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Perfect pitch

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Corbow, Mar 15, 2005.

  1. Corbow


    Mar 15, 2005
  2. Dont do it, there was a post about this awhile ago, its a huge scam!
  3. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    It's not really a scam, it's just not a shortcut. It's marketed like it's a presto change-o overnight type magical method of obtaining 'perfect' pitch, but the truth is, to obtain a strong functional ear, it's going to take a lot of work, not matter what system you're using. The perfectpitch.com method is a fairly well known one and for many will greatly help in terms of remembering pitches. But remembering pitches is only part of the equation, you have to know how pitches work, and be able to hear functional harmony for your ear to truly be useful. So, the basic gist of the program is that you learn to associate tones with colors, whether or not that will work for you is debatable, but no matter what it will take a long time to get real results, so be wary when people cry foul simply because they might have tried the program for a month and not achieved anything.

    There is an ongoing debate whether you can actually 'acquire' 'perfect' pitch. Personally, I think you can. However, what you can acquire, isn't necessarily the same as someone who is 'born' with it. But through rigid study and training, I believe you can elevate your ear to be able to remember pitches and identify pitches that you hear. That said, 'perfect' pitch isn't everything, and it is nothing without a strong 'relative' pitch to support it. Additionally, having the best ear in the world isn't worth much if you don't know what you're hearing. So, don't believe the hype surrounding 'perfect' pitch, but don't let that dissuade you from exploring your ear, and pitches and tonal relationships. It's hard work, but through it you can improve your ear greatly.

    A personal example, I can sing low F, now, I didn't used to be able to, but now I can, in theory, knowing low F, and having a strong relative pitch(which I do) I should be able to sing any note without having a reference pitch. can I? maybe if I stand there and think about it for a bit, but the potential is there, I just don't practice it as much as I should in order to really improve. Now here's the interesting part, I can SING low F, but can I really HEAR it? Like, My vocal chords and throat muscles know what to do to make a low F sound, but that doesn't necessarily mean I'm HEARING it. The key component to ear training, in my opinion, is developing your 'inner ear' There are many many ways to go about doing this, so suffice to say, doing a search for ear training practices should help, and including ear training into your practice regimen is invaluable
  4. The Clap

    The Clap

    Jan 5, 2004
    Scottsdale, AZ
    I had a copy of their material a while ago, and Wrong Robot hit most of the relevant points. I listened to the first few sessions, but by the time we were assigning colors and adjectives to notes as a way to differentiate the pitches in the same way you might tell the difference between colors... I called it quits. Not to say that that's a bad thing, but it sure seemed a time consuming and uninteresting activity compared to actually playing the bass.

    The program seemed likely to give one the ability to recognize pitches of a particular timbre, like on the piano, or guitar, but the ability for that sense of pitch to work as well with different instruments and timbres was questionable.
  5. Lorenzini


    Dec 31, 2004
    Los Angeles
    Certain notes I can hear. I can hear a Bb every time. I can hear a C and an F, and sing 'em too, but a Gb? Nope! Not right off the bat. I have to have a reference pitch of Bb, C or F, or maybe Eb, (whether I sing it myself or play it on my instrument) to get Gb.

    I think this is because Ii'm so damned used to playing those notes that I can just pick em out. I can sing it and hear it, it's kind of weird. I didn't work at it to acquire this. If I worked at it I might get a strong relative pitch, but I have no desire to do that. I can recognize intervals and play them so what else do I want?

    So if you want this, get EXTREMELY familiar with your instrument and play a heck of a lot of music, whether you're in the car, doing chores around the house.. whatever.
  6. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    Since perfect pitch isn't a techniqe, we'll move this to General Instruction.

    Have a nice day.
  7. Garry Goodman

    Garry Goodman

    Feb 26, 2003
    Perfect Pitch is a technique.If it was hard, I certainly wouldn't have it. It takes practice,but not much.
    It is developing awareness.If you stop to think how many times you play the note "A" for instance in a day,week ,or month, you would realize you already have perfect pitch. I can show anyone the process-it's easy and free. I can't see spending a lot of money on learning how to have perfect pitch.IMO, It is helpful ,but not necesscary in playing something the moment you hear it. It is great when you sight read and want to hear what you are reading.
  8. mbeall


    Jun 25, 2003
    I'm game. What's your process for praticing awareness?

  9. lowphatbass

    lowphatbass ****

    Feb 25, 2005
    west coast
    Truly PERFECT pitch comes from God, you are born with it, or you are not. It is very possible with hard work to learn pitch, and be able to memorize what all 12 notes sound like, but it is not the same, and it never will be the same. A vocalist with perfect pitch on a gig where the house piano is couple cents flat will have a rough go of it!
  10. Garry Goodman

    Garry Goodman

    Feb 26, 2003
    Thanks for your post Mike. The process involves having a pitch reference source. A didgital piano will work. As you know there is A 440 Hz, and many use A 442 Hz. It isn't critical at first.

    Here's the process in a nutshell:

    1) Be in a place you can listen without distraction.
    2) listen to A 440. I use an old Seiko Metronome with an A440 tone. Listen to the tone for 10 minutes, even if it drives you crazy.You can use a piano.
    3) After 10 minutes stop the source of the pitch.
    4) you can still hear the note in your head,so concentrate on hearing and remembering that note for 2 minutes.Can you still hear it?
    5) play the A440 again and check if the sound in your head was the same as this note. How did you do?
    6) listen to the note from the source for 5 minutes.
    7) stop the source note and remember the note in your head for 5 minutes.Hum it, think it,hear it and watch the clock to make sure you do this uninterrupted for 5 minutes.
    8) keep this up until you can hear the A440 in your head with out checking the note for an entire 15 minutes.Always check the pitch with the source after 15 minutes to see if you were "hearing" it correctly.

    You can always use relative pitch to find any note once you can hear the A440 in your head.

    9) build this technique up so you listen to the A440 source,stop playing it,and remember the pitch.try getting it to the point where you can walk away and keep the A going in your head for 20,30 45 minutes before you check it with the source note.

    you should become obsessed with this until you" hear A all day".You are learning to keep the note always playing in your head.While you do this think of songs you know in the key of A and hear the note and the song.

    There is more to the process,but this will get you started.
  11. +1

    It's probably why I cannot, under any circumstances, for any reason without completely and totally forever losing my sanity:
    enter a karaoke club. :eek:
  12. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002

    This is still in debate actually. Absolute perfect 100% pitch, may still be something we're all born with, only for most of us it's not utilized at all(because when you think about it, there is no real reason to develop such an ability), and withers away. case in point, my friends roommate HAD perfect pitch all through his childhood, and it was solid, then he stopped doing music for something like 6 years, and literally lost his perfect pitch. But there is still remnants of it, but it's no longer what you'd call perfect pitch. As far as I'm concerned, absolute pitch is wrought from having superior memory facilities, and/or a keen perception throughout childhood. Which, yes, may be a genetic trait, but I don't believe that kids are born with A=432 or A=480 ...etc.
  13. lowphatbass

    lowphatbass ****

    Feb 25, 2005
    west coast
    I have no problem believing that "The Gift" may actually be the ability to use what we all may have lying dormant in our brains.
    I think when we figure out what the need for perfect pitch originally was(i.e.recognizing voices, etc.)we may be able to better identify it. I know some people who naturally, have VERY good relative pitch that can almost be "spot-on" when they've been playing alot, but I don't think it's the same. Unless your friends roomate got into an accident or damaged their brain somehow I don't see how they could "lose" truly perfect pitch, they may forget what the letter name for the pitch is, but would still recognize it, the same way someone with truly photographic memory is able recall the date and year of every haircut they've ever had.
  14. Garry Goodman

    Garry Goodman

    Feb 26, 2003
    IMO ,perfect pitch isn't about reproducing a note percfectly with your vocal chords.It isn't about being in tune. It is the ability to hear a note and basically identify it.If you think about how many times you play and hear your E,A,D,G string , you can look at your bass and "hear" the open strings being plucked in your head.

    IMO, the point of developing perfect pitch is so when you hear a passage, a tune, a phrase you can know exactly what it is.I worked at being able to hear "A" in my head for 5, 15 ,45 minutes all the way to being able to hear it at anytime. Sometimes it takes a minute to hear the note, other times it is instant. I know a musician who can hear anything instantly. You play him a chord and he responds instantly with the correct answer-
    He says he developed the technique through much practice.
  15. millard


    Jul 27, 2004
    My experiences say that you can acquire this if you want it.

    Years ago BC (before children), I got into learning about wine and wine tasting. If you've ever read some of the descriptions of wine, you've probably said "where do these people get this crap?". After some time spent in real practice, e.g., sniffing various fruits and flowers and other scents frequently associated with various wines as well as sniffing wines that had these aromas, I developed the ability to find the aromas on my own.

    It became sort of a perpetual test -- taste the wines and write down my descriptions then go look at what the experts said to see how our notes compared. By heightening my awareness of the aromas and practicing my memory of them and then learning about them in context, I developed something akin to "perfect sniff". I even had a short stint as a freelance wine writer.

    AC (after children) when my free time to sip at wine bars dropped dramatically, so did my ability to describe a wine. I can still pick out things that other people don't notice at first, but it is no where near as sharp as it once was.

    Nose or ears, they are just sense perceptors for your brain.

    I guess that's my anecdotal way of suggesting that if you start on any sort of pitch-based learning exercise, that you make it part of your regular practice or much of your effort will waste away over time.

  16. I have never used the "perfect pitch" program I have / still am using the Gary Willis "Ultimate Ear Training" program. From what I remember the PP program was fairly expensive, I bought the GW program from Amazon for about $20.00. It comes with the book and a CD. The program is fairly simple and Gary being a bassist explains the process very well.
    I do think that perfect pitch is a God given talent that some people just have, but as with many other things He gave me the ability to learn, be diligent, and perservere. I can have PP also.

    Peace - don't let the B string hit your backside.
  17. Correlli


    Apr 2, 2004
    New Zealand
    I used the perfect pitch course and found that each frequency or pitch affects the enivonment in differents ways. I still can't recognise a pitch by ear though.
  18. Basshole

    Basshole Banned

    Jan 28, 2005
    Uh, I don't believe in God. Does that mean I'm entirely mistaken about my actually having perfect pitch?
  19. lowphatbass

    lowphatbass ****

    Feb 25, 2005
    west coast
    I don't know. The portion of that statement that may have been more generally acceptable was the being "born with it or not" part.
    Possibly poor posting on my part, my apologies to any I may have offended.
    MY opinion is that if you have TRULY perfect pitch then you visualize tones like artists see colours, my belief on where this comes from is not important here.