Many people say perfect pitch can only be gained at a very young age or that people are just magically born with the ability. There have been several people to gain perfect pitch later in life and there's some great free perfect pitch software to help you train. Also see my relative pitch ear training software collection.
It can take weeks to show improvement. You should not be in the mindset of spending 3 hours with full enthusiasm trying to get perfect pitch. It's better to just passively practice guessing notes throughout the day and checking yourself. Practicing perfect pitch can be very frustrating for musicians because we're used to looking at the musical movement in interval length to derive feeling and emotion from a song. If you use that as a reference, you'll continue to find no absolute. If you're going to practice for awhile, do it at night. You'll have a greater chance of thinking about it in your sleep. If you really want absolute pitch, there's no rush. Whenever you get it, you get it.
Java based free perfect pitch software that allows you to select a midi instrument and guess a huge range of tones. One thing I wish they had was a "Tell me Button" instead of having to guess continually being wrong, but then again they probably would say go to an easier level =P.
* This software requires a java soundbank to play the midis.
Pitch coach is a free absolute pitch program that has tons of features and modes you can practice in. One annoying thing is that it cannot be resized.
Herken is weird... You need to download alut.dll, an nvidia sound plugin or have it already installed for this to work. You also need OpenAL a 3d audio API which is like 700k. The program is installed along with the source code in program files with some non - working "real instruments". The actual program is only 360k... It contains a short song per pitch in a folder called words which is actually useful.
EarTest Accepts Midi Input so I can guess the note with my keyboard. I really like that feature. It's a pretty nice program, but it looks really really ugly on XP and can messup the fonts until restart.
It doesn't seem like this would ever help any, but it seems popular. Probably because the software name is absolute pitch, another word for perfect pitch.
Only lets you guess on 3 notes? That's not even worthy of linking.
David Lucas Burge has a really really gay voice and will go on telling anecdotes about irrelevant stuff. He spends more time hyping people than actually giving techniques or relevant information. Stay away from this disgusting product.
This is some kind of joke? From the intro it sure sounded like it. Basically the guy plays sine waves for x amount of minutes and you're supposed to just sit, relax their and memorize the notes. I guess the theory is that if you take away the timbre of the instrument and play pure tones it's easier to memorize them. It's not, and you can generate sine waves using a shareware called goldwave and get the frequencies number in hz of any piano pitch. Both are directed like infomercials and spend more time hyping.
update Graham English contacted me saying he didn't like my review and wanted me to change it. I told him to change his website to reflect my views instead. Not being smart enough to appreciate the irony, he called me an idiot. Absolute Pitch Power Sucks, absolutely. If you want to read more read my Absolute Pitch Power Review. The nutbag actually says his course increases your IQ!!!
Many people have perfect pitch and don't even know it. If I play a tone, many people can play it back by whistling or singing without even having to readjust the tone. They know where _that exact tone is_ when they shape their vocal cords or shape their lips to whistle with muscle memory and they dont even have to think about it.
If I play a tone, you can play it back in your head or sing it back to me. That means you remembered the tone. You have perfect pitch. If you can remember a note, there's no reason why it cannot be put into permanent memory. Is there some magical limit where we forget a particular tone? Maybe 5 minutes? Maybe it disappears when we play a certain amount of other notes? There's no such thing as special music memory. Our brain processes music and sounds just like anything else and thus, without any doubt, perfect pitch is just a matter of practice and memorization.
Many people sing their favorite songs in perfect pitch without even realizing it while the music is not playing because of the insane amount of times they've heard and sang along to it on their ipod. Their voice just jumps to the correct note automatically just as their vocal cords or lips switch to the correct position without thinking when repeating a tone.
Maybe not in the UK or US but in other parts of the world it's very common. There are many pitch based languages used today. For example in Vietnam if you're off pitch in your pronunciation of a particular word people will interpret what you said as a completely different word! Foreigners who have their pitch constantly checked and validated just get better at it. Foreigners kids in a pitch based language pickup the language as perfectly as any native children, proving it's not genetic.
Practicing just involves constantly guessing and checking. It's that simple even if other people will try to sell it to you otherwise. I don't recommend seeing notes as having some innate feeling or color as the idiot lucas burge suggested because you'll get yourself confused at the effect of changing intervals (making the note 'feel happy' or 'mean') and the instrument timbre (making a particular note seem buzzy or mellow) in testing. It's better to concentrate more on where the tone is on your voice range or your particular instrument and how it sounds at that tone. It doesn't matter if you memorize just one note with perfect pitch whether its concert F or A 440hz. You can then find where the other notes are with relative pitch. The more you do it, the more it becomes automatic and don't have to think about it, the more you will develop your perfect pitch. If you flick glass (a cup) it makes a C# tone. If you honk your horn or use a microwave they generate tones too. Grab the first pitch of your favorite TV show. Just find ways to constantly test and practice perfect pitch by guessing before you hear the tone then see how far off you were. You will get better. I've been saying really good results and my success rate is about 90% on pitch coach.
Kids exposed a lot to different tones will be able to decipher the absolute position of notes much faster. It's like they say kids pickup things a whole lot faster as babies because everything is new to them! A study found that in the game of chess, beginners have to think much more than the grandmaster even though the grand master flaunted seeing 20 moves ahead. When things are new, there's an uncomfortablenesses and difficulty to disciplined study. For babies everything is new: sounds, words, images, colors, feelings, smells... Their brain is in constant learning mode and they're also constantly analyzing everything to try and understand things.
As we grow older our brain grows in neural concentration for repetitive stimuli, meaning we use less of our brain to process very common tasks like language and sight or even playing piano and chess if they're a common hobby. After learning something complicated people tend to be more comfortable practicing things they're very good at, like the grandmaster with chess or a professional pianist working on difficult songs, rather than uncomfortably learning new things or instruments. Many people I've met do not like that feeling of comfortability or starting something new they WILL be bad at to begin with. The best soccer players I've played with are people who were constantly screwing up in practice, because they were trying new things rather than repeating what they were already good at. To learn perfect pitch we have to go back to active learning mode and have the mental discipline to really keep with it, try different methods and think about each question.
It's like teaching yourself calculus or learning a foreign language on your own. Most people have the enthusiasm and dedication required to get better, but unlike most studies, it's very difficult to get constant validation and musicians have to learn to ignore interval movement. It's like learning english again but now with each letter of the alphabet pronounced differently. Few people have the mental discipline to really keep to their studies and experience results. Progress is slow and people don't like the uncomfortable feeling called learning. It's like chess, a beginner can look at a position and see nothing even though they analyze it with all that they've got for hours. A grandmaster can spend a few minutes and find mate in 5 moves. You have to work a lot more when you're a beginner but after a lot of practice, things become more clear and you have to think much less to find the correct answer. There's no fast way to turn a beginner into a master. It's too difficult to teach a person what they think they already know. Musicians are around notes every day what more practice could you have than that? Musicians can play all their lives and never get good at identifying intervals that's just a matter of practice. Since practicing perfect pitch is just really focusing on individual notes it's easy for them to say, "this is stupid I do this everyday" even though in normal practice they're almost completely focused on the movement of the intervals rather than a notes absolute location.
Again I don't recommend you try and associate feelings to a particular note because you will find that in many cases the interval jump from the previous note is the one that defines emotion as we're used to noticing it. Colors such as orange, yellow, red, green, blue if directly associated with any particular note are again subject to problems because of timbre and octaves. For example a note may sound buzzy or shimmery on your piano, but when a clarinet plays it it can sound very rich and full. Or maybe an E sounds very dissonant at low octaves but sounds very pure at higher ones. Finding an absolute is very difficult.
Tonal Memory is not the same thing as perfect pitch. It's just temporarily remembering a tone to use it as reference. Tonal memory is usually what messes musicians up most with perfect pitch, because like it or not the previous note is remembered and automatically compared with the new note. The interval difference can make a previously mellow note sound like a sharp, mean, uncomfortable note.
I have several notes I have a very high accuracy at identifying. These are my personal connections and might be of no use to you and I'll go through them in no particular order. I used to play tuba in middle school and freshman year of high school (I quit when they forced us to do marching instead of just concert band). We always warmed up by playing F. I have that F engraved in memory. I also have the pitch of the tuning fork at A440 pretty well. Bb was a common note on the tuba and the starting note of a song I learned, the nocturne sonata Op 9 by chopin. It's the only note I get almost instantly without a doubt correct. I can say I have perfect pitch for that note and every time I play it I associate the song. G sounds very pure at all octaves with no dissonance. I can't assign an adjective easily to most tones but I feel G is definitely "sweet" and the adjective usually doesn't waver changing timbre or octaves, for me. It's about the lowest note I can sing. G# / Ab seems very thin in density. Seems like a very weak note. B seems a little 'whinny' but I'm usually wrong when I jump to the B just because of that adjective, especially in higher octaves. I have a hard time identifying it. C, C# and D are closest to the tone of my voice so I think of them as very normal. Whenever I hear one of the those tones I know it's in that range. C# is the tone you get when you flick glass (I think Eb is silverware). E and Eb sound pretty thin, soft, or sweet. Since I have F pretty much in memory I sometimes just hear it as a flat F and know where it is. F# is anything but twangy haha. I usually think of it as not quite F but not quite G since those notes are more pronounced.
If one method doesn't work for you it's no problem. Switch different methods and see which one you feel you get progress from.
If you have any pitch associations or pitch software you enjoy leave a comment.