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#1971922 - 10/11/12 04:45 PM How could people tell the key signature by ear so easily?
cinstance Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/12/09
Posts: 104
Can somebody explain what process it involves? To tell the key signature of a piece immediately upon hearing it, usually after the first or two measures. Is it a common ability for people with absolute pitch?

Thanks,
C

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#1971969 - 10/11/12 06:11 PM Re: How could people tell the key signature by ear so easily? [Re: cinstance]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11844
Loc: Canada
cinstance, I suggest that you use the "search" feature, because you will find a lot of information. Also ask in the Adult Beginner Forum where this is discussed a lot, as well as the "non-classical" section.

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#1971991 - 10/11/12 06:51 PM Re: How could people tell the key signature by ear so easily? [Re: cinstance]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5587
Loc: Orange County, CA
Yes, it is very common.

It's more difficult if you listen to somewhere random in the middle of a piece where the music modulates everywhere.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#1972053 - 10/11/12 09:25 PM Re: How could people tell the key signature by ear so easily? [Re: cinstance]
cinstance Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/12/09
Posts: 104
Thanks for the answer AZNpiano. I ask because I find that my ear can identify the tonic by feel, but cannot tell the name of the key since I do not have absolute pitch.

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#1972084 - 10/11/12 10:51 PM How could people tell the key signature by ear so easily? [Re: cinstance]
LoPresti Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/10
Posts: 1304
Loc: New York
While most people do not have "absolute pitch", something very close to that can be developed. If one spends several hours each day reading, writing, or teaching music, certain pitches and keys begin to have a familiar "ring" to them.

Conservatory students frequently develop (relative) perfect pitch, but only on their particular instrument(s). So, often a bassoon player knows with certainty, and without looking, when another bassoonist is playing G, for example. But that same musician may not recognize the same G played by, say, a tenor sax.

Ed
_________________________
In music, everything one does correctly helps everything else.

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#1972096 - 10/11/12 11:21 PM Re: How could people tell the key signature by ear so easily? [Re: LoPresti]
LadyChen Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/25/12
Posts: 521
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: LoPresti


Conservatory students frequently develop (relative) perfect pitch, but only on their particular instrument(s). So, often a bassoon player knows with certainty, and without looking, when another bassoonist is playing G, for example. But that same musician may not recognize the same G played by, say, a tenor sax.


Yes -- this is totally me. I can name pitches on a piano, no problem, but I'm not very accurate on any other instrument. I believe you just 'memorize' the pitches that you hear. I can't really explain it better than that.

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