What is perfect and relative pitch?
Perfect pitch is the ability to identify pitch in isolation, without a reference point. If I play middle C on the piano (without playing any other music before), someone with perfect pitch would be able to identify the note name just by hearing it, seemingly out of thin air! Famous classical composers like Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, and Handel supposedly possessed this ability.
While perfect pitch is said to occur in only one and ten thousand people, relative pitch--the ability to recognize one note in relation to another--is common if an individual has received musicianship training. If I play middle C on the piano to a musician with strong relative pitch, they can sing a note above or below the given pitch by thinking in relation to the reference note.
Most people can’t identify what pitch a sound is just by hearing it. The question is why? We can identify colors in isolation. I can see that a red object is red without having to see red in comparison to another color. So why can’t most people identify pitch without a reference point?
Research studies agree that in order to develop perfect pitch, an individual must be exposed to musical notes and their names very early in life. But just how early and whether this training must be combined with a genetic predisposition for perfect pitch is debated.
One study holds that the potential for developing perfect pitch is universal at birth and can be realized by giving the infant the opportunity to associate pitches with verbal labels during the first year of life.
Another study claims that an individual must begin to associate pitch with verbal labels in a critical window defined as before the age of four.
Yet another study claims that perfect pitch is a combination between nature and nurture, where the individual must have a genetic predisposition to develop the ability as well as receive musical training before the age of six.
While the window of time for early musical training is debated, it is agreed that early exposure to pitch exercises makes developing either perfect pitch or strong relative pitch accessible to nearly every child.
How can Piando help your child on their musical learning journey and beyond?
Piando helps children develop strong pitch perception in a fun, gamified environment. While most piano apps require advanced dexterity that only an older child could play, Piando is created for young children to start to associate pitch with verbal labels (note names & colors). The earlier we pair pitch with meaning, the higher chance your child will have to develop strong pitch and listening skills.
With a short amount of daily, gamified music time, children can develop pitch skills that will open their ears for a lifetime. A heightened acuity to process pitch means that your child will be a better listener, which helps in all aspects of learning and development.
Start learning pitch skills in the most fun, accessible way -- download Piando from the app store today!