Perfect (absolute) pitch test: Can you sing a C note out of the blue without a reference?

Posted on 6 Nov 2008


Try this:

– Think of a “Middle C” note in your head.
– Then play it on a virtual keyboard here and see if you were right.

Hint: If you don’t know what a C is, without checking, try singing the first note from the Beatles song Hey Jude, which happens to be a C note. Hey = C, Jude = A. When you sing the word Jude in tune, your vocal cords are vibrating 220 times per second.


Set an alarm and try it once per hour and keep track of your results. Are you flat? Sharp? All over the place? Can you find some notes and not others?

I’m interested to hear your experiences, so leave a comment.

Elvis sings it in a different key.  His version, if you can find it, (deleted by Youtube) still starts with Middle C, but then he jumps down to a different key. Weird.

Xeno’s “Hey Jude” Method for Acquired Absolute Pitch

Day 1: After just one day of testing myself at random, here are my results: In about 10 tries today,  I was correct about 4 times.  I was sharp a few times, flat a few times. Each time I hit it dead on, I was shocked. The last time I tried today, I hit it and there had been a pause of 2 hours with no musical reference in the room, no humming in my head, etc. I really just pulled it out of the blue. Amazing. I’m in a fantastic mood about this discovery.

I could NOT memorize one note alone. I tried that for days once during a car trip and I drove my girlfriend at the time completely nuts. But it seems that two notes, especially from a song you know well, along with random quizzes throughout the day may be the key!

When you are wrong, compare the notes you sang wrong to the right ones. Pay attention to how they feel different.

There is, for me, now a growing subtle but powerful feeling I get when I hit the pitches and I just know for certain that I am singing Hey “C” — Jude “A”, — Don’t “A” — Make “C” — it “D” — bad “G” … and so on.

Tools: I recorded the first two notes of Hey Jude (using the virtual keyboard above) in the memo pad on my cell phone. This way I can test myself at any time during the day.

I’d like to build a little hand held device that quizzes me on notes and records my progress. That would make an awesome game for kids. It should show on a graph the notes you actually hit each time you tried and the amount of time since the last attempt.

Hey, if I can learn this, does that mean I AM one of those 1 in 10,000 people like Jason Mraz who genetically just has absolute pitch? Or does it just mean I cheated the system? The answer would be important because if it is not genetic, my method would work for many people. If it is genetic, this path I’m on would only benefit some people.

Posted in: Music