On Fri, Apr 16, 2010 at 7:33 AM, Atte André Jensen
> Are there anyone here that *learned* perfect pitch (don't care 'bout the
> Would anyone here be interested in exchanging scripts, samples and
How about a different tack on this idea? Nearly everyone has the
ability to reproduce mentally sounds exactly as they hear them. The
ability lacked is to name heard pitches or to reproduce those pitches
from names. Let's suppose that no natural gifts or specific
developmental period is necessary.
Retrieving pitch from memory is accurate. The auditory system
reproduces sounds mentally with the same networks that it uses to
perceive sounds, and the dynamics of those networks in memory closely
mirror their same activity during perception--it just takes a context
in order to retrieve a desired pitch. As an example experiment, you
can consider that I ask you to sing 'E' without any context and then
afterward ask you to sing the first note of 'Mary had a little lamb'
(or some other over-learned melody). This simple experiment ought to
convince you that you have the ability to recall and reproduce a
certain set of exact pitches you have memorized in some context.
So, I would recommend the following method to learn perfect pitch (and
any feedback/critique is welcome):
1. Compose 12 melodies that start on each of the 12 notes within your
vocal range; give them words or names, just something that lets you
recall each one from a cue.
2. Practice the melodies with a well-tuned instrument (or synth)
until you can reliably recall the melodies mentally
3. Sing the melodies to be able to reproduce them accurately by voice
Next, you get to the part that more closely resembles pitch matching
exercises. You want to transfer your newly acquired specific pitch
memories to the ability to recall pitches by name. The ability to
name heard pitches in different contexts (other music) will come with
time, exposure, and practice comparing heard pitches against memorized
pitches. You have built one context in which you can remember 12
pitches exactly, and you need to reduce the influence of that context
over time to build a relatively context-independent skill.
4. Drill, baby, drill. You want to practice the skills to reproduce
named pitches and to recall names for pitches. For each trial on a
given pitch name, recall the first note of the corresponding melody,
sing it, and compare against the sound reproduced by instrument or
synth. For each trial with a given sound, name the pitch and get
feedback on whether it was correct.
5. Repeat drills periodically, with plenty of time (days, weeks,
months) in between practices. You want to forget everything you
learned in steps 1-3, which will happen over time in the course of
learning other things (forgetting by interference), and you will also
need to vary your practice with different instrument sounds and sounds
in actual musical contexts.
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