What is 'Perfect Pitch' and do you have it?

Did not mean to imply you were making anything up! Interesting article, thanks for the pointer.

If perfect pitch is some sort of magical power, it’s not very useful.

It is if you are dealing with evil walking-dead punk rockers in a studio! When you command them to tune thay look like this:

:smiling_imp: :laughing:

But it doesn’t mean anything to babies:

Ha! But if punk rockers tune to pitch perfectly, it isn’t punk rock! Now that I think of it, that would make an interesting album - Sex Pistols covered by studio musicians in tune. Wonder if that’s been done?


‘Momma, Look What They Have Done to my Song’!



How did my cat get in that photo?

Perfect Pitch is the ability to quickly and easily recall pitches from memory. I had a singing student who had PP. I could ask him what the names of his notes were and he could name them easily. He was perhaps a little more exacting than most non-musician singers, and had a ‘good ear’ as we say, meaning he could be relied on to hear a song and reproduce the right notes without drifting. It definitely is a useful skill for learning music quickly and easily, so he would make a good session musician, music teacher, or choir director where a musician has to deal with large quantities of differing music every day.

This skill is of course different from being creative with music, having the ability to improvise, or for that matter, having the drive to be a musician when there are so many other, more lucrative choices for an educated intelligent person. :neutral_face:

I have another question, does anyone alive have perfect time?

Perfect time must be slightly imperfect to be perfect.

When you hear a really good orchestra in full flight you would have to say that is about as close as humans get to perfect. [time that is]. Actually the Basie Band was pretty together too.

I think Swamptone was referring to human latency… its unavoidable, hence its never truly “perfect”.

Yes, but deliberate human latency. There was a clinical double blind study published where folks listened to “perfect” machine generated drumkit performance compared to an accomplished studio drummer (with excellent timing skill) triggering the same sounds as the machine. Listeners preferred the studio drummer performance. The scientists suggested the miniscule timing differences lent a more “human” feel to the performance, and listeners preferred that to the perfection of the machine. Thus, the machine does not render a more perfect performance. DAW programmers have known that for a long time now.

I was on road with a drummer that would practice 1/2 notes at 40bpm for an hour every morning. Then quarters etc. Used to drive me nuts he would do it seven days a week lol…What a groove though. It just got me thinking.

I had a teacher when I was in college that said I have had many students with perfect pitch but never one with perfect time. He was a character and a great teacher who used beat you with his elbow when your time drifted yelling “Here’s the TIME”…
Loved him, he made us do Bach by singing one hand and playing the other…for me it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done musically, that really helped my mental weaknesses and my pitch

NICE exercise!

I’m trying right now and blowing it bigtime BTW.

Thanks for that.

Yep, got your meaning… perfect is not always palatable… for sure.

There’s really no definition for that. If you mean all notes falling exactly on the beat at the same volume, well then “duh”. That would sound horrible.

Ahh! So that’s what’s wrong with my mixes. :slight_smile: :slight_smile: :slight_smile:
Thanks fizbin.


From what I’ve read elsewhere, perfect pitch seems more of a curse than a blessing …

I’ve read about people with perfect pitch who’ve had difficulty when having to sing music from a score when the actual pitch being sung was a tone lower than written - I suspect most of us wouldn’t be affected that way (at least for mid-range notes) because we’d be pitching each new note by relative pitch, rather than absolute pitch. Also, I read someone describing having felt almost physically ill when he was listening to an unaccompanied choir whose pitch was gradually drifting downwards, as sometimes happens. I suspect that a lot of us wouldn’t detect a gradual pitch drift.

I have good relative pitch. I used to be able to sing a C or A at will (haven’t checked recently). But sometimes I’ll have a piece of music “playing” in my head and when I go to the piano to play it, I often get the key wrong (typically a semitone off, but sometimes more. That might matter for some people in some circumstances, but usually doesn’t matter to me.

I’ve got it, but it isn’t at all a curse, it’s not controlling me or anything. I can identify pitches, that’s it. Sometimes it’s a bit off, like a quarter note or so. It depends.

It isn’t the most useful skill, but it can help especially when transcribing things.

Almost. The Americans call Green Day ‘punk rock’ and they are heavily produced! :smiley: