Perfect pitchers - equal temperament?
To start with, I don't have perfect pitch.
When a person with perfect pitch hums a, say, D, how does the D relate to the A in 440?
When a person with perfect pitch tells me that my open D is too sharp, does she mean that I am out of tune relative to the tuning fork (down a 5th), or to an ideal piano in equal temperament?
She said she doesn't know what I'm talking about. She's born with it. Can evolution equip a human with a system created in modern time?
If it is not equal temperament, what is it then?
I can't directly answer your questions, but just say that the D string on the violin is a tiny bit lower than the D on the piano if the violin is tuned in perfect fifths and the A on the violin is the same as the A on the piano.
The capacity is 'evolution equipped' but the ability is learned. So it's ET if the person grew up in ET environment.
The counterpart to equal temperament is called "just" intonation, and just intonation varies by key.
Here is an interesting article of the neuroscience of perfect pitch:
Most violinists have good ear due to years of experience playing in tune. So as long as you are able to play in tune (whether solo, chamber or big ensemble, or with piano) you are set, and need not worry about these matters.
This makes me so confused - now it's like… to a perfect pitcher trained up in 440 equal tempered piano, she would feel very uneasy (or "out of tune") in other systems, such as pythagorean tuned strings quartet, or songs in baroque tuning?
How would you even tune yourself to pythagorean or just intonation? As far as I know, perfect pitch isn't that precise.
That's not what I meant. I know how temperaments work. Isn't he asking if people with perfect pitch can tell them apart note-by-note?
"When a person with perfect pitch tells me that my open D is too sharp, does she mean that I am out of tune relative to the tuning fork, or to an ideal piano in equal temperament?"
One sentence in the article George Huhn cites claims perfect pitchness occurs in only aboubt 0.01 per cent of people - that is one in 10,000. I knew one such person; my friend, SR, had been a Tone Master recording engineer, who lost that job in his 50s because health insurance for his family cost more than his employer could afford. SR's photo had even appeared on the cover of the recording engineering journal. Even after SR left the recording industry for a job at the research facility where I was working, Leonard Slatkin reached back and had SR travel to Moscow with the Saint Louis Symphony to record their concerts there over 20 years ago. Even though I had moved away be then I saw SR playing the bass there with some St. Louis players in Moscow on evening ABC TV news during some time the orchestra members were relaxing.
I assume that the optimal way to tune for general purposes is in slightly tight fifths, just enough so we still cannot hear that it is not 100% pure. Could someone please tell me what the normal threshhold for humans is in terms of cents (is that what is used to measure)? So for example if I tune to A 442, can my D be +3 cents or even more? The D in equal temperament is + how much?
Piano tuners live by the beat of intervals to make it all equal.
Most musicians can hear the difference between two tones starting around 4-6 cents. Your average Joe Schmoe might be able to hear something like a difference of 7-10 cents. That's between two tones played one after another, though. It might be more obvious with harmonic intervals.
Interesting fact: Even untrained people can distinguish an 1 hertz difference.
Thank you all for the advice. truly.
Cotton, so you reckon for tuning perfect fifths in double stops, 3 cents tightness is ok then?
I'm curious if people fully understand cents. I read a lot of people on a lot of forums glibly telling us how many they can hear. Food for thought - what's low G on a fiddle 215Hz? 1 cent at that frequency is 0.124 Hz. In other words the beat would occur once every 8 seconds. 3 cents would be a beat every 3 seconds, approximately.
When a person with perfect pitch hums a note, of course they'll have to have a well trained voice to convey anything meaningful. What a person with perfect pitch hears and what they sing aren't necessarily going to be the same thing! Afaik, perfect pitch is just eidetic memory, so if they learnt it from a musical instrument, it will be ET.
'It's difficult to understand the question here. Assuming you're asking - if I tune my A to 442 and D to a fifth relative to that, how much would I be off an equal temperament D tuned to 440? Why would you ask that?'
David: thank you. I think I pretty much got the picture now!!!
I always learn something new here on v.com. This is the first time I have ever heard of, "cents", in music. I was a music major for several years, been around many musicians and professors and never has anyone mentioned "Cents"! I'm going to look more into this! What an amazing discussion!
This discussion has been archived and is no longer accepting responses.