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Perfect pitch may not be so 'perfect' - Page 2

post #16 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eisenhower View Post

I've known a few people with "perfect" pitch, and this doesn't really surprise me. It should actually just be called absolute pitch, since the possessors of this trait can't tell you the precise frequency or anything like that. They could tell you "an F a few cents flat" or something like that.

Several professional musicians I have encountered can hear that an A is tuned at 441 or 440 etc

post #17 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by uchihaitachi View Post

Several professional musicians I have encountered can hear that an A is tuned at 441 or 440 etc

 

According to the article cited you have not encountered such people.

Maybe you meant to say you've met musicians who claim that they can determine 441 and 440 from each other. That is an exaggeration, and I've never witnessed someone with absolute pitch (AP) with such precision. The just detectable difference in pitch is around 4 cents, and even then it is difficult to know if you are hearing 440 v.s. 444 or 441 v.s. 445. This is why AP is not classified as such an ability, but rather just the detection of notes.


Edited by Eisenhower - 6/20/13 at 11:27pm
post #18 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eisenhower View Post

 

According to the article cited you have not encountered such people.

Maybe you meant to say you've met musicians who claim that they can determine 441 and 440 from each other. That is an exaggeration, and I've never heard of someone with AP who actually possesses such precision.

Just to mention a few, Valery Gergiev can tell those pitches apart. So can most renowned conductors especially the Vienna Phil's conductor who requested that their A be tuned to 443 (can't remember his name). Bach was also renowned for his sensitivity to pitch alterations and he wrote several organ pieces for non equal temperament tuned organs. 

 

Most excellent piano tuners can tell those frequencies apart. Speaking of which, most pianists especially the neurotic ones like Sokolov and Pollini need their instruments tuned to the highest level of pitch accuracy. 

 

4 and 5 c is actually quite noticeable. 


Edited by uchihaitachi - 6/20/13 at 11:31pm
post #19 of 100
post #20 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by uchihaitachi View Post

Just to mention a few, Valery Gergiev can tell those pitches apart. So can most renowned conductors especially the Vienna Phil's conductor who requested that their A be tuned to 443 (can't remember his name). Bach was also renowned for his sensitivity to pitch alterations and he wrote several organ pieces for non equal temperament tuned organs. 

 

Most excellent piano tuners can tell those frequencies apart. Speaking of which, most pianists especially the neurotic ones like Sokolov and Pollini need their instruments tuned to the highest level of pitch accuracy. 

 

Unless you've witnessed those composers doing so, I do not believe your claim. Composers request 442 v.s. 440 because it changes the timbre of instruments, not because they can hear the pitch differences. You can find all sorts of ridiculous rumors and myths about famous composers and musicians regarding their natural abilities.

 

Of course actual tuning machines can tell those frequencies apart, since they need to avoid beating when the notes are played simultaneously which is obvious to any normal person with or without absolute pitch.

post #21 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eisenhower View Post

 

Unless you've witnessed those composers doing so, I do not believe your claim. Composers request 442 v.s. 440 because it changes the timbre of instruments, not because they can hear the pitch differences. You can find all sorts of ridiculous rumors and myths about famous composers and musicians.

 

Of course actual tuning machines can tell those frequencies apart, since they need to avoid beating when the notes are played simultaneously which is obvious to any normal person with or without absolute pitch.

Conductors request higher pitches as it makes the orchestra sound 'brighter'. Try the link, I am sure you will be able to tell 2c apart. I have perfect pitch but nowhere near as good as some others who I have encountered. Yet, I can tell 3c apart reliably. 

 

I think it is debatable regarding 1c but 3c and more is very noticeable. 


Edited by uchihaitachi - 6/20/13 at 11:38pm
post #22 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by uchihaitachi View Post

Conductors request higher pitches as it makes the orchestra sound 'brighter'. Try the link, I am sure you will be able to tell 2c apart. I have perfect pitch but nowhere near as good as some others who I have encountered. Yet, I can tell 3c apart reliably. 

 

"brighter" is a timbre quality. Tuning stringed instruments higher increases the string tension.

 

I cannot tell the difference between 2c apart, let alone 1c apart (which is what you claimed was possible).


Edited by Eisenhower - 6/20/13 at 11:40pm
post #23 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eisenhower View Post

 

"brighter" is a timbre quality.

 

I cannot tell the difference between 2c apart, let alone 1c apart (which is what you claimed was possible).

Many rumours and myths exist, but I have had the good fortune of encountering many of these distinguished musicians and have seen remarkable hearing in action. I can tell 3c apart quite clearly and as I said, I don't have exceptional perfect pitch. 

 

Timbre is what makes a particular musical sound varied from another, even when they have the same pitch and loudness.

post #24 of 100

Piano tuners also tune by ear to whatever reference pitch the pianist requires. 

post #25 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by uchihaitachi View Post

Timbre is what makes a particular musical sound varied from another, even when they have the same pitch and loudness.

 

And because no one can reliably notice a 1c or 2c difference, the pitch is effectively the same. Why do you think these composers choose such a small increment?

post #26 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by uchihaitachi View Post

Piano tuners also tune by ear to whatever reference pitch the pianist requires. 

 

Maybe in the 1800's

post #27 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eisenhower View Post

 

And because no one can reliably notice a 1c or 2c difference, the pitch is effectively the same. Why do you think these composers choose such a small increment?

Because they can tell the minute difference, conductors and performers have incrementally increased pitch since the Baroque period. 

 

This is also why the Vienna Phil tunes at 443. If we hypothesise that there exists two identical performances except one is at 440 and the other at 443, the latter would sound better. Likewise to you I think 1c and 2c is debatable, probably reserved for very few exceptional individuals. But from 3c onwards, I think the difference is quite noticeable. 

post #28 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eisenhower View Post

 

Maybe in the 1800's

Not at all, modern day piano tuners still tune every piano by ear. It's an incredibly difficult qualification to get. 

post #29 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by uchihaitachi View Post

Because they can tell the minute difference, conductors and performers have incrementally increased pitch since the Baroque period. 

 

This is also why the Vienna Phil tunes at 443. If we hypothesise that there exists two identical performances except one is at 440 and the other at 443, the latter would sound better. Likewise to you I think 1c and 2c is debatable, probably reserved for very few exceptional individuals. But from 3c onwards, I think the difference is quite noticeable. 

 

So the composers decide to tune up 3c because it is personally satisfying to them even if completely irrelevant to the audience...

I find the timbre argument a fair bit more convincing.

post #30 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eisenhower View Post

 

So the composers decide to tune up 3c because it is personally satisfying to them even if completely irrelevant to the audience...

I find the timbre argument a fair bit more convincing.

I am very confused as to what you are implying. Performers and conductors put up the pitch as it often results in a 'brighter' impression. On the other hand, some choose to perform at baroque pitch to maintain authenticity especially for period music. 

 

Often pitch is increased incrementally and very slightly to give off the 'brighter impression'. If pitch is increased drastically, it confuses the listener rather than achieving the 'brighter' effect. 

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