Is Perfect Pitch a Hindrance to Learning and Playing Saxophone?

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  1. #1

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    Default Is Perfect Pitch a Hindrance to Learning and Playing Saxophone?

    What do you think?

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    Default Re: Is Perfect Pitch a Hindrance to Learning and Playing Saxophone?

    Why would it be?

    I mean, I can understand that if you have perfect pitch it might make some confusion in your head because you're thinking of playing an A and hearing a C, but that's just a matter of getting used to it no?
    I'm sure a lot of perfect pitch people doesn't play only concert pitch instruments.
    Viajar sempre a cantar... e a tocar!

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    Default Re: Is Perfect Pitch a Hindrance to Learning and Playing Saxophone?

    I know a couple of people whose perfect pitch was compromised after they played transposing instruments. Just wondering if people with perfect pitch are better off playing concert-pitch instruments ...

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    Forum Contributor 2008-2017 Sidepipes's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is Perfect Pitch a Hindrance to Learning and Playing Saxophone?

    Question -- Is their perfect pitch LP A=440, A=442, or HP 457?
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    Default Re: Is Perfect Pitch a Hindrance to Learning and Playing Saxophone?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sidepipes View Post
    Question -- Is their perfect pitch LP A=440, A=442, or HP 457?
    Do you know people who play exclusively (or at the minimum regularly) at HP A-457? I don't.

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    Ballad state of mind's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is Perfect Pitch a Hindrance to Learning and Playing Saxophone?

    As far as I understand it. Perfect pitch is you can recognise when a note is flat or sharp, and what you call the note is irrelevant. Just like relative pitch is recognising that the notes are in tune relative to each other. And you can play a phrase and know that all the notes are in tune without thinking what the notes are.
    A pic of how to achieve the perfect embouchure.

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    Default Re: Is Perfect Pitch a Hindrance to Learning and Playing Saxophone?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ballad state of mind View Post
    As far as I understand it. Perfect pitch is you can recognise when a note is flat or sharp, and what you call the note is irrelevant. Just like relative pitch is recognising that the notes are in tune relative to each other. Just like you can play a phrase and know that all the notes are in tune without thinking what the notes are.
    I think we understand the concept differently. I understand that perfect pitch is the ability to name a note upon hearing it.

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    Distinguished SOTW Member 1saxman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is Perfect Pitch a Hindrance to Learning and Playing Saxophone?

    Quote Originally Posted by kreacher View Post
    Why would it be?

    I mean, I can understand that if you have perfect pitch it might make some confusion in your head because you're thinking of playing an A and hearing a C, but that's just a matter of getting used to it no?
    I'm sure a lot of perfect pitch people doesn't play only concert pitch instruments.
    Doesn't really work that way. You may not know the names of any notes but you will know if they are out of tune. Once you do know the names of the notes you can call them out. They will be the same notes whether you are using concert pitch or instrument-specific pitch with different note names. If you hear a concert 'C', it will be a 'D' on tenor and an 'A' on alto but all the same pitch.
    I don't think I have perfect pitch but after 60 years of playing sax, I usually can hear someone play something and instantly play it back in the right key. Also, there's 'relative pitch' which I'm sure I have. Its knowing the intervals you hear. For example I can hear a melody or just think of one and figure out in my head on what scale note the melody starts, along with all the notes of the lead line. Then, once I decide on a key to play it in, there's no fumbling around with picking out notes - I already know what they are. Experienced musicians communicate chords and lines to each other using the numbers for chord structure and lines; once you know the key, the chord pattern is expressed like I, II, V, etc. So in C, the I is C, the II is D and the V is G. All are considered major chords without contrary notation. This means if a key change happens, the chart stays the same and you just assign the new chords to the numbers. This makes for fast, effective work in the studio, like when the singer needs to change the key.
    Once you're familiar with all this the 'head' of a song is easy to figure out without using an instrument or making a sound. I guess if you did not have at least good relative pitch you probably couldn't do this.

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    Ballad state of mind's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is Perfect Pitch a Hindrance to Learning and Playing Saxophone?

    @ double reed No. Being able to recognise the note by the pitch. Not the name. Violinists can recognise the A by the pitch not from the name, because of continued tuning.
    A pic of how to achieve the perfect embouchure.

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    Default Re: Is Perfect Pitch a Hindrance to Learning and Playing Saxophone?

    To all you alto players, can you hear the eight bar held note, (F# on alto. concert A) at the end of Harlem Nocturne, in your head? I can, but is this perfect pitch? -- Still learning!
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    Default Re: Is Perfect Pitch a Hindrance to Learning and Playing Saxophone?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ballad state of mind View Post
    @ double reed No. Being able to recognise the note by the pitch. Not the name. Violinists can recognise the A by the pitch not from the name, because of continued tuning.
    I said being able to name a note upon hearing hearing it.

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    Default Re: Is Perfect Pitch a Hindrance to Learning and Playing Saxophone?

    Quote Originally Posted by 1saxman View Post
    Doesn't really work that way. You may not know the names of any notes but you will know if they are out of tune. Once you do know the names of the notes you can call them out. They will be the same notes whether you are using concert pitch or instrument-specific pitch with different note names. If you hear a concert 'C', it will be a 'D' on tenor and an 'A' on alto but all the same pitch
    Yes I know how transposing instruments work. What I meant is that if you learn that A is a specific pitch, say for example 440Hz, then when someone asks you to play an A on alto sax it may make you some confusion because you'll have to play an F#. One part of your brain is telling you that an A = 440Hz but another part of your brain is telling you that you need F# to = 440Hz because an F# on alto sax is the same pitch than concert A.

    For example because I play different keyed instrument, concert pitch, Eb, Bb and I don't have a good ear (no perfect nor relative pitch as far as I know), but my main instrument is Eb, when I play a Bb instrument and am trying to follow a melody line by ear I tend to finger imediately the corresponding note on the Eb, but it sounds a 4th (or 5th depending on which way you're looking at) off.
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  15. #13
    Ballad state of mind's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is Perfect Pitch a Hindrance to Learning and Playing Saxophone?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sidepipes View Post
    but is this perfect pitch? -- Still learning!

    Only if you can tell if it is flat, sharp or on pitch.
    A pic of how to achieve the perfect embouchure.

  16. #14
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    Default Re: Is Perfect Pitch a Hindrance to Learning and Playing Saxophone?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ballad state of mind View Post
    Only if you can tell if it is flat, sharp or on pitch.
    But aren't perfect pitch people tuned to a certain frequency? Or are they able to change accordingly? For example if you are in A= 440 you'd say someone playing an A= 444 out of tune, sharp. But if then you say you are in A=444 and they are playing A= 444 can they say it is on pitch or will they maintain the inner frequency of A=440 and say you're still out of tune to them?
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  17. #15
    Ballad state of mind's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is Perfect Pitch a Hindrance to Learning and Playing Saxophone?

    Quote Originally Posted by kreacher View Post
    But aren't perfect pitch people tuned to a certain frequency? Or are they able to change accordingly? For example if you are in A= 440 you'd say someone playing an A= 444 out of tune, sharp. But if then you say you are in A=444 and they are playing A= 444 can they say it is on pitch or will they maintain the inner frequency of A=440 and say you're still out of tune to them?
    Well you would need to ask someone who has perfect pitch which frequencies they are tuned into. But the principal is still the same.
    A pic of how to achieve the perfect embouchure.

  18. #16
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    Default Re: Is Perfect Pitch a Hindrance to Learning and Playing Saxophone?

    Knew of a sax player with perfect pitch. He could only play a C Melody pitched sax. All others drove him crazy.
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    Default Re: Is Perfect Pitch a Hindrance to Learning and Playing Saxophone?

    Has anyone watched the Rick Beato videos? He presents pretty good scientific evidence that perfect pitch is much more likely to be learned as an infant, much like learning foreign language sounds. He taught his son who can name the notes instantly as they are played. His son can even pick out all the notes when a chord is played on the piano.

  20. #18
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    Default Re: Is Perfect Pitch a Hindrance to Learning and Playing Saxophone?

    FWIW, I have triplet sons who play piano and wind instruments (sax, trumpet and trombone). Two of them (trumpet and trombone) have perfect pitch. 1saxman is closest in describing perfect pitch, ballad state of mind is mistaken about some of it (sorry!). My sons say it is much like being able to see colors. They could hear all the notes and once they learned what they were called, they now just know what the note is instantly (much like being able to see all the colors and once you learn what they are called, you can name the color instantly upon seeing it). They instantly know the notes upon hearing them AND can tell if they are on pitch, sharp or flat (and degree of sharpness/flatness if off). There is no thinking about what they just heard and no calculations to give the correct answer, they just know it instantly upon hearing (regardless of instrument or source...they even hear random sounds, like a glass break, and tell you the note). Ask them to sing a particular note and they can sing it in tune. They are especially harsh in critiquing singers but Ella Fitzgerald and Maureen McGovern get very high praise.

    They also have no issues with transposing instruments (they can switch between their horns and the piano without any issue). For example a particular note on concert C simply has a different name when played on the trumpet (it's no big deal). They can play on an out of tune piano without issue (but it would annoy them and they will make a comment).

    -floobydust

    And the sax-playing son...nope...no perfect pitch but he does have really good ears and excellent relative pitch.

  21. #19
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    Default Re: Is Perfect Pitch a Hindrance to Learning and Playing Saxophone?

    Quote Originally Posted by FishyJoe View Post
    Has anyone watched the Rick Beato videos? He presents pretty good scientific evidence that perfect pitch is much more likely to be learned as an infant, much like learning foreign language sounds. He taught his son who can name the notes instantly as they are played. His son can even pick out all the notes when a chord is played on the piano.
    Yes, there appears to be a critical phase in which perfect pitch could be developed if the kid has potential for it. I believe research has show it really can't be developed past the age of 8-ish. All three of my sons started piano lessons at the age of 6-1/2 and two of them have perfect pitch. This would mean that even if a person had the potential for developing perfect pitch, if they start music later (like at age 10), then it would be unlikely that the person would be able to acquire perfect pitch.

    -floobydust

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    Default Re: Is Perfect Pitch a Hindrance to Learning and Playing Saxophone?

    Quote Originally Posted by DoubleReed View Post
    I know a couple of people whose perfect pitch was compromised after they played transposing instruments. Just wondering if people with perfect pitch are better off playing concert-pitch instruments ...
    Makes me wonder if they actually have perfect pitch. Again, my perfect pitch sons can play the transposing instruments without issue and it does not affect their perfect pitch.

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