One of my music teacher told me that a lot of great musicians and conductors( Karajan, Abbado, etc...) have perfect pitch. But the thing that suprised me is that he told me that conductors , while all the instruments are playing, can say this :"2nd horn, your F is a bit flat.The violinst behind the concert master, your B is a bit sharp"
I have perfect pitch (I'm lucky) but I haven't got perfect pitch like them(I'm not to compare myself to the bests musicians)!I hear the note's name when it is played.M'y teacher told me that they eloborated their perfect pitch.How did they elaborate it?
Is there any exercices to get a perfect pitch like this one ?
I think you’re talking about two different things: perfect pitch and relative pitch. The first thing Robert Lipsett asked me after I played for him years back was, ‘You have perfect pitch, don’t you?’ He somehow could tell I did (from his experience), but honestly, I feel relative pitch is more important. I know a major concertmaster and a few top players who do not have perfect pitch, but they’re doing quite well for themselves. Having an understanding of relative intonation and the different intervals is how you can make your playing sound more in tune. Same with rhythm - it’s all relative. Studying piano and playing chamber music can really open up your ears to what one noted first violinist from a quartet calls, ‘vertical intonation.’
What those conductors did was learn all the transpositions for the various instruments so they knew that if they heard an out of tune concert Bb they could tell the 2nd horn (the person playing that note in the score) that the F they were playing is a bit flat.
"...conductors , while all the instruments are playing, can say this :"2nd horn, your F is a bit flat..."
Perfect pitch is worthless in comparison to really fantastic relative pitch. You might be able to sing a perfect A4 without a reference, but if you can't hear inner voices and the functional relation between notes, PP is just a parlor trick. What these conductors have in common is years of very through ear training experience. With such a developed ear, PP is not even necessary to do what you describe in your post.
Every instrument and musician has their own sound. It's relatively easy to pick out the exact person.
I prefer to say Absolute Pitch, since we tend to confuse Perfect Pitch ("you are playing a wrong note") with perfect intonation (your F# is a bit flat").
Absolute Pitch is vodka flavored with coal tar.
I have to disagree with a lot of the comments above. From the good musicians that I have met, those with good relative pitch often don't have perfect pitch, but those with perfect pitch always have good relative pitch.
Can be useful, but also a curse. I remember back when I was doing Districts and All-State-- apparently the concertmaster had perfect pitch, but a quarter-tone off the standard. So he had to tune that out (heh) and rely on relative pitch. Obviously managed, but can't have been fun.
Keep in mind that the conductor is not hearing the out-of-tune notes on their own, but in the context of the entire orchestra. Anyone with good relative pitch will be able to hear when someone is out of tune with the ensemble. The score tells the conductor who is playing that note out of tune.
I make no claim to have "perfect pitch," absolute pitch" and maybe even "biased relative pitch." But for 45 years I claimed friendship with master recording engineer, Stan Ricker and through him I witnessed some of the wonders of perfect, absolute pitch. Although he died over 4 years ago his name and reputation still leave a big mark on Google.
I agree James. There’s no question that all great musicians have great ears. I took part in a study of people with perfect pitch for the University of California (San Francisco) many years ago. They tested me to make sure I in fact had perfect pitch (I scored 100% on the test) and then they gave me a group of questions to answer. So I am in no way ‘shaming’ perfect pitch. :)
It's good to be born with these things...if you can add a photographic memory to your perfect, absolute and relative pitch you're in good shape. One such musician of the 20th century who had all these things in legendary abundance was Dmitri Shostakovich.
Mr. Mozart also had a photographic memory when it came to music, in addition to all of those other attributes.
Nate - he was also near abused by his father to develop those into something useful.
"It seems to me that nowadays there is a culture of perfect pitch shaming"
”I do not have anything resembling perfect pitch. If you play a single note and ask me to name it, I'm often off as much as a third or a fourth.“
There seems to be a fairly strong consensus that absolute pitch cannot be taught, therefore must be innately present in some (if not all!) children with no musical schooling. If such a child has learned a song from the media they might naturally reproduce it at the correct pitch without prompting. Has nobody ever done this experiment?
Perfect pitch can be learned up to a certain age, hence why kids who sang in choirs very early in their lives have a higher occurence of PP.
Perfect pitch doesn't even guarantee musical talent. The only person I've known for sure who had it wasn't musical. There was a piano in the back room, but he didn't play it.
This is an area that really needs its words redefined. Perfect pitch is taken to mean 'always playing in tune', 'recognizing the name of a note', 'inability to adjust pitch to harmonize (just intonation)' etc.
It is definitely true that the term "perfect pitch" is used in many different meanings. For example Elisabeth Matesky on this forum once used it in the following active meaning: someone tells you a note name, e.g., "the second C# on the E-string" and you have to immediately nail that note, without using crutches like going to third position, then replace 3rd finger on C# by 1st finger, then do a Flesch arpeggio on one string.
Now, I have the experience of teaching my child perfect pitch at the age of 4-5. And I must say that perfect pitch is one of the most usefull things a player can have. My girl plays very well in tune for her age. That is if we define perfect pitch to be the ability to name notes and here that they are in good intonation.
Elise - interesting!
"..that people with perfect pitch have a harder time playing in tune with a piano!"
@Elise - I recall going to an early music performance and, during the intermission, speaking to one of the singers. I asked if the singers had any particular problem staying in tune with the A-415 tuning. She told me that the singers did not have a problem but that the violinist playing next to her had perfect pitch and was having a lot of trouble playing in tune.
"Ideally, if you want to be the greatest musician, you’d have some inherent natural ability and perfect pitch"
"Elise, I think this is another example of the confusion between Perfect Pitch and perfect (pure?) intonation.
"Elise, I think this is another example of the confusion between Perfect Pitch and perfect (pure?) intonation.
In my book, "perfect intonation" is not fixed! It fine-tunes intervals according to context. E.g. in a G-B-D chord: as a dominant to a C-E-G chord, the B is a leading note to C, so higher; as a final chord, the B can be a "pure" third above G, so lower. I have even found myself my moving a finger on a long held note when the surrounding harmonies change.
Then what is the difference between 'perfect intonation' and 'relative intonation'? I thought the latter did the same thing?
Cotton, hole in one! I had a very reliable absolute pitch, which was a nightmare if I was trying to play on or with an instrument that was tuned otherwise, e.g. certain pianos. Now my bsolute pitch is not as reliable, I find I could do with relative pitch with a reasonable length of memory.
'perfect intonation' and 'relative intonation'?
Sometimes I can fall out of tune and never realize as every notes I play after the 1st out of tune note are played equally out of tune, but technically I suppose, in tune relative to the new arbitrary scale I just unconsciously set for myself, that until I play an open string. Think of it as starting out at A440, and then slowly drifting away to A445, A448, A451... Therefore I am playing in tune while being out of tune! Drives my teacher, who has PP crazy. I assume that someone with PP (aka absolute pitch) has the ability to perceive a big difference between minute frequency variations, and those are the ones in 10,000, who when randomly asked to play an A427Hz can do it within 1cent without a relative reference note.
Some Perfect Pitchers I know don't really listen and are happy if a note falls into one or other semitone; but the ones who really listen will suffer!
Elise asked what is the difference between 'perfect intonation' and 'relative intonation'. To me ‘perfect intonation’ is the ability to play the right note frequencies within a musical key and context as defined by the ‘relative intonation’, which is the frequency gap (distance) between notes within a key and context. Does that make any sense?
As one with "perfect pitch", I will assert that it can be either a blessing or a curse. There are so many times I've wished that I could easily play with 430 A intonation, or play a B-flat trumpet, without needing to transpose, or constantly reminding myself that what I'm hearing needs to be adjusted from what is on the printed page.
I usually think I know what perfect (absolute) pitch and relative pitch are, until I read other people's explanations! One thing I'm fairly convinced of is that nobody learns their doh-re-mi in Hz, so they can have no idea of how A440 relates to A427 unless they've learned both sounds from experience, or that a semitone is 5.9% and are good at calculating tonal fractions!
I made a video about perfect pitch and doing a perfect pitch challenge with my sister! https://youtu.be/2Amp0OZVGp8
Absolute perfect pitch, in terms of pitch memory -- the ability to sing any note named and name notes that you hear -- is vastly more common in people who speak a tonal language (regardless of race), suggesting that there is an extremely strong environmental component to sensitizing the ear and brain to pitch.
My father, who became a church organist in later life, told me that matching the key of the hymn to the pitch the congregation felt most comfortable with is an essential item in the organist's tool kit, as is the ability to instantly change key if the congregation should drift flat (not an infrequent occurrence!). When accompanying a choir it is of course the choir's responsibility under the direction of the choir master to stay with the organ pitch.
That sounds like a time when some of us were playing guitars at a care home. The residents, who were singing along, drifted at least two semitones during the course of one song, and we had to keep transposing to keep up.
The perceived pitch of a train whistle is of course dependent on its speed and whether it is coming towards or receding from the observer ;) This reminds me of an orchestral rehearsal some years ago when our new leader had (to her) the brilliant idea of giving a clear A 440 to the orchestra by waving a loud electronic tuner in an arc from one side of the orchestra to the other. During the coffee break she was treated to an extempore discourse on the Doppler effect by a bassist who happened to be a university physics lecturer. Subsequent tunings reverted to the traditional oboe.
"Anyway the ability to match your intonation to the group/piano...I have found that very useful in real life! Perfect pitch is very cool, though!"
I didn't understand relative pitch until I started playing the violin. Having perfect pitch and playing the piano did not make me aware of how pitch worked at all.. I think perfect pitch isn't a black & white thing, rather there are different levels. You can have the ability to name the note which is different to being able to transcribe multiple notes simultaneously which is different to being able to pick which instrument is off in an ensemble by how much. I've definitely become more refined over time just like anything else in music.
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