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#1620908 - 02/15/11 05:55 PM Re: You prefer to be a gifted sight-reader or have a gifted ear? [Re: RonaldSteinway]
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5936
Loc: Down Under
Originally Posted By: RonaldSteinway
+1, relative pitch hearing ability is very limited, it helps only up to certain level (amateur level).
That is just nonsense. People with a highly developed relative pitch can perform just as well on interval and aural harmony tests as those with absolute pitch, as long as they are given a reference note (which doesn't have to be the starting note, incidentally).

Apparently I'm not going to convince you. But I can tell you that I'd rather have my ability to transpose when sight-singing, to play something by ear in any key having only heard it in one, and other similar skills that a good relative pitch gives you, than absolute pitch. So don't waste any sympathy for me and my "amateur" level aural ability.
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#1620953 - 02/15/11 07:44 PM Re: You prefer to be a gifted sight-reader or have a gifted ear? [Re: currawong]
RonaldSteinway Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/08
Posts: 1491
Originally Posted By: currawong
Originally Posted By: RonaldSteinway
+1, relative pitch hearing ability is very limited, it helps only up to certain level (amateur level).
That is just nonsense. People with a highly developed relative pitch can perform just as well on interval and aural harmony tests as those with absolute pitch, as long as they are given a reference note (which doesn't have to be the starting note, incidentally).

Apparently I'm not going to convince you. But I can tell you that I'd rather have my ability to transpose when sight-singing, to play something by ear in any key having only heard it in one, and other similar skills that a good relative pitch gives you, than absolute pitch. So don't waste any sympathy for me and my "amateur" level aural ability.


I agree you should be happy with what you have, since AP is a gift, either you have it or don't. Live with what you have, and be happy.

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#1620954 - 02/15/11 07:51 PM Re: You prefer to be a gifted sight-reader or have a gifted ear? [Re: MathTeacher]
eweiss Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/28/09
Posts: 2393
Loc: Beautiful San Diego, CA
Having absolute pitch is pretty much a useless skill in today's world where all you have to do is sit down at the piano where all notes are available to you.

Now relative pitch ... that's the skill to have because it's how the ear is developed. Tonic, subdominant, and dominant chords are the foundation of western harmony and result in much of the music here.

What I tell students who want to learn by ear is simply learn the 1 - 1V - and V7 chords, first in the Key of C Major, then around the circle of fifths. This really is the foundation for playing by ear. Being able to identify notes someone plays from a piano without seeing them is a pretty defunct skill now. smile
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#1620972 - 02/15/11 08:32 PM Re: You prefer to be a gifted sight-reader or have a gifted ear? [Re: MathTeacher]
Kuanpiano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/06/10
Posts: 2147
Loc: Canada
I think a lot of you guys are forgetting what a gifted ear can do that has nothing to do with pitch.. developing good listening is essential to being a good musician. You have to learn to hear articulation, tone colours, phrasing, different shades, balance in chord, everything. You can be trained in that kind of hearing, and honestly, what's more important, hearing notes, or hearing music?
_________________________
Working on:
Chopin - Andante Spianato and Grande Polonaise Brillante
Rachmaninoff - Preludes op. 23 nos. 3,4,6, op. 32 no.12
Franck - Violin Sonata

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#1620988 - 02/15/11 09:01 PM Re: You prefer to be a gifted sight-reader or have a gifted ear? [Re: eweiss]
Orange Soda King Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/25/09
Posts: 6070
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky, United S...
Originally Posted By: eweiss
Having absolute pitch is pretty much a useless skill in today's world where all you have to do is sit down at the piano where all notes are available to you.

Now relative pitch ... that's the skill to have because it's how the ear is developed. Tonic, subdominant, and dominant chords are the foundation of western harmony and result in much of the music here.

What I tell students who want to learn by ear is simply learn the 1 - 1V - and V7 chords, first in the Key of C Major, then around the circle of fifths. This really is the foundation for playing by ear. Being able to identify notes someone plays from a piano without seeing them is a pretty defunct skill now. smile


Well, I would guess that if one has absolute pitch, they still have all the benefits of one who has relative pitch.

And I don't think it's much more of a burden to carry around a tuning fork to quickly find your pitch using relative pitch as opposed to just pulling it out of your own mind. But whatever works, works! smile

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#1621023 - 02/15/11 10:13 PM Re: You prefer to be a gifted sight-reader or have a gifted ear? [Re: currawong]
liszt85 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/26/08
Posts: 3159
Originally Posted By: currawong
Originally Posted By: RonaldSteinway
+1, relative pitch hearing ability is very limited, it helps only up to certain level (amateur level).
That is just nonsense. People with a highly developed relative pitch can perform just as well on interval and aural harmony tests as those with absolute pitch, as long as they are given a reference note (which doesn't have to be the starting note, incidentally).

Apparently I'm not going to convince you. But I can tell you that I'd rather have my ability to transpose when sight-singing, to play something by ear in any key having only heard it in one, and other similar skills that a good relative pitch gives you, than absolute pitch. So don't waste any sympathy for me and my "amateur" level aural ability.


+1. What you say here is also backed by research. Don't worry about random people on the internet calling other people "amateur". You would be surprised if you saw what these people mean by saying they're more advanced than you (I even get videos via PM from these people, some of which make me laugh).

One particular poster earlier did the rounds claiming some weird stuff about upright pianos (vs grand piano actions) and admonished anybody who had a different view by saying "You don't play Islamey, so you don't know what you're talking about". laugh He then sent me a video of him playing Islamey. I wonder why he didn't post it in the members recording area. He considers himself highly advanced. Curiously enough, the video that he sent me got mysteriously cut off as soon as he had begun to play some challenging octave passages (which he was obviously having a lot of difficulty with) and he claimed that it was something that happened during the youtube upload and wasn't intentional laugh. So long story short, don't take them seriously.
_________________________
Current:
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Next in line:
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Debussy: Le vent dans la plaine (Prelude 3, Book 1)
Debussy: Les sons et les parfums tournent dans l'air du soir (Prelude 4, Book 1)

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#1621144 - 02/16/11 03:41 AM Re: You prefer to be a gifted sight-reader or have a gifted ear? [Re: Kuanpiano]
wr Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7859
Originally Posted By: Kuanpiano
I think a lot of you guys are forgetting what a gifted ear can do that has nothing to do with pitch.. developing good listening is essential to being a good musician. You have to learn to hear articulation, tone colours, phrasing, different shades, balance in chord, everything. You can be trained in that kind of hearing, and honestly, what's more important, hearing notes, or hearing music?


But that sort of listening isn't what the OP asked - it's about "playing by ear", and you don't have to have an sensitive ear of the sort you describe to play by ear.

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#1621145 - 02/16/11 03:45 AM Re: You prefer to be a gifted sight-reader or have a gifted ear? [Re: RonaldSteinway]
drexel Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/22/10
Posts: 129
Loc: Earth
Originally Posted By: RonaldSteinway

I agree you should be happy with what you have, since AP is a gift, either you have it or don't. Live with what you have, and be happy.


Wrong. This is a myth, albeit a very popular one.

re: Live with what you have, and be happy... I guess we should all stop practicing piano immediately then?

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#1621216 - 02/16/11 08:12 AM Re: You prefer to be a gifted sight-reader or have a gifted ear? [Re: RonaldSteinway]
Soozen Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/25/10
Posts: 68
Loc: USA
So far I haven't had anyone ask me to transpose on the fly at church, but I agree, transposition requires a good ear.

I have a good ear with regard to relative pitch and have no trouble figuring out a tune with out hqving to fumble around at the piano. But I feel I have a poor ear for harmony, where you have multiple notes played at once. It would take fumbling at the piano for me to figure out the correct chord for anything more complex than a I-IV-V progression.

I got myself an ear training app and got frustrated with identifying chords. If I take five seconds to sing the individual notes to myself, I can identify the chord, but shouldn't I be able to tell with out singing, "that's minor" or "that's diminished"? Maybe an app that plays the chords out of context of music is a waste of time. I find that while I'm very good at picking out tunes, I'm not particularly great at recognizing intervals just from hearing two notes.

Eta: sorry, was replying to Steinway's post on previous page. I'm using an iPad and have trouble using quotes.


Edited by Soozen (02/16/11 08:19 AM)

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#1621254 - 02/16/11 09:49 AM Re: You prefer to be a gifted sight-reader or have a gifted ear? [Re: MathTeacher]
mikf Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/06/11
Posts: 66
Loc: Texas
Soozen
I think that trying to pick out chords based on notes or intervals is really the wrong approach. Picking out the harmony by 'ear' while playing is 80% about knowing the common chord patterns that always exist in popular music and 20% about hearing in your head when the change is a bit unusual and adjusting, or hearing that what you did is wrong and correcting on the fly. In other words most of the time you know what has to come next instinctively because you have done it/ heard it many times. Playing by ear is a bit of a misnomer, you are really playing by brain, using all those learned patterns and your ear is the check point. The person who can never learn to 'play by ear' is the person who plays a wrong chord and doesnt hear it screaming out to them that it is wrong. If you can hear that it is wrong, you probably have the capability to learn how to play by ear.

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#1621628 - 02/16/11 07:01 PM Re: You prefer to be a gifted sight-reader or have a gifted ear? [Re: currawong]
Canonie Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/04/09
Posts: 1941
Loc: Australia
Originally Posted By: currawong
Originally Posted By: RonaldSteinway
+1, relative pitch hearing ability is very limited, it helps only up to certain level (amateur level).
That is just nonsense. People with a highly developed relative pitch can perform just as well on interval and aural harmony tests as those with absolute pitch, as long as they are given a reference note (which doesn't have to be the starting note, incidentally).

Apparently I'm not going to convince you. But I can tell you that I'd rather have my ability to transpose when sight-singing, to play something by ear in any key having only heard it in one, and other similar skills that a good relative pitch gives you, than absolute pitch. So don't waste any sympathy for me and my "amateur" level aural ability.

It's often a misunderstanding of the technical difference, and an inability to spot it. At last night's rehearsal I was accused of having AP. After some confusion in the group over a transposition, another musician said something like "you can absolutely trust 'canonie's' answer, she has Perfect Pitch!" as if that sealed the matter. This musician is a gigging musician, plays a number of instruments, but admires my aural skills which are so far beyond anything he can even imagine doing that the word Perfect is the only way he can describe it. I'm sure RonaldSteinway would label me or Currawong as having absolute pitch if he saw us in action, I'm can almost hear him insisting.

To spot the person with AP in a group: it's the one who everyone will rely on to check a pitch out of silence. If you enter a building and find an unkempt piano, the group can ask the AP person exactly how out of tune it is, the non-AP persons will soon get used to the 40c flat sound and have no problems (except problems of their instruments disliking being tuned down, which can be large actually). The AP person will offer to take orders for lunch and go waaaaayy across town to best takeaway because it is a very difficult sound environment to work in for them.

That's how you spot an APer laugh


Edited by Canonie (02/16/11 07:03 PM)
Edit Reason: I don't have AP, in case that wasn't clear!
_________________________

Composers manufacture a product that is universally deemed superfluous—at least until their music enters public consciousness, at which point people begin to say that they could not live without it.
Alex Ross.

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#1621817 - 02/17/11 01:02 AM Re: You prefer to be a gifted sight-reader or have a gifted ear? [Re: Canonie]
drexel Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/22/10
Posts: 129
Loc: Earth
Originally Posted By: Canonie

That's how you spot an APer laugh


That may be so, but it seems an even better way of spotting a prima donna. Surely the vast majority of people with some semblance of absolute pitch would not react in this way.

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#1621826 - 02/17/11 01:28 AM Re: You prefer to be a gifted sight-reader or have a gifted ear? [Re: drexel]
RonaldSteinway Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/08
Posts: 1491
Originally Posted By: drexel
Originally Posted By: Canonie

That's how you spot an APer laugh


That may be so, but it seems an even better way of spotting a prima donna. Surely the vast majority of people with some semblance of absolute pitch would not react in this way.


Well said Drexel......!!!! grin

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#1621831 - 02/17/11 01:43 AM Re: You prefer to be a gifted sight-reader or have a gifted ear? [Re: drexel]
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5936
Loc: Down Under
Originally Posted By: drexel
Originally Posted By: Canonie
That's how you spot an APer laugh
That may be so, but it seems an even better way of spotting a prima donna. Surely the vast majority of people with some semblance of absolute pitch would not react in this way.
Perhaps not, but you must grant that it would be a somewhat difficult situation for them?
_________________________
Du holde Kunst...

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#1621842 - 02/17/11 02:46 AM Re: You prefer to be a gifted sight-reader or have a gifted ear? [Re: MathTeacher]
Ted Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/03/02
Posts: 1511
Loc: Auckland, New Zealand
Being a dud sight reader and having a putrid ear I can say that either ability would be nice. Fortunately for me the creative musical faculties, composition and improvisation, seem to originate in different parts of the brain. They must, or else I wouldn't have been able to do them in such abundance for forty-five years.

My answer to the mutually exclusive choice comes close to a toss-up. I think I'll take the ear although I'm hard put to say why.
_________________________
"It is inadvisable to decline a dinner invitation from a plump woman." - Fred Hollows

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#1621854 - 02/17/11 03:43 AM Re: You prefer to be a gifted sight-reader or have a gifted ear? [Re: mikf]
Soozen Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/25/10
Posts: 68
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: mikf
Soozen
I think that trying to pick out chords based on notes or intervals is really the wrong approach. Picking out the harmony by 'ear' while playing is 80% about knowing the common chord patterns that always exist in popular music and 20% about hearing in your head when the change is a bit unusual and adjusting, or hearing that what you did is wrong and correcting on the fly. In other words most of the time you know what has to come next instinctively because you have done it/ heard it many times. Playing by ear is a bit of a misnomer, you are really playing by brain, using all those learned patterns and your ear is the check point. The person who can never learn to 'play by ear' is the person who plays a wrong chord and doesnt hear it screaming out to them that it is wrong. If you can hear that it is wrong, you probably have the capability to learn how to play by ear.


Thanks, that is encouraging. I've been coming to that conclusion and have been spending time doing a harmonic analysis of pieces rather than frustrating myself with this app, but it's good to hear from someone else.

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#1621902 - 02/17/11 06:32 AM Re: You prefer to be a gifted sight-reader or have a gifted ear? [Re: drexel]
Canonie Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/04/09
Posts: 1941
Loc: Australia
Originally Posted By: drexel
Originally Posted By: Canonie

That's how you spot an APer laugh


That may be so, but it seems an even better way of spotting a prima donna. Surely the vast majority of people with some semblance of absolute pitch would not react in this way.

I think this shows the misunderstanding that is often out there. There is no "some semblance" of AP. It's There or Not There, no shades in between. The graphed results of that survey show this most interestingly; 2 dense clusters of results (and some random noise that is statistically insignificant).

You would possibly be another person who would think that my pitch was absolute. I would never expect my AP friends to rehearse under such conditions, they find it strange in a way that we can hardly comprehend.

A little anecdote I may have told before. My friend (a string player with AP) was rehearsing in a good orchestra. The conductor stopped the rehearsal to point out to her that she was still playing at A440, whereas the orchestra had retuned to A444 (not sure of the exact numbers but that's the general idea). That's the level of absoluteness we are talking about here. She was able to consciously adjust, and was greatly embarrassed, not a prima donna. I hope that helps to clarify AP.
_________________________

Composers manufacture a product that is universally deemed superfluous—at least until their music enters public consciousness, at which point people begin to say that they could not live without it.
Alex Ross.

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