Is perfect pitch needed for an organist?
This is the question I hear asked a lot.
What is perfect pitch, by the way?
They say one has perfect pitch
when one can say
which note is being played exactly.
You can play in any octave with any instrument -
this person would tell you right away.
There's no question that this skill
is fun and helpful to have.
But it can be a blessing and a curse:
not every organ is tuned like a piano.
Some might sound half-step or more higher,
some - half-step or more lower.
An organist with perfect pitch
would hear a completely different key, right?
It's quite disturbing,
unless you play this instrument yourself -
the strange feeling disappears
and you adjust your hearing right away.
What is more important than perfect pitch
is the skill to tell the meaning of the notes -
the keys, the cadences, the modulations, or the sequences.
That's far more useful
than perfect pitch to any musician
because you can tell not only
what you are hearing but also
why these notes are there.
Nonetheless, I know quite a few of musicians
who brag about having perfect pitch
but are clueless about
how the piece is put together.
And frankly there isn't any useful way
of explaining to them
what they're missing either.
I guess if you were a gold fish
and you would be put in a round aquarium,
your entire world would be round, right?
Ausra's Harmony Exercise:
Chromatic Sequence in D Minor: i-V64-i6
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Don't have an organ at home?
Download paper manuals and pedals, print them out, cut the white spaces, tape the sheets together and you'll be ready to practice anywhere where is a desk and floor. Make sure you have a higher chair.