Skip to Content Skip to Navigation

Taller Dog: Music Tips Blog


Posted on September 1, 2010

Baseball! In the field, Little League, 1972Training your ear to achieve perfect pitch-

It's true some people are born with perfect pitch. There are different schools of thought on whether you can truly develop perfect pitch if you weren't born with it. However, I like to remember that there are different schools of thought on everything in life... so I choose one and follow through! The main thing is - don't think perfect pitch is out of your reach. There are curves in sound. You can catch those curves and hang on. Think about a train whistle or a police siren as they move. When someone throws a baseball, it doesn't travel in a straight line. It's got a curve to it. It starts in one hand and moves through the air and ends abruptly cracking the bat, or being caught in a glove. Pretend we're watching a movie. Imagine the journey of that ball through the air in slow motion, complete with the sound amplified. As the ball is in the hand, it's still - silent. Then it leaves the hand , and the sound of the ball moving through the air is a low swish, getting higher as the ball picks up speed. There are several tones within one sound. One is the wind moving around the ball. Or is the ball moving through the wind? Either way, one is changing with the speed of the ball. And one is the abrupt stop of the sound, with the crack of the bat against it. (Or the thump as it hits someone's glove). Are you with me so far? You may think this is a stretch of the imagination. Yes, and it's good! Stretching your imagination in this way is a good habit to get into. Stop right now and listen to the sounds around you. For me, at this moment, I can hear the ceiling fan. That in itself has more than one tone. I can hear the mechanical part turning, and the air being pushed from the blades, and a little squeak. There is the ticking of a clock. A car is driving by. My attention returns to the ceiling fan. I begin to hear a predominant hum. It's a tone. It's a note! If I keep listening long enough I could go over to the piano (or any instrument) and find the closest note. I'll try a B flat. Many things with motors are in B flat. When you get into the habit of hearing everything around you as something musical, you are on your way. Try this for a week or two. I'll be back to write more on the process of developing your ear.Santa Fe train rollin' between San Bernardino and Barstow, CA





photo by Craig Bass.