Contents of the PITCH.DOC file
Perfect Pitch v1.2 (c) 1987 W.P. Kraslawsky
Music Ear Training All Rights Reserved
This program is designed to provide drills leading to the development of
perfect pitch recognition. "Perfect pitch recognition" is defined in
this program as the ability to hear any pitch and identify it by name
(A, A-flat, F-sharp, etc.), especially without using a previously
defined reference pitch. A related ability, "perfect pitch recall," is
the ability to hum or sing a pitch on request, without reference to a
previously defined reference pitch. Recognition is a prerequisite to
recall. Only recognition is addressed by this program.
The user is immediately cautioned not to expect results without effort.
I have had sufficient success to want to share it with others. However,
much patience and practice is going to be necessary before consistent
results are achieved.
This program is based on concepts presented in the handbook, "Perfect
Pitch: Color-Hearing for Expanded Musical Awareness" by David L.
Burge. If you use this program and would like to pursue the topic in
greater detail, then look for books by D.L. Burge. Any bookstore such
as B.Dalton or Waldenbooks can assist you via their Books-in-Print
catalog. A course using workbooks and tapes by D.L. Burge is advertised
in various music magazines such as "Keyboard."
The concept of color-hearing can be understood by considering an
analogy. We are all familiar with the difference between black-and-
white (B/W) vs. color TV, movies, and photographs. The essence of the
analogy is that low-to-high pitches in music are similar to low-to-high
greyness in a B/W movie or photo.
Although we can obtain great pleasure from a B/W movie, there is much
information and richness which is only available using color vision.
Similarly, we can obtain great pleasure from music heard only in terms
of combinations of low and high pitches, but full color-hearing adds
detail and richness. Burge, an accomplished musician, composer and
instructor, expresses his perfect-pitch abilities in terms of this
Examination of a B/W photo will show many variations of grey, depending
on the color of the original real-life object. Given a chart with side-
by-side comparisons of grey vs. original color, there is a chance for
identifying the original color of a grey patch in a B/W photo. However,
this is not the thrust of the training method. Instead, we observe that
each color has an intrinsic quality. You can recognize something as
being "red", without having to compare it to something "green." Your
recognition of the color red is based on experience, not on comparisons.
In particular, you do not think of red as being more grey or less grey
than green. Dark reds and bright reds share the quality we recognize as
redness, and that quality is different from the common quality of
greenness shared by dark greens and bright greens.
Similarly, each musical pitch has an intrinsic quality which can be
recognized with experience. Although pitches differ from each other in
terms of highness or lowness on the frequency scale, this is not
relevant to its intrinsic quality. An F-sharp (F#) has a different
quality from a C. And, all F#'s on a piano keyboard share the same
quality, which is different from the quality shared by all C's. Unlike
our childhood education in visual colors, however, we have not received
childhood training in these auditory qualities.
The task of pitch-color recognition is made more difficult by the lack
of an appropriate vocabulary. It is as though nobody had ever invented
the words "green" and "yellow", but we were required to describe the
difference between a lemon and a lime. Words such as warm, soft, and
mellow abound in the description of music, but are not consistently
used. In spite of a lack of consistent descriptive terms available to
the rest of us, these terms are specifically implied in the study of
perfect pitch. However, it is not necessary to invent names for the
intrinsic qualities of the pitches. You will realize that the names of
some audible qualities are "A-sharp" and "B-flat," just as the names of
some intrinsic visual qualities are "red" and "green."
This point can be made more clear by reconsidering the visual spectrum.
Any graphic artist will tell you that red and orange are warm colors,
and that green and blue are cool colors. You may even appreciate and
agree with these designations. Suppose, however, that we were taught
as children to identify the colors of a rainbow as "Warmest," "Warmer,"
"Warm," "Cool," "Cooler," and "Coolest." We might then find graphic
artists saying "This degree of warmness is an R," and "That degree of
coolness is a V," and, "The visual scale is R-O-Y-G-B-V." The graphic
artist would then produce a composition containing "O-flats" (Orange-
Red) and "Y-sharps" (Yellow-Green).
Similarly, you find music artists with perfect pitch saying "This degree
of mellowness is an E-flat," and, "That degree of vibrancy is an F-
sharp." The musical compositions then include splashes of "E-flats" and
"F-sharps." Your objective is to learn to recognize the qualities of
the various pitches. This learning process specifically requires
associating the perceived quality with the names of the musical notes:
"A," "A-sharp," and so on. The result will be the ability to perceive
musical compositions in a new light. The audible difference should be
as dramatic as the visual difference between a B/W movie and color
I follow the method of D.L. Burge, wherein he compares two pitches he
considers to be very different: E-flat (Eb) and F-sharp (F#). If all
of the Eb's and F#'s on a piano keyboard are played at random, one at a
time, you will begin to recognize a difference. The Eb's tend to be
softer and more mellow, while the F#'s tend to be more vibrant or
"twangy." If I tried to express this difference as I perceive it, I
might do so by singing all Eb's as OOOOO's and all F#'s as EEEEE's.
The method of training is therefore to study these two pitches until the
differences are mastered, and then to add one pitch at a time. After
only a short period of time (an hour or two), it is reasonable to expect
100% recognition of Eb's vs. F#'s across several octaves. After a
significant number of consecutive correct guesses, you are ready to add
another pitch. For example, you might add the next pitch after 100
consecutive correct identifications.
Three pitches are much more difficult to keep straight than two pitches.
You can expect to take much longer to learn them. It will take hours
before you will achieve 100 consecutive correct identifications on the
three-pitch drill. After that, four-pitch recognition will be a major
hurdle. Each of the first four pitches chosen by D.L. Burge are
separated from its neighbors by three semitones (three piano keys
including white and black). At this point, the test becomes
symmetrical. All hints based on relative distance between pitches are
lost. You are completely dependent on recognizing the unique qualities
of each pitch.
The full sequence of twelve pitches to be learned is described in
Burge's handbook: Eb, F#, A, C, C#, E, G, Bb, D, F, Ab, and B. After
that, Burge's method requires naming the pitches within a chord. If you
reach this point, you will require a multi-voice instrument to proceed.
This is beyond the capabilities of an IBM PC and is therefore not
implemented in this program.
The current version of this program provides study and testing drills
which play pitches for you over four octaves. You may set your own
pace within a session by increasing ">" or decreasing "<" the number of
pitches at any time. The number of guesses may be reinitialized at any
time by pressing "Z" to Zero the counters. No attempt is made to record
or interpret your scores.
The twelve pitches are shown horizontally and vertically on the full
screen. You select one of the pitches by entering one of the
characters, "1234567890-=" as shown in the menu. During the
recognition test, a tally is maintained of your guesses vs. the correct
pitches. A perfect score is a perfect diagonal tally. This is more
easily seen than explained, and will become immediately obvious as soon
as you begin. The purpose of the tally is to show you which pitches are
being confused with each other. You can then use the information to
tailor your study time.
The program provides two basic operational modes. The primary mode is
the drill, where you test your ability to recognize notes. The
secondary mode allows you to study and compare notes without testing.
These are accessed via the "T" and "S" menu items. Under the "T" mode,
you are presented with a random series of pitches to identify. Under
the "S" mode, you may selectively listen to different octaves of one
pitch by pressing the appropriate "1234567890-=" selection. Or, you
may repeatedly press "S" to obtain a series of random pitches whose
names are shown immediately. You may rapidly alternate "T" and "S" to
drill yourself without keeping score, and you may skip pitches by
repeatedly selecting "T" until you hear one you are sure of. There is
never a penalty for skipping or for showing a pitch without guessing.
The program is designed to provide continuous Testing or Showing. It
never takes more that a single key stroke to show the current pitch, to
show a new pitch, to answer the current pitch and simultaneously receive
a new pitch, and to obtain and hear the result of a range change (adding
or removing a pitch from the drill). In order to give yourself (and the
PC speaker) a break, you may pause the program by entering a "P." The
program will resume with the same pitch with another "P," or will play a
new pitch on a different key stroke.
The program also keeps score for you. The percent of correct identifi-
cations, the count of correct vs. total guesses, and the count of
consecutive correct guesses are continuously displayed. The selection
keys, "1234567890-=," were chosen so you can place a labeled strip of
paper along the top row of your keyboard. That way, you can select your
answers from the relabeled keys without memorizing the keyboard-pitch
relationship. All of these features are designed to minimize the
computer interface. You may concentrate on development of perfect pitch
recognition without interference from cumbersome command structures.
Your objective is to instantly recognize a pitch by its intrinsic
quality and to instantly express that recognition by naming it as "A,"
"A-sharp," "B-flat," and so on. Although you are required to type 1, 2,
3, etc., you should always think Eb, F#, A, etc. Placing a strip of
paper with the pitch names along the top row is highly recommended. In
time, you should be able to recognize pitches perfectly.
Although my understanding of color-hearing is based on the handbook by
David L. Burge, this program and documentation are my original
expressions of that idea. As such, they are protected under copyright
This program is not Public Domain. It is Shareware. Some shareware
authors ask for a donation if you like their program. Such donations
are often only suggested amounts, where the user decides how much it is
worth. Another type of shareware only provides free trials. If you
don't like it or don't want to pay for it, then you just don't use it.
The advantage of this type of shareware program is that you get to try
it before you buy it.
This program falls in the latter category. I believe that many people
don't think they can develop perfect pitch. They would not spend money
on such a far-fetched idea, even if they would really like to develop
this skill. So here is the deal. This program is for sale, just like
1-2-3 and dBASE III are for sale. But, you get to try this program for
free. If it doesn't work for you, just delete it. If it works for you,
(and I believe it will), then decide whether it worth the money. If it
is too expensive, then delete it.
That's where the honesty factor comes in. If you use the program to
develop real perfect pitch skills, and don't pay me, then you are
stealing my work. That would be no different from using a copy of 1-2-
3 and not paying for it. Or sneaking into a movie without paying. To
make it easy on you, I have set up some pretty tough standards (music-
wise). If the program doesn't help you beat those standards, then I
don't expect any money from you. On the other hand, if you do meet the
standards, then you got some very heavy use out of my program. If you
meet the standards and want to continue with future use, you will find
the following fee schedule very easy to swallow. My program is small
and limited, so I don't charge much for its use:
A. Continued use after 100 consecutive $ 1.00
correct id's on two-pitch drill.
B. Continued use after 200 consecutive $ 9.00
correct id's on four-pitch drill. ----------
Total $ 10.00
Payment is strictly on the honor system. You are expected to send me $1
after meeting standard A, BEFORE you continue to work towards standard
B. When you reach standard B the final $9 fee is due, BEFORE continuing
to higher levels of development. Working on standard B before mailing
the first $1 fee is specifically a violation of my right to compensation
for my work.
There are no hidden files, tricks, traps, or other enforcement methods.
The program will pause briefly with a congratulatory reminder message
when you hit these standards. You and your conscience are on your own
2025 Sarazen Place
Reston, VA 22091
Please share this program by giving copies to friends and by uploading
it to bulletin boards. Even if you do not find this program useful,
there may be others who would. You play an important part in the
distribution chain of User-Supported software. Thank you in advance for
Please observe these minor restrictions on distribution:
(1) It must be included in a library containing other Public
Domain and User-Supported Shareware programs.
(2) It must be listed as "Perfect Pitch v1.2 Shareware Ear Training"
as far as possible in the space allowed by the library catalog.
(3) It must be a copy of PITCH12.ARC exactly as you originally
received it. Please do not modify, rename, or recreate it.
(4) Bulletin board downloading fees must be limited to standard
charges common to all Public Domain and Sharware programs.
(5) Disk distribution copying fees must be limited to standard
charges common to all Public Domain and Shareware disks.
(6) For-profit companies which meet the above restrictions must
obtain my written consent prior to advertising/distribution.
VII. Update History
v1.1 - 9/27/87
Documentation has been rewritten.
"S" function added to switch to Show mode.
"T" function added to switch to Test mode.
"P" function added to play/pause speaker. Replaces Space.
"1234567890-=" under "S" mode added to study pitches.
Unused keyboard entries are now ignored.
Menu and other screen items are highlighted and improved.
v1.2 - 9/27/87
Improved opening instruction screen.