• Register
  • Help
Page 1 of 5 1234 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 43


  1. #1


    I have a few questions regarding pitch,

    I am one of those unfortunate souls who has a hard time keeping a tune. I can write some nice things and hear melodies etc in my head. I have no trouble writing an instrumental and coming up with decent bits.

    However, I have a hard time singing Happy Birthday in tune. I write pop songs and when I sing them sometimes I'm in tune and other times I'm not. Sometimes when I sing it sounds good to me in the headphones but then when I take them off and listen to the speakers it's off. Somedays i'll think Wow I did well today and then cringe when I listen 2 days later. Are my ears getting tired? Do pressure levels in the headphones flucuate the pitch?

    Is it possible to practise learning pitch or do you have to be born with it? My wife can whistle a tune 2 seconds after she hears it. I really have to work hard on a song, sometimes line by line.

    Does a Perfect Pitch course, like the one you see advertised in Keyboard Mag, work?

    And in the mean time, for vocals, do you prefer Antares Auto tune or Celemony's Melodyne. (I have Akai PitchRight and it colors the sound too much.) I've been told by a few people that Antares AutoTune is all over Billboard magazine but after demoing both products I seem to get better feedback and results from melodyne.

    Any response would be greatly appreciated.

    All the very best,


  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Los Angeles, CA


    The established opinion as I understand it is that absolute or so-called "perfect" pitch cannot be learned. It is supposedly a gift, like an innate ability to do mathematics, which can't be really awakened unless the person has musical training.

    The opposite view is essentially that it can be learned, mainly through the study of intervals (I think that's how they see it, anyway). There are certainly no shortage of products out there that folks would like to sell you, that say learning it is quite possible...
    Some experts learn more and more about less and less, until at last they know everything there is about nothing at all.

  3. #3


    Quote Originally Posted by Alewis
    The established opinion as I understand it is that absolute or so-called "perfect" pitch cannot be learned. It is supposedly a gift, like an innate ability to do mathematics, which can't be really awakened unless the person has musical training.

    The opposite view is essentially that it can be learned, mainly through the study of intervals (I think that's how they see it, anyway). There are certainly no shortage of products out there that folks would like to sell you, that say learning it is quite possible...
    Relative pitch can be trained, but absolute or perfect pitch needs a good musical hearing - and even then it has to be trained. Good relative pitch is much more important than absolute pitch. It's more important to be able to hear and name the intervals than to perfectly sing in tune out of the blue, and to be able to name every note you hear.

    My father has absolute pitch, and he has developed it more in the years, as a music teacher. He can name every note I play on most of the western tuned (equal tempered) instruments (unless it's really high or low) If absolute pitch is hereditary I guess I'll find out.

  4. #4
    Moderator/Developer Brian2112's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Out of my Mind


    I would recommend some “ear training” courses. When I was at Berklee, we typically took 4 semesters of it (depending on where we started). You might check their web to see if they have any materials for this that can be acquired on-line.

    Relative pitch is good enough, and to a large degree, it can be learned.

    "So what if some parts of life are a crap shoot? Get out there and shoot the crap." -- Neil Peart
    Hint:1.6180339887498948482 Φ

  5. #5


    Hey guys,

    Thanks for the responses. I used the phrase "perfect" pitch a little too generally there. Relative pitch would be fine. Has anyone else "trained" rgeir ears to hear better?

    All the very best,


  6. #6


    I've known lots of people with perfect pitch, and while it seems like it would be useful, my feeling is that it's more of a crutch than anything else. Almost all of the students I've taught who had perfect pitch were sort of lazy when it came to developing their ears. It's the equivalent of being able to take a math class with a calculator -- you'll make an easy A, but because you won't have to do all of the work of a student without a calculator, you really won't learn the material as well. I really think that relative pitch is far more useful, and it is certainly learnable (I, along with many others here, am living proof).

    As far as your intonation issues go, Darren, the bottom line is that you probably don't have an intimate enough understanding of what the various intervals should sound like. Some people just seem to "get it", like your wife, but the rest of us have to learn it. My main instrument is saxophone, and I spent many many hours at one point in my development playing various interval exercises while staring at a tuner. I'd play a note, get it in tune, close my eyes, play the next note, and then open my eyes to see how close I was. Eventually, exercises like this will ingrain an intuitive of sense of where each pitch is supposed to be. It's tedious, but once you learn it, you'll never lose it.

    Something else to develop, if you haven't already done so, is to learn to "pre-hear" every note. That is, you should be able to sort of hear the note your about to hit before you hit it. Many singers do this intuitively, but lots of horn players just press the buttons and make adjustments based on what comes out. You'll be much more likely to nail each note if you're "thinking" the pitch in advance.

    One drag about having a solid understanding of intonation and pitch, however, is that you become painfully aware of how much stuff out there is not in tune...

  7. #7


    Is the exact reproduction of what we hear in the head to the keyboard is something like the Relative pitch ?


  8. #8


    Just train your ear by singing along with the piano. Play the melody on the piano while your singing it. Sooner or later you'll start to sing in tune.

    Perfect pitch is something that can be learned. I play a transposing instrument and on my instrument I can tell what the notes are. Also, if I've heard a CD enough I can sing what note the piece is going to start on before the piece starts. So in my head I can hear pitches, but I never seem to be able to name the note names.

    So I think this thing that people call perfect pitch is a relative thing. Some guys can name off a note and pick it out of thin air. Some people are good at singing tunes after hearing it one time. I know that I can instantly recall passages in the right Key of any piece that I know or have heard a few times.

    None of this has any bearing on how well a person performs. I know great performers without perfect pitch and I know composers with perfect pitch that can't write anything anybody would ever want to hear.

    So just sharpen your skills the old fashion way. Sing along. And if you ever develop perfect pitch great. If not, big deal.


  9. #9


    I tried to learn it, but it turned out to need so much work for me, so I gave up on it after a few months. I used a tuning fork and gave myself the A (440 hz) all day long. As soon as a lost it in my mind I picked it up again and listened. After a while, I could remember the A in the morning without using the tuning fork. Then I got myself a tuning fork tuned in B .. and started working that. The thing was that once I stopped with the A .. I lost it in a matter of a day or two.

    Maybe it can be learned, maybe not - I'm not sure. Maybe we just don't know how to teach it out to each other yet. I'm told that people with perfect pitch often compare it to colors - they hear it and they know what color it is. Just like we see what color an object has. But how do you describe to a color blind person what "green" looks like

    Now, later in life, I feel happy I did not learn it. I have come in contact with- and worked with people that have perfect pitch (both musicians and non-musicians). As for the musicians, all of these guys said that most of the time it is more of a pain than a help.

    Give a musician with perfect pitch a notated line of music have him sing it - no problem. Then, ask him to sing the line while reading it from the paper once again, but this time to use a different starting note - and the mind goes . Same thing with tape decks that a little too slow or too fast, and untuned instruments and so on ... any time a note is not "what it should be" it throws the mind off balance.

    I doubt that perfect pitch would be any more helpful than having a tuning fork handy for us non-gifted. But it is an interesting subject to discuss and think about - and it is sooo flashy to non-musicians
    Kid: When I become an adult I wanna be a musician.
    Parent: Son, you cannot become both.

  10. #10


    I'll double Brian on this one. It might be even better to have relative pitch rather than Perfect pitch .

    People with PP can be a pain in the butt sometimes, especially if you are in a band with them......everything sounds "flat" or "sharp" to them and in many cases , they can't enjoy music the way other people do because they are constantly , unwantingly comparing the sound to their "inner notes". The good part of it is that it's more possible to compose in your head something and perceive the whole thing easier .

    Many develop perfect pitch on some notes only ,good violinists especially remember all the 4 strings after all these years of tuning them perfect. It helps to start music as a kid to get PP . I have a violinist friend with PP, i played him small sine waves without the name and he got all the pitches right with just 1-2 cents bias.

    Also , i've heard that Chinese people have the largest percentage of PPitched people because of the various intonations they have to learn in order to speak Chinese ( Even the writing of simplified chinese has sort of "pitches" written in it like \ / - sort of thing ).

    My brother has written a program called PerfectPitch.exe , what it does is plays samples back randomly ( which are all perfect sine waves ) , and you type in what you think the frequency is .
    I practised hard on it for a few days and i saw great improvement, i was able to sing a4 with just a few cents off and whistle it at school and try if it was right on the piano and it worked . But then i got lazy and stuffed the whole thing .

    This is from the sound diary i kept those days :

    Day 2 - 1:23 Pm
    I got up and before listening to anything so i don't confuse myself, i recorded on the microphone the pitch which i thought was right with my voice.

    After comparing the recording to an A 440 0 , i saw that i was 1 1/5 semitone away from the A.
    A shine of hope ? < only time will tell.

    6:45 Pm
    WOW ! , i just woke up now after my siesta, made a coffee and sang/recorded the note in my head again , i am very happy . The note i recorded is an A 440 +/- 5 cents/hz after comparing it to the original Sine A 440, i think the +/- 5 cents occured because my voice is not that good . but the note is in my head now !
    I hope this is what it seems to be.
    Is the note stuck in my head ? Please yes be it

    Practice Day 4
    "3 days with no practice at all have gone by, i have no idea what's going on and i am starting practice right now.

    hmmm, 4 semitones out of tune today , i lost my A4 , eeeh , ~~~~ happens i suppose."
    The program is freeware, if anyone wants it let me know.
    Theo Krueger - Composer


    Kontakt 2 Scripts

Go Back to forum
Page 1 of 5 1234 ... LastLast


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts