A First Person View on Absolute Musical Pitch
International Journal of Literature and Arts
Volume 2, Issue 5-1, October 2014, Pages: 8-13
Received: Jul. 28, 2014; Accepted: Aug. 12, 2014; Published: Aug. 26, 2014
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Author
Krasimira Georgieva Fileva-Ruseva, Faculty of Music Pedagogy, Academy of Music, Dance and Fine Arts – Plovdiv, Bulgaria, Europe
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Abstract
Absolute musical pitch is an inborn talent which allows the people, endowed with it to identify the exact pitch of a specific tone without using a predefined reference point, regardless of the timbre of the source of the sound and of whether they are hearing a single tone, a logically organized melodic sequence, a succession of tones not following a definite logic, harmonic intervals or assonances. This type of pitch cannot be achieved through pedagogical influence. The people, gifted with absolute pitch, can hear the names of the tones simultaneously with the very sounding of the tones. Among the advantages of absolute pitch are the following: The fast and accurate identification of the tone names is useful to composers who, in their artistic project, have posed onomatopoeic tasks. Due to the fact that a person with absolute pitch does not need to use as a reference point the identification of modal functions to be able to recognize the tones of a melody, he/she is in a “more favorable” position, compared to the one, who has gained relative pitch, through working with musical pieces, in which there is no tonal organization. This is extremely valuable for performers and conductors. The speed, accuracy and confidence in hearing the tone names by the people with absolute pitch allows for some unexpected intonation movements to be exactly and easily identified right at the moment they are being heard. This is very useful, for instance, when collecting and writing down folk songs. The people with absolute pitch are faced with some problems, as well, like: The tolerance, related to absolute pitch (the ability, which allows, for example, to recognize a range of frequencies around 440 Hertz as “a”), and the absence of need for education, which would include the intonationally correct memorization of interval-templates to use later as reference points, are reasons that could explain the inaccurate pitch intonation in singing often seen in musicians with absolute pitch. The tolerance, related to absolute pitch, could become the reason for it to be lost. The ones, who possess absolute pitch, hear tone names, together with sounds that have not been produced by a musical instrument or a voice, but by other sound sources. The tone names coming from every direction – letters or syllables (depending on whether the musician is more used to the letter or the syllable names of tones), from which different words can be formed or which can lead the perceiver to associations in an unexpected direction, distract the mind.
Keywords
Music, Musical Abilities, Absolute Musical Pitch
To cite this article
Krasimira Georgieva Fileva-Ruseva, A First Person View on Absolute Musical Pitch, International Journal of Literature and Arts. Special Issue: Musical Theory, Psychology and Pedagogy. Vol. 2, No. 5-1, 2014, pp. 8-13. doi: 10.11648/j.ijla.s.2014020501.12
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