There is absolutely no point of allowing yourself to be influenced by the numerous utterly confusing theories surrounding the concept of ‘perfect pitch’! You must be tired hearing of several weird techniques adopted by individuals in an attempt to learn the perfect pitch, but how many have managed to yield the desired outcome?
Most people often end up teaching themselves relative pitch instead of perfect pitch. Relative pitch too happens to be a great asset for all musicians, but perfect pitch is a completely different point of concern.
Unraveling the mysteries of perfect pitch – the web of unsatisfactory theories
Also referred to as ‘absolute pitch’, perfect pitch can be roughly defined as the ability to name a note immediately after it reaches your ears, without referring to any particular instrument or other external sources. One school of thought believes that perfect pitch is nothing but a highly evolved version of relative pitch. Another group of individuals opines that absolute pitch is an innate power since it is also possessed by people who have never been exposed to musical training.
Asian languages such as Vietnamese, Thai, Mandarin, and Cantonese are perceived as tonal – which means, the same word might be intended to express different meanings, based on the underlying tone. In fact, this is the reason why the inhabitants of these Asian countries are believed to have perfect pitch!
There are theories which suggest that perfect pitch involves the ability to correctly recognize as well as memorize sounds which you are acquainted with. The roles of ‘perfect pitch genes’ and illnesses affecting the brain and auditory perception have also been taken into consideration by researchers. But none of these theories have provided with a comprehensive solution which can efface all the controversies regarding absolute pitch.
Understanding the mechanism of qualitative recognition
Practice is the only powerful tool which can aid in developing relative pitch, and consequently build a stable tonal memory. The ability of instantly naming a pitch without any reference point must be deep rooted in your memory. A sound which forms a part of a song is far more recognizable than an odd note.
Sounds which exist in the form of a pattern can be easily categorized and memorized. For instance, human voices and other such complex sounds are categorized on the basis of multiple diverse traits. The most incredible fact is that you do not have to be a seasoned musician in order to remember sounds with incredible accuracy! Besides your ears, your vocal chords are also inextricably linked to pitch. As long as you can hum tunes, there is no need to feel inadequate for not being an awesome singer!
Training yourself at home with a few handy objects
You would be thrilled to discover that a number of objects of your daily use can act as reference systems for getting you started in the direction of heightening your pitch skills! The doorbell of your residence, alarm clock, the horn of your vehicle and microwave machine – all are excellent examples!
Judging in terms of tonal consistency, electronic devices are the best options. Check the tones of each device with your guitar, pitch pipe or piano for pitch reference. Be extremely alert so that even the minutest change in pitch does not escape unnoticed. Record the pitch of each device in a diary. The notes might differ from one instrument to another. For instance, the ‘E’ of your alarm has a higher pitch than the ‘E’ of your microwave.
Develop your tonal memory through simple exercises
You can try out these exercises for sharpening your tonal memory. An integral part of tonal memory, ‘relative pitch’ involves the capacity of detecting the unique intervals between notes. These intervals form the base of all kinds of complex melodies. Repetitive listening is the key to building tonal memory. Once you start acquiring the skills of relative pitch, you can simultaneously focus on developing relative and absolute pitch for giving a boost to your tonal memory:
- Get hold of a digital tuner or download a free tuner app on your smartphone.
- Turn it on, start playing lengthy tones and try achieving absolute pitch. Concentrate on your embouchure and diaphragm movements during the process, because muscle memory plays a crucial role.
- Play a ‘C’ using your guitar within an octave of your personal vocal range with full attention.
- Repeat the same note while singing along. If there is a mismatch, adjust your pitch and note your physical responses. Keep repeating this cycle.
Developing tonal memory can be a tedious and time-consuming affair requiring tremendous discipline and dedication. If you ever wish to embark on this dynamic journey, then you must steer clear of shortcuts and unrealistic expectations in order to avoid getting frustrated easily.
Featured Image: Image Credit
Prediction: perfect pitch can totally be learned and it was silly for us to ever think it couldn’t.
— Ben Landis (@benlandis) September 5, 2016
Only about one in every 10,000 people has perfect pitch—the ability to identify a musical note just by hearing it, with no reference note.
— Psychological Facts (@TheFactsBook) August 28, 2016
She’s got everything! Precious three-year-old girl sings pitch-perfect rendition of Part of Your World from The Little Mermaid
Three-year-old Claire Ryann Crosby may have a Grammy Award in her future.
In a YouTube video filmed by her father, Dave Crosby, 28, the toddler belts out Part of Your World from the 1989 Disney hit The Little Mermaid.
The Utah native not only memorized every word in the three-minute song, she delivers each note with accuracy and emotion – an impressive feat for a tot of her age.
Fittingly, she’s dressed in a sparkling blue and white princess gown with a matching bow in her hair.
Adding to the cuteness factor, at the end of the video Claire is heard asking, ‘Did I do it dad?’ before exclaiming, ‘I did it!’ Via Daily Mail
Perfect Pitch: A cappella group sings Cubs tribute song
After every Cubs win, fans pay homage to the men in blue by belting out Steve Goodman’s “Go, Cubs, Go.”
Sometimes, you can hear the strains throughout Wrigleyville.
Lately, you can hear them as far away as on the campus of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
That’s where the a cappella group The Xtension Chords is “giving back” to the team that’s done so much for its fans this year.
“I love this team,” said Daniel Hug, a senior from Arlington Heights and the oldest member of the on-campus club. “They’ve done enough to get us excited. We wanted to do our part.” Via Chicago Tribune
Pitch perfect: Does singing really improve your mental health?
A group of singers are standing in front of musical director Ben Jones wearing smiley face badges with a small tear rolling down the face.
The badges represent the message ‘there’s no them and us – there’s only us’, which fits well with the foundations of Harmony Choir which has been set up to look at how singing in a group can improve mental health.
Half of this 50-strong group have experienced mental health symptoms at some point in their lives, while half have no diagnosed disorder. But this fact is insignificant to the make-up of the choir. Via STV