C (musical note)

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C or Do is the first note of the fixed-Do solfège. Its enharmonic is B.

Middle C is designated C4 in scientific pitch notation because of the note's position as the fourth C key on a standard 88-key piano keyboard. While other note-octave systems (including those used by some manufacturers of digital music keyboards) may refer to "Middle C" with a different designation, the C4 designation is the most commonly recognized in auditory science and in musical studies it is frequently used in place of the Helmholtz designation c'.

While the expression "Middle C" is generally clear across instruments and clefs, some musicians tend to use the term to refer to the C note in the middle of their specific instrument's range. For example, C4 may be called "Low C" by someone playing a Western concert flute (which has a higher and narrower playing range than a piano), while C5 (523.251 Hz) would be "Middle C". This technically inaccurate practice has led some pedagogues to encourage standardizing on C4 as the definitive "Middle C" in instructional materials across all instruments.[1]

Within vocal music the term Soprano C,[citation needed] sometimes called High C, is the C two octaves above Middle C. It is so named because it is considered the defining note of the soprano voice type. It is also called C6 in scientific pitch notation (1046.502 Hz). In Helmholtz notation, it is c'''.

The term Tenor C is sometimes used in vocal music[citation needed] to refer to C5 as it is the highest required note in the standard Tenor repertoire. The term tenor C can also refer to an organ builder's term for small C or C3 (130.813 Hz), the note one octave below Middle C. In stoplists it usually means that a rank is not full compass, omitting the bottom octave.[2]

For the frequency of each note on a standard piano, see piano key frequencies.


Designation by octave

Graphic presentation

See also


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