Perfect Pitch vs Relative Pitch: How to Train Your Ear

A large part of becoming a better singer means becoming a better listener first. Some are brought into this world with perfect pitch, but not all of us can be so lucky. Don’t fret if you don’t naturally have such an ability, because there are ways you can train your ear in order to develop better pitch. Here’s what you need to know when it comes to perfect pitch vs relative pitch and being able to sing more in-tune.

Perfect Pitch vs Relative Pitch

Just to clear things up a bit, “perfect pitch” means that you are able to identify a single pitch. For instance, if you hear a C sharp, you know that it is a C sharp. Relative pitch still means you can identify the C sharp, but you are able to do so based off of the note’s relationship with others.

How You Benefit from Perfect Pitch

With the ability to identify notes as you hear them, you can oftentimes sing more in-tune because you are able to hear the quality of your own pitch. Of course, you still have to rehearse just as others do, but having perfect pitch is beneficial. Perfect pitch is an innate ability that can’t necessarily be taught, which is why relative pitch is so important.

Learning to Have Better Relative Pitch

Many agree that relative pitch is a “logical” way of interpreting pitch, whereas perfect pitch is the more “artistic” way, as each uses different parts of the brain. In order to train your left brain and ears with relative pitch, you have to have a basic understanding of music theory. This understanding will go a long way as you are able to relate pitches to one another, whether that be by the type of chord or interval you are hearing.

If you know which key you are in, you will be able to use your relative pitch to define specific notes. However, if you aren’t sure which key you are in, you might not be able to do so. This is where individuals who have perfect pitch and relative pitch are really unstoppable, because they are able to identify chords, intervals, and pitches without any reference point.

Training and Practice

One of the best ways to start training yourself to have better relative pitch is to practice interval training. You can do this by listening to a piece of music and trying to transcribe the notes. Allow yourself to know which key the piece is in, so that you can focus solely on the relationship between the notes. As you practice, you will become familiar with common intervals and even be able to hear and transcribe different chords.

Putting Theory into Practice

When you’re at rehearsal, remember your interval training and use this to your advantage. You no longer will have to be searching for notes when singing, because you will have a better understanding of the melodic line.

If you’re looking to put your hard work to the test, Lionheart Theatre Company is the place to do it. Contact us today to learn about upcoming auditions and productions.

 

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