Ear training/Perfect pitch

From Wikiversity
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Lessons in Ear training
Perfect pitch

What's perfect pitch?

[edit | edit source]

Perfect pitch, also called absolute pitch, is the ability to identify or sing a musical note without hearing a known reference pitch. Someone with perfect pitch can identify the letter name (A, G# etc.) of any musical pitch just by listening to it (passive absolute pitch). Someone with perfect pitch may also be able to sing any named note without hearing it (active absolute pitch).

Can perfect pitch be learned?

[edit | edit source]

It is not clear whether perfect pitch can be fully learned by someone who does not posses it naturally. Some research indicates that passive absolute pitch (the ability to identify the letter name of any given note) can be learned through certain types of ear training. There are several courses and software programs that claim to be able to teach perfect pitch. One of these is a program called Absolute Pitch 2.16, available for free download here

Learning projects

[edit | edit source]

Color Hearing

[edit | edit source]

[This technique I learened from a friend, who then supplemented me with some audio tapes on the subject. Raspberry 22:14, 21 December 2007 (UTC)] It is called Color hearing, and the theory is based on this assumption:

Colors, like sounds, are defined by their vibrations. For instance, we define 'red' as 650 nm in the visible light spectrum, and 'blue' is around 475 nm. We recognize these colors easily, _without knowing their relation to anything else_ (meaning we do not have to see the color green to be able to recognize blue, as opposed to relative pitch, where one needs to hear a C first, and then is able to recognize the interval between the C and the note). We are much easier at recognizing colors because we have been submerged in a world of color our whole lives. Musical tones, however, are generally not taught at a young age, and not considered as significant as knowing colors.

Colors and tones are extremely similar when viewed in this way. Tones are also defined by their vibrations (of lightwaves), such as A4 is 440 hz, and C3 is 130.813 hz. Color hearing says that we can learn to identify pitch just by their unique sounds, in the same way that we recognize colors, along with voices, faces, and other things in our life. By just realizing this, and listening to notes and learning to recognize their unique tones, perfect pitch is possible.

The tones in between notes are like different shades of a color, and theoretically can also be recognized like the tones themselves. One contradiction to this states that though people know the color red, they cannot choose a definite shade, such as 650 nm exactly. This means that choosing exact tones, such as 440 hz exactly, is also difficult. But adherents to color hearing techniques say that these can be overcome with practice.

Color hearing can also be defined as the technique of applying colors to certain tones. It suggests that you close your eyes, listen to a pure tone and see what color your mind associates with it. With concentration and practice, this color should appear when the tone is heard. This association doesn't have to be colors, but can be any stimulus, such as feelings, textures on the skin, physiological reactions, even tastes. The more 'far out' associations are associated with synesthesia, a condition where sense input and outputs are confused in the brain, allowing the person to 'hear' colors and 'taste' sounds.

Personal suggestions

[edit | edit source]

I have had the most success by simply trying to hum a C, and then checking myself on a piano or pitch pipe to see whether I was too high or too low. I've gotten to where I can almost consistently hum a C without playing it. Next I'm going to try to learn G. I don't have perfect pitch yet, but I seem to be getting closer. -MusicWeaver 06:10, 6 May 2007 (UTC)

With no starting pitches, I can name any white key played in the piano, with my mind totally blank. I wake up early, go to work in the music department and every day I walk up to the piano after a silent morning and can name any white key I press without looking at them. I'm still working on the black keys. Raspberry 19:45, 10 May 2007 (UTC)

Limitations of Perfect Pitch

[edit | edit source]

Keep in mind that it is not clear whether it can be fully learned by someone who does not posses it naturally. Relative pitch is considered to be far more useful and can be acquired by learning to identify intervals, chord types, and scales through ear training.