Ross: Hi, do you consider that each note has a different character? If so, have you found that the same qualities of the same notes are heard by different people (eg. F# = bright, Eb = dull)? If not, what do you see as the point of learning AP besides using it as a party trick? I have found that I am able to recognize notes on intruments and in my own voice by their unique characteristics (characteristics are the same no matter which intrument)
Graham: Hi Ross. F# and Eb have characteristics that are easy to point out to the newbie. Beyond that, I avoid naming each note’s characteristics other than by actual note name, i.e. C, D, Eb, etc. Adding more and more mental concepts to the notes just gets in the way of simply being able to name the note when you hear it, I believe anyway.
I think having a precise ear helps you hear and play precisely. That, to me, is much more than a party trick. I avoid ever mentioning absolute pitch in interpersonal settings because it brings up so much baggage. People can be jealous or start trying to stump you and throw you off or whatever. It’s not worth bragging about.
But AP is worth having simply because if you can play what you hear, then you’re miles ahead of average musicians – and even some more experienced musicians.
AP makes transcribing music and figuring out what other artists are doing much easier and faster. And again, your musical imagination is easily translated into actual music that people can listen to.
I find that motivation to have AP is a personal thing. We all have our own reasons. Some of mine are:
- I solo better
- I write and compose better
- I arrange music better
- I adapt better in live music situations
- I’m not limited by habit
- I’m able to move beyond technical know how into playing what I feel
Geez, there’s so much more. But really I’m curious why everybody else wants AP? Please comment.