Do I need Perfect Pitch to be a Piano Tuner? March 6, 2020 12:07
As the student coordinator here at the Piano Technician Academy, I get asked this question a lot. Its an honest enough question but I have found that most people don't really know what perfect pitch means...
When somebody asks me if they need perfect pitch to tune a piano, I always ask "what does perfect pitch mean to you?". The reason is most people think perfect pitch means the person can tell if a note is flat or sharp "perfectly" meaning they can tell the difference between a cent or two.
I can tell you this, as a 3rd generation piano tuner and somebody who has taught piano tuning for years, I have yet to meet anybody who can tell the difference between a couple cents.
For those of you who dont know, piano tuners use what we call "cents" to measure pitch. A half step has 100 cents and a whole step has 200. When tuning a piano that was just tuned a year ago, the tuner is usually only required to adjust the pitch 1-4 cents.
I have tested this theory with people who claim to have perfect pitch and every one has failed. BUT! Thats not what perfect pitch means anyways! Perfect pitch just means a person is able to sing or identify a note with no reference at all. For example, somebody with perfect pitch would be able to hear a note and tell you what note it is. They may guess if it is sharp or flat (and some may be able to tell depending on how flat/sharp it is) but that is not the definition of perfect pitch. A person with perfect pitch would also be able to sing or produce a specific note with no reference. An example would be if I asked you to sing a C and you did it without hearing a C first. Again, it may be a little flat or sharp, but its a C none the less. This is the definition of Perfect Pitch.
Anyways, I cover it in this video so take a look and if you have any questions or comment, please feel free to shoot them my way at Michael@PianoTechnicianAcademy.com
Student Coordinator/ CPT