Is that a relative or perfect pitch?

Perfect Pitch - The phenomenon of perfect pitch

Can you sing all notes with perfect clarity? And all that without a previous guiding note? Very few people have such skills. For this reason, perfect pitch, also known as "perfect pitch", is a rare phenomenon. The perfect pitch is associated with an enormous understanding of music and the rhythms associated with it. But where does the name Perfect Pitch come from and which musicians have it?

The historical beginnings of tone analysis

Since the 19th century, science has concentrated on researching the background to understanding musical pitches and how to measure them. Since the references of the pitches were only precisely defined at this point in time, the designation of the perfect pitch could only be analyzed from the 19th century. Perfect Pitch was explained with a musical ear as well as with an absolute sound awareness at the same time.

But the differences and delimitations are in the details. Only around one in 10,000 people have perfect pitch and are therefore able to sing every note flawlessly and without prior support. On a physical and functional basis, there are no differences in the Perfect Pitch hearing system. Rather, it is an expression of a rare analytical ability with which pitches can be determined exactly. This form of tone finding is an act of knowledge, whereby the frequencies heard are reproduced in the form of pure tones.

From a scientific point of view, this is a musical approach to learning that can also be related to speech sounds or colors in other areas. However, since tones are defined by a much finer delimitation than the common color samples, this ability is much rarer. It would be different if colors such as blue and red were also differentiated based on their detailed colors. Such a skill is also rare and the absolute exception.

Effects on language and perception

Influences around the perfect pitch can also be defined from a cultural point of view. Above all, the familiarization with the C major scale created new approaches that could significantly simplify identification with specific tones. Most of the tones reproduced correspond to musical experiences which, from the listener's point of view, sound coherent or crooked. But the Perfect Pitch has also led to some changes in terms of language and perception.

Many dialects are dependent on altitude fluctuations. This does not only apply to concrete stresses that are intended to result in an action. Stresses are also of elementary importance for the classic processes of speaking, even if music is usually not processed as a sequence of speech.

Not only the reproduction of perfect tones, but above all their perception plays a decisive role in Perfect Pitch. The exact classifications are not defined by a better sense of hearing, but exclusively by recognition and categorization. This, in turn, is due to the mechanisms of the brain.

The differences to relative hearing

In contrast to perfect hearing, relative hearing lacks independence from a leading note. With the Perfect Pitch you are able to precisely define a single tone and assess it without specific examples. With relative pitch, you are simply comparing the note with another tone and classifying it that way. This makes it much easier for musicians to find their way around musically, but it is far from perfect pitch. Perfect pitch is an absolute rarity, even among musicians.

These skills are the basis of the Perfect Pitch

Perfect pitch is a very rare phenomenon. But what exactly can someone who has it do? The following factors form the basis of this extremely rare ability and help identify perfect pitch:

  • Identification of pitches based on their name
  • Accurate singing in a precisely named key
  • Playback of pitches of everyday sounds
  • Name of all notes of a chord
  • Assignment of the key to a piece of sound music

The peculiarity of people with an exact understanding of sound is that they can call up their skills again and again. So if you should hit a lucky strike and you define a chord correctly, this usually has nothing to do with the perfect pitch. This is a constantly available ability with which you can prove your understanding of sound and clearly identify every conceivable note or reproduce it offhand.

A good basis for musical sensitivity

Perfect pitch is by no means a prerequisite for a musical career. Very few can look forward to such an ability, which is why you shouldn't let yourself be unsettled. While such perception can help you with your musical sensitivity, even someone without perfect pitch can become a great musician. This can also be seen in the few examples that can be cited for prominent musicians with a perfect tone feel.

Examples of musicians with perfect pitch

Perfect pitch is a real rarity among musicians. In the near past, for example, Ella Fitzgerald, Charlie Puth, Bing Crosby and Michael Jackson can be named, who have the perfect pitch. However, the many missing famous personalities show that many well-known musicians do not have such skills and are still known.

The famous musician Charlie Puth was even bullied by classmates during his childhood because of his special ability, was able to assert himself in the music industry with his self-confidence and of course with the perfect pitch. Today he is one of the best-known young artists who are predicted to have a steep career in the future. Nevertheless, it turns out that the requirements do not lie in the concrete singing, but above all in the composition. Musical sensitivity and exact knowledge are imperative there.

It is therefore not surprising that many well-known composers from the past have perfect pitch. These personalities include, for example, Mozart, Handel, Chopin and Beethoven. This made it much easier to find the right additions to each instrument and to achieve a harmonious effect. Even back then, Perfect Pitch developed into a universal and important skill within the search for musicians.

Do people lose their perfect pitch over time?

Once you have the perfect pitch, you will no longer have to give up this disposition. However, the question of a loss is not that easy to answer. As with many talents and abilities, the perfect pitch requires active training in order to continue to hear the finest nuances.

In practice, perfect pitch, especially in children, is the result of an intensive and long learning process. Even the finest details can only be heard through regular engagement with new tones and their differences. Scientific reviews and research have shown in the past that humans cannot automatically remember the exact pitch without constant repetition and training. The perfect pitch changes depending on the intensity of the training.

Especially in old age it can happen that tones often sound and are perceived a little higher than they actually are. In this case, the better hearing ability is still preserved. However, there will inevitably be gradations with age. The impossibility of learning the Perfect Pitch even after childhood shows the complexity of perfect pitch. Even if the differences in small pitches can no longer be heard optimally in old age, the skills remain above average even as a result of the deterioration. This is how the Perfect Pitch leaves its mark.

The perfect pitch as a unique talent

From a scientific perspective, the perfect pitch is therefore a talent that children in particular can learn due to their enormous receptivity. The concept of perfect pitch works in a similar way to languages ‚Äč‚Äčthat literally fly to the little ones. As with language, the general understanding will not be lost, but there is no trace of a fluent application without training.

Anyone who has perfect pitch should therefore use it regularly and continue training. Only in this way can the cognitive capacities continue to be used to distinguish smaller tone differences, which is an enormous advantage for musicians. Training with other people who have perfect pitch can also help you here. If you want to keep the perfect pitch in its full quality, you should keep in close contact with the music and its acoustic challenges.

How can you achieve the perfect pitch?

In most cases, musical understanding is innate. Even if a lot of content can also be learned about musical theory and perception, this has nothing to do with the perfect pitch. This at least corresponds to the assumption of Brady as well as Levitin and Rogers, who criticize possible training for the perfect pitch.

Nevertheless, there is now some evidence that Perfect Pitch can be developed without an innate and helpful ability. To this end, the University of Chicago carried out a study in which several students with different musical experiences were tested. Immediately after the first training sessions, the students showed a significant improvement in pitch recognition, which enabled them to expand their experience.

With a lot of practice, you too have the opportunity to sharpen your awareness of the right tones. When looking for an experienced and well-trained musician, in addition to musical ability, the recognition of tones is an important means. Therefore, it is also worthwhile for you to invest more time in musical training and to expand your skills. Even if not every effort leads to the perfect pitch, it is worth working with the music.

Get to know new musicians and find the perfect pitch

When looking for a musician who has perfect tone awareness, the search will take a long time. Very few have such skills. Nevertheless, it is worthwhile to find a suitable contact person for everything to do with the musician search on our portal and to realize joint projects. Anyone looking for a musician will always find what they are looking for with us and can, for example, find the right combination for a new band. Music enthusiasts who you are sure to find gather on our portal.