Having Perfect Pitch is NOT A Good Thing

Having Perfect Pitch is NOT really an awesome thing to have. It's amazing for party tricks but not very useful otherwise. In fact, it can be a barrier that restricts you from really enjoying your music. Let's take a quick second to define what Perfect Pitch is.

Perfect Pitch

What is Perfect Pitch?

When a person with Perfect Pitch (or what is called Absolute Pitch) hears a note played on an instrument, they can tell exactly what note is being played. When they hear an F#, they know it's an F# (regardless of instrument type).

People with Perfect Pitch can also listen to a song and tell what key the song is written in. That's very useful. If you're able to tell the key a song is written in, you can reproduce the notes of the song very easily.

Aside from being able to tell the key of a song by just listening to it, or maybe transcribing sounds as a profession, or having a great party trick with you always, having Perfect Pitch is not all that great.

See our Video on 'How to Find The Key of A Song By Ear'. This will show you how you too can find the key of a song - within seconds!

The Genius and Perfect Pitch

Somehow we associate Perfect Pitch with musical genius. We think that if someone is able to identify a note just by listening to it they must have some sort of gift. Well, it is a gift, but not a very good one.

The Curse of Perfect Pitch

Imagine for a minute that you have Perfect Pitch and you're out watching your favorite band. Imagine also that over the course of the evening, the guitarists instrument slowly starts slipping out of tune. Not by much - just a few cents.

The smallest musical distance (between two closest notes is called a semitone). A 'cent' is a one hundredth division of a semitone. So a few cents is so small that the ordinary person won't even notice. But not you in this case.

Back to the band

Imagine what this slightly out-of-tune guitar is going to do to you as it keeps slipping out of tune by a few cents during the course of the evening. It would make you absolutely mad! Imagine listening to your favorite band playing out of tune. Yuck! What's worse is everyone around you seems to be having a very good time. The thing that will send you out of the club in a fury is the band decided to play your favorite song!

It's Not A Gift

If I had Perfect Pitch I don't know if I'd consider it a gift. I'd be walking around being quite anal about what I hear. But, that's just me.

Most people don't have Perfect Pitch. I'd say over 99% of people don't. What is more important is to have good 'Relative Pitch'.

What Is Relative Pitch?

Relative Pitch is the ability to hear musical distances. Such as the distance of 3 semitones. This helps us realize the quality of the sounds we just heard. Relative Pitch is also very useful when listening to and identifying the quality and types of chords. It helps us appreciate what were listening to much more than having Perfect Pitch. It helps us analyze others music and gives us a number of insights to compose our own music.

Lucky You

So if you don't have Perfect Pitch, consider yourself lucky. Focus your ear-training on Relative Pitch instead. It will help you develop a much more useful musical utility.