Relative Pitch 

Although you can’t hear the sound waves you produce accurately from inside your head, you can and should develop your ability to mentally “hear” music or notes, using your imagination. For example, think of the tune of your favorite song. Can you hear how it goes?

All of us have an auditory memory that stores sounds in the same way our memory stores images and smells. Some composers can even compose music inside their head, with no instruments at all. This auditory memory is essential for reading music, as it allows us to associate a note on a staff with a particular sound.

So what is relative pitch?

When it comes to actually singing sounds from memory, things become much more difficult. Without perfect pitch it is almost impossible to sing a middle C without having just heard a middle C played on a piano or other instrument. Few people can hit a note out of nowhere. However, what you can do is listen to the note and use it as a base to hit notes above and beneath it. This is called “relative pitch.” With the aid of an instrument to provide the base note, most people can easily hit the rest of the notes they wish to sing.

Relative pitch is a guessing game

Relative pitch is guessing at a musical note and usually getting close to the exact pitch. Unlike perfect pitch, relative pitch can be developed through intense training. Most singers develop relative pitch from singing scales or even a certain song over and over. Singers often begin on the correct note just by knowing the way it feels. Also unlike perfect pitch, relative pitch is common among non-musicians and can be developed through ear training. Relative pitch has not been known to develop into perfect picth. Perfect pitch may sound cool but it's not necessary for good singing.

A great way to train your relative pitch is to use relative pitch training software for example the Perfect Your Pitch Trainer Pro software included as part of Singorama's Ultimate Guide to Professional Singing

Related articles:
singing pitch and tone, tone deafness, perfect pitch, matching pitch, learn to sing at home  

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