Perfect pitch, was Nightmares
- Subject: Perfect pitch, was Nightmares
- From: "IronMan Mike Curtis" <ironman@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Mon, 13 Jan 2003 23:19:48 -0800
> double_reeds@xxxxxxxxx writes:
> << Another possible question is whether "perfect pitch"
> is necessary. Is being able to differentiate 440 from
> 442 more important than being able to recognize a
> disharmony with your playing partners? >>
Perfect pitch does not necessarily mean that your ear is sharp enough to
spot an A442 at ten paces. This is yet another of many myths. To have PP
requires ONLY that you are able to discern pitches to within a quarter tone.
Of course, a lot of PPPs with the highest grade (AP1) are able to tell that
even small pitch variations are off, but most of us simply ignore small
mistunings. Remember that we grew up in the same out of tune world everyone
else did, and we have had to adapt to this - just as everyone else has.
Also, in practice most perfect pitch possessors are even more keenly aware
of harmonies and such than most non-PPPs. Yes I'm sure someone can come up
with the lone exception, but generally speaking PPPs are much more aware of
the big picture. Yes, again, this is just another of many myths.
> i have become surprised at what you can learn to pick-up. at a band
> a couple of weeks ago, i played a melodic type solo, and i kept thinking,
> "man, we sound out." the guitar player checked and said, "no, i'm in."
> next day, different key, same thing.
> now, i tune all my own harps, and while it wouldn't surprise me if one
> was flat on one of my harps, i knew i couldn't have completely mistuned
> harps. so i asked to see his tuner to check my tuning, and the guy had
> tuner set to 445! he's like, "aww, man, i never read those instructions
> give you." he retuned, and it sounded great.
> i was just very surprised that i could hear that sort of difference.
I'm not at all surprised. Most people here can hear a difference in the
chords of a Lee Oskar and Marine Band, and we're only talking a few Hz.
Being able to hear that is simply indicative that your sense of relative
pitch is good. You may also have perfect pitch. It's hard to tell via the
net, and a lot of musical bigots out there will tell everyone that they
can't possibly have it. They're full of it, big time. It's happened to me,
and I have the highest form, and a particularly high grade of it. Which is
really no big deal. It's just another way of dealing with music. If you
have it and do nothing with it, you'll be a lousy musician. And if you
don't have it but work your behind off, you'll be a good, and perhaps even
Do you find yourself singing or playing songs in the "original" key? Then
you may well have perfect pitch. But even if you don't do this, you still
might have it. Can you hum a note on request? Then you have a form of
Perfect pitch isn't "perfect" in the "Godlike" sense. More in the sense of
being "complete". Bu even that is a stretch. What it really means is that
you know what notes are being played, or that you can hum a note on demand.
If you can do this with even a single note on a given instrument - for
example, the high E string on a guitar - and can do it CONSISTENTLY, then
you have perfect pitch.
Will knowing what the high E string sounds like make you a better musician?
Of course not. Practicing your butt off will make you a better musician.
Will having perfect pitch HELP you to be a better musician? Yes it will.
BTW some LIVE tunes by The IronMan Curtis Band:
(and - hint hint - we're looking to tour)
- -IronMan Mike Curtis Band http://www.ironmancurtis.com *Southland Blues
Magazine http://www.SouthlandBlues.com TU 8pm Starboard Attitude/Redondo
Santa Monica 3rd St Promenade, various times Email my Cellphone for
(130 chr's max-keep it SHORT) ironmanc@xxxxxxxxx
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