Ear Training Software & the Elusive Perfect Pitch

ReallyOldGuy

Junior Member
Hello Folks

Some say perfect pitch is a gift and others say it can be learned.

Do any of you out there have any experience with ear training software and (1) can it help me improve my ability to recognize pitches and (2) if so, can you please point me toward a recommended package?

Thanks in advance.

All the best.

Warmest regards
Bill
 

Too Many Songs

Senior Member
Hello Bill

Do you mean perfect pitch - ie the ability to hear any tone in isolation and identify its pitch precisely, or do you mean being able to hear and discriminate accurately between pitch intervals? The latter is a skill that is relatively easily learnt: most experienced guitarists for instance, once they have one string set to pitch, can tune the others so that the guitar is in tune with itself. But the great majority would struggle to tune to concert pitch without a tuning aid as a reference point (a tuning fork; or pitch pipes; or another tone generator). The common practice is to tune to A (550Hz I think).

True perfect pitch I don't think can be learnt and is sometimes as much a curse as a blessing. Imagine everytime you heard a tannoy or a phone ring or whatever your head was telling you that's an A sharp or a C natural or whatever.

As to learning - my advice is to buy yourself a cheap guitar and a book of chords rather than look for training software. And of course you'll need an electronic tuner to get you going. You'll never be Eric Clapton but even basic mastery of a tuned instrument like a guitar will do wonders for your ear as a drummer. And if you sing (which I sometimes do) it will really help with pitch and harmony. It doesn't have to be a guitar but the nice thing about that instrument is that you are in control of the pitch of each string and so your ear has to learn quite quickly whether you've got the string tuned sharp or flat.
 

ReallyOldGuy

Junior Member
Hello Too

Thanks for your prompt and helpful reply. It brings up a question and a couple of comments:

If I don't have a guitar, would a keyboard work just as well?

My electronic metronome includes a tone generator and tuner. I can hum a note, play a note on my keyboard or recorder, or hit a drum and my metronome displays the frequency.
This suggests I have everything I need to start my own training.

Can you please refer me to somebody or can you suggest some exercises to help a seriously novice novice with this training.

All the best.

Warmest regards
Bill
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
Perfect pitch cannot be learned, but relative pitch can. For ear training software, try the excellent Gnu Solfege @ http://www.solfege.org. It's completely free- a free download, and open-source, non-commercial software.
 

Too Many Songs

Senior Member
Hi Again Bill

Sounds like you've got most of your answers. The only other thing I'd add is watch the Bob Gatzen videos on drum tuning (lots of links to these on drummerworld). You will see that he strongly advocates singing the pitch you hear to help train your ears. Good advice. Whether you use software, keyboard or anything else as your prefered training method trying to sing along is very, very useful.

All the best

TMS
 

ReallyOldGuy

Junior Member
Hello All

Isn't this a great forum: post a question and within hours you get all sorts of help!

Thanks to everyone.

All the best.

Warmest regards
Bill
 

eddiehimself

Platinum Member
True perfect pitch I don't think can be learnt and is sometimes as much a curse as a blessing. Imagine everytime you heard a tannoy or a phone ring or whatever your head was telling you that's an A sharp or a C natural or whatever.
Well it's not quite as simple as that; you have to train yourself to be able to compare the pitch you hear with an actual note. But it's not something i would say that was a problem being able to understand what note a particular sound is. It's like seeing an object and knowing what colour it is or something.
 

mxo721

Senior Member
I can tune a guitar to perfect pitch with no tuner or fork, the E note is just lodged in my memory from 40 years of playing. I had to do ear training in college, as a lab class that went with theory and counter point, and like others on here said..learning intervals is pretty simple - like a "perfect fourth" is " hear comes the bride" and a perfect 5th is " vikiing horn" and so on.
 

Numberless

Platinum Member
Perfect fifths for me are always the Star Wars theme...daaa DAAAAAAAA, very easy to remember.

I played with two guitarists with perfect pitch, their ability came really useful for covers, they could identify the chords super fast and so everyone can learn the songs no problems.
 

PQleyR

Platinum Member
I'm sure you can learn perfect pitch, why not? It only requires developing your memory, surely.
 

Deathmetalconga

Platinum Member
I'm sure you can learn perfect pitch, why not? It only requires developing your memory, surely.
Exactly! I am sure it can be learned as well. Maybe some people will be able to learn it just by playing, but I am sure anyone of normal intelligence can learn to identify any note on a piano just by hearing it. This sounds like it would be a hard skill to acquire, though, and require constant practice.
 
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