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Relative pitch

The term relative pitch may denote: Unlike absolute pitch (sometimes inaccurately called "perfect pitch"), relative pitch is quite common among musicians, especially jazz musicians who are used to "playing by ear". Also unlike perfect pitch relative pitch is common among non-musicians and there's no doubt that it's possible to develop through practice.

Some music teachers teach their students relative pitch by having them associate each possible interval with the first two notes of a popular song, see: ear training.Here are some examples:

Another good way to develop relative pitch is to simply try to play melodies by ear on a musical instrument. As you figure out more and more melodies by trial and error, you will eventually start to recognize some of the more common intervals. Then all you need to do is start associating these intervals with their names. North Indian musicians learn relative pitch by singing intervals over a drone, which is also described by W.A. Mathieau using western just intonation terminology.

Intervals are more difficult to hear the larger they are or the more octaves they span. Compound intervals are significantly more difficult than simple intervals.

The recognition of intervals allows musicians with very good relative pitch to easily identify complex chord types (even if they couldn't tell in which key a piece of music was in) and to be able to quickly and accurately tune an instrument with respect to a given reference tone (even if the tone is not in concert pitch).