[Menvi-discuss] blind musicians with perfect pitch

Miso Kwak misokwak12 at gmail.com
Mon Sep 18 01:03:14 EDT 2017


This was an amusing and somewhat informative thread to read through.
If someone is able to identify notes correctly in most instruments but
not in every sound that has audable frequency, what would you call
that?

A little while ago another blind musician and I would joke that we
have perfect pitch on some days and not on other days.
I have no problem identifying notes on instruments that are commonly
played in wind ensemble and orchestra and piano, but it seems harder
to just sing a certain note/frequency (granted I have way more
experience in playing instrument than singing) or when I hear a car
horn or the tone produced when we press a phone dial I can identify
what note it sounds like but not as accurately as on instruments. I
hope this makes sense.

Whatever it is I appreciate my ability to hear things the way I do
(including the fact that I cannot identify every single sound as a
note) but I don't think it's absolute/perfect pitch.

Thanks for a fun thread to read through and participate in.

--Miso

On 9/17/17, Jared Rimer - MENVI webmaster via Menvi-discuss
<menvi-discuss at menvi.org> wrote:
> Yes.  I do know how to play it, but seeing if it is in tune, I'm not
> sure of because I wasnt taught how to do that.  It was introduction to
> other types of instruments.
> --
> Jared Rimer
> Music Education Network for the Visually Impaired
> www.menvi.org
> bridging the gap between the blind and music education
>
> When reporting broken links, please kindly let us know what web page you
> came from so we may fix the error as quickly as possible. Thanks!
>
> On 9/17/2017 12:37 PM, Chris Smart via Menvi-discuss wrote:
>> heheh oh yeah, recorders can be way off. I have bad memories of grade 6
>> music class. Imagine more than 30 people enthusiastically over-blowing
>> recorders in an echoing gymnasium. :)
>>
>> At 03:09 PM 9/17/2017, you wrote:
>>> Hi Chris, The difficulty with the recorder seems to be the fact it
>>> seems sharper, like the E may be a little higher.  I've been told I
>>> have perfect pitch, for what it means.  I noticed when they asked me
>>> to identify the note, it was harder to gague.  I understand what
>>> you're saying though, and its interesting. Jared Rimer Music Education
>>> Network for the Visually Impaired www.menvi.org bridging the gap
>>> between the blind and music education When reporting broken links,
>>> please kindly let us know what web page you came from so we may fix
>>> the error as quickly as possible. Thanks! On 9/17/2017 10:17 AM, Chris
>>> Smart via Menvi-discuss wrote: > Jared, I'm curious about something.
>>> Are we using different definitions > of perfect pitch? You say you can
>>> identify notes on one instrument but > not another, i.e. recorder. I'm
>>> going to argue here that that, is not > perfect pitch, also known as
>>> absolute pitch. > > Fourth octave B on the piano is the same pitch as
>>> on any other > instrument. It's fundamental is around 500 hurtz. If
>>> you can sing a B > note that's in tune, without a reference, or
>>> identify one that is > played, on anything capable of producing that
>>> frequency tone, that is > perfect pitch. > > Electrical hum in North
>>> America is 60 hurtz, and that sounds like a note > between  first
>>> octave B-flat and B natural. similarly, if I hear 50 > hurtz
>>> electrical hum in the UK, my brain immediately says "oh, that's a >
>>> little sharp of 1st octave G". > > At 12:23 PM 9/17/2017, you wrote:
>>> >> Elizabeth, >> >> You are definitely not rambling.  Even today,
>>> I've still got perfect >> pitch, and my father baught my sister's
>>> children recorders.  I have a >> hard time telling what notes those
>>> are, as I haven't played recorder >> since I learned it in elementary
>>> school, but I can tell perfect pitch >> on a piano or string
>>> instrument.  I did remember that you can't blow >> too hard on the
>>> mouthpiece of the recorder or it'll squeak.  I think I >> had one of
>>> those notes, but i know too, that there are different tuned >>
>>> recorders, and each one has different notes for the wholes you need to
>>> >> hold down.  Thanks for posting, and feel free to participate at
>>> any >> time you wish. >> >> Jared Rimer >> Music Education Network for
>>> the Visually Impaired >> www.menvi.org >> bridging the gap between the
>>> blind and music education >> >> When reporting broken links, please
>>> kindly let us know what web page >> you came from so we may fix the
>>> error as quickly as possible. Thanks! >> >> On 9/17/2017 2:48 AM, Beth
>>> Smaligo via Menvi-discuss wrote: >>> Hello to the discussion group,
>>> >>> It's been fascinating reading the latest chatter about blind >>>
>>> professional orchestral musicians. I'm solid as far as musical >>>
>>> comprehension, but as far as execution I wouldn't make the cut for an
>>> >>> orchestra now, although I played in a junior orchestra for fourth
>>> >>> through eighth graders in seventh and eighth grade. Contra the >>>
>>> stereotype, I do not have perfect pitch, at least not anymore. I have
>>> >>> always been painfully self-conscious about disclosing what I am
>>> about >>> to say, but as it's nothing remotely inappropriate to post
>>> publicly, >>> I might as well ditch the introversion and open the
>>> floodgate. It >>> would probably have come up one day since my mother,
>>> an extremely >>> gifted music educator and informal advocate for blind
>>> equality, might >>> have eventually posted as such. It seems
>>> apparently that I had >>> perfect pitch until age 7. I cannot recall
>>> what that must have been >>> like, nor can I imagine it now hard, as I
>>> try, but I must have had it >>> because if you asked, and sometimes
>>> when I was younger even when not >>> asked, much to my chagrin at the
>>> time, both of my parents would say >>> to certain people and retell me
>>> that upon a key being randomly >>> brushed up against or deliberately
>>> struck I would immediately >>> invariably pipe up with unerring
>>> accuracy its note. We'll never know >>> how I lost it, and I have my
>>> limitations (OK I opened the floodgate, >>> but I will not be a
>>> research subject), but my mom has this theory >>> that I also
>>> discovered that I was different, as in how being blind >>> separated
>>> me from the other kids around second grade time because the >>> others
>>> didn't absolutely have to run up and touch everything anymore, >>> or
>>> at least not nearly as much. This "discovering that I was >>>
>>> different," as she terms it, we think psychologically traumatized me,
>>> >>> and one of the damages was the loss of this mysterious gift of >>>
>>> automatic ability to name notes. I think also in consequence my >>>
>>> reliance on braille music is such that I could use some formal ear >>>
>>> training. I'd love to learn to improvise in an American folk style >>>
>>> kind of way, and I really appreciate jazz, though my tendencies are
>>> >>> definitely classical. I'm sorry: perhaps it is that I've just
>>> rambled >>> on in a sort of self-pity, though this has certainly not
>>> been my >>> intention. I think a lot, often too much, and when I
>>> journal >>> privately, I find that my entries are seldom short or
>>> without detail. >>> Some of this is also the result of the expansive
>>> writing and clarity >>> drilled into an English literature and
>>> communication double major >>> (that was my undergrad degree). Anyway,
>>> I recently had an almost >>> video game-like dream like a fantasy
>>> world recently (and I've had >>> variations of this dream over the
>>> years) in which one of the powers I >>> could acquire along the Path
>>> to Success in whatever fantasy world my >>> dream had made up,
>>> nonspecific as it was that I could ever remember >>> upon awakening,
>>> was perfect pitch. I guess then in my dream, and only >>> in those
>>> particular fantasy-world dreams, could I have perfect pitch. >>> I've
>>> tried, never successfully, to identify random notes by clumsily >>>
>>> banging random keys on a piano and recording and then playing back >>>
>>> said recording, but only playing back after a day or two so as not to
>>> >>> be able to recall, even if unable to identify notes by name, at
>>> least >>> the relative non tune I'd "played." Am I making any
>>> semblance of >>> sense? Someone was all means please tell me bluntly
>>> if I've just >>> confused an entire discussion list with gibberish and
>>> made a total >>> idiot of myself. I'm feeling rather foolish posting
>>> this. I'll go >>> back to mostly monitoring; over and out. >>>
>>> Elizabeth [Beth] A. Smaligo, B.A., M.A. >>> Sent from my iPhone >>>
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-- 
Miso Kwak
University of California, Los Angeles | 2017
Psychology B.A. | Education Studies Minor | Disability Studies Minor
(909) 660-1897




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