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May. 5th, 2008 @ 10:27 pm (no subject)
Browsing through some of the older posts in this community has intrigued me, hopefully you guys don't mind answering two more questions (the third is just for kicks).

1. When identifying notes, do you use an internal tuning fork in your head and compare, or can you easily identify a note just by listening to it? (A psychology study at my University was testing this principle)

2. What are your perceptions on hearing impaired people (if you can, state the degree of deafness) - do you think they can develop perfect pitch as well?

3. Does it irritate you when pianos are out of tune but you have to deal with them on a regular basis?

The reason for asking Q2 is because I'm hearing impaired myself but can almost correctly identify any note (any errors I'm usually off by a semitone, but it also depends on the instrument that's playing it) that falls within my instrument's range (cello) save for the extremely high registers. Ever since I discovered that I had near-perfect pitch three years ago I've been intrigued to no end about this topic.
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Date:May 5th, 2008 02:35 pm (UTC)
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I have to sing the note to myself in order to identify it.

Also, the pianos in the practice rooms at my school are horribly out of tune. However, I only discovered this when I was transcribing a song from my iPod and the piano was about a quarter-tone lower. Eeesh.
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Date:May 6th, 2008 03:30 am (UTC)
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I'm not exactly perfect pitch, but I sing to myself, too, usually. For common notes (usually A and C) I can sometimes identify off the bat, but I can also interpret an A# as an A if I don't sing it or have a reference pitch. That being said, I don't actually have perfect pitch, just developed relative pitch. I'm a singer, it sort of happens that you end up that way. xD I generally tell by the way it feels in my voice combined with the way the pitch resonates to me, so it's a little...weird.

And yes, I think that people who are hearing-impaired can have perfectly good pitch, but it really depends on the kind of deafness. As described below, if you are born with perfect pitch you should be able to do so even without having perfect hearing. Also, sometimes people are only deaf to certain frequencies, or just have frequencies that are easier for them to hear. It's possible to have perfect pitch in higher notes but be unable to distinguish lower notes, or something like that.

And...I live in a really humid area, where my piano is almost constantly out of tune. It's not a high-quality piano (very old and not in the best maintenance) but I have mostly gotten used to it. There are certain chords and combinations of notes that irk me, but in general it doesn't give me problems any more. Strangely enough, people singing out of tune is worse for me than a piano out of tune, possibly because I'm a singer. And of course if anything is in tune with itself (a choir, a piano, what have you) I'm WAY more okay with it than individually off-tune notes, because that just hurts even if you don't have perfect pitch or...anyone who isn't totally tone deaf xD
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Date:May 5th, 2008 08:56 pm (UTC)
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1) no. the internal tuning fork is just violin pitch--you know, all violinists have an A, so they can compare other notes to that and have what everyone else thinks is perfect pitch, but it's really not as automatic. People with truly perfect pitch can ID any note without having to compare it (this is true in my case. I'm a pianist, btw)
2) Perfect pitch is entirely genetic, so if you're born with the gene but happen to have hearing problems...as long as you can still hear something, I think pitch could manifest itself. Actually I think there was a composer at my college some years back who was born with some degree of deafness but also had pitch. Obviously, if you weren't born deaf but lost your hearing later (Beethoven) your pitch could probably remain intact. Since perfect pitch is determined by your brain and not your ears, it is entirely plausible that your pitch could remain intact even though your ears aren't working properly.
3) Yeah, but I've sort of developed a tolerance over the years...as long as the piano is in tune to itself, even if it's flat of where it should be, I can deal with it. I have a friend (the only one I've met whose pitch is better than mine) who basically had to train out some degree of his pitch so that he wouldn't be irked by a piano being like 2 cents off tune.
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Date:May 14th, 2008 02:46 am (UTC)
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I don't think that Perfect Pitch is genetic. I think it is a skill that some develop early while others can learn it with difficulty. After all, there is nothing in nature that says that middle A has to be 440hz. If Mozart was sent into our time from the past, he'd be confused since they didn't use 440hz as the standard.
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Date:May 21st, 2008 11:16 pm (UTC)
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There's actually a lot of evidence that suggests that at least the ability to develop perfect pitch is very much genetic--which is why not every kid who starts piano when they're 3 has it.