, does it help you with composition?

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I've been labelled as having perfect pitch, but it's not very helpful for composition because all you're doing is writing down notes and indications. Perfect pitch does, however, help with tuning/intonation.

Edited by ilv
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I have it. And it personally helps me, since I basically can compose wherever I want hearing timbres and keys in my head and write it down later. It's also very helpful for aleatoric music because you can hear pitches in the world's sound.

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Monarcheon, never thought about that. I also compose in my head and hear the music in my head. If I get stuck, I would try to come up with motives by playing an instrument.

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Well, I don't have perfect pitch.

In fact, I can only hear with one ear. On my right side I am deaf, with the result that I cannot hear stereo and I never have. I wonder how music would sound when I could hear with both ears, but thinking about that would not help.

For me it is very, VERY difficult to hear multiple melodic lines at the same time. So when I listen to all music, I can only focuss on a few particular lines. Polyphonic music can be a night mare for me, since all lines sound like a mess and I get crazy by the kakophony (don't know the English word for it).

Maybe one can carefully say that I have the opposite of perfect pitch?

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12 minutes ago, Maarten Bauer said:

Well, I don't have perfect pitch.

In fact, I can only hear with one ear. On my right side I am deaf, with the result that I cannot hear stereo and I never have. I wonder how music would sound when I could hear with both ears, but thinking about that would not help.

For me it is very, VERY difficult to hear multiple melodic lines at the same time. So when I listen to all music, I can only focuss on a few particular lines. Polyphonic music can be a night mare for me, since all lines sound like a mess and I get crazy by the kakophony (don't know the English word for it).

Maybe one can carefully say that I have the opposite of perfect pitch?

 

The opposite of perfect pitch is tone deafness, which I seriously doubt you are.

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Just now, Monarcheon said:

The opposite of perfect pitch is tone deafness, which I seriously doubt you are.

 

I actually meant it in the sense of hearing all pitches and hearing just a few, but I may be wrong of course.

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Yeah, even though tone deafness is technically even rarer than perfect pitch (also thought to be nonexistent) hearing no tones is the exact opposite of all of them.

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I don´t have perfect pitch.

I can figure out the notes to some melodies that I hear, as long that they are not too complicated. 

I do think that perfect pitch helps a lot with composing. Since my degree of perfect pitch certainly helps me.

I don´t compose in my head. Rather I play the piano a lot and hum a lot. And I tend to forget what I have just been playing. 

A little unpractical when it is something worth keeping.

On the other hand I think I would go mad, if I should remember all those melodies.

 

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Tone deafness is the inability to tell subtle differences in pitch. Musicians can't be tone deaf.

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Perfect pitch is helpful in practical situations, I would think, only if one has the knowledge of theory or basic harmonic principles to correctly interpret what you are hearing. Is there a benefit to being able to pick one or more notes out of thin air if you don't know the context in which the sounds are being used? If you are trying to describe, say a four-note chord, and use all four note names because you can hear them independently and identify them - isn't it more useful in a practical way to just say 'it's a dominant 7th chord', without being able to identify the key it's in?

This is from my experience in a music conservatory: Freshman year at Peabody, I was placed into the 'Perfect pitch' Ear Training class, along with my horn player friend and about 20 piano or string players, all who actually had PP (I did/do not). I quickly learned that perfect pitch does not equal good musicianship. The professor would start every lesson with note-guessing exercises, which the PP students were great at (I only did well after it was revealed what the first pitch was, because I have good relative pitch, but not PP). But, when challenged with identifying chords or intervals, they struggled greatly and I succeeded because of the practicality of relative versus perfect in that situation. Perhaps my success in the latter type of challenges was more because of my history with theory, but I couldn't help but notice that PP only really helped them identify pitches in the air and not how they were being used. 

I hope I haven't offended anyone with this story or my sentiments, like I said, this is just my experience!

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My pitch isn't acute but you're not going to play an "E" and tell me it's Ab. No sir.

It helps becasue I can write my music without a keyboard but I can't necessarily hear clusters.  I can hear chord changes when I'm soloing.

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I have perfect pitch. I think it helps me though because you can hear what's in your head really well, and it also helps you to hear licks more clearly when you're at a jam session.

Can perfect pitch/relative pitch be achieved by training?

Edited by Arthur1124

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6 hours ago, Arthur1124 said:

I have perfect pitch. I think it helps me though because you can hear what's in your head really well, and it also helps you to hear licks more clearly when you're at a jam session.

Can perfect pitch/relative pitch be achieved by training?

 

You can’t train for perfect pitch although there are people who claim to have trained and got it later in life.You can however train and get very good relative pitch which is almost as good.

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19 hours ago, oingo86 said:

But, when challenged with identifying chords or intervals, they struggled greatly and I succeeded because of the practicality of relative versus perfect in that situation

My perfect pitch allows me to hear the two notes, then I use my knowledge of intervals that I have gained to work out the interval.

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7 minutes ago, aMusicComposer said:

My perfect pitch allows me to hear the two notes, then I use my knowledge of intervals that I have gained to work out the interval.

 

That sound way more complex than just learning the intervals by heart with mnemonics of popular songs like Twinkle, twinkle, little star is a perfect fifth etc.
I do have a very well developed relative pitch by practising and score reading while listening to the music.

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18 minutes ago, Maarten Bauer said:

That sound way more complex than just learning the intervals by heart with mnemonics of popular songs like Twinkle, twinkle, little star is a perfect fifth etc

It is complicated, but I like testing myself...

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On 02/10/2017 at 8:39 PM, Maarten Bauer said:

In fact, I can only hear with one ear. On my right side I am deaf, with the result that I cannot hear stereo and I never have. I wonder how music would sound when I could hear with both ears, but thinking about that would not help.

For me it is very, VERY difficult to hear multiple melodic lines at the same time. So when I listen to all music, I can only focuss on a few particular lines. Polyphonic music can be a night mare for me, since all lines sound like a mess and I get crazy by the kakophony (don't know the English word for it).

Maybe one can carefully say that I have the opposite of perfect pitch?

I would never have guessed just from listening to your music. In fact, I think it's amazing how you compose so well while only being able to hear through one ear.

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1 hour ago, aMusicComposer said:

I would never have guessed just from listening to your music. In fact, I think it's amazing how you compose so well while only being able to hear through one ear.

 

Thank you! It feels very good that somebody appreciates your music. :blush:

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I don't have, but I try to develop my ears. In this way, I can find keys or chords of songs faster than before.

Also, having good ears helps us to improvise better, I'm a guitar player and I use backing tracks available over the internet. You know, lots of them didn't note "Chord Progression" and they only wrote key. For example you find some "D minor" backing track, which really doesn't have any information about chords, but with good and trained ears, you can find chords and improvise.

And in composition, as I said, finding progressions/keys of famous songs helps us compose better (I always try to get inspired by famous composers!).

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I definitely don't have perfect pitch, but since I'm a singer, I know where my voice switches from chest voice to head voice.  It moves around a bit from day to day, if I have a cold, etc., but it gets me close to right.  From there you can relative pitch your way to any other note you want to find.  I just tried an experiment.  Tried to find the D natural above middle C.  What I guessed was actually an Eb.  Can I find the right notes out of nothing perfectly?  No.  But if you want to start a piece, a cappella, without a pitch pipe, I can usually find close enough to the right key to keep the basses from bottoming out or the sopranos from running out of high notes, as can many singers if they bother to think about it.  What I find interesting, is that even if I am a step away from the note I'm looking for, whenever I try this experiment, I am actually on a note.  I'm never between two notes.  I'd be curious to know how that part of our brain processing works.  If I can't always pick a particular pitch, what is it that my brain does that means I at least pick... some pitch?

 

Edited by pateceramics

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14 hours ago, pateceramics said:

If I can't always pick a particular pitch, what is it that my brain does that means I at least pick... some pitch?

 

This is probably because you do not sing noyes between pitches. Your brain probably knows what to do with your mouth to get a certain pitch, so it will be used to getting a proper pitch. Does this make any sense at all?

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That's my question.  How is it that my brain knows enough to produce a pitch vs. the micro-intervals the fall between pitches in Western music without any outside reference for a starting point, and yet is NOTable to produce a specific pitch, say, middle C, on demand.  It would seem that both of those problems would require the same mental skill set:  the ability to recognize pitch by frequency.  Here's the scenario.  You wake up in the morning.  You have just slept for 8 hours.  You haven't heard any music.  You don't wake to an alarm that has a pitched beep.  You walk to your keyboard, try to sing middle C, and check it against the instrument.  You discover that you have sung a C# instead of a C natural, but your C# is on pitch.  It's not halfway in the space between C# and D natural.  To make a visual metaphor, perfect pitch is the ability to pick the blue crayon when you are asked.  If I don't have the mental wiring to pick the blue crayon on request, how is it that I can consistently pick the truest red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple from a box of 120 crayons that includes all the shades in between.   I can give you the straightest blue in the box without hesitation, not the blue-blue-green, not the blue-purple-purple.  I can always reduce the larger set to the classic box of five colors.  And yet, I can't consistently tell those colors from each other.  An interesting puzzle. And it's not a question of being used to singing on pitch, because choirs drift slowly flat all the time, and if the rest of the choir is drifting, you have to drift with them. So I'm totally capable of singing a red-orange-orange note.  And yet, the starting point, absent pitch-related input, is always smack-on red.  

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Often I hear a sound and know what it is, to around a tone, but it's not perfect pitch. I have difficulty in following many melodic lines at the same time because I tend to always concentrate on details, but I try to develop my relative pitch a lot by playing what I hear and imagining what rapports of chords were used in a song etc.

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