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Gwagi said that ear training (relative pitch) is essential to playing a stringed instrument, not perfect pitch. Perfect pitch is not at all essential to playing a stringed instrument, and can be a hindrance if it inhibits the development of good relative pitch.

As for whether perfect pitch can be developed after a very young age, the research isn't clear. At best, it's extremely difficult, but it seems to be possible. David L. Burge has written a method for developing perfect pitch, and I do believe research has shown that it works; however, I have yet to find these research results published in a journal.

Relative pitch can be developed at any time.

Victor

: I noticed in a posting, Gwagi says that having

: perfect pitch is essential to playing a stringed

: instrument. Well, I don't have perfect pitch.

: Does this mean there's no hope for me,

: or is there a way to get perfect pitch?

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Perfect pitch means the ability to knock on wood or hear a bird sing and be able to say, "the tap tone of this wood is a quarter tone shy of being B-flat," or "the bird just sang an F-sharp."

Most musicians do not have perfect pitch. What string players need is good RELATIVE pitch, meaning the ablilty to identify and tune intervals (minor third, perfect fifth, minor sixth, and so on) from a starting pitch.

Relative pitch can be learned. Whether perfect pitch can be learned or is an innate talent is debatable.

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That's exactly what I meant. I apologize if I wasn't clear. I mentioned that I have perfect pitch because Michael was suggesting that perfect pitch develops because of Suzuki training, and that Suzuki ear training methods are therefore superior. I was trying to make a point that neither perfect pitch or good ear training is Suzuki specific. Again, I apologize if I upset anyone through my previous lack of clarity.

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: That's exactly what I meant. I apologize if I wasn't clear. I mentioned that I have perfect pitch because Michael was suggesting that perfect pitch develops because of Suzuki training, and that Suzuki ear training methods are therefore superior. I was trying to make a point that neither perfect pitch or good ear training is Suzuki specific. Again, I apologize if I upset anyone through my previous lack of clarity.

***

The perfect pitch training I'm talking about which we use with our Suzuki program is applicable to very young children -- 3 to 5 year olds are the ones most capable of developing it, although I've seen some 7 and 8 year olds. That is pushing it, though. Relative pitch is another thing and that is not as age critical, although I think it is easier to learn it young rather than say when you are 30 years old. When I'm talking about perfect pitch, I'm talking about pulling a pitch out of the air. For example, if we are out walking in the woods and I say to my son -- sing an F#, he can do it with no relative pitch as a starting point. Any pitch in random order. He can tell if a pitch is just a little sharp or flat, with no relative pitch. This type of training is most easily achieved at an early age, although I too have seen a method advertised for teaching perfect pitch. I have no first-hand knowledge of that method. I wouldn't worry, you will do just fine with your relative pitch.

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A couple of people at our church have it (not me, unfortunately) and have told me that sometimes perfect pitch is a hinderance when they have to deal with, say, a piano that is in tune with itself but not at A440.

I would like to have perfect pitch, but relative is good enough for me at present.

Tony

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