[vorbis] OT: Perfect Pitch
lists at moz.co.nz
Tue Mar 26 12:49:29 PST 2002
> Five parts in a thousand?!? Let's see, a semitone is about 6%, so
> that's about 8 cents. It's at the edge of normally hearable beatings
> when one tunes a guitar, and you can detect this *without* any
I could, yes. Perfect pitch is like that - I've had it explained as
being simply an accurate tone memory. Or a tape deck in my head, if
you want to put it in simple terms. I "play back" one track in my head
while listening to the other. And when the outside track sounds ugly
(like, say, if I'm singing ;-) then I know something's wrong.
I made a conscious decision about five years ago to stop listening in
that hyper-critical way, and focus on trying to enjoy music. I still
have difficulty with mechanical pianos and anything else which
inherently can't be tuned correctly, but for the most part I'm fine.
(Imagine a musical instrument that requires 100-odd inter-connected
strings to all have the right tension to within 0.5%).
> I can see why you consider this a liability, but I would be
> *delighted* to have such a capability.
You know that it's fairly common for kids with perfect pitch to have
trouble understanding relative pitch? They sit there going "you say
these two notes are the same, but they're not". Add a piano, and
saying "a major fifth" while the kids hears "ooh, dissonance" makes
the connection somewhat obscure. Often (ie, me) this means they take
years rather than days to actually be able to hear that (say) a flute
is playing the "same" note as a violin when they're off by a fraction
of a percent. The sounds in that case are completely different, and
have no perceivable common elements, but there's an adult standing
there insisting that the two are the same.
But the same effect goes the other way once you learn how it all
works. You wander round going "how come these street musicians are
tuned differently to your flute mummy" and other questions designed to
drive your parents insane ;-) And as a musician, you can tune once and
be happy, or as a singer (in my case), you can practice anywhere due
to having the accompaniment plus a range of sample recordings of the
material available inside your head.
<p>--- >8 ----
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