I’ve hit a snag in my absolute pitch recall from memory. Now sometimes when I attempt to sing middle C out of the blue with no external reference, I sing a B note instead. Once in a while I also sing a C#. Interestingly, I’m always more or less on one of the three notes. I don’t sing in between them. That’s hopeful!
But how do I learn to recognizing the difference between those notes?
What am I trying to do really? I am trying to have memory recall of three different vibrations per second: 246.942, 261.626, and 277.183.
Current method: random quizzes of those three notes during the day to see if I can learn to recognize the difference. Here is a keyboard to use in hearing the difference.
When comparing the notes side by side, it is easy for most people to tell which is higher and which is lower. But what about pitch recall?
- In Western music, we an adjusted “tempered” scale. Because of that, the difference is slightly less from a B note to a C note (14.684) than a C note to a C# (15.557).
- one equal tempered semitone is equal to 100 cents, and so an octave is 1200 cents.
- Each auditory nerve cell is a little oscillator, tuned to respond to vibrations in a narrow frequency band corresponding to the nerve’s position on the Basilar Membrane.
- Basilar Membrane contains 30,000 hair/nerve cells along 35 mm length
- Each octave is an equal shift of about 3.5 mm
- Each pure tone is localized to a Critical Band of about 1.2 mm.
- Each pure tone excites about 1300 hair cells covering a 15% frequency range (< minor third).
- brain can resolve position and width of pure tone distribution to 1/20 of full width = 0.06 mm = frequency ratio 1.01 or about 29 cents.
- The ‘just noticeable’ difference [between two pitches] is often defined as 5 cents – NIST
- James Taylor says using a capo on a guitar can make it sharp by much as 6 to 8 cents
- There are roughly 20 little tiny steps between a B and C note where you could hear some difference.
- The human ear can hear sounds between 15 and 20,000 vibrations per second.
- Human voices can make sounds in the range of 100 Hz to 5,000 Hz. (The record for low is held by Tim Storms who can sing lower than humans can hear at 8 Hz.)
- An 88 key piano runs from A0 at 27.5 vibrations per second, up to C8 at 4,186.01 vibrations per second.
Here is a chart of musical note frequencies, including the correct frequency for every key on an 88 key piano:
|Frequencies of the equal temperament|
|C / B#||16.352||32.703||65.406||130.813||261.626||523.251||1046.502||2093.005||4186.009||8372.018||16744.036|
|C# / Db||17.324||34.648||69.296||138.591||277.183||554.365||1108.731||2217.461||4434.922||8869.844||17739.688|
|D# / Eb||19.445||38.891||77.782||155.563||311.127||622.254||1244.508||2489.016||4978.032||9956.063||19912.127|
|E / Fb||20.602||41.203||82.407||164.814||329.628||659.255||1318.510||2637.020||5274.041||10548.082||–|
|F / E#||21.827||43.654||87.307||174.614||349.228||698.456||1396.913||2793.826||5587.652||11175.303||–|
|F# / Gb||23.125||46.249||92.499||184.997||369.994||739.989||1479.978||2959.955||5919.911||11839.822||–|
|G# / Ab||25.957||51.913||103.826||207.652||415.305||830.609||1661.219||3322.438||6644.875||13289.750||–|
|A# / Bb||29.135||58.270||116.541||233.082||466.164||932.328||1864.655||3729.310||7458.620||14917.240||–|
|B / Cb||30.868||61.735||123.471||246.942||493.883||987.767||1975.533||3951.066||7902.133||15804.266||–|