When I was growing up, I had a worship pastor who had this seemingly magical ability. He could name any note by ear without reference. He could tell you what key any song was in just by listening to it once. He could also, apparently, look at sheet music for the first time and hear it in his head. He had perfect pitch.
“You can’t develop perfect pitch, you have to be born with it.” That is what I was told. It is the general music consensus. You either have to be born with perfect pitch, or develop it as a child.
The thing is: I believe you can develop perfect pitch as an adult. I’ve been working though an ear training course by David Lucas Burge, and am currently about half way through. In the course, Burge explains that each note has something he calls “pitch color”.
A note’s color is almost like its own personality. Some notes stick out, as if they have some kind of edge. Others, feel rounder or more open. It is a kind of quality that is difficult to explain on a blog post.
The reason I am convinced of this isn’t because I am getting paid by Burge (because I am not). But I can hear it for myself. I can hear these differences, and am learning to identify them. Granted, I am a long way from naming any note on any instrument In fact, I’m not much good outside of my own keyboard (shown above). But I have noticed my ear opening up and getting better.
In the future, I plan on writing more on the topic. But for now, let me know what you think, and share your experiences if you have any.