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Do you have perfect pitch?

  • xSFJ - No

    Votes: 2 1.8%
  • xSFJ - Yes

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • xSTJ - No

    Votes: 2 1.8%
  • xSTJ - Yes

    Votes: 1 0.9%
  • xNFJ - No

    Votes: 11 10.0%
  • xNFJ - Yes

    Votes: 4 3.6%
  • xNTJ - No

    Votes: 8 7.3%
  • xNTJ - Yes

    Votes: 6 5.5%
  • xSFP - No

    Votes: 6 5.5%
  • xSFP - Yes

    Votes: 1 0.9%
  • xSTP - No

    Votes: 4 3.6%
  • xSTP - Yes

    Votes: 2 1.8%
  • xNFP - No

    Votes: 22 20.0%
  • xNFP - Yes

    Votes: 10 9.1%
  • xNTP - No

    Votes: 22 20.0%
  • xNTP - Yes

    Votes: 9 8.2%

  • Total voters
    110
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Discussion Starter #1
Perfect pitch, also known as absolute pitch, is defined thusly by our good friend Wikipedia:

...a rare auditory phenomenon characterized by the ability of a person to identify or re-create a given musical note without the benefit of a reference tone.
Those with perfect/absolute pitch are able to do things like these without needing a referential tone - that is, they can do this without needing to hear a middle C note:

  • Identify individual pitches by name (for example, if you play a note or chord on the piano, I can tell you which notes you're playing)
  • Name the key of a piece of music.
  • Accurately sing a pitch by request (note: accuracy does not indicate singing ability)
  • Other great party tricks such as telling the pitch of a non-musical, noise-making object, like a car engine (my engine runs in C# most of the time)
Let's find out if there is a correlation between MBTI type and perfect pitch. As per the usual, there aren't enough fields for me to list every type twice, so I've divided them up into E/I pairs.

For starters, I'm an INTJ with perfect pitch.
 

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no. I'm good with patterns as in singing/playing in tune and knowing if something is a little sharp or flat, but that's having a sense for the 'space' between the sounds. I definitely can't tell you whether a sound is an F or a C or whatever. It seems like you'd have to have at least a little knowledge of musical notation to learn to associate a sound with the letter name given to it.
 

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Yep, I do. It was both a blessing and a curse for me growing up. Since my dad's a music teacher, I think he was even more determined for me to become great at piano than he would've been otherwise. Ultimately, while I like playing the piano, I didn't enjoy lessons (mainly because he was my piano teacher and our personalities clashed).

But yeah, I've heard that perfect pitch is really rare - supposedly one out of every 10,000 people has it.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
no. I'm good with patterns as in singing/playing in tune and knowing if something is a little sharp or flat, but that's having a sense for the 'space' between the sounds. I definitely can't tell you whether a sound is an F or a C or whatever. It seems like you'd have to have at least a little knowledge of musical notation to learn to associate a sound with the letter name given to it.
Naming the notes does require some knowledge of music theory. When I was little, I would tell my mom when she was playing a particular piano piece the "wrong" way or ask why she changed it around because she was playing it in a different key. She does not have perfect pitch, but she can play anything by ear.
 

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Naming the notes does require some knowledge of music theory. When I was little, I would tell my mom when she was playing a particular piano piece the "wrong" way or ask why she changed it around because she was playing it in a different key. She does not have perfect pitch, but she can play anything by ear.
I did the same thing! :laughing:
 

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I am tone deaf! I would love to be able to do that last thing, though (know the pitch of random non-musical sounds).

Also, would perfect pitch necessarily make you better at playing the piano, or...? Because on the piano the notes are just there for you. I can see how it would effect an instrument that you had to constantly tune, but why would it effect playing the piano?
Also, even though I'm tone deaf I can still recognize if there's a note wrong if I'm listening to someone play a familiar song on the piano...just because it sounds wrong. But I'm terrible at recognizing notes on other instruments. Just doesnt happen.

Also, given that most people don't have perfect pitch, how are most average musicians able to tune an instrument like a guitar, bass, etc?

I have so many questions lol. Its all a mystery to me.
 

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I would LOVE to have perfect pitch.
 

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I have perfect pitch, and I'm an INTP.

Unsure if MBTI has any correlation.

From the research I've done about perfect pitch, it is an acquired sense, similar to the way synesthesia is developed. When the brain has high plasticity (usually up to age 9), it is easier for these senses to develop. Essentially perfect pitch is associating pitches heard with note names (I'd go further and describe this part as the essential quality of a note. For instance, when something's out of tune, I can tell which note it's supposed to be).
But then again, it could have natural elements to it. The following experience makes me think that there is an innate part of perfect pitch.
I remember when I was about 4 or 5, and I was trying to play Jingle Bells on this old, out of tune piano. I had no musical training at the time, but I was trying to replicate the sound I had heard. I managed to transpose the original version (in C major) into another key, but I knew -- something's not right. I can't figure it out. This isn't what I heard.
Then I begged my parents for piano lessons. At that point, I'm not sure if I had what is classified as perfect pitch, but what is certain is that by the time I started studying with my second piano teacher, I had perfect pitch. My second piano teacher told me that I had it while she was teaching me theory. I must have been around six to eight years old.
 

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Dang, not at all. My parents had me take 10+ years of piano lessons, and I think if it hadn't been for that, I would have been really awful at music in general. Now I'm pretty good at telling when it's wrong, but I can't just immediately produce what's right.

My INTP dad on the other hand - he claims not to have perfect pitch, but he seems pretty damn close. He's been playing guitar and bass for over 40 years.

charlie.elliot said:
Also, given that most people don't have perfect pitch, how are most average musicians able to tune an instrument like a guitar, bass, etc?
Technically all you need for that is one note you're sure of, since you can do the rest via referencing harmonics. A lot of people have an electronic keyboard or piano (hopefully periodically tuned by a professional) at home, or even just a tuning fork, and if they're at a gig they get someone else to play a sure note. Many electronic metronomes will also have a reference note setting - mine had A440, I think. A lot of instruments now have built-in tuners, as well. I have an acoustic-electric guitar with a sweet little electronic tuner on the side. So convenient for a tone-fail like me.
 

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@charlie.elliot: what you and @angelfish describe is called relative pitch -- determining the pitch of other notes in relation to a given pitch. Relative pitch can be trained to an extent that other people can mistake it for perfect pitch.

Also, perfect pitch declines with old age. As long as you keep training relative pitch, you'll improve. :3
 

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INFP.

Not in the least bit. No, no, no, no, no. I am extremely tone-deaf, and I only really care about lyrics. There are also a lot of songs without lyrics that I like, but they have to sound ominous.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I don't see how there'd be a correlation between MBTI and singing voice, but then again this is interesting nonetheless.
A whole lot of research begins with "I don't know if there is a correlation, but this is interesting anyway!"

A poll I did a while back in college indicated that people with ASD may be more likely to have perfect pitch than neurotypical people. No formal research that I can find (it's not very profitable, for one thing), but interesting nonetheless.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Nope. I need a tuning fork or whistle to tune an instrument. Still, within a musical piece, it is easy to detect off-key notes.
Yeah, both of my parents are sensitive to this. They're also musicians.

Fun fact: Until I was 12, I thought everyone had perfect pitch. I didn't even know what perfect pitch was because I thought everyone just did it.
 
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A whole lot of research begins with "I don't know if there is a correlation, but this is interesting anyway!"

A poll I did a while back in college indicated that people with ASD may be more likely to have perfect pitch than neurotypical people. No formal research that I can find (it's not very profitable, for one thing), but interesting nonetheless.
Wow, that is interesting! Why would that be the case the - were you able to find a likely cause?
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Wow, that is interesting! Why would that be the case the - were you able to find a likely cause?
Given that I was a 19-year-old doing an internet poll for the fun of it, the methods were pretty rudimentary and unsound. Most of the people who answered were musicians, and ASD or not we're already more likely to have perfect pitch.

I can say, though, that as a musician I've met quite a few fellow ASD/Aspie musicians. Our sensory systems are a little wonky already, and if indeed we ARE more likely to have perfect pitch, I think our weird sensory systems/sensory integration has something to do with it.

If someone wants to take that and run with it as a research topic for grad school, then you're welcome.
 

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Given that I was a 19-year-old doing an internet poll for the fun of it, the methods were pretty rudimentary and unsound. Most of the people who answered were musicians, and ASD or not we're already more likely to have perfect pitch.

I can say, though, that as a musician I've met quite a few fellow ASD/Aspie musicians. Our sensory systems are a little wonky already, and if indeed we ARE more likely to have perfect pitch, I think our weird sensory systems/sensory integration has something to do with it.

If someone wants to take that and run with it as a research topic for grad school, then you're welcome.
Maybe there is more focus in music for most people with ASD? Music is a great outlet for expression that makes sense even when nothing else seems to.
 
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