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Perfect Pitch & Tuning


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#1 Ligneo Fistula

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Posted 16 September 2017 - 10:11

What tuning system/temperament do people with perfect pitch adhere to?


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#2 BadStrad

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Posted 16 September 2017 - 12:03

Whatever is local to them. It is (among other things) the ability to recognise and repeat a note accurately, or to vocalise a particular pitch/ frequency without a reference sound to pitch from. The naming of the pitch will reflect the tonal system they are familiar with.

This article explains more:- https://en.m.wikiped.../Absolute_pitch
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#3 BadStrad

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Posted 16 September 2017 - 12:13

An interesting article on the plasticity of perfect pitch:-

https://news.uchicag...olute-after-all
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#4 Ligneo Fistula

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Posted 16 September 2017 - 13:23

Ta.


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#5 SingingPython

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Posted 16 September 2017 - 20:45

Interesting article; thanks for posting it.  I was thinking about something similar only this afternoon, when getting my son to play along with a Bach recording (Bach A minor violin).  We have enough different recordings that I was able to pull one out that didn't need us to tune his violin down; but I think I might make the effort tomorrow and see how he finds it.  He thinks it will probably not be too bad.  I remember my sister and I doing that as children, and while it took me ages to retune my instrument, once done I was fine, but my sister with perfect pitch found it a lot harder to adjust.  Mind you she may have been about 9 at the time!  My son is a bit older than that now, and has also sung a lot and had to learn to cope when things aren't sung at pitch; at the age of 8 and 9 he found semitone transposition quite exhausting!

 

The way his pitch identification seems to work I suspect that he may eventually be able to select different A's according to requirements, if he decides he's interested ...


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#6 elemimele

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Posted 16 September 2017 - 21:08

The thing that surprised me most in the plasticity article was that it depends on retaining the same instrument; I can fully see the sense that playing a symphony and gradually changing the pitch at such a slow rate that no one notices could leave a person's internal tuning "re-calibrated" to a new scale, but I can't see why they'd be calibrated for the new scale on the instruments played during the symphony, but be back to original tuning if suddenly faced with a French Horn - which is what the authors found!

Incidentally, the concept of absolute pitch is actually present in everyone, even the non-musical. The evidence for this is the tritone paradox: a note is played, using a Shepard tone (which is a blend of all the octaves); then a note is played exactly half an octave away, again with a Shepard tone. The thing about Shepard tones is that as one plays higher and higher, the lower octaves are made louder and the upper octaves softer, so that when the tones have ascended a complete octave, they are actually back to exactly where they started. For this reason, there is absolutely no physical difference between playing the tritone above or below the starting note, and whether we perceive it as higher or lower should be random.

In fact it isn't random. It depends both on cultural background of the test-subject (for example, a European might make the opposite choice to an American), and (fascinatingly!) on the absolute note with which we started - which implies that everyone has a concept of absolute pitch, even if we don't normally know it.

This must be such an interesting area in which to do research (although not terribly useful; the only practical application I can think of is in working out whether people can tell automatically which direction an ambulance is going in...). It would even be worth knowing how to distinguish between absolute pitch, and a very good musical memory.


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