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Pitch recognition in your sleep ?!

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by cowsgomoo, Sep 2, 2004.


  1. cowsgomoo

    cowsgomoo gone to Longstanton Spice Museum

    Feb 8, 2003
    UK
    I woke up this morning with a song in my head... it was 'Letter From America' by a scottish duo called 'The Proclaimers'...

    and I don't have perfect pitch, but reasonable relative pitch recognition skills...

    in my normal waking state, if I hum a tune, I sometimes try and keep humming the root note until I can find the recording and see how accurate I am... mostly i'm not correct

    so when I woke up with the song in my head, I just thought 'let's see how close I was...'

    and I was exactly right! not even slightly flat or sharp...

    so I was wondering if maybe there's a possibility that perfect pitch could be nurtured if you could get yourself into the right state of consciousness.... or maybe getting the correct pitch was a coincidence?

    what do you reckon? :bassist:
     
  2. christoph h.

    christoph h.

    Mar 26, 2001
    Germany
    well, to me it happened that a few days after actually
    hearing a song i tried to play it on the piano as i remembered and "heard" it in my head.

    when i later compared my "head-version" with the original i noticed - like you - that i had hit the correct notes in the correct key.

    but i don't really believe it has something to do with me slowly getting perfect pitch. i think my brain simply remembered the correct note.
     
  3. Petebass

    Petebass

    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    I liken perfect pitch to singing - It can indeed be nurtured, but you have to have a bit of a talent for it in the first place.

    I used to work with a keyboard player who had perfect pitch. He used to be able to tell us what note was being played by the engine on the touring bus. He started teaching me and our guitarist how to do it, and we we were getting pretty good at it. Not as good as him though...........

    Fast forward several years and I'm learning how to apply the same principle to recignise the pitch/frequency of feedback squeals.

    At the end of the day it's just practice. Keep checking your guesses and eventually ou start getting them right. However, I've found it's a skill that you lose very quickly if you don't make regular use of it.
     
  4. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    UK
    This IS silly, but it works... go round your house tapping vases and picture frames etc, find out what note they ring and stick a post it on the object. Then each time you talk past it, hum the note, tap the object and see if you are right.
    I have a vase on my kitchen windown that makes a clear B, if I dont think about it I can hum a B nearly every time :)

    I got this idea from a mate of mine whome I lent a spare bass to about two years ago. He thought that all musicians could tell a note when they heard it, so he sat at home and taught himself to recognise pitches! I tested him thoroughly on cups, bottles, all sorts, then referred back to the bass and he was right in like 90% of cases. I was astounded!

    Your brain can be taught to recognise pitch the same way it can recognise colour, it's just takes ages.
     
  5. Vorago

    Vorago (((o)))

    Jul 17, 2003
    Antwerp, Belgium
    I had a weird experience a couple of nights ago...the day before I was trying to play along a Jamiroquai tune from 'Return of the space cowboy' but I couldn't find the exact notes...I went to sleep and I dreamt of the tune, me playing it correctly...When I woke up I took up my bass and played the tune along, 100% correct! Pretty cool :D
     
  6. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Going on the whole story, I suspect that this isn't about learning perfect pitch, but rather discovering what your singing range is!!
    So, my theory would be, that you have the same natural singing range as the singer(s) in the Proclaimers - and not with other tunes where you have been inaccurate!

    So - in bands, we have often had to change the key of non-original songs to fit the singer, to fit into their range - this has meant transposing up a fourth or down a third etc etc..
     
  7. wingnutkj

    wingnutkj

    Mar 27, 2003
    Scotland
    Poor guy....

    ;)
     
  8. christoph h.

    christoph h.

    Mar 26, 2001
    Germany
    could you share that principle/method? i'm always interested in training my ears...
     
  9. Petebass

    Petebass

    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    Well there wasn't really anything formal about our methods. We always had acoustic guitars close by. We started of trying to guess what note the bus engine was playing, then using a guitar to check it. We just kept doing it until we our strike rate improved.

    Later we would listen to the radio or CD's and try to guess the chords of the songs being played. The radio worked better because the songs were more random and there was less chance that we'd played the songs before. I personally was focusing on the bass note as you'd expect. Interestingly, the guitarist was doing the same.

    Towards the end of that tour, we got to the stage where somone would sing a note and we'd be guessing what note it is. This was particularly difficult, but in time I feel we could have got good at it.

    We had a lot of spare time on this tour. And we were bored when we weren't gigging. What started as a way to keep us occupied ended up giving me skills that I still use to this day. I do a lot of fill-in typs gigs (I believe you call them side-man), often playing songs I've heard but never played before, relying on my ability to hear and recognise notes and intervals. I get more gigs than guys I know who are much better bass players but who can't wing it the way I can. I also get a lot of last-minute type gigs because these skills greatly reduce the amount of time it takes to learn new songs.

    But I still wouldn't say I've got perfect pitch.
     
  10. christoph h.

    christoph h.

    Mar 26, 2001
    Germany
    thanks, pete...

    but yes, you either have perfect pitch or you don't. from what i've heard, i'm rather blessed that i "only" have relative pitch skills. most perfect-pitch-people :) i know say it gets on their nerves very often.

    but still, having great ears will open up great possibilities as a musician!
     
  11. cb56

    cb56

    Jul 2, 2000
    Central Illinois
    I would say the fact that this happened and you are interested in taking it further is all the reason you need to try to build on it. My suggestion is to start doing a lot of ear training excersices on your own. Playing along with recordings by ear is a tool that I used when I was a only 12 or 13 that helped develop my ear. Don't just play the bass line but also melody lines horn part etc... and don't be discouraged if it all dosn't happen right away. Don't know how old you are this stuff happened to me at an early age. Music theory classes will also help.
     
  12. cowsgomoo

    cowsgomoo gone to Longstanton Spice Museum

    Feb 8, 2003
    UK
    i'm 33, and I got my degree in music in 1994... so while I keep trying to learn new stuff & develop, I felt my ear & theory development reached a kind of a plateau some time ago... in the past i've tried the David L Burge Perfect Pitch stuff, but I just ended up deciding I didn't have perfect pitch & that was that... I felt it was snake oil & that relative pitch & perfect pitch were separate things - which is something I definitely intend to reappraise...

    incidentally... I was wondering if any tinnitus-suffering bass players here had ever turned the constant ringing in their ears to their advantage by using it to calibrate pitches? :) or does the tone vary? or is it too indistinct?
     
  13. Petebass

    Petebass

    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    Actually I've found most degree qualified musicians have poor ears because it's not part of the course. They can read music like it's english, but have trouble hearing and interpreting.

    I have very mild tinitus (I caught it before it got too bad). It rings at 8k, which is a B note. I don't find it all that useful for picking notes, but it's helps a little to identify the frequency of feedback squeals, especially frequencies which are direct octaves (ie 4k and 2k).
     
  14. cb56

    cb56

    Jul 2, 2000
    Central Illinois
    That's cool that you already have the theory education. Didn't know from your original post how old you were. I've been told that I have perfect pitch but I can tell you that what I have is not perfect, but pretty damn close. If I try to tell the pitch of a train whistle for example I usually nail it. But if I'm wrong it's usually by only 1/2 step. Once I play a note to compare it by on an instrument, forget it I'll nail it 100% That includes single notes,chords, tone clusters what have you.

    BTW please don't take this as bragging or showing off or anything. I rarely talk about this, but you seem interested in this and I like to be helpful. All I can go by is my own experience. I think having this experience as a teenager helped. Not sure if the wires need to be connected early or if this can happen at any age. I kind of fell into this because I used to like to play along with records after I did my regular lesson on trombone. I used to play along with anything for a half hour at least. Beatles, Henry Manicini, Herb Alpert, Stan kenton, didn't matter. I played the horn lines, the vocal lines, the bass lines ,whatever I found interesting. I got to the point to where I knew the recordings so well that when one song finished, I could hear the first note of the next song in my mind and identify it before the next song started. That's when I figured out on my own that I needed to keep doing this. training my ear. I feel like I taught this to myself.

    BTW having a good ear is helpful. I get a lot of gigs because I can pick up songs quickly and fake the ones I don't know well enough to make most band leaders happy. But it hasn't made me a millionare yet :D I'm still a so-so bass player in a weekend band with a low paying day job. I guess what I'm saying is go for it, but if it doesn't happen, it's not exactly the end of the world