Monday, December 08, 2008

12/8/08 The Note

This evening, I was emptying the dishwasher when something metal tapped against something glass and rang a musical note.

Gabriel stopped in his tracks, paused, then asked, "What was that?" "Oh I don't know, I just clinked something and it made a note. Pretty neat, huh?" "Yeah," he said. "It was C." What? I asked him. He repeated with complete confidence, looking directly at me, certain as he knows his own name, "It was a C note."

I explained to him what "perfect pitch" is, and that very few people have it, and most of those that do had to work at it. My mother finally reached that level, for instance, but if I recall correctly, it didn't come easy. But he assured me he knows the notes, because he plays the piano so much, he insisted. Still, I know from my brief piano experience as a kid how easy it is to think you know a note, but don't. Even now, songs I listen to several times a day, I can't sing the first note.

Just to show him what I meant, I went into the piano room and covered the keys with the blanket we use as a dust protector, and told him to listen from the kitchen. He was completely out of sight.

"What's this note?" I played a key. "C." He had no doubt. OK, OK, seems obvious I'd start with middle C. "What's this one?" "G." Right again. "How about this?" I played a key in a different octave. "A. I'm telling you, Mom, I know these."

I was getting a little spooked by now. I tried C-sharp. "F-sharp!" he said. "Not quite!" I answered. I played F-sharp. "C-sharp!" No, but, interesting mistake. One more time with a sharp note. This time he got it.

Not perfect, but really close. I have little doubt now that the spoon ringing against the glass really was a C.


1 comment:

lberry said...

Perfect Pitch! Actually I suspected Gabriel had it, since he was gobbling up complicated chords with ease. You are born with perfect pitch, and it is a HUGE, enviable advantage for a musician!
Congratulations from Bonne Maman