Perfect pitch (the ability to name notes by ear) is impressive and useful. But is something you can or should learn? Discover the truth here.
Perfect pitch (or “absolute pitch” as it is more accurately known) is the ability to identify, or reproduce a note without reference to any other sound. It is a skill considered by many to be the holy grail of ear training.
The name “perfect pitch” hints at the mystery and intrigue which surrounds this skill. Those who possess it are often seen as intimidating, naturally gifted musicians. We aim to clear up some of that mystery and help all musicians develop their sense of absolute pitch to the degree that’s useful to them.
If developing perfect pitch sounds like an impossible task, you just might be surprised! It’s true that a select few people do seem to have an innate ability to identify tones by ear from an early age, but it is in fact possible for any musician or audio pro to learn and develop these skills.
You may find your own absolute pitch skills are already better than you think…
For example: most people (including non-musicians) when asked to sing a favourite song will instinctively sing it in the correct key. This is a form of absolute pitch! It may not be as reliable and accurate as what people consider ‘perfect pitch’, but it is the same underlying ability
Another example is that many musicians can tune a familiar instrument close to concert pitch without needing a tuner, just because the notes have become so ingrained in their ear as reference pitches. By learning to tie this knowledge to note values (and with plenty of hard work) you can make great improvements to your absolute pitch from this basis.
Unfortunately there is a great deal of misinformation about perfect pitch on the internet, commonly written by people selling improbable quick fix solutions.
Here at Musical U we believe:
- Most professional musicians, even great virtuosos, do not possess perfect pitch
- Developing perfect pitch will not instantly turn you into a virtuoso!
- There is no trick in existence that can allow you to magically develop perfect pitch without hard work and dedication
- Perfect pitch is not essential for transcribing music or playing by ear! Tasks like these can also be done using relative pitch and chord ear training
However we do believe that dedication and absolute pitch ear training will allow you to:
- Identify pitches by ear
- Improve the speed at which you can transcribe
- Help you to play by ear
- Sight-sing or auralise (hear in your head) the notes from a score
- Accurately tune instruments without using a tuner
Free articles about Perfect Pitch
Professor Henkjan Honing, a leading researcher of biomusicology, shares results from his research on how human musicality works and where it comes from.
Contrary to what you’ve heard, perfect pitch can be learned if you work at it. However, learning relative pitch might be more helpful. Learn more here.
Can you learn perfect pitch, or must you be born with it? How effective are the methods? A new scientific study aims to find out. Learn all about it here.
Perfect pitch is an impressive musical ability which comes naturally to some musicians – so many people think it is a magic “gift”. Learn the truth here.