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What instrument did you primarily play when you accquired perfect pitch if you have?

  • Piano

    Votes: 1 8.3%
  • Saxophone

    Votes: 3 25.0%
  • Flute

    Votes: 2 16.7%
  • Guitar

    Votes: 1 8.3%
  • Low brass

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Clarinet

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  • Percussion instruments

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  • Trumpet

    Votes: 2 16.7%
  • Orchestra instrument (violin, viola, cello, bass)

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  • Other (please specify)

    Votes: 2 16.7%
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Forum Contributor 2016, The official SOTW Little S
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Discussion Starter #1
What instrument did you primarily play when you accquired perfect pitch if you have?

This question has come about with another sax player and I. I would like to confirm the hypothesis that pianists generally have perfect pitch over other musicians. I don't know why this is or how it is accquired.

Please vote. :)
 

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Perfect pitch generally manifests itself between the ages of three and five years (in humans).
 

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I think that hakukani is inplying that perfect pitch isn't acquired, so much as inborn, and I agree. I think one can learn to come close to identifying and perhaps producing a given pitch, but as I understand it, those with true perfect pitch can identify pitches that vary only by a few cps, and are bothered by pitches that deviate by a few cps from the target pitch. As to learning to come close to producing or identifying a given pitch on demand, I'd guess that well trained vocalists might do best, as they have access to feedback from their vocal apparatus to assist in this.
 

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I know someone with it and I asked him what his first instrument was (he pretty much plays 'em all), and he said guitar. Then when pressed a bit, he mentioned that when he was a very young boy, he used to noodle on his grandmother's piano (she lived next door) and taught himself to play. This man can comp cleanly on piano with his left and play lead trumpet with his right, and do it for an entire gig. Amazing musician.
 

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Pgraves said:
Ok, bait accepted, when does it manifest in the non-humans?
There are birds that seem to have perfect pitch. I'm not sure that the age of the birds first manifestation has been documented.

What I was implying, is that perfect pitch generally manifests itself before skills are developed on any instrument.
 

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I learned guitar as a teenager, but I too used to noodle on piano as a tot. However since the piano had no 2 notes in the same harmonic sequence I certainly didn't get perfect pitch from it.
 

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I find this topic interesting and I hope I'm not getting us off track if I ask a supplementary question. Those who do have "perfect pitch", does that mean that if a band is playing slightly flat or sharp but in tune with itself you still hear that as somehow "wrong"? [if this is too far off topic please just ignore me :) ]

edit: Referring back to the original poster's point about piano I presume the theory would be piano=instrument with stable tuning and child memorises that tuning. But what if that piano is out of tune? Does child learn "imperfect pitch"?

another edit: After doing a little superficial research it appears to me that the assumptions underlying the original question may be flawed. It seems that "absolute/perfect pitch" tends to appear between 2 and 4 years - it is unlikely to be related to "playing an instrument", therefore. An example would be: child hears jingle on TV and can sing back jingle at original pitch two days later. It appears to me to be a form of musical "super memory". And now my brain hurts.
 

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In the orchestra where I play, we always have to tune to 442Hz (instead of 440) because of the piano. And I must say, it bothers me a lot. After some time I've been able to ignore it somewhat, but sometimes it's really annoying.
 

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I had a theory teacher who maintained he was 'cursed' with perfect pitch...and for the same reasons amoram just gave.
 

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I do not have perfect pitch. My twelve year old son does however. My wife and I recognized it quite early in life, when he would announce while watching television, what key a jingle or television theme song was in. This doesn't prevent him from playing sharp most of the time when he practices trumpet.

While I would be stumped if you asked me to sing a d flat on the spot, I am very sensitive to pitch. While in a pit warming up with other musicians, I never need my tuner to tell me if others, or myself for that matter are playing sharp or flat.

Steve
 

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"hypothesis that pianists generally have perfect pitch over other musicians."

I should vote piano, but that is only because piano/keyboard is the instrument I started on at 4. I could also say that the singing, noisemakers and things were equally as 'instrumental' as the piano was at that time. If I had been started on guitar, or sax (somehow) at that age I still would have likely developed the same perfect pitch I have now.
 

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Having played played instruments in many different keys as a kid, I must admit it was confusing recognizing the pitch, in lets say 3 different keys.. every time I concentrated only in one instrument it was very easy for me to recognize the pitch.. so I think that piano or whatever other instrument is equally good for perfect pitch as long as a kid doesn't play instruments in 5 different keys!
 

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Ahhh yes, perfect pitch. Can anyone who has it really stand the saxophone? I would think the two are mutually offensive,... I mean exclusive.
 

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what about drums?

btw, jrvinson, I know a trumpet lpayer who has perfect pitch. and trumpets are just as sensitive when it comes to pitch...so i guess it´s not necessarily: I can´t stand those 5 or 10 cents off
but rather: I know exactly what note that is, even if it´s a bit off.
 

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I'm with those who say that perfect pitch is inbuilt rather than developed. Remembered pitch is another thing. I've had enough years of tuning students' guitars in my past to get the first string in tune every time provided I don't think about it. If I do think about it I'm more than likely to have a crisis of confidence and mess it up. I'm much the same with sight singing.

I think when people talk of developing perfect pitch they are in fact developing their abilities with regard to relative and remembered pitch - still very useful.

Having said that there must be a remembered component to perfect pitch, bearing in mind than it is not a new phenomenon, and that pitch standards have changed significantly over the centuries. Otherwise those with perfect pitch would have to come marked "high pitch" (older models), "low pitch" etc. Perhaps it could be tattooed on their foreheads.
 

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jrvinson45 said:
Ahhh yes, perfect pitch. Can anyone who has it really stand the saxophone? I would think the two are mutually offensive,... I mean exclusive.
Actually, I gig with a guy who plays piano, flute, bass and guitar and has perfect pitch. Though he can play sax, the Eb/Bb thing really screws him up. So when he needs a sax sound, he'll use his wind controller.
 

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hakukani said:
Perfect pitch generally manifests itself between the ages of three and five years
My understanding as well; furthermore that it is more common in Asians than Caucasians, and can be lost if not utilized. Never heard that the instrument would make a difference.

My sax teacher tells me that it is a mixed blessing. A singer with perfect/absolute pitch that he once recorded with had to relearn a tune when they decided it would work better in another key. Seems rather extreme, at least when you don't have it.
 
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