The other day, a tenor sax player told me that, after some 7-8 years studying tenor, she was required to study an instrument in a different key in addition (as a second instrument), so she studied alto sax for a couple years (Eb instead of Bb).
I was very surprised to hear that. I would've thought concentrating on instruments in the same key would be the most beneficial towards developing intuition (like for example being able to play simple phrases by ear) or "become friends with your instrument" so to speak. Obviously, any practical skills related to perfect pitch would be affected, unlike relative pitch.
I think our unconscious mind slowly develops some skill that's related to perfect pitch. For example, I don't have perfect pitch, but sometimes I can sing a song in its original key without having listened to it for a long while and without knowing what key it is in. Whenever I think I'm doing it in its original key, I check and that's the case. Most times I just don't know wether I've chosen the original key.
Would you think playing instruments in different keys would help improve your playing?
There is a experiment: ask anyone (non musician) to sing for you the firts verse of "Hey Jude" (just that minor third). Now compare to the original note.
So, in this sense we all have developped some form of "perfect pitch", because we can produce a certain frecuencie just from our brains.
In the same way, in our lives we developped "perfect time".
An experiment: in a very calm and open state of mind, start a metronome in any tempo. Listen to it without making any mental effort... but see if you hear a song your mind a tune. Probably you will think in a tune that match that metronome beat.
Search the real tune, try to find the tempo to see if you were accurately (sometimes our mental states "bends" this form of perception).
I can tell you that the most probably is that the song you choose match just perfectly the BPM in the metronome.
This is a pretty way to any BPM rate in your bare mind. You can do a collection of this tunes, and use them to produce any BPM.
It's the same principle as perfect pitch/absolut ear: that melodies/notes/rythm stuck so much in your brain, you can use that information.
It's something it's developed, like here, this exercises about the song collection.
Or all those pianist with perfect pitch, just because the were bombarded from childhood with all those notes, witch they learnt to reconice and produce, relating those frecuencies with a color/name.
All mammals are born with the faculty for absolute pitch recognition, and this is actually our default orientation toward sound. Most animals will recognize absolute pitches but not relative pitch relationships (if training an animal, for example).
However, attention to absolute pitch interferes with language development for most languages (Chinese being a notable exception, where it helps), due to the fact that it is extraneous information that distracts from the content of the language sounds.
So in the first 5-8 years of life, when the majority of our language acquisition happens, children are usually training themselves to ignore this ability unless they are also simultaneously studying music. Once trained to ignore it, it is very difficult or impossible to turn it back on.
This is somewhat similar to the difficulty in getting an adult to learn to pronounce sounds in a language that are completely absent in their native tongue (such as learning Arabic sounds for an English speaker, or the difficulty that many foreigners have in pronouncing the "ng" sound in English).
Regarding the original question; I've known people with perfect pitch who played different horns, and it didn't seem to be a problem. If you don't already have perfect pitch, it certainly isn't worth worrying about. Playing multiple wind instruments is pretty common, most saxophonists double on clarinet or flute at least. The saxophone player in my band plays alto (Eb), bass clarinet (Bb), flute (C), and alto flute (G).
Regarding the OP: you could probably apply this same question to the issue of learning to play in multiple positions on the guitar.
glad to hear haha
jazz out that theory sounds really interesting (although I didn't understand the difference between chinesse children vs the rest of the world, I mean, do their language base on absolute pitches or something like that?).
Also, that C can be reach from, lets say, seven differente positions of the major scale ("that scalated quickly"), so, I think the chances to learn the absolute sound-position in your mind is more unlikely than piano.
I mean, in a piano you have in every octave, lying in there, all 12 notes, arranged as it was a pencil box. You always "reach" them in the same place and way (I guess there are positions as well but none such tricky as the guitar ones).
I think its faaaar more likely to think this notes in an absolute way than in guitar.
Guitar is all about relative schematics (blueprints?), where there is not such a hierarchy of notes we find in a the piano. You usually don't care about keys but learning all the positions in an abstract fashion. The you go and aplied then to everykey.
Anyway, I think more advanced guitarrist can start watching the whole picture and, in integrating this relative schematics, be able to really reach a note because they can hear it in all positions and just go for it.
And also, I start wondering just now, maybe if, in your firts aproach to the instrument, you start paying too much atention to notes in an absolute way (no "draw scale patterns"), maybe you get a similar experiencie to piano players.
That was not my case. There was a time when I did'nt know what note I was playing, I just used this scale and chord schemes.
A few years from now I learn to read scores and started to map the notes on the fretboard, and try to be awared of that.
But again, returning... I found easier to fix notes if that collection of "pencils/notes" are there arrange in the same pattern everytime.
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