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  1. #1

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    Let's start with two extremes:

    Amusia:


    Levels of perfect pitch:





    Now test yourself online and contribute to scientific research:

    Test Your Sense of Pitch | NIDCD

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2
    Always interested in this topic. Here are my thoughts on certain aspects. I have a little trouble conveying this type of thing in text form:

  4. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by matt.guitarteacher
    Always interested in this topic. Here are my thoughts on certain aspects. I have a little trouble conveying this type of thing in text form:
    I should have added above: I started the thread following your suggestion in the other thread

  5. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by medblues
    Now test yourself online and contribute to scientific research:

    Test Your Sense of Pitch | NIDCD
    I got 26 out of 26, I expect all musicians would do as well, it's what we do.

    Give us all a note, and we should be able to identify other intervals via relative pitch. Ear training develops that skill like any other skill.
    Last edited by cosmic gumbo; 01-26-2020 at 03:04 AM.

  6. #5

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    I had 25/26, but I did not know all the tunes, some may be right with different notes. I think it's different from the "perfect pitch". It's the relative pitch. I don't have an absolute pitch, in hz. Without checking with a pitch or an instrument, I am unable to tell in what tonality these tunes are played. I had a saxophonist buddy who heard with perfect pitch, he plays the tenor Bb in C
    Last edited by Patlotch; 01-26-2020 at 06:18 AM.

  7. #6

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    What is the concert pitch of one's perfect pitch?
    Concert pitch was standardized on A 440Hz less than a hundred years ago; prior to this, concert pitch was local or regional and notes like one we would call "A" today ranged then over a pitch span of over half an octave through the centuries previous.

    What is the temperament of one's perfect pitch?
    There have been over two dozen temperaments over the last few centuries, equal temperament being a historically late one.

    Why do I see videos where I'm told some people don't understand perfect pitch (the video above says that), and then he tests to demonstrate by playing a series of chords (and demonstrates he himself may not understand relative pitch)?

    What is the error allowed in a perfect pitch test?
    A perfect pitch would have a precise frequency with a deviation width of zero cents, but pitches in equal temperament are 100 cents apart, so in a test of pitch naming, the subject's answer of a note name is almost 100 cents wide (almost 50 cents below through almost 50 cents above).

    Testing of perfect pitch would need to meet some harsh standards, one of which would be that the testing must be done in a special environment. We are surrounded by the hum of 120Hz in the USA and growing up immersed in it most don't even have an awareness of it, but it confounds any tests that wish to exclude relative pitch as a factor in determining perfect pitch... almost everything we've heard has been within and agaist the 120Hz background. Preparation for testing of perfect pitch would need to begin with the subject spending a few days isolated within a sound proof room without any electrical power, then tested there with the presentation of a single beep, then a few more days in the hole before the next single test pitch...
    Last edited by pauln; 01-26-2020 at 08:51 AM.

  8. #7

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    As a jazz head I found all 26 renditions in that test to be great

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lobomov
    As a jazz head I found all 26 renditions in that test to be great
    for an Oblomov it's really good


  10. #9
    Does anyone think one can have high level absolute pitch but be poor in relative pitch recognition ? I don't think so. I believe great relative pitch recognition follows naturally from having absolute pitch. But I don't want to rely in this belief yet in case people here know cases of people with absolute pitch accompanied by poor relative pitch (both require practice and training for full development but let's keep that out of the discussion for now).

  11. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by pauln
    What is the concert pitch of one's perfect pitch?
    Concert pitch was standardized on A 440Hz less than a hundred years ago; prior to this, concert pitch was local or regional and notes like one we would call "A" today ranged then over a pitch span of over half an octave through the centuries previous.

    What is the temperament of one's perfect pitch?
    There have been over two dozen temperaments over the last few centuries, equal temperament being a historically late one.

    Why do I see videos where I'm told some people don't understand perfect pitch (the video above says that), and then he tests to demonstrate by playing a series of chords (and demonstrates he himself may not understand relative pitch)?

    What is the error allowed in a perfect pitch test?
    A perfect pitch would have a precise frequency with a deviation width of zero cents, but pitches in equal temperament are 100 cents apart, so in a test of pitch naming, the subject's answer of a note name is almost 100 cents wide (almost 50 cents below through almost 50 cents above).

    Testing of perfect pitch would need to meet some harsh standards, one of which would be that the testing must be done in a special environment. We are surrounded by the hum of 120Hz in the USA and growing up immersed in it most don't even have an awareness of it, but it confounds any tests that wish to exclude relative pitch as a factor in determining perfect pitch... almost everything we've heard has been within and agaist the 120Hz background. Preparation for testing of perfect pitch would need to begin with the subject spending a few days isolated within a sound proof room without any electrical power, then tested there with the presentation of a single beep, then a few more days in the hole before the next single test pitch...
    I suspect you already know much of this but this is an exceptionally helpful article (even for Wikipedia- why I keep donating to them) that fills in some of the blanks and makes me aware of the incomplete parts of our knowledge regarding absolute pitch:

    Absolute pitch - Wikipedia

  12. #11

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    What is the source of "120Hz hum"?

  13. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by sgosnell
    What is the source of "120Hz hum"?
    More commonly perceived harmonic of 60 Hz AC power ? We may be desensitized to it however such as we are to the background rumble of the earths's rotation or other constant background sources.

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by medblues
    ...
    it's an interesting question, I mean I asked myself that question. My guitar teacher, Pierre Cullaz, had the absolute pitch and the relative pitch. One day, we hear a concert of car horns in the street. He took his guitar and made a chord that really looked like the horns

    on the other hand, can we have absolute pitches? My saxophonist friend's ear was set to 440hz. It was terribly demanding when I tuned my guitar. I guess it was a drama for him to play at 442hz!

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by medblues
    Does anyone think one can have high level absolute pitch but be poor in relative pitch recognition ? I don't think so. I believe great relative pitch recognition follows naturally from having absolute pitch. But I don't want to rely in this belief yet in case people here know cases of people with absolute pitch accompanied by poor relative pitch (both require practice and training for full development but let's keep that out of the discussion for now).
    I was in an ear training class with someone that had perfect pitch yet was slow some relative pitch exercises.

    Chord recognition for example. The instructor would play a chord and we needed to state the quality (major,minor, major 7, etc) and the inversion.

    Plays a chord for Ms. Perfect Pitch, you could see her brain turning while she struggled... Instructor said, what are the notes, she immediately said B G D F#. But she was trying to use theory to name the chord quality and inversion, and that was the struggle.

  16. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by fep
    I was in an ear training class with someone that had perfect pitch yet was slow some relative pitch exercises.

    Chord recognition for example. The instructor would play a chord and we needed to state the quality (major,minor, major 7, etc) and the inversion.

    Plays a chord for Ms. Perfect Pitch, you could see her brain turning while she struggled... Instructor said, what are the notes, she immediately said B G D F#. But she was trying to use theory to name the chord quality and inversion, and that was the struggle.
    I would call that lack of music theory understanding. But if you play her a series of intervals of thirds or sixths etc. she can recognize the differences or similarities very easily, do you agree with that? For instance, she would NOT confuse a minor second with major second interval. I am guessing that it would never happen to someone who has absolute pitch.

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by medblues
    Does anyone think one can have high level absolute pitch but be poor in relative pitch recognition ? I don't think so. I believe great relative pitch recognition follows naturally from having absolute pitch. But I don't want to rely in this belief yet in case people here know cases of people with absolute pitch accompanied by poor relative pitch (both require practice and training for full development but let's keep that out of the discussion for now).
    Many animals have been tested to have a kind of perfect pitch without relative pitch; birds don't recognize their calls or the calls of others when recorded, adjusted up or down in pitch, and played back.
    Last edited by pauln; 01-26-2020 at 11:56 PM.

  18. #17

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    If the car horn event occurred during a lesson, your teacher already had heard enough notes to use relative pitch upon hearing the car horns.

    The saxophonist's saxophone was set to 440Hz; of course he was demanding that the guitar be in tune.

    How would you like to have your guitar in tune but have the sax adjusted up out of tune? You could still play with him by bending all your notes a little - that would be drama.

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by pauln
    The saxophonist's saxophone was set to 440Hz; of course he was demanding that the guitar be in tune.
    I believe that the saxophonists can adjust the pitch by moving the mouthpiece, not much, perhaps 440hz-442hz. I played with two saxophonists, they ajust with each other

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Patlotch
    I believe that the saxophonists can adjust the pitch by moving the mouthpiece, not much, perhaps 440hz-442hz. I played with two saxophonists, they ajust with each other
    Woodwinds have a slight adjustment around concert pitch - it's not meant for adjusting to match with out of tune instruments.

    There is a hierarchy of what is tuned to...

    1 - concert pitch (assuming the piano is in tune, if there is a piano)
    2 - the piano (without assuming it is in tune)
    3 - other relatively fixed tuning instruments (brass, woodwinds)
    4 - strings (including the guitar)

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by pauln
    Woodwinds have a slight adjustment around concert pitch - it's not meant for adjusting to match with out of tune instruments.
    I know all of this and I am talking about a specific context. My saxophonist friend had an absolute pitch, when I adjust, he said "get a little bit up" with a hand sign. I still know how to tune the 6 strings of a guitar between them (relative pitch) but not at 440hz. With him, no need for tuner

    Thank you for your advice. Good bye

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by Patlotch
    I know all of this and I am talking about a specific context. My saxophonist friend had an absolute pitch, when I adjust, he said "get a little bit up" with a hand sign. I still know how to tune the 6 strings of a guitar between them (relative pitch) but not at 440hz. With him, no need for tuner

    Thank you for your advice. Good bye
    I didn't offer any advice, I suggested that your interpretation of your story is a misunderstanding of how the sax player helped tune your guitar. Hope you are not trying to dismiss me before understanding me.

    When you write, "My saxophonist friend's ear is set to 440Hz" or "My saxophonist friend had an absolute pitch" that reads as if you think he used absolute pitch to help you tune, but the sax player used relative pitch to compare his tuned horn to your guitar. He is not walking around as a tuner, he is walking around with a tuned sax. The story might be relevant to perfect pitch if the sax player had helped you tune your guitar by ear before opening his sax case and playing any sax notes.

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by pauln
    He is not walking around as a tuner, he is walking around with a tuned sax.
    When I say that he had the absolute pitch, it is without instrument, obviously, it is not the pitch of the saxophone tenor or soprano, clarinet or flute (he played the 4), which are moreover tuning instrument, therefore does not have a precise and unique pitch. Yes, he was everywhere like a tuner, and that's why I spoke of absolute pitch in the sense of the definition - in french "oreille abolue " = absolute ear

    sorry, but I found your intervention painful, because it suggested that I confused absolute pitch and relative pitch

    Quote Originally Posted by pauln
    The story might be relevant to perfect pitch if the sax player had helped you tune your guitar by ear before opening his sax case and playing any sax notes.
    it's pretty much this situation, on stage before the start of a concert and my friend had not yet put his saxophone in his mouth. Maybe even his mouthpiece wasn't on the saxophone yet

    Last edited by Patlotch; 01-27-2020 at 02:01 PM.

  24. #23

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    IMO, absolute pitch is mostly about memory of sound, as related to frequency.

    Being born with absolute pitch, does not mean born with knowledge of how an A sounds, or how 440 Hz sounds, or any other note/ freq, or what's the name of musical note of some freq. It means born with ability to memorize certain characteristic feature as is, and never forget it, always be able to recognize it. I am not sure, though, how it function over more than one octave. Is it memorizing, or processing?

    Analogy made with visual recognition is OK, IMO.
    Where it is applicable, just as you see different shades of red. I guess they can perceive a range of frequencies as different shades of one musical note. Speaking about exact frequency, just watch tuner scale wobble around upon plucking a note on guitar, or blown on trumpet. What was correct freq, was it one up the hill, or one down the valley? Analogy is not only to color recognition, it is to memorizing anything else you can see. Something you will remember, something not, for some things that appear in varieties you will say "they are all same to me".

    One can not name musical note without being exposed to it and being taught the label. From that point on, there is a reference.
    It is always used to name that same note. However it is not used to name other notes relative to it. Each note is memorized individually, with own name reference. Again, I wonder about octaves.

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vladan
    Again, I wonder about octaves.
    On the Perceptual Subprocess of Absolute Pitch



    "An interresting feature of absolute pitch recognition is that when errors are made, they are often octaves errors. That is, a tone of pitch C5 is described as C4, or C6."The Musician's Guide to Acoustics, p.97

    and I have an answer to my question in #13 about my saxophonist friend: I guess it was a drama for him to play at 442hz!

    "For musical performance in non-standard tunings, such as “Baroque pitch” (reference pitch of 415 Hz, unlike the modern standard of 440 Hz), having AP could even be a disadvantage."

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by Patlotch

    ... and I have an answer to my question in #13 about my saxophonist friend: I guess it was a drama for him to play at 442hz!

    "For musical performance in non-standard tunings, such as “Baroque pitch” (reference pitch of 415 Hz, unlike the modern standard of 440 Hz), having AP could even be a disadvantage."
    Regarding octaves, OK, but I still wonder how it works. Fact you quoted, that errors are being made in octaves, tells me I wonder about right thing.

    The other part, about problens with tuning refference, I do not buy it in full.

    Apart from perfect memory, Does their frequency discrimination work on the same principle as with ordinary people? Do they "hear" it in Cents, or maybe in Hz? Maybe there lies the difference? Anyway ...

    How does your friend perceive "stretched tuning" of piano?
    How does he deal with vibrato?
    How about non tempered instruments, like various strings (fretless) where all notes are played off mark, but close enough?

    Try this, tune your guitar to 440Hz and pluck A note, hard. It will go from pretty sharp, to somewhat flat, then back, maybe couple of times before it stabilzes. Then during decay it will be all over the place again (or not).
    Your friend certainly won't process it as "sharp, closer, close, right, flat flatter, close, right, sharp, sharper, but less than 5ms ago ...", or rather soon he would come to overload shutdown. He must allow for some margin. If there is a margin, why would he care about 2 Hz difference. That is about 8 cents in that range. Noticeable, but tolerable, for normal people.
    Play A octave higher. 2Hz is only 4 cents there. Normal people do not care.
    220Hz, 2Hz are over 15 cents. That is clearly audible, but still not worth more than chorus effect.
    How would your perfect pitched friend feel about it?

    Sent from My Blog Page

  27. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by Patlotch
    "An interresting feature of absolute pitch recognition is that when errors are made, they are often octaves errors. That is, a tone of pitch C5 is described as C4, or C6."
    That is interesting and may be a clue... it is surprising because ordinary musicians and others would simply not make errors of octaves; it seems like a very peculiar error.

    Perhaps the clue is that absolute pitch should consider being more described as absolute pitch class? This suggests something, too.

    Perception of color is sourced from three types of receptors (four receptors in a very few women, and five receptors in an even less very few women - "vive la différence"!) Perception of scent is sourced from seven types of receptors. In both of these perceptions, we tend to recall and recognize quite well the colors and smells.

    Perception of sound is sourced from around 20000 receptors with individual very narrow frequency bandwidths. As opposed to the eye and nose accessing the relative balance between a few source types, the ear is presenting a couple tens of thousand source types. The curious clue about the octave error may be related to how these thousands of source types are managed with regard to pitch. These source types stimulate neurons, but what is important is not to think that there is a firm relationship between the frequency of sound and the frequency of the neuron's signal rate... it is not the case that there is a neuron for each frequency we hear. The fastest a neuron can fire is just about 1000Hz because it needs a brief refractory period to re-pump ions back outside its axon's wall membrane in order to re-establish the -70mv potential for a subsequent depolarization (to set up the charge for another firing of the neuron).

    The ear does use the neural firing rate as the corresponding signal to indicate the sound frequency up to about 1000Hz, but for sound frequencies above that, the pitch perception is derived through additional processing of which none of the signal rates involved exceeds about 1000Hz. About half of all the notes in music are above this and the majority of all the harmonic frequencies are above this... just to give some sense of how much of what we hear is actually internally derived, constructed, and synthesized - so, subject to individual variation.

    Vladan, as usual, raises very insightful observations. Not even the low frequencies are free from further processing. The perceived pitch is stretched "outwards" (called German tuning on the piano, Sweetened tuning on the guitar) in that in order for the pitches to sound in tune, the lower pitches have to be tuned progressively flatter, and the higher pitches progressively sharper. Using just raw doubling or halving of frequencies for the octaves will sound horribly out of tune away from the center.

    Perceived pitch also goes sharp as the volume increases... you have probably heard this at the end of an orchestral piece that finishes on a fff finale, then suddenly stops, and the softer reverberation of that last chord drops in pitch as it fades.

  28. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by pauln
    Perceived pitch also goes sharp as the volume increases... you have probably heard this at the end of an orchestral piece that finishes on a fff finale, then suddenly stops, and the softer reverberation of that last chord drops in pitch as it fades.
    Acoustic research tests are probably carried out in conditions isolated from outside noise, neutralizing the acoustic effects of the halls, etc. nothing comparable with the diverse reality of a concert venue

    a fact that has nothing to do: the Japanese, like the Indonesians I think, do not hear sounds with the same part of the brain as Westerners, it would be closer to the birds, and we understand better then how this could have influenced their traditionnal music

  29. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vladan
    Your friend certainly won't process it as "sharp, closer, close, right, flat flatter, close, right, sharp, sharper, but less than 5ms ago ...", or rather soon he would come to overload shutdown. He must allow for some margin. If there is a margin, why would he care about 2 Hz difference. [...] How would your perfect pitched friend feel about it?
    That's quite what I told myself when I wrote my answer. He was professional, big band, with his klezmer orchestra, his jazz quartet, my amateur band... He played in many countries... And all this is far away, in the 80s, I lost sight of it, I can not ask him the question

    the advantage of the relative ear and not absolute is that you can agree as you want. When I was working on the double bass, I wasn't looking for the 440hz. Anyway, I have never made any progress in absolute pitch. When I hear a tonal song, it sings the lyrics in my head sol sol sol do do ré ré sol mi do ... no matter the tonality, even a fourth of the gap. I have to find tricks when the tonality changes. But I never have a problem to play in the 12 tones, because for me, the "lyrics" do do do ré mi are always the same: it's my very special memory of standards

  30. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by Patlotch
    But I never have a problem to play in the 12 tones, because for me, the "lyrics" do do do ré mi are always the same
    That's "Movable do solfège" - Solfege - Wikipedia

  31. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by pauln
    That's "Movable do solfège" - Solfege - Wikipedia
    yes, we found this principle in John Mehegan, 1959




    I did "Movable do solfège" as a kind without knowing it, like Mr. Jourdain was doing prose (Molière, Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme). I didn't know that this system was taught, and I invented syllables for altered notes: dob deu, do# dè, mib mé, fa# fè etc.