Singers With Perfect Pitch
I’m sure you’ve heard of pitch perfect. Some of you maybe have it. Some of you would kill to have it. And some of you, like me, thought you had it until you started playing an instrument for the first time. Basically pitch perfect is the ability to know which tone is played just by listening to it. A person with pitch perfect could hear one note played in the same room or even a whole composition and be able to recreate it right there on the spot. Perfect pitch is an awesome talent to have. Some people consider pitch perfect a talent that you’re just born with, something you either have or you don’t. Some scientists say it can come from training and anyone can acquire it if they practice hard enough. There are even apps that came out recently that you can install on your phone and use to exercise. But actually the truth about pitch perfect falls somewhere in the middle of talent and practice. With training, and especially at a young age, a person can acquire perfect pitch. But for someone to easily reproduce notes they heard exactly and especially for more complicated compositions of music you do have to have a special talent. One thing for sure, having pitch perfect makes learning to play music and especially sing much more easier. You can start playing a song the first time you hear it and you’re creative expression can be much easier and sound much more natural. Many well respected musicians, especially virtuosos or genre defining pioneers of their era a lot of times had the ability of pitch perfect. The thing is that in the highly competitive market that is the music industry pitch perfect can give you an edge over other performers. You can have more freedom while performing which always leads to more magical, spontaneous unpredicted moments that only some musicians have mastered. So without further ado in this article I’m going to present to you a few artists, from all genres, that have perfect pitch and some fun stories around this interesting talent.
1. Jimi Hendrix
Jimi Hendrix is considered one of the best, if not the best,s rock guitarist and singers of all time. He was a true pioneer of the electric rock sound and an idol to a whole generation from the hippy era. His music radiates love and freedom and his persona emitted the same. The harmonies and sounds that came out of his guitar are original and unique, you can always tell it’s a Hendrix song in the first five seconds of listening to it. And it’s no wonder he inspired a whole generation to have more peace, love and respect for each other. The one thing that’s not hard to assume is that he had perfect pitch too. There’s a little known story about how he couldn’t afford a tuner the first time he was learning to play the guitar and he would just go to a store and play the empty strings, memorize the sounds and then come home and tune his guitar from what he remembered. Can you imagine having that level of talent? And also can you image how easy it was for him to play the guitar and learn new songs? It’s out of this world. Jimi really was a one of a kind musician and I’m sure his music will inspire us forever. I also wonder how much perfect pitch had to do with his success, but it must have helped.
2. Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson is one of the most iconic singers of our time. He’s also known as the king of Pop. He’s incredible singing talent paired with his outlandish dance moves, clothing and looks were mesmerizing for audiences all around the world. His songs touched on many issues of inequality and social issues and his music moved a lot of people do do good things for the world. His album “Thriller’ is still one of the biggest selling music albums in history. He was known to be able to sing extremely hight notes, what’s called a falsetto in the music world. It is an ability not a lot of singers have. And of course as you would guess he also had pitch perfect. He was known to warm up for hours for recording just one song. He would just sing one note without missing a pitch for hours on end before recording. Talk about persistence – paired with natural talent.
3. Bing Crosby
His one of a kind bass-baritone voice was his trademark and brought him global success. He was actually one the first artists to bring jazz to bigger audiences. His emotional style of singing was very popular and it was one of his trademarks. He sold billions of records, tapes and discs and acted in a number of movies and charted 23 billboard hits. Since his career followed the introduction of new technologies like the microphone for example, a lot of singers that became famous after him adopted the same style of singing as his. He influenced a lot of singers and definitely left his mark on 20th century music. This singer’s pitch perfect was phenomenal. There is a story about him that one time he fell asleep on the train and was snoring in perfect pitch to the sound of the train. Now that’s what you would call a natural talent. It was just there for Bing, he didn’t even have to think about it.
4. Mariah Carey
It’s not hard to guess this singer also had pitch perfect. You can hear it any of her songs. Mariah really has the voice of an angel and amazing vocal abilities. She can actually sing in a range of 5 octaves which is very rare. She can also hit the seventh octave which is even more rare. There are only a few singers in the world that can match her talent.She also has a technique of breathing close to the microphone while singing which is also one of of her signature characteristics. Her mother discovered she had perfect pitch when, even as a child, she could sing any song she heard right away perfectly. Even if talented Mariah Carey has invested a lot of work in honing her technique, style and amazing looks and personality and that in combination with her natural talents made her who she is now: one of the most popular female singers of her time.
5. Ella Fitzgerald
This famous jazz singer is also known as the first lady of song and the queen of jazz. She was known to be very shy and didn’t communicate very much with people. She was always dedicated to her music and some say that music has kept her company. She has given away a big part of her earnings to charities and she also established her own foundation. Her improvisational abilities are unmatched until this day and she has left a body of work behind her that many of famous musicians can only dream about. She won a number of Grammys and has been an active singer for sixty years. She actually wanted to record a song with one of the other singers on this list, Frank Sinatra but sadly it never happened. The two knew and respected each other but never got to record the song. I wonder how that collaboration would have sounded like. One of her many talents was pitch perfect and there was a story that her band would actually practice and tune their instruments to her voice, which is unheard of. That kind of talent is really one of a kind and we will forever be grateful for all of the songs and records she left for us to enjoy and admire.
6. Frank Sinatra
Sinatra is one of the most popular and influential music artists of the 20th century. When he was growing up his parents owned a tavern in Hoboken where little Frank would spend his time, do his homework and occasionally sing a few songs at the piano. He therefore developed an interest in music and especially performance at a very young age. Even if he didn’t have any formal music education, Frank was a natural perfectionist and has worked on improving his musical abilities constantly.He has also developed pitch perfect in this process. Numerous trained musicians that Sinatra has worked with have noticed that he developed a sixth sense for music and was able to detect incorrect notes when working with an orchestra very easily. He even worked briefly as a conductor for a while at Columbia records. Many musicians were afraid to collaborate with him because he was known to be relentless when recording and he would record the songs over and over until they were perfect. Frank Sinatra showed that even without a musical education with enormous amounts of work you can achieve anything and even acquire pitch perfect. He was also known to have extraordinary confidence and he would always be wearing perfectly ironed suits and ties. He was known to be a big gentleman and a womanizer. But most of all he was an amazing musician and a creative genius and his work will be remembered forever.
7. Freddie Mercury
Farokh Bulsara, or as we know him, Freddie Mercury, had a very remarkable stage persona and a vocal range that spanned four octaves. This, and especially his genius level of creativity and songwriting, made him known worldwide and he was even voted best male singer of all times and one of the best entertainers ever. Freddie Mercury and his band Queen left a revered legacy in the world of music with notation that even the seasoned musicians always find challenging and vocals that nobody can sing as well as Freddie. Freddie Mercury was able to switch complete styles of singing and octaves from one second to another. There were even studies done on his voice and theories were made on what made his voice and singing so appealing. He was able to express each word in a song differently and always find a special color or a nuance to express the lyric better. He was also a great pianist and always experimented with different sounds and synthesizers to make the sound of Queen even more unique. He was known to have pitch perfect and he could easily pick on even complicated pieces and start playing them right away. He was also a big perfectionist and would notice the smallest mistakes that musicians working with him might make.
So there you have it. A list of phenomenal iconic singers from different genres that have all had pitch perfect and some rarely heard stories about them and their talent. These people marked an era and left a big influence in the music world. More importantly, they left the foundations for other musicians to build on in the present. You will hear a lot of modern musician say that listening to an Ella Fitzgerald or a Queen song is what made them get into music in the first place. So their spirit and their creative genius are still here with us today influencing the new artists and expressing themselves in other forms and through other people. There are many new artists that didn’t get mentioned, like Taylor Swift or Shakira, that also have pitch perfect but it’s just that these legends we talked about had stories that were much deep reaching and extraordinary. We will leave the new stars for a future article. Hopefully all these examples are going to motivate you to keep discovering more or even listen to a song from one of the artists mentioned if you haven’t listened to them before. I have no doubt in my mind you will enjoy. Even better, one of these stories might motivate you to start playing an instrument. So until then, keep practicing your pitch perfect. Who knows? You might be the next Jimi Hendrix or Mariah Carey just waiting to be discovered.
written by: sebastianff
Other Perfect Pitch Articles
- Singing with perfect pitch: the top 10 best singers with an awesome voice
- Musicians with Perfect Pitch how rare is it
- 27 Club Musicians Forever Remembered
- Rob Halford: Judas Priest Singer (2010 Interviews)