I certainly don’t possess perfect pitch, but I can fairly frequently recognise a given note (e.g. I’ll listen to a piece of music and know that the opening chord is an E or whatever) and although I can’t play the piano, I can recreate a simple melody by recreating what “sounds right”.
So clearly I’m not tone deaf, and yet – anyone who heard me try to sing would probably think I am. I just cannot sing. I can hear in my head the tone I should be hitting, but my vocal cords just don’t do it. If I really concentrate and have several attempts, I can just about hit a given note, but as for singing along to a tune, forget it. This does frustrate me, as I am really envious of people who can effortlessly sing and not frighten nearby animals. I can whistle in tune, but that is less satisfying.
So, taken to extremes, are there people who can identify any given pitch perfectly and yet are utterly unable to reproduce them with their voice? And is it possible for people like me who are reasonably musically literate and yet totally tuneless when it comes to singing, to learn to sing?