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#1238022 - 07/27/09 08:24 AM A Way to "Teach" Perfect Pitch?
Seeker Offline
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Registered: 06/26/04
Posts: 360
Loc: Rockville, MD
Fascinating article in the Science section of today's Washington Post http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/07/26/AR2009072602350.html.

Study results are showing that kids trained this way accrue other benefits to their musical hearing in addition to the perfect pitch skill.
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1929 Steinert 6'10" (Close copy of New York S&S "B")

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#1238110 - 07/27/09 11:45 AM Re: A Way to "Teach" Perfect Pitch? [Re: Seeker]
John v.d.Brook Online   content
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Registered: 03/18/06
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Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Now I wish I had decided to attend the Conference.

This really looks interesting, Andrew. Thanks for posting it.
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#1238135 - 07/27/09 12:25 PM Re: A Way to "Teach" Perfect Pitch? [Re: John v.d.Brook]
AZNpiano Online   happy
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In my experience, students with perfect pitch do not necessarily play better. However, I've observed that either they are really good at piano, or they are just terrible--almost no middle ground to speak of.
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#1238289 - 07/27/09 03:52 PM Re: A Way to "Teach" Perfect Pitch? [Re: AZNpiano]
dumdumdiddle Offline
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Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 1267
Loc: California
Great article. This is why I teach kids from a very young age; the benefits of ear training are immeasurable. I do very similar activities like the ones described. For example, the chord exercise: I play repetitive C chords and students then tell me when I'm playing a different chord. They do this by way of motions (when they hear a C chord they clap; the 'other' chord, which happens to be a G7 is tapping on knees). Then I sing the pitches of each chord (do-mi-sol and then ti-fa-sol), which they repeat back to me. Later, they can sing the pitches without any hints. Then I'll had a third chord to the mix (F chord). I do this with kids from age 4 on up.

Melodic dictation is also great for ear training, using 'fixed do' solfege. I start first by using just two notes (do and re) and playing simple 3-note combos. As kids learn a new note each week or so we add more notes to the patterns I play. My 5 year olds can identify 3-5 note patterns (do thru sol) after just a couple of months of lessons.

I do think ear training greatly affects the way a student plays, particularly how quickly he/she can memorize a piece. Ear training helps students internalize notes and the pieces they play.
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#1238290 - 07/27/09 04:00 PM Re: A Way to "Teach" Perfect Pitch? [Re: dumdumdiddle]
Seeker Offline
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Registered: 06/26/04
Posts: 360
Loc: Rockville, MD
=========SNIP===========.

Melodic dictation is also great for ear training, using 'fixed do' solfege. I start first by using just two notes (do and re) and playing simple 3-note combos. As kids learn a new note each week or so we add more notes to the patterns I play. My 5 year olds can identify 3-5 note patterns (do thru sol) after just a couple of months of lessons.
====> I've had absolute pitch naturally as far back as I can remember, probably 8 years old. I learned movable "do" in high school, fixed "do" in college. For me, fixed "do" was much easier.

I do think ear training greatly affects the way a student plays, particularly how quickly he/she can memorize a piece. Ear training helps students internalize notes and the pieces they play.
===> I completely agree. "Keyboard Harmony" is a major plus as well as a little "form and analysis" as kids get older.
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Rockville, MD USA
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1929 Steinert 6'10" (Close copy of New York S&S "B")

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#1238375 - 07/27/09 06:14 PM Re: A Way to "Teach" Perfect Pitch? [Re: Seeker]
Mrs.A Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/15/09
Posts: 155
I havn,t read the article so forgive me if this is not relevant…

We adopted several special needs children. One had very little auditory perception skills. It had nothing to do with hearing loss. His mind could not distinguish between the sound of a door knock or a ringing bell. We worked very hard with auditory perception and developing that skill. His verbal understanding and cognitive testing improved tremendously.

It so closely ties to the benefits of musical study. I have a very full studio but will always take special needs students as I have seen the benefits or musical training on their cognitive growth.

Had I to do it over again I would study music therapy. I find it fascinating.
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#1238426 - 07/27/09 07:30 PM Re: A Way to "Teach" Perfect Pitch? [Re: Mrs.A]
Ebony and Ivory Offline
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Registered: 02/14/05
Posts: 1179
Loc: Minnesota
Originally Posted By: Mrs.A
We adopted several special needs children. One had very little auditory perception skills. It had nothing to do with hearing loss. His mind could not distinguish between the sound of a door knock or a ringing bell. We worked very hard with auditory perception and developing that skill. His verbal understanding and cognitive testing improved tremendously.

It so closely ties to the benefits of musical study. I have a very full studio but will always take special needs students as I have seen the benefits or musical training on their cognitive growth.

Had I to do it over again I would study music therapy. I find it fascinating.


That's awesome smile
I find music to be very beneficial to a lot of special needs kids. Music therapy is way under utilized in my opinion. I'm thrilled to hear that you are using it, and it is working!!
PS: I'm a mom to 3 boys, 4 if you count the grown up lol


Edited by Ebony and Ivory (07/27/09 07:32 PM)
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#1239148 - 07/28/09 07:14 PM Re: A Way to "Teach" Perfect Pitch? [Re: Ebony and Ivory]
MiM Offline
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Registered: 07/09/09
Posts: 543
Loc: Pennsylvania
Two questions:
1) Do people with perfect pitch do better in playing by ear than those who do not have prefect pitch?
2) Are there well known accomplished pianists who do not have perfect pitch?
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Happy Playing All
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#1239150 - 07/28/09 07:23 PM Re: A Way to "Teach" Perfect Pitch? [Re: Ebony and Ivory]
MiM Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/09/09
Posts: 543
Loc: Pennsylvania
Two questions:
1) Do people with perfect pitch do better in playing by ear than those who do not have prefect pitch?
2) Are there well known accomplished pianists who do not have perfect pitch?
_________________________
Happy Playing All
http://www.box.net/shared/897uu7aqv4

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#1239151 - 07/28/09 07:23 PM Re: A Way to "Teach" Perfect Pitch? [Re: Ebony and Ivory]
MiM Offline
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Registered: 07/09/09
Posts: 543
Loc: Pennsylvania
Two questions:
1) Do people with perfect pitch do better in playing by ear than those who do not have prefect pitch?
2) Are there well known accomplished pianists who do not have perfect pitch?
_________________________
Happy Playing All
http://www.box.net/shared/897uu7aqv4

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#1239152 - 07/28/09 07:23 PM Re: A Way to "Teach" Perfect Pitch? [Re: Ebony and Ivory]
MiM Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/09/09
Posts: 543
Loc: Pennsylvania
Two questions:
1) Do people with perfect pitch do better in playing by ear than those who do not have prefect pitch?
2) Are there well known accomplished pianists who do not have perfect pitch?
_________________________
Happy Playing All
http://www.box.net/shared/897uu7aqv4

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#1239153 - 07/28/09 07:23 PM Re: A Way to "Teach" Perfect Pitch? [Re: Ebony and Ivory]
MiM Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/09/09
Posts: 543
Loc: Pennsylvania
Two questions:
1) Do people with perfect pitch do better in playing by ear than those who do not have prefect pitch?
2) Are there well known accomplished pianists who do not have perfect pitch?
_________________________
Happy Playing All
http://www.box.net/shared/897uu7aqv4

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#1239154 - 07/28/09 07:23 PM Re: A Way to "Teach" Perfect Pitch? [Re: Ebony and Ivory]
MiM Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/09/09
Posts: 543
Loc: Pennsylvania
Two questions:
1) Do people with perfect pitch do better in playing by ear than those who do not have prefect pitch?
2) Are there well known accomplished pianists who do not have perfect pitch?
_________________________
Happy Playing All
http://www.box.net/shared/897uu7aqv4

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#1239155 - 07/28/09 07:23 PM Re: A Way to "Teach" Perfect Pitch? [Re: Ebony and Ivory]
MiM Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/09/09
Posts: 543
Loc: Pennsylvania
Two questions:
1) Do people with perfect pitch do better in playing by ear than those who do not have prefect pitch?
2) Are there well known accomplished pianists who do not have perfect pitch?
_________________________
Happy Playing All
http://www.box.net/shared/897uu7aqv4

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#1239156 - 07/28/09 07:23 PM Re: A Way to "Teach" Perfect Pitch? [Re: Ebony and Ivory]
MiM Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/09/09
Posts: 543
Loc: Pennsylvania
Two questions:
1) Do people with perfect pitch do better in playing by ear than those who do not have prefect pitch?
2) Are there well known accomplished pianists who do not have perfect pitch?
_________________________
Happy Playing All
http://www.box.net/shared/897uu7aqv4

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#1239169 - 07/28/09 07:57 PM Re: A Way to "Teach" Perfect Pitch? [Re: MiM]
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5958
Loc: Down Under
Just a quick answer from my experience - absolutely no statistics smile
[1] I would imagine they find it easier initially. But someone with a well-developed relative pitch can end up playing by ear just as well, and with added advantages (eg hear a piece in one key, play it by ear in another key, or any key at all).
[2] I'm sure there are very very many. Most of the accomplished musicians I know do not have perfect pitch. They do however have well developed relative pitch.
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#1239414 - 07/29/09 03:39 AM Re: A Way to "Teach" Perfect Pitch? [Re: currawong]
MiM Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/09/09
Posts: 543
Loc: Pennsylvania
Great insight into a new term for me, relative pitch. That makes sense, as I believe I may have a good relative pitch but probably zero perfect pitch.
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#1239426 - 07/29/09 05:20 AM Re: A Way to "Teach" Perfect Pitch? [Re: MiM]
barnaby Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/22/09
Posts: 18
Loc: Singapore
Dear Music in Me,

I can't speak for others; only for myself.

I have perfect pitch and I believe it's a result of the voice training I did as a child. I studied music in Yamaha and they had a special course called JSAC (or was it JOC) where besides learning to play the piano, I was exposed also to singing and all sorts of lessons in improvisation, harmony and composition.

When it came to the singing, we sang doremi to the notes of the score BUT we did not move the syallables and pitch; C was always doe, D was always ray and so on. (I found from my friends that their teachers taught in relative pitch; i.e. when the tune was in C, c became doe and so on, and when the tune was in a different key, say G major/minor, G became doe, A became ray and so on and so forth. I feel that this may have contributed to their inability to acquire perfect pitch)

In time, I found that when I listen to any piece of music, I'm able to tell you what's being played and what the harmonies are. Music became very much a language; listening to a new piece of music, be it classical, pop, jazz or whatever, will never be boring since you can automaticallty break it down and analyse its structure. (though music with little melodic ideas can quickly become boring..)

Therefore, when it comes to playing by ear, people with perfect pitch will naturally do better.

However having perfect pitch is not without its drawbacks. I can attend concerts and if the instruments are off pitch-wise, the listening experience can be torturous for me. Also, when i play on a piano that's been tuned either to a higher or lower pitch, I find myself disoriented and have to consciously and constantly make an effort to look at the keys Im hitting because the sounds they produce are not in tune with what I am hearing in my head. You can imagine how horrible the playing experience is.
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#1239431 - 07/29/09 05:46 AM Re: A Way to "Teach" Perfect Pitch? [Re: barnaby]
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5958
Loc: Down Under
Originally Posted By: barnaby
In time, I found that when I listen to any piece of music, I'm able to tell you what's being played and what the harmonies are. Music became very much a language; listening to a new piece of music, be it classical, pop, jazz or whatever, will never be boring since you can automaticallty break it down and analyse its structure.
I can also do this - as can others with a good sense of relative pitch. I can follow the harmonic and melodic progressions just as someone with perfect pitch can, except that I may need to be told the starting key in order to name the progressions specifically. If I'm not told, then I more or less listen in whatever key seems reasonable (that is, I "decide" to hear the piece in A major, for example). Often it's the correct one smile or within a tone either way usually.

There have been some rather long discussions on the merits of fixed and moveable do. I am rather firmly in the moveable do camp, but I understand the arguments for fixed. You could probably find the discussions via a search.

I think discussions on perfect pitch are rather interesting, but I have yet to be convinced of a real advantage in having it.
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Du holde Kunst...

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#1239436 - 07/29/09 06:00 AM Re: A Way to "Teach" Perfect Pitch? [Re: currawong]
R0B Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/03/08
Posts: 1439
Loc: Australia
Maybe playing guitar for over 45 years, helps develop perfect pitch.
I can tune a guitar to standard (or any other) tuning, within a few cents, either way.

Think of a favourite music recording, in a known key, and try to sing the first few notes, then play the recording, and see how close you get.
Many people who claim to be 'tone deaf', can often get closer than they imagined.
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#1239440 - 07/29/09 06:08 AM Re: A Way to "Teach" Perfect Pitch? [Re: barnaby]
MiM Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/09/09
Posts: 543
Loc: Pennsylvania
Thanks barnaby, great ideas! One final question, does perfect pitch really mean being able to distinguish the sound of *all* the keys on the piano, for example? Is it effortless or does it require some thinking and a bit of guessing? If I hit a single note somewhere on the piano, would you be able to know which note, or at least point to its location? Personally, I can't do single notes, but I do ok with intervals: you hit D then F, I can with some difficulty tell it is a minor third, and might be able to know it was D and F...but not if you just hit a single note.
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#1239443 - 07/29/09 06:25 AM Re: A Way to "Teach" Perfect Pitch? [Re: R0B]
keyboardklutz Offline
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Registered: 05/21/07
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As far as I know perfect pitch is only good for college aural courses. barnaby lays out the disadvantages nicely. I'm glad I don't have it.

The article is interesting. I've long suspected that perfect pitch has an eidetic base. Is it right to impose the eidetic set (which colour means which) an individual uses? In other words imposing how an individual relates to the world? I know it's the process we call education, but does that make it right?


Edited by keyboardklutz (07/29/09 06:27 AM)
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#1239447 - 07/29/09 06:47 AM Re: A Way to "Teach" Perfect Pitch? [Re: MiM]
TimR Offline
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Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3238
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: Music_in_Me
Thanks barnaby, great ideas! One final question, does perfect pitch really mean being able to distinguish the sound of *all* the keys on the piano, for example?


As I understand it, yes. Hearing interval distances is relative pitch.

The famous brass embouchure specialist Reinhardt recommended learning to recognize pitch first on one's own instrument, then on related ones, then on ones with more different timbres. For example, a trumpet player would always know what note another trumpet player was sounding, but then he'd teach himself to recognize notes on trombone and french horn, then clarinet and flute, etc.

I can imagine that someone who learned perfect pitch on piano might not at first recognize notes on guitar or organ, but could add those skills.

I recall an incident in church where the pastor played the first line of an unfamiliar hymn on the organ. Then he sang it, in a totally different (and way too high) key. I commented that I didn't understand how that was even possible, but one of my own children said she couldn't match pitches to the organ either. The timbre made too much difference.
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#1239451 - 07/29/09 07:17 AM Re: A Way to "Teach" Perfect Pitch? [Re: MiM]
cruiser Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/19/07
Posts: 1171
Loc: Cornwall, England
Originally Posted By: Music_in_Me
Two questions:
1) Do people with perfect pitch do better in playing by ear than those who do not have prefect pitch?
2) Are there well known accomplished pianists who do not have perfect pitch?


Two questions, but asked 16 times? wink

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#1239452 - 07/29/09 07:24 AM Re: A Way to "Teach" Perfect Pitch? [Re: MiM]
barnaby Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/22/09
Posts: 18
Loc: Singapore
Originally Posted By: Music_in_Me
Thanks barnaby, great ideas! One final question, does perfect pitch really mean being able to distinguish the sound of *all* the keys on the piano, for example? Is it effortless or does it require some thinking and a bit of guessing? If I hit a single note somewhere on the piano, would you be able to know which note, or at least point to its location? Personally, I can't do single notes, but I do ok with intervals: you hit D then F, I can with some difficulty tell it is a minor third, and might be able to know it was D and F...but not if you just hit a single note.


Dear Music in me,

i am able to discern exactly which note is played on the piano without any conscientious effort. Single notes are not a problem because it is internalised; every note means something to my hearing. Be it a solo piano piece or a song on the radio by say micheal jackson, I am able to reproduce it depending on my level of technical achievement because the bass, the treble and all that is in between can be heard clearly. As a child I started with my parents encouraging me to play by ear the tunes I was hearing on tv; i.e. drama serial theme songs, advertisements or whatever. Playing popular writers help in that you learn what they do in the bass to complete the harmony of the piece. For example, Richard Clayderman was all the rage sometime in the eighties (when I was growing up)but if you get a chance to see his scores, the accompaniment style is pretty standard after a while. What I strive to do is to come up with a reduction on the piano of what I am hearing in the song in its original form.

Having perfect pitch helps in that you know automatically the base line, the chords and the melody on hearing it. If you were depending on relative pitch, the difficulty can arise when there are key modulations that are dramatic and whereby you have no prior exposure to before. What am i saying here? Sometimes you hear this dramatic chord or key transition that comes out of nowhere and may not be related to the root key, and you're stumped.

Therefore, having perfect pitch does help. I feel it's not just for 'college aural courses'. wink
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#1239454 - 07/29/09 07:31 AM Re: A Way to "Teach" Perfect Pitch? [Re: barnaby]
MiM Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/09/09
Posts: 543
Loc: Pennsylvania
I don't know what's with those duplicate posts... there's nothing unusal done on my part, normal posting like every time (for the last 16 years!)...anyone knows why it happens like that?
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#1239455 - 07/29/09 07:41 AM Re: A Way to "Teach" Perfect Pitch? [Re: MiM]
MiM Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/09/09
Posts: 543
Loc: Pennsylvania
Again, I asked if anyone knows of well known and accomplished pianists who have indicated their lack of perfect pitch? I guess my theory (which I hope is wrong)is that without perfect pitch, one would face one or both of the following difficulties:

1) Weakness in technical ability playing any instrument.
2) Weakness in playing by ear.

I hope number 1 is wrong, but I think number 2 is probably right. This of course does not explain how I am able to play many songs by ear, even though, as far as I know, I have no perfect pitch!
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#1239456 - 07/29/09 07:46 AM Re: A Way to "Teach" Perfect Pitch? [Re: barnaby]
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5958
Loc: Down Under
I wouldn't say there are no uses for perfect pitch, just no uses I can see that I would swap for the benefits of good relative pitch: ability to play low-pitched pianos without pain, ability to sight sing in any key or to keep singing in an unaccompanied choir situation where the pitch drops, ability to play a transposing instrument like the clarinet without confusion - and so on.
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Du holde Kunst...

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#1239460 - 07/29/09 07:57 AM Re: A Way to "Teach" Perfect Pitch? [Re: MiM]
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5958
Loc: Down Under
Originally Posted By: Music_in_Me
I guess my theory (which I hope is wrong)is that without perfect pitch, one would face one or both of the following difficulties:

1) Weakness in technical ability playing any instrument.
2) Weakness in playing by ear.

Well my guess is that your theory is wrong. Why would lack of perfect pitch have anything to do with weakness in technical ability?? I don't have perfect pitch, but I still know the sound of the next note I'm about to play because I can read it and imagine the sound. I can sight sing, in other words, which depends on relative pitch. I can't see what technical ability has to do with perfect pitch.
And I can't think why lack of perfect pitch hampers playing by ear, either. You say it doesn't in your case. It doesn't in mine. I can hear a song in one key, for example, and then play it by ear in another. Maybe someone with perfect pitch would be more tied to the actual pitch at which he heard it the first time and not find it so easy to play in any key. That's just a guess, too, but I've been playing by ear since I was a child and it's got nothing to do with perfect pitch.
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Du holde Kunst...

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#1239462 - 07/29/09 07:59 AM Re: A Way to "Teach" Perfect Pitch? [Re: MiM]
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5958
Loc: Down Under
Originally Posted By: Music_in_Me
Again, I asked if anyone knows of well known and accomplished pianists who have indicated their lack of perfect pitch?
Maybe they haven't mentioned this because it's just not important.
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Du holde Kunst...

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