Pitch Paths?

Comments and questions about AP Avenue.
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Pitch Paths?

Postby Dana » Thu Dec 28, 2006 9:59 am

I stopped using APB for a few weeks now and I started back up again as a new player.

I did some research on the net, and I found this site called pitch paths.com. Apparently this guy is selling a booklet with a CD that supposedly teaches absolute pitch-- he uses terms like pitch chroma etc.

I e-mailed him to ask him what method he uses that is different from David Burge's, so we'll see what the deal is.

I went on David Burge's site and the pitch paths.com is 'reviewed' (DB's 'reviews' are not too subtle put downs combined with awkward pumping up of his product), and it says that it is basically a CD with 12 tunes in all the different keys, and you are supposed to listen to it, and this will give you AP. This sounds very poor.

Any experiences with this pitch paths.com or thoughts anyone?

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Postby aruffo » Sat Dec 30, 2006 12:49 am

I've taken a look at the system, and I think there's some merit to it. Levitin's oft-cited 1994 study showed that people remember familiar melodies at their absolute pitch value (plus or minus a semitone); Pitch Paths takes advantage of that observation and uses familiar melodies to teach absolute pitches. I'm not sure that Pitch Paths is a complete method, because of its reliance on melodies, but I am noticing the possibility that melody association can be helpful for forming a pitch concept which can then be further refined by APB-type exercises. The APB "melody word" is intended to fulfill this kind of function, but Pitch Paths focuses on it more intensely.

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Postby steveAZ » Thu Jan 03, 2008 8:30 pm

I recently bought Pitch Paths and have been using it for the last month....

I have to say that I'm pretty amazed with the results when used in conjunction with ETC......one definitely compliments the other....not only have I been able to recognize all the white keys from middle C to an octave higher, but all the black keys, and a mixture of both.....he splits the examinations in different tracks/categories so you're not overwhelmed

the idea is that the melody forms a template in your mind and eventually leads to only hearing the pitch chroma (I have actually experienced this with a few notes already......after only a month)

I think anyone who is interested in AP should purchase both programs!!! Used together, they will really kick start your ability to identify pitches

Hope this helps,


ps. thanks for the info.....if it was for this thread I wouldn't have even heard of Pitch Paths

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Postby bryandaste » Fri Feb 29, 2008 12:43 am

Agreed...Pitch Paths somehow makes APB easier! That can't be bad :)

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Postby Mahler's cool » Wed Jun 03, 2009 1:40 am

Hey I have Pitch Paths too, and I think its a good way to start. It definitely wont give you AP though, at least not in a musical context. But the guy said something interesting in the booklet that comes with it. He mentioned that you have to think vertically, not horizontally. I had never really thought about it, but yeah, whenever I try to guess tones or try to visualize the notes of a piece I'm hearing, I always see it horizontally, like a piano. But that is more like relative thinking.

So I think that when you truly understand musical notes as a vertical spectrum, that's when have the correct mindset to be thinking about Chroma instead of the relation between notes. If you think about it, notes really do go up and down. To me, only time goes left to right. Why do we all make the connection that further to the right is further up the scale? Isn't it just the perception we automatically have after seeing or playing a piano?

P.S. The pitch paths guy also admitted through email that the program is only part of the training, and that he's working on developing the later stages too.

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Postby Sleeper » Mon Jun 22, 2009 8:00 pm

I think the principle of the idea has merit. However, there are a lot of details in the execution that I'm not sure are optimized.

As I mentioned elsewhere on this forum, I got to 100% identification of white notes with this program, but when I was working on the black notes, I got nowhere. It didn't work at all. I switched to a (free) program offered on the front page of this site, and began making progress again.

So, there are a bunch of questions:

-What are the best melodies? What makes a melody a good one?

-Is it best to have a single melody? Or is it better to have the song in harmony?

-Should you use one melody per note, or is having several available a plus?

-The "pitch paths" song files play the name of the note, the note, then the melody, then repeat like 6 times per note. I think it might be better to just play the melody. If you want to play it even only twice, leave that up to the user. Maybe there's some merit in the longer process at first, especially when you haven't even yet memorized which melody goes with what note name, but after awhile you start to zone out listening to that stuff for 12 minutes. At that point I doubt it's doing anything for you at all.

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Postby Sleeper » Thu Aug 20, 2009 8:05 am

I think I might have read here that making mistakes is an important part of learning. You can probably use that for you when playing that "widget" game. This is how I recommend playing it.

After you've made a little progress and can name a few notes that you're working on, when you start a new game, don't listen to the melodies. Just name notes. If you get one wrong, don't guess until you get it right. Just give up and hit the "give answer" button. Hit the repeat button, play the melody, hit the repeat button, play the melody, etc. Then answer correctly.

I think this strengthens the association between the note and the melody. Pitch Paths does something similar, but you're supposed to listen to the notes and melodies over and over no matter what. I think that doing that after you've made a mistake is especially helpful -- you're paying more attention (because, by virtue of the mistake, you know you need to pay more attention). And it's corrective. If, for some reason, the wrong melody triggers when you hear a note, this might be able to help fix that.

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Postby aruffo » Thu Aug 20, 2009 9:47 am

That reminds me.. and I forget whether I've already mentioned it elsewhere.. I was reading about voice identification, and found it reliably demonstrated that failure to identify a voice has nothing to do with not actually recognizing it. Rather, it is a failure to make the appropriate (non-auditory) associations with its identity.

If a person fails to recognize a voice, no amount of further listening to that voice will cause recognition. Providing an association, however (occupation, initials of their name, favorite activity, etc) will.
Last edited by aruffo on Sat Sep 05, 2009 12:10 am, edited 1 time in total.

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'Free' program?

Postby abelian » Thu Sep 03, 2009 5:16 am

Hi Sleeper,

What free program were you talking about in your previous post?


So using pitch paths and ETC together helps? Using trigger melodies doesn't impact the eventual acquisition of AP through introducing an unwanted barrier?

In my conversations with people who have AP, they mention that they associate notes with 'feelings'. Some associate it with colour, some associate it with things like 'solid', 'bright', 'moody', which of course mean different things to different people. I suppose this is an extension of what Chris means when he talks about voice recognition, only this time the associations are with sensations, and that people with AP have become tuned in to these extra sensations.

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Postby Sleeper » Thu Sep 03, 2009 9:48 pm

The free program is on the front page; here is the link.

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AP and pitch paths

Postby abelian » Sat Sep 05, 2009 9:42 am


Thanks for the program.

Just wanted to ask: where have you gotten with APA and Pitch Paths? Is it worth starting both in combination? Do you know when the Pitch Paths guy is going to release the second part of his program?

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