TuneCrack: Crack the tuning problem Where Absolute and Relative Pitch Meet

Most musicians have relative pitch. Many professional musicians have absolute pitch, but don’t admit it. They underrate the skill, because they are not trained to answer absolute pitch questions and therefore may fail every now and then. There is this myth of only a few have "perfect pitch". But going to the limits, reveals that those who have absolute pitch also fail every now and then when there is a border-line situation.

So, what do relative and absolute pitch have in common? Where do they differ?

Relative and absolute pitch both require a good ear. For relative pitch, one must differentiate a pitch relative to another. For absolute pitch, one must identify a pitch relative to a given set of predefined frequencies in the equal-tempered tuning system. Now, since I have described absolute pitch as relative to predefined frequencies, there isn't really a big difference between relative and absolute pitch. In both cases you must identify a pitch relative to another. The only difference is, in the second case no reference note is played. You must remember the reference pitch from your “inner ear”.

We also need an “inner ear” to answer relative pitch questions. If I ask you a relative pitch question as follows: “I play a random note, then I wait one day before playing the second note, then I ask you to identify the interval”, then, how does it come, that you may fail to answer the relative pitch question? The answer is of course, it is the delay time between the notes. We call the point in time where your memory falls just short of identifying the relative pitch accurately for the second sound: your Absolute Pitch Point. This is the point, where absolute and relative pitch meet.

Precision of pitch detection accuracy for non absolute pitch possessors *click on image to zoom

The difference between relative and absolute pitch lies in the time, how long a person can remember a sound precisely. For those who have absolute pitch, the Absolute Pitch Point is simply more than a day. That is absolute and relative pitch meet after a very long (or infinite) time period.

Pitch Precision for absolute pitch possessors *click on image to zoom

The Absolute Pitch Point is different from person to person. However, with training you can push the delay time for your absolute pitch point to longer time periods. Our Pitch Keeper Method helps you to achieve this goal by tracking your progress: Answering the relative pitch questions after a longer delay lets you earn more points. But it is not the points that matter: It is, you, starting realizing how to keep the first reference sound longer in your mind. Pushing your Absolute Pitch Point shows your mind what to look and concentrate for. Your mind will extract properties from the sound that can be stored in your short-term memory.

If you can answer relative pitch questions correctly after 2 seconds have elapsed, then you can also do it for notes that are 3 seconds apart. Then also for notes 4 seconds apart, and so on. No, Wait! That is not so easy! Correct, but you feel exactly what you have to concentrate on to keep the sound in your memory. And you know it is possible, with concentration to increase that time. It is hard work. Yes achieving goals requires some effort. All we can do is supporting you to reach a goal. Absolute Pitch has the mythos of being unreachable if you missed musical education in early childhood. Using the words "perfect pitch" instead of "absolute pitch" mystifies this believe. But opening your mind, shows you that absolute pitch simply means - remembering a pitch after a longer time period. If you want to learn a foreign language, it is also hard work and it may take years until you reach a decent level. But it is possible.

A good ear is one of the most important skill for every musician. Setting a goal to acquire absolute pitch is probably the wrong way: it takes too long. So setting milestones on the road to that goal is far more effective. Our software gives you feedback and tracks your progress, so you can start with a low goal as identifying pitches an octave apart after one second. In the beginning you may make fast progress, when it gets more difficult then you have found your personal Absolute Pitch Point. By pushing the point "where absolute and relative pitch meet" towards absolute pitch our software helps you not only to tune instruments precisely, but guides you also on the way to acquire absolute pitch.

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TuneCrack Introductory lesson

TuneCrack's introductory lesson will show you what the tuning process is: the ability to detect deviations of pitches and the direction of the deviation. It shows you where absolute and relative pitch meet. It also introduces you on how the exercises work.

"The Precision Listening Method" and "The Pitch Keeper Method".


Listening Singing Teacher, Listening Music Teacher, Listening Ear Trainer, The Red Pitch Dot, The Colored Pitch Line, The Counting Hints Line, The Half-Step Brackets, The Precision Listening Method, The Singing Funnel Method, The Octave Anchor Pitches Method,The Interval Overtone Method, The Pitch Keeper Method, Absolute Pitch Point and Same Pitch Please are trademarks of AlgorithmsAndDataStructures, F. Rudin. Macintosh and OS X are trademarks of Apple Computer Inc., IBM PC is trademark of International Business Machines Inc., Windows XP/Vista/7 is trademark of Microsoft Inc. All other company and product names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners