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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-20-2001, 08:14 PM Thread Starter
 
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Relative Pitch - & Perfect Pitch, too...

I'm sure this must have been discussed already (appologies Glen, if it has), but I couldnt find anything.

So, how many of you have it/have learnt it, and have you had any experience with David Burge's course?

I've only known two people to have PP, and none with RP. *One didnt even realise, he just assumed that everyone heard things the way he did, and the other was pretty aloof with comments like how it can be a real bind when listening to players that were slightly 'out'.

Of course, Mr Vai has it, but what about the rest of us mere mortals...come on, share your experiences.

Mikey
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-20-2001, 09:41 PM
 
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Relative Pitch

Vai has what? *I know he doesn't have perfect pitch. *Phil Bynoe does though. *So does Eric Johnson and Yngwie Malmsteen.
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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-20-2001, 09:44 PM
 
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Relative Pitch

I can't say I'm sure what Relative Pitch refers to, but perfect pitch is something that not everyone really even believes to be a true concept.

The idea of perfect pitch is that a musician has the in-born talent to discern a given pitch without analysis. *This idea has been modified to either glorify guitar heroes (in this case it is stated that it's an in-born talent that cannot be learned), or to sell pitch method books (where it is described as a learned idea).

My personal take here is that some people are more musically inclined than others - and may achieve perfect pitch with less effort than others. - but it is not an elite club. *However, it is something which must be focussed and worked on diligently. *In my case, I spend 15 minutes per day everyday just doing ear training. *It doesn't sound like much, but it truly does help. *I know that I've also been gifted with some natural ability, but I've known tone deaf women who sang with perfect pitch after years of lessons.
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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-20-2001, 10:02 PM
 
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Relative Pitch

I don't think perfect pitch has anything to do with "glorifying guitar heroes." *It's just the ability to hear a pitch and know what the corresponding name of the note is. *I think it is also believed that only 2% of the world's population has the ability.

Relative pitch is being able to name a pitch by basing it on another pitch. *It's definately not the same thing as perfect pitch. *I know some people who can do well at naming pitches by comparing them to a note in their head or by voice, but it usually takes them a while to get it. *If you have ever met anyone with perfect pitch, they know the note instantly. *You can mash both your hands down on a piano keyboard and they can name every pitch you played fromt the bottom up. *Or they will hear a folding chair fall over and hit the floor, and then tell you what pitch the loud crash was.

Like Jem7vwh said, there is a debate about if you can learn perferct pitch or if it is just something in your brain that you are born with. *Malmsteen claims to have attained perfect pitch by using the David Lucas Burge Training Course. *However, I am wondering if he just did not already have perfect pitch and this was his way of finding it, and also I wonder how many people have it and never know it.
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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-20-2001, 10:12 PM
 
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Relative Pitch

Josh, that's what I think. *I know it's believed that only 2% of people have perfect pitch, but I wonder if that's just because another larger percentage of people don't even try. *Who knows how many plumbers politicians and butchers out there could do the same thing if they ever had a couple hours with a piano or guitar.
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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-20-2001, 11:58 PM
 
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Relative Pitch

Yeah, one thing you have to condsider is what percentage of the population even attempts to play an instrument in their lifetime. *And I also wonder how long it takes them to find out that they have perfect pitch? *I mean, do they instantaneously start naming pitches, or does it take a little while?
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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-21-2001, 04:45 AM Thread Starter
 
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Relative Pitch

Quote:
Quote: from Josh Blagg on 2:41 am on May 21, 2001
Vai has what? *I know he doesn't have perfect pitch. *
In an interview he did with Guitarists magazine he was asked about it. *He sang an A into the tape deck, and after the interview is checked out to be a perfect 440! *He said that he devloped it by simply using a tape deck on a timer hooked up under his pillow. *He would have it come on during the night and play a pitch repetively till it was ingrained into his brain.


So what does your ear training consist of, Jem7vwh? *I think that this is probably my greatest are of weakness as a musician so I'd really like to work on it in a structured manner.

Mikey
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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-21-2001, 09:50 AM
 
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Relative Pitch

well, I go half and half between guitar and piano for ear training. *But here it goes.
with no eyesight I choose a note then play a major scale from it.

after playing it once, I try to guess it. *By now, I get it about 90% of the time. *If I don't get it, I watch myself play it and repeat the name to myself when I finish.

I also do ear training for intervals. *Each interval has a distinctive sound. *This can be very helpful in terms of what has been termed Relative Pitch. *For each one I have something that helps me remember:

minor 2: *the beginning of "Fur Elise"
major 2: *the voice at DFW airport that says "STEP BACK"
minor 3: *children's taunt. *Nah na nah na nah nah!
major 3: *the rocky theme song
perfect 4: *the wedding march
perfect 5: *trumpet call. Ta-dah!
Augmented 5/Diminished 6 (Tritone) : No sound, it's just really dissident
minor 6: *"Love Story" from West Side Story
major 6: *NBC's little call letters
minor 7: *"Have you driven a ford lately" song
major 7: *"Bally High" from South Pacific

hope that helps a little. *The ear training for the intervals was pretty quick. *I went from hearing nothing, to identifying all the intervals in about 10 weeks, but the identifying notes has taken me a couple years and I'm still not perfect. *But it does pay off. *My bassist in my band complimented me the other day. *He said "I've never played with someone who listens to a song and figures out the lead first. *Most people have to play around with chords first." *So don't be discouraged, it really does help.
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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-21-2001, 11:51 AM
 
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Relative Pitch

There's a guy around here who can tell you what note anything is... like if you tap a pencil on a counter, he'll tell you it's a G# or whatever, and you can test it and he'll always be right. *He can do the same thing singing notes... is this perfect pitch?
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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-21-2001, 09:55 PM
 
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Relative Pitch

Jay-

That's really phenomenal perfect pitch. *My German teacher has good relative pitch: play her a note with overtones and she can identify it. *Without overtones, like a pencil tap, and she can't do it.

As far as ear training goes, learn to sing intervals down, as well as up. *Also, learn two, three and four part harmonies; sight reading Bach chorales on the piano works well for this. *Learn to sing all types of chords in all there inversions as well. *Finally, I think Vai's "sleep" technique is mostly a crock. *Undoubtedly, he learned relative pitch by playing and playing and playing.

-Devin
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post #11 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-21-2001, 11:24 PM
 
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Relative Pitch

I'll stick my two cents in here...

I started playing piano when I was about 2 & a half years old. *I've got perfect pitch. *I found out i had it at about 7 years old. *To me, perfect pitch is being able to not only identify a note, but also to produce the pitch on command without any point of reference.

I've known a lot of people with perfect pitch and many others with very good relative pitch. *I believe that those born without it are capable, with enough training, of achieving very very good relative pitch, but it will never be perfect pitch, per se. *


I spent the better part of my formative years playing the 'what note is this' game - like a freak show - in school. *I thought I was this hot sh!t guy and this was really what it was all about. *I found out in college that it's not. *

After a while, around age 17, i stopped telling people that i had it, mostly because I had grown tired of the 'game'. *Once I got to Berklee, I met a guy who didn't have PP, but very good RP (he's now the keyboard player in keneally's band, by the way). *His attitude was - So you've perfect pitch, so what? *You've got this amazing gift, but what do you do with it?

That inspired me to take every single eartraining class that Berklee offered, from Rhythmic ET (incredibly useful to transcribing) to Performance Ear training (involves hearing a sequence of notes and playing them back note for note) to Harmoinc Ear Training (hearing chords and their tonalities without having to break them down note-by-note...this was the most useful one of all).

To this day, I still don't divulge to many people that I have it - I just keep it as my little 'ace-in-the-hole' on gigs. *When people do find out, their feelings are usually hateful (another reason i don't tell people). *To those who don't have it I always explain that I don't know what it's like NOT to have it...and it's completely beyond me how anyone can live without it. *

And to those that i meet that DO have it, but are very content to play the 'what note is this' game, I try to open their ears the same way that guy at berklee opened mine...it's not enough to have a gift - it needs to be developed to open up a whole new world.

Which isn't to say it doesn't have its drawbacks. *I can't play a guitar that's tuned down to Eb. *If the E isn't where I'm used to it being, I'm screwed. *I only recently started to be able to play wtih a capo for the same reason. *Fortunately, capo songs are usually all open chords - if i learn it in positions, rather than chords and don't think about it at all while i'm playing, I'm fine. *The minute i start to think, I'm dead.
I've always been lazy reading printed music because my ear inevitably takes over. *My knowledge of theory isn't great either - I took all the classes and I know the stuff on paper, but when it comes to applying it in playing, i just can't think that fast. *I can't teach...I can play really well, but i don't know why I play how I play. *With most musicians, it goes from ear to brain to hands. *With me, it goes straight from ears to hands. *A lot of times when I'm writing a song, or even reharmonizing a jazz tune, I'll have to stop and figure out what I just did - even if it's a change I've been playing for 6 months. *It just sorta happens. *I wish I could explain it, but I can't. *The other reason I can't teach is that PP has left me with no patience. *If I'm trying to show somebody something and they're just not getting it in 2 seconds I get very flustered. *

I know you're probably sitting there saying 'yeah yeah, poor baby, SHUT UP!" :bash:

to address a few of the other posts, most experienced guitar players can produce an A or an E. *It's the nature of the instrument. *It doesn't surprise me that Vai can do it. *The bass player in one of my bands doesn't have PP, but he can hear where a song is going every easily...his RP is totally moded to "rock & roll" by led zeppelin. *That's his "A". *Cracked me up when i heard it, but it works for him.

It’s the same as playing an instrument… I'm a firm believer in the 'either you've got it or you don't' theory. *I know guys who've been playing for 14 years and just can't get thru that threshold of “passable”. *Others i know have only been playing for a couple of years and can burn the crap out anything. *It will come easier to some than others.

Can David Burge help you? *I really don't know. *i know if I could put it into words I'd probably try to sell it too. *If it's so amazing, why is it still advertised in the back of magazines and not a course at every major music college in the world?

As for now, for me, it's just something that i have that's very special to others, but isn't something i worked to get. *I'm proud, however, that I got beyond that initial point and developed it beyond what's on the surface.

If you go to google.com and put in 'perfect pitch study', there's a LOT of resources and research studies to read about.

I'll be happy to talk to anyone about this inside or outside the forum. *Just don't say "What note is this?....Dinnnnnggggg"

~Kenny
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post #12 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-22-2001, 12:09 AM
 
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Relative Pitch

One time I was in a guitar chatroom and some guy came in and started saying he wanted to develop perfect pitch because it would be "cool to tell someone which note they are playing." *I thought this was lame.

I think the huge advantage to perfect pitch is being able to hear all the harmonic voices of a chord. *When Eric Johnson said, "I don't think of a chord as a chord, I think of it as a group of melodies," on his instructional video, I knew he probably had perfect pitch (and later found out that he did). *For most, I think it is nearly impossible to hear all the voices at one time and listen to how they all change.

On the other hand, I cannot even fathom "just playing" and not even knowing what I am doing. *I try to be very scientific with theory and reason behind everything I do. *That is not to say that I don't "play what I hear," but if I play something that is a bit out or strange, I have found that most of the time it is backed by some type of idea or theory.

But Kenny, I am curious, is there ANYthing different about the notes that you can distinguish? *I know David Lucas Burge says that each tone has it's own unique sound, just like every color looks different. *Of course, it is impossible for me to know because I do not have PP and haven't tried his course. *But it seems to me that if there was some type of breakthrough in it, it would have to do more with different notes sounding different in SOME way rather than just listening to a pitch over and over before you go to bed each night.

One other point I wish to bring up, Kenny. *Have you ever tried listening to anything other than the 12 tone Western scale? *If so, are you able to identify these pitches?
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post #13 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-22-2001, 12:42 AM
 
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Relative Pitch

Quote:
Quote: from Josh Blagg on 12:09 am on May 22, 2001

But Kenny, I am curious, is there ANYthing different about the notes that you can distinguish? *I know David Lucas Burge says that each tone has it's own unique sound, just like every color looks different. *Of course, it is impossible for me to know because I do not have PP and haven't tried his course. *But it seems to me that if there was some type of breakthrough in it, it would have to do more with different notes sounding different in SOME way rather than just listening to a pitch over and over before you go to bed each night.
If it was that easy, a lot more people would have it, i think. *It's easy enough to reduce it down to "How long would it take you to learn the names of 12 different people in a room?". *Unfortunately, it's not that easy for 'normal' people (for lack of a better word).

Quote:
One other point I wish to bring up, Kenny. *Have you ever tried listening to anything other than the 12 tone Western scale? *If so, are you able to identify these pitches?
I play the pianos at catering halls all over New York. *believe me - MOST of don't sound even remotely tempered! :rotf: although that's probably not on purpose.

Seriously, everything that goes on in my head is in line with the 'scale as we know it' here in the US and in mainstream music. * It's in-born, but it's also environmental.

~Kenny

(Edited by kennydoe at 10:18 am on May 22, 2001)
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post #14 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-29-2001, 06:00 PM
 
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Relative Pitch

Kenny,

Thanks for sharing your story. *I had often wondered about it myself and being 2 cents short of tone deaf, I had no idea what it was like.
I actually read an article in Discover magazine about people who saw colors when certain notes were heard (something about mixing senses... also, "feeling sounds" and "hearing colors", etc.) *So I assumed that everyone with PP could "see" the sounds. *From your description, it seems more like PP is just "there." *Thanks again for the insight!
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post #15 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-29-2001, 06:56 PM
 
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Relative Pitch

I had a 'chat' with josh blagg about colors and other associations to certain pitches, but I guess i didn't mention it in my post.

I have a very vivid recollection that possibly precedes all other recollections in my brain; *Actually there's two:
1. the A above middle C (which is also A440) on the piano i grew up with had a small scratch on it. *i remember using it as a reference point.
2. I also remember playing that "A" note and seeing a red barn (as a very young person would picture one - tall, red, with an 'X' on the door). *Why this sticks in my head, i'm not sure, but it might mean something to someone.

In more recent memory, it's, as you say, just "there." *It requires no thought to hear a single note nor produce one. *I transcribe music with a tape deck and pen & paper - no instrument. *

I'm fairly convinced that it's somehting that I was born with. *Please don't hate me.

If you have the Discover article or can find it online, i'd love to read it.

~Kenny
*
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