When I read the file of June 16 on “the mysteries of the absolute ear” (read below), I couldn’t help but cringe a little. I will never understand why we lend to this particular faculty almost magical powers that only the lucky ones would possess. Not having an absolute ear in no way prevents the reproduction of a melody by ear, the perception of quarter tones or finding the exercise of dictation of notes easy. Many musicians have a relative ear and are just as capable of these kinds of exploits. The relative ear is the precise perception of the different intervals and also allows to play, to sing really just, although the process is a little different. Unlike people with the absolute ear, those who have the relative ear must start from a reference, but once this reference is in place, there is no problem in determining whether the following sounds are right or wrong . Besides, starting from a reference can even prove to be advantageous: I know some “absolutists” who find it difficult to play baroque music or to transpose, because they cannot get used to the change of reference . As a “relativist”, I have no problem with that! I really regret that the relative ear is so unrecognized, when it can be at least as useful to musicians as the absolute ear.
Fleur Le Roux