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Thread: Did Michael have Perfect Pitch?

   
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    Default Did Michael have Perfect Pitch?

    Hi everyone.

    Michael's precision with his voice was incredible and unparalleled. He seemed to be able to sing anything, exactly on point. I was wondering if anyone knew if he had perfect pitch, or he just naturally practiced from doing it since he was so young?


    ~Dan~






    Dan

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    Default Re: Did Michael have Perfect Pitch?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan View Post
    Hi everyone.

    Michael's precision with his voice was incredible and unparalleled. He seemed to be able to sing anything, exactly on point. I was wondering if anyone knew if he had perfect pitch, or he just naturally practiced from doing it since he was so young?


    ~Dan~
    He couldn't sing everything in perfect pitch. From memory I can tell that he had at least problems with two songs, "Keep the Faith" and a Motown song which didn't make it on any album back then. I read about this somewhere long time ago, if I can find it I'll post it here.
    Last edited by Fuzball; 10-05-2020 at 09:44 PM.

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    Default Re: Did Michael have Perfect Pitch?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fuzball View Post
    He couldn't sing everything in perfect pitch. From memory I can tell that he had at least problems with two songs, "Keep the Faith" and a Motown song which didn't make it on any album back then. I read about this somewhere long time ago, if I can find it I'll post it here.
    Keep the faith has nothing to do with perfect pitch. The key was just too high for him which caused his voice to break in some parts. If he sung keep the faith during the Thriller Era he would have been able to hit those notes effortlessly.
    I don’t know that other Motown song you’re talking about.

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    Default Re: Did Michael have Perfect Pitch?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan View Post
    Hi everyone.

    Michael's precision with his voice was incredible and unparalleled. He seemed to be able to sing anything, exactly on point. I was wondering if anyone knew if he had perfect pitch, or he just naturally practiced from doing it since he was so young?


    ~Dan~
    Actually, it was a combination of his having a good pitch (in his genes) and the fact that he was practicing his voice pitch (precision) since his early years.

    His long-time personal vocal coach Seth Riggs praised his pitch, and he also noted how important was for Michael Jackson to never stop training his voice as a complementary way for achieving a perfect pitch (they both spent countless hours where Seth Riggs was teaching him how to achieve a perfect pitch).

    Also, as Teddy Riley put it, the voice is a muscle, and Michael Jackson knowing that he kept training his voice all the time for achieving a perfect pitch (precision) for his upcoming studio albums and also for his live performances.

    His long-time engineer Bruce Swedien described (in his own book) his pitch as flawless.

    Will.i.am (who was recording with him in 2006-2009) described his pitch as perfect.

    American songwriter Glen Ballard (who worked with Michael Jackson on certain songs) described his pitch as expressive and great.

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    Dan

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    Default Re: Did Michael have Perfect Pitch?

    Quote Originally Posted by mj_frenzy View Post
    Actually, it was a combination of his having a good pitch (in his genes) and the fact that he was practicing his voice pitch (precision) since his early years.

    His long-time personal vocal coach Seth Riggs praised his pitch, and he also noted how important was for Michael Jackson to never stop training his voice as a complementary way for achieving a perfect pitch (they both spent countless hours where Seth Riggs was teaching him how to achieve a perfect pitch).

    Also, as Teddy Riley put it, the voice is a muscle, and Michael Jackson knowing that he kept training his voice all the time for achieving a perfect pitch (precision) for his upcoming studio albums and also for his live performances.
    I don't think you understand what perfect pitch is.

    ''Absolute pitch (AP), often called perfect pitch, is a rare ability of a person to identify or re-create a given musical note without the benefit of a reference tone.
    Generally, absolute pitch implies some or all of the following abilities, achieved without a reference tone:

    Identify by name individual pitches (e.g. F♯, A, G, C) played on various instruments.
    Name the key of a given piece of tonal music.
    Identify and name all the tones of a given chord or other tonal mass.
    Accurately sing a named pitch.
    Name the pitches of common everyday sounds such as car horns and alarms.'' (Wikipedia)


    You can't train perfect pitch....it's a god given talent. And perfect pitch doesn't mean that you can sing perfectly on pitch...it means that you can recognise a note (in a very short amount of time) without a reference tone.

    Perfect pitch is a pretty rare thing. There are a few artists (even nowadays) who have it though. For example Charlie Puth:



    Michael might have had it, but given the fact that he didn't really work with musical notes....he probably didn't know he did.
    Last edited by dethorro; 11-05-2020 at 10:26 AM.

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    Default Re: Did Michael have Perfect Pitch?

    Quote Originally Posted by dethorro View Post
    I don't think you understand what perfect pitch is.

    ''Absolute pitch (AP), often called perfect pitch, is a rare ability of a person to identify or re-create a given musical note without the benefit of a reference tone.
    Generally, absolute pitch implies some or all of the following abilities, achieved without a reference tone:

    Identify by name individual pitches (e.g. F♯, A, G, C) played on various instruments.
    Name the key of a given piece of tonal music.
    Identify and name all the tones of a given chord or other tonal mass.
    Accurately sing a named pitch.
    Name the pitches of common everyday sounds such as car horns and alarms.'' (Wikipedia)


    You can't train perfect pitch....it's a god given talent. And perfect pitch doesn't mean that you can sing perfectly on pitch...it means that you can recognise a note (in a very short amount of time) without a reference tone.

    Perfect pitch is a pretty rare thing. There are a few artists (even nowadays) who have it though. For example Charlie Puth:



    Michael might have had it, but given the fact that he didn't really work with musical notes....he probably didn't know he did.
    Great post. What we can extrapolate is that Michael most certainly possessed Relative pitch. It's hard to say if he had absolute pitch given that he didn't know music theory and wouldn't be able to pick out individual notes. However an interesting story told by one of the engineers of HIStory, goes that they brought in a session guitarist and Michael sung much too soon note for note, chord for chord to the guitar player until they had the entire arrangement.
    Last edited by Themidwestcowboy; 11-05-2020 at 02:54 PM.

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    Default Re: Did Michael have Perfect Pitch?

    Quote Originally Posted by mj_frenzy View Post
    Actually, it was a combination of his having a good pitch (in his genes) and the fact that he was practicing his voice pitch (precision) since his early years.

    His long-time personal vocal coach Seth Riggs praised his pitch, and he also noted how important was for Michael Jackson to never stop training his voice as a complementary way for achieving a perfect pitch (they both spent countless hours where Seth Riggs was teaching him how to achieve a perfect pitch).

    Also, as Teddy Riley put it, the voice is a muscle, and Michael Jackson knowing that he kept training his voice all the time for achieving a perfect pitch (precision) for his upcoming studio albums and also for his live performances.

    His long-time engineer Bruce Swedien described (in his own book) his pitch as flawless.

    Will.i.am (who was recording with him in 2006-2009) described his pitch as perfect.

    American songwriter Glen Ballard (who worked with Michael Jackson on certain songs) described his pitch as expressive and great.
    I don't think you understand what perfect pitch is. perfect pitch is an innate born ability and that is not something that you can train. However what I think you're trying to get at is "Relative Pitch"

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    Default Re: Did Michael have Perfect Pitch?

    Quote Originally Posted by Themidwestcowboy View Post
    Keep the faith has nothing to do with perfect pitch. The key was just too high for him which caused his voice to break in some parts. If he sung keep the faith during the Thriller Era he would have been able to hit those notes effortlessly.
    I don’t know that other Motown song you’re talking about.
    Oohhhh....damn that wouldve been something serious if it was on thriller!

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    Default Re: Did Michael have Perfect Pitch?

    Quote Originally Posted by Themidwestcowboy View Post
    Great post. What we can extrapolate is that Michael most certainly possessed Relative pitch. It's hard to say if he had absolute pitch given that he didn't know music theory and wouldn't be able to pick out individual notes. However an interesting story told by one of the engineers of HIStory, goes that they brought in a session guitarist and Michael sung much too soon note for note, chord for chord to the guitar player until they had the entire arrangement.
    Michael definitely knew music theory. At least a little. Michael Bearden said that he knew all the keys of all his songs, knew all his scales and everything. There's no way that he started at the age of 5 and grew up in the music industry, listening to music, writing music, singing music, composing music, arranging music, collaborating with other musicians, recording music, producing music, mixing music and performing music without picking up at least a little music theory.






    Dan

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    Default Re: Did Michael have Perfect Pitch?

    Quote Originally Posted by Themidwestcowboy View Post
    Keep the faith has nothing to do with perfect pitch. The key was just too high for him which caused his voice to break in some parts. If he sung keep the faith during the Thriller Era he would have been able to hit those notes effortlessly.
    I don’t know that other Motown song you’re talking about.

    I think this was the key in which he was supposed to sing it.
    That's a very high key....imagine him singing the last part in this key.


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    Default Re: Did Michael have Perfect Pitch?

    And then there’s always the difference between being able to reach that high and being able to reach that high while making it sound the way you want it.
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    Default Re: Did Michael have Perfect Pitch?

    Quote Originally Posted by ScreenOrigami View Post
    And then there’s always the difference between being able to reach that high and being able to reach that high while making it sound the way you want it.
    Exactly! It's also a lot harder to hit such high notes for such a long time (as Michael does at the end of Keep The Faith).

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    Default Re: Did Michael have Perfect Pitch?

    Quote Originally Posted by wonderouzmj View Post
    Oohhhh....damn that wouldve been something serious if it was on thriller!
    You should listen to the small clip that was shared here on this thread that was originally recorded during one of Brad Sundbergs seminars. It sounds so much like thriller era mike
    Quote Originally Posted by Dan View Post
    Michael definitely knew music theory. At least a little. Michael Bearden said that he knew all the keys of all his songs, knew all his scales and everything. There's no way that he started at the age of 5 and grew up in the music industry, listening to music, writing music, singing music, composing music, arranging music, collaborating with other musicians, recording music, producing music, mixing music and performing music without picking up at least a little music theory.
    I completely agree with you, but i was talking more in the sense of being able to correctly tell what key a sound or note is in without having an accompanying instrument. Not even Prince had perfect pitch (he said so himself). I'd also like to stress that actually having perfect pitch does not mean that you can sing ON pitch perfectly. People often conflate perfect pitch with the ability to be able to sing perfectly in tune which is far from the truth.
    Quote Originally Posted by dethorro View Post
    I think this was the key in which he was supposed to sing it.
    That's a very high key....imagine him singing the last part in this key.

    Yeah, that piece of audio is incredible. He sounds like Thriller Era in that key. Unfortunately he was not able to reach those notes after the key change. I still want to hear it though.
    Last edited by Themidwestcowboy; 12-05-2020 at 06:38 PM.

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    Default Re: Did Michael have Perfect Pitch?

    Quote Originally Posted by Themidwestcowboy View Post
    I'd also like to stress that actually having perfect pitch does not mean that you can sing ON pitch perfectly. People often conflate perfect pitch with the ability to be able to sing perfectly in tune which is far from the truth.
    Unpopular opinion in the era of autotune, but I strongly believe this should be a prerequisite for any professional singer.
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    Default Re: Did Michael have Perfect Pitch?

    Quote Originally Posted by Themidwestcowboy View Post
    Yeah, that piece of audio is incredible. He sounds like Thriller Era in that key. Unfortunately he was not able to reach those notes after the key change. I still want to hear it though.
    I thought it was Thriller Mike for a second! That’s amazing

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