What is Perfect Pitch? Music Theory Lessons

hi and welcome to virtual sheet music

calm and living pianos calm I'm Robert

Esther in the question today is what is

perfect pitch it sounds like a great

thing doesn't it well we're going to

discuss the benefits of perfect pitch

and if there are any detriments to it


perfect pitch is actually a misnomer

because it has nothing to do with

intonation being in tune it has to do

with simply pitch memory somebody with

perfect pitch can hear a lawnmower

outside and boom without even thinking

about it just like you and I can

identify orange or green without even

giving it a moment's thought people with

perfect pitch they can uh they know the

pitch so if they set that on a piano

they can go well I don't have perfect

pitch I can come pretty darn close but

relative pitch is the adjunct to perfect

pitch for the vast majority of people

including professional musicians who

don't have perfect pitch once you have

one note you can relate it to all other

notes so that someone with a

well-developed relative ear you might

think they have perfect pitch because

you could play notes at random on a

piano or another instrument and they

could just name them all once they have

the first note but a perfect person with

perfect pitch they don't need that

reference pitch at all in fact they

don't even have to give it any thought

now are there any detriments to this

because you could see the benefits my

gosh for transcribing music that is for

listening to music and being able to

write it out having perfect pitch is

that tremendous help for that because

you just hear the notes as you put them

on the staff you don't even have to

figure anything out when twin is perfect

pitch a problem then just imagine this

if you've ever sung in a choir and you

have the music in front of you and you

sing what you're seeing it's on a

problem and maybe the choral director

will establish the key

I have its in C major y'all sing in C

major or maybe they say you know what

this is a little bit high for the choir

let's do it again but we're going to do

it down a step a whole step now the rest

of the choir without perfect pitch it

doesn't make any difference once they

have that reference they can sing no


a person with perfect pitch is going to

have to calculate every note and

transpose it because when they see a C

they hear it absolute it's C not that B

flat that the the choir director wants

them to sing so actually having perfect

pitch can be a challenge in certain

circumstances what about the fact that

somebody gets used to a certain pitch at

home maybe their pianos tuned to 440

then they go playing at Orchestra the

tunes to 442 or 444 and there go no

you're all wrong this is the pitch well

believe it or not that can happen

because their reference is so ingrained

that they actually have to think to be

able to play in tune if a group is is

slightly off worse yet getting back to

that choir analogy imagine singing in a

choir and the choir drifts up or down

during a performance which can easily

happen if it's acapella if the choir is

not accompanied by any other instruments

well a person with perfect pitch is

going to go nuts they're going to

naturally try to get the group back to

the right pitch well that might not work

so hell if one person is singing

correctly and everybody else is off a

little bit so perfect pitch is not an

end-all solution ultimately it's

essential for all musicians regardless

of whether they have a well-developed

relative ear or perfect pitch to

understand the underlying structure of

music perfect pitch can be a tremendous

help in certain situations but at the

same time it's not a replacement for

understanding the inner workings of

music that you must develop if you don't

have perfect pitch so if you don't have

perfect pitch don't feel it's a

detriment to you if you have it enjoy it

but also you should do your work so that

you not are just as comfortable

transposing and you understand the

relationships between tones as n

buddy without perfect pitch would have

to do anyway so that's a long and short

of perfect pitch love to hear from any

of you who has perfect pitch or no

people with perfect pitch I'm sure

there's many stories you can share again

Robert estrin here at living pianos calm

and virtual sheet music calm see you

next time