Perfect Pitch Singing

Perfect pitch (also known as absolute pitch AP) is the ability of a person to identify or recreate a musical note without the benefit of an external reference. A person with perfect pitch can name a note and sing it without hearing the pitch first. For example, someone with perfect pitch can sing Middle C correctly without hearing it first and having to match the pitch. They can also pick up a piece of music that they've never heard and sing all the correct notes without hearing the first note.

Perfect pitch training

Due to the amount of perfect pitch ear training courses and perfect pitch training software on the market, many people falsely believe that adults can develop perfect pitch. Whatever you might have heard, as an adult you can't develop perfect pitch you can only develop relative pitch.

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So how does perfect pitch work?

Just as most people have learned to recognize and name the color blue by the frequency of the electromagnetic radiation that is perceived as light, it is possible that those who have had early (somewhere between the ages of 3 and 6) and meaningful exposure to the names of musical tones will be likely to identify, for example, middle C.

Is perfect pitch genetic?

Many people believe that perfect pitch might be genetic, though others think it might be nothing more than a general human capacity that is influenced by the level and type of exposure to music that people experience in a given culture. It's been shown for example that absolute pitch is more common among speakers of tonal languages such as most dialects of Chinese or Vietnamese.

Can people with perfect pitch sing every note in tune?

No, if someone has perfect pitch it does not mean that he can automatically sing every note in tune. Possessors of perfect pitch exibit the ability in varying degrees. Generally perfect pitch implies some or all of the following abilities:

  • Identify by name individual pitches (e.g. A, B, C#) played on various instruments
  • Name the key of a given piece of tonal music just by listening
  • Identify and name all the tones of a given chord or other tonal mass
  • Sing a given pitch without an external reference
  • Name the pitches of common everyday noises such as car horns

Should I give up on singing if I don't have perfect pitch?

No of course not! In fact very few singers have perfect pitch but this is not a problem because perfect pitch is not necessary to sing well. Although you will never develop perfect pitch, you can improve your relative pitch with ear training software like the Perfect Your Pitch Trainer Pro included as part of Singorama's Ultimate Guide to Professional Singing

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To your future as a singer and perfecting your pitch,

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Related articles:
singing pitch and tone, tone deafness, relative pitch, matching pitch, learn to sing at home