10/15/2008

Perfect Pitch: A Handy Talent

Some people know that I have the perfect pitch. Play me a note & I will play it for you on the piano without needing you to tell me what that note is. My piano teacher discovered this in me when she tested me at the piano when I was about 11 yrs old. I could play the Titanic OST "My Heart Will Go On" when I was 12. Only then did I realize that I'd something special in me. So is it something natural or something we can acquire? I've read up on the Net & here's what I've got:

There are 2 general kinds: absolute/perfect pitch & relative pitch. The main difference is in relative pitch, you can identify the note after another note has been played; this is the reference note & you are able to identify the 2nd note by distinguishing the relative difference in frequencies between these 2 notes. In perfect pitch however, you can identify the note without needing the reference note.

Cool huh?

Well apparently there are several explanations for these abilities. Having perfect pitch is like having a special ear, where you can remember the frequency of a certain note & you can recall it when you hear it. It's like remembering how the color blue is different from purple, or how to distinguish the 4 tones in Mandarin (see this banana knows some stuff!). It's a cognitive trait, believed to have a genetic basis. I recall reading somewhere that only 1 in 10 people has this skill. 

Can this skill be taught? Only if the talent already resides inside of you, musical training will certainly help to enhance this skill. There are special courses designed to hone this skill, you just need to know where to look for them. This skill is also prevalent among individuals who were blind from birth, has Williams Syndrome or an autism spectrum disorder. Seems like a genetic thing to me. 

My personal experience is this skill has helped me a lot in playing & writing music. It enhances my listening experience; singing along note by note. I'd say that practice does help; I find my hearing becomes rusty if it's not used frequently enough. I don't find it a hassle to listen to transposed instruments (like the B flat trumpet); it takes just a bit more effort to transpose & get the note(s) down. I've to thank Mom & Dad for this gift :)

5 comments:

baiyah said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bebelulu said...

haha..THIS banana sure does know alot!!
(oh so now ur like a psychic or sumthin? hehe)

jaray said...

she's just implying dat she's godly in music... hahaha

Daoz said...

hey u gifted banana!no wonder u can play wong fey hong with bonang.what a freak,cool ability though i would say.haha,lol.

rowan said...

@Jaray, perhaps I am godly hahah :D

@Daoz: I think so too heheh