Why less than 1% of us have Absolute Pitch?

To answer this question, let’s look an even more extreme example: Less than a tenth of a percent of the world’s adult population can do a free handstand for 10 seconds or juggle 3 balls for 30 seconds. (These numbers are not scientifically based (they are simple assumptions from the author), the sole purpose is to give the „Why“ a reason to think about skills in relation to the skill penetration.)

The fun factor
Fun Activities: Handstand and juggling

In school you were taught calisthenics (Gymnastic exercises designed to develop muscular tone and promote physical well-being), where you probably did a handstand against a wall. Or someone else spotted (physically assist somebody in safely completing a skill) you as you did a handstand. Some of you then tried a free handstand––with more or less success. Some liked the exercises and even tried it outside gym lessons. For them it was just fun they tried it again and again, and got better. In the next gym lesson they could walk 5 meters on their hands.

When you are good at something, you like it and you will do it over and over, and therefore get better at it.

The risk factor

As an adult it gets more difficult to do this kind of exercise for a few reasons:

But let’s assume you are rich and have a class reunion and 30 days after that you are giving a big birthday party for your 40th. At the class reunion you see your gym teacher, and ask if anybody can still do a free handstand. (We would assume none of your schoolmates says yes.) Yet, if you wager a million dollars to your schoolmates to be able to do a free handstand for 5 seconds at your upcoming birthday party, some will take the risk and start training. And, no surprise, a few will manage to reach that goal.

Incentive and the ability to to attain a goal

The above example demonstrates that incentives change the picture. They even disprove our introductory statistic that less than 1% of the population can do a free handstand (if your class had less than 30 students, and only one reached the goal, this would be approximately 3 %).

Now let’s speculate on why it is that less than one tenth of a percent of humanity can do a handstand:

Now what can we say about the percentage of people who are able to do a handstand?

These are all good reasons for why more people cannot do handstands. The last reason sits very deep: you can hurt yourself.

To sum up, the most important reason is that no imperative exists for why you should spend valuable time to improve your ability to do a handstand. Standing upside down is even an unnatural position as blood vessels operate best when we stand upright. (Nature did not find reason for the head to be at the bottom.) Yet if there is enough incentive, nature is ready for a new trick.

What does this mean in regard to absolute pitch?

So, back to the initial question: Why do less than 1% of us have Absolute Pitch?

For the same reason as people not doing handstands: lack of interest. During childhood your brain did not find a good enough reason to build pitch memory. Relative pitch, which is more important than absolute pitch (see: Is absolute pitch useless?) was developed instead. However, the development of relative pitch occurred only as you listened to music, and only to the level you trained to recognize relative pitch.

Even though relative pitch is more useful than absolute pitch, there remain some benefits in acquiring absolute pitch. The question becomes, Is it worth the effort? I would say “usually not.“ As a musician, you normally play with other people, and accompanying instruments. Therefore the chance of going off pitch is minimal. You will orient yourself relative to your neighbor, which is much, much more important than sticking to an isolated, if accurate, sense of pitch.

Yet for relative pitch, ear training is important, too. Because, as musicians, we should learn to listen carefully, one way to improve relative pitch is to work on absolute pitch. This will give you a feeling of how far you are off relative to concert pitch.

If you are not one of those who developed absolute pitch in early childhood, then it is more difficult to learn the recognition process as an adult. But absolute pitch ear training will definitely sharpen your listening skills.

Primary reasons for difficulties in acquiring absolute pitch:

Listening Ear Trainer can address these reasons for your hesitation in developing your ear. Our product guides you by giving feedback; it diminishes the fear of failure (since you can observe your progress); and it re-familiarizes you with musical terms.

To read more about our methods––the Singing Funnel method, the Octave Anchor Pitches method, the Interval Overtone method and our theory on how we remember sounds––click on this link: How to recognize pitch.

Pitch Feedback Curve

Are you having a tough time as an aspiring musician to achieve that absolute pitch? Are you at the verge of giving up? Don’t worry, you are not alone and not all the popular musicians that you know have that natural talent. It did not come easy for them either, most of the popular musicians had to struggle their way to glory. They too have failed their absolute pitch test miserably but the difference is that they did not give up, they pushed themselves hard with absolute pitch ear training and the good news is that they managed to succeed. It simply means that you too can succeed if you put in focused efforts on absolute pitch training.
What is important here is to approach absolute pitch ear training with the right disposition. Firstly, achieving perfect pitch or absolute pitch is not an impossible feat. Secondly, you cannot expect to achieve success overnight. If you approach absolute pitch ear training with these two factors in mind, you are likely to be more successful than ever because you not get discouraged too soon before you could accomplish your goal.
The ones that are successful today are people that have trained themselves using the right tools. Make use of all the help that you could get and take advantage of our absolute pitch software. With the right disposition and the right tools at hand, your progress will be much faster.

Only a meager percentage of people are naturals, people that can achieve and recognize absolute pitch with no or minimal training. However, for others, it is not so, there are various reasons why most people face this limitation. If you think, it is so just because it is music and so it is complicated, it is not so. The same will apply to other skills too. For example, if you have not been exposed to normal linguistic skills such as speaking with other human beings from your childhood, then you will have tough time training yourself to master even the basic linguistic abilities and talents. The same is applicable to absolute pitch too; if only the brain has been trained at the early ages, you would have mastered it easily. Absolute pitch would have come to you as natural as your speaking skills that you have today. The good news however is that with appropriate training and tools you could achieve your goals on achieving absolute pitch even as an adult. Go ahead and download the absolute pitch software



Listening Ear Trainer bets on software for progress control and for musical ear training on active singing. For other ear training products see:

Want to learn to hear triads and seventh chords, something not taught by Listening Ear Trainer. Visit www.listening-music-teacher.com

Want to learn to sing with feedback on pitch and rhythm? Visit www.listening-singing-teacher.com


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