Implications of Perfect Pitch...
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secretasianman

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As the thread title suggests, I discovered I had perfect pitch in my 10th grade Music Theory AP class. It might have been because I started playing classical piano when I was 5, or just a mutation. Besides a guaranteed "5" on the AP exam
, what sort of implications do you think perfect pitch has on me? Musical aptitude (at this point, I'm saying no - I lost patience with both violin and acoustic guitar)? The ability to appreciate music more (probably not - I spend too much time analyzing the notes and can't really appreciate the "colors")?

I'm listening to some tracks off "Nine to the Universe" as I type this - probably better if I played guitar in the first place.

The point is, is there anything I should be doing with this "gift"? Should I be practicing an instrument, are there any ways I could put it to use, or is it just a gimmick?

Humor me.
 
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mbriant

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You might be able to get free long distance phone calls if you can whistle the keypad tones accurately.
 
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mlchang

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Hehe,

I don't think having perfect pitch is going to help you with a music theory AP exam. You better study. Interestingly, playing instruments at an early age is associated with perfect pitch. So is being Asian actually, as asian languages have more emphasis on tone and inflection.

But anyway, maybe you have some other talents. Apparently some studies have shown perfect pitch to occur with higher frequency in autistic children. Now autism is itself a spectrum of deficits and is now classified in the spectrum of so called "pervasive developmental disorders." Interestingly some autistic children are the so called "idiot savants." Like the Rain Man, who excels at mathematics but is clearly deficient in other areas of cognitive development.

So now at the risk of offending some people, maybe you should try counting cards and go to Vegas. Maybe you will discover a new talent


And not to burst your bubble, but supposedly a study showed that most babies have perfect pitch to start with and then lose it as they get older. I don't know the details of that study or how they did it, or how they got babies to cooperate but just so you know
 
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TaffyGuy

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oh, you're just bragging. and i got a 5 on the music theory ap too


so you have a really good ear. kind of the highest level of having a really good ear. seems to go hand in hand with musical aptitude. i think having the ability to hear more in music gives you an advantage in being able to appreciate it more, but i guess it all depends on the person. if you happen to be into audio/musicality, you just happen to have a huge advantage over most people. and you should keep playing piano. i need to learn piano. and violin. and guitar, i havn't been playing my guitar at all. haven't been playing my flute either. god knows my clarinets are just rotting. alto sax is so loud...

whatever. don't overanalyze just cuz you can, or think you can or have to or something. you're lucky so enjoy.

EDIT: oh and YES it helps on the music theory AP. i mean, all you need is perfect relative pitch, which is trainable (mostly) but perfect pitch definately guarentees that...
 
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mlchang

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Just thought of something else...

I bet it sucks when everybody sings "Happy Birthday" out of tune.

Michael
 
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secretasianman

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mbriant: haha

mlchang: it definitely helped on the AP exam. ppl with decent relative pitch did fine w/o it, but the other PP'ers and I basically had the answer key to 30-40% of the exam


Yes, I'm korean. Yes, it sucks to hear ppl sing "Happy B-day". And no, I can't count cards :p

Taffy: Well, I didn't intend to brag, although it seems like it now... I was seriously thinking about starting either piano or guitar again (even though I'm in college now). I think my fingers are already too flabby for me to become a good pianist. Besides, I took lessons for like 6-7 years at the behest of my parents (and I didn't get very far... so much for musical aptitude). As for acoustic guitar, I only played for a few months in my sophomore year, so I don't know how far I can go with that. I hope I'm still dexterous enough to pick up the guitar...
 
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fiddler

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I have perfect pitch, as do most of my "better" musician friends, and so does my violin teacher...

I think being highly musically gifted often means you have perfect pitch (I bet there are some exceptions..), but the opposite is not necessarily true.

Trust me, if you were meant to be a musician, you would've WANTED to be one. If you don't really love playing music, then it's really not worth all the hassle. This is why I'm totally against parents who force their children to take up piano lessons or whatever.
 
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HD-5000

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Hmm... I've been wondering about people with perfect pitch. How do you know you have it?

I'm korean too! It surprising how many koreans are computer/audio geeks.
 
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TaffyGuy

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I didn't intend to give you a hard time for it


music is a wonderful gift... we all love it so we should all make ourselves more personally involved in it. i wish my stupid TMJ would go away so i didn't have so many excuses not to play. i guess in that case i should pull out my guitar! guitar is irritating though because i don't have the huge advantage i do switching between wind instruments, heh. must be good immediately! so fickle...

luckily i think my apartment has much nicer acoustics than my stupid dorm room did (moving in next week) ...one of the other curses of having a good ear is that it's so blatantly obvious when sound is sub-par... but we ALL know that. (afterall this is a hangout for obsessive sound adicts) of course it's also an advantage, as we can tell when it's beyond-par as well *grin*

but that was the whole piont, no?
 
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Magicthyse

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I'm not sure what sort of gimmicky use you could put it to, secretasianman. I have perfect pitch too. If you come across a good scam, let me know
 
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secretasianman

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fiddler: I completely agree with what ur saying, and ur right - I probably wasn't born a musician. Its just strange listening to Hendrix (or just rock/blues/any guitar work) and not even playing the guitar - like I can't appreciate it as much as someone who plays the guitar.

HD-5000: You should see Berkeley

If you have perfect pitch, you should, at any time or place, be able to recognize a note/chord and be able to reproduce it or say what note/chord it was. That's the point I'm at now.

TaffyGuy - I'd like to know how returning to the guitar is like for you (how painful it is). I'm going to try and find time for it. The sooner the better, eh?

Magicthyse: There are "special" ppl associate colors with the notes (one was hired by a chamber orchestra to pick out the individuals who were out of tune). Or they can tell you the pitch that you're talking in. Anyways, I'm sure you could hustle some disbelieving suckers here and there
 
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TaffyGuy

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oh, and in response to fiddler:

i don't think you have to be aiming for a career as a musician to be enriched by playing. i may not be into practicing scales and reading exercises as much as when i was training with a private teacher, but it's still a lot of fun to play, and play along with music, or if you have other people to play with especially (which i currently do not) and you don't have to be professional or even good to get a lot out of this!

as for starting young; i WISH my parents started me off on piano young. in my experience the only musicians who make it through high school without giving up are people who started young on piano, and i was in an incredible minority not being one of those. in college it's even harder to stick with it and many more talented people stop playing. unfortunately parental tactics are seemingly stuck in black & which on this issue among many others, where it is either no encouragement to start music early or hard handed pushiness to practice piano, as with oh so many asian families. it's too bad i wasn't encouraged to start really young, but i'm glad i didn't have the love for music beaten out of me by early bad experiences. nonetheless i think every family would benafit in having a piano or something in that reguard when raising children, and i am planning on buying one myself when i eventually settle down, and have been wanting to learn to play for a long time now (that and almost every other instrument
) its a beautiful device.
 
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TaffyGuy

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oh yeah, these "special" people, it is some "disorder", i forget the name, but some associate a color, taste, and even smell, with every event in their lives.

aparently they are like spunges and it gives them a mental prowess that goes far beyond photographic memory. i've never met anyone who has this ability; my genius roommate was telling me about a friend of his who does. very facinating. seems like there is so much more potential for intellect than we commonly know of, its almost exaspirating to think about. brains are cool.
 
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mlchang

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I think that as a parent you kind of have to force kids to take it up early...

Now I don't think it should be rammed down their throats or anything, but how else would the kid know whether he liked it or not? Only if the parent signs them up...

In addition, my guess is that music, language, artistic ability, etc. all benefit from early exposure. For example, in school we learned that languages you learn before the age of 8 (or was it 11) you can speak without an accent. After the age of 11 apparently, even if you are absolutely completely fluent, you will never be able to speak it perfectly without some type of slight accent. In addition languages learned within the first few years of life are actually "stored" in a different area of the brain than ones learned later. A personal example, I speak Mandarin Chinese and English fluently. I learned Spanish and some Japanese later. With Mandarin and English, I don't have to think about what I'm saying (so to speak), but with Spanish and Japanese I have to translate them first to English or Chinese. What's even more strange is that for whatever reason when I'm trying to think of a Japanese word I'll come up with the Spanish version, and vice versa, so I think there is some truth to that storage thing.

So the point of all that painful personal sharing is that probably musical training would be "wired" into the brain in the same way. I started piano at age 5 and then played for 11 years. I quit in high school. I totally regret it now. But I think I could pick it back up if I wanted to. In addition, I think that I really do appreciate music more because of my previous training that was technically "forced" on me. Now, I just mess around with DJing since simple 4/4 beats are all that I can understand now.

Michael
 
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TaffyGuy

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in my parenting fantacy, i'm still playing, and playing many instruments, in front of my kids, so that they want to follow my example and get excited about music. perhaps its just a fantacy, and isn't possible if you as a parent have given up music, but it seems like a really good answer to me. now if i can only get laid
 
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