When I was in college, the choir director used to begin every rehearsal with “Sing me an A!”. The 100 person choir would muddle around, with often hilariously off key results. Over the year, we’d get better and better, usually because we’d tune in to the few people in the choir who we KNEW had perfect pitch, the ability to name a music note (and then, hopefully, produce it) without the aid of another note to give them a clue.
And usually, if we all tuned in to the people with perfect pitch, we turned out ok. But sometimes…sometimes even THEN we didn’t. Then the people with perfect pitch would look pretty embarrassed. After all, perfect pitch is supposed to be, well, PERFECT!
But is it really?
Hedger et al. “Absolute Pitch May Not Be So Absolute” Psychological Science, 2013.