A video I saw said the C note and octave above middle C is called Treble C, and the C below middle C is called Bass C. He didn't mention other notes. Would the same be true referring to the D note on the treble staff as treble D?

I assume ALL the notes in the treble staff (E through F) are called treble notes and same for bass notes. And any notes above the treble staff are called high C, high D and below the bass staff is low C, low D, etc.? Is that the correct music terminology?

Something isn't right because there are two D notes above middle C. They wouldn't both be treble D.

  • 4
    Care to share the video? The concept is flawed - there are two E notes on the treble clef- I assume that's where the naming comes from, and two A notes on the bass clef. So the idea isn't too safe, and probably erroneous. Other notes are doubled too, and would the D above middle c be called middle D - in fact, on piano, there's a lot of logic to that being the case!
    – Tim
    Commented Jul 20, 2019 at 19:12
  • 4
    Whoever made that video I think made things confusing for you. I’ve never hear the terms “treble C” or “treble D” or “bass F” or anything like that. I think the video maker just invented that and it’s not a very good naming system. I suggest a solid textbook on music theory instead of questionable YouTube videos. Commented Jul 20, 2019 at 19:49
  • FWIW, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C_(musical_note) mentions "Treble C", and music.stackexchange.com/a/69568/18896 mentions "Bass C" - whatever this video is, it doesn't seem to be the only place to use these terms... Commented Jul 21, 2019 at 5:39
  • I always thought the C above Middle C was "High C" and the C below Middle C was "Low C".
    – Dekkadeci
    Commented Jul 21, 2019 at 6:10
  • Faber piano books use treble C and bass C as well. I find it useful because C's then function as landmark notes to make finding other notes easier. Commented Jul 21, 2019 at 14:13

2 Answers 2


The only way to really be clear about what pitch is intended is to use a system that indicates the octave like Helmholtz or Scientific Pitch Notation.

'Names' can be unclear. 'Middle C' has a clear meaning, it's C4. But names like 'high C' aren't clear. For a soprano a high C is C6, but for a tenor it is C5.

This wiki chart shows a combination of octave naming.

  • I've read on this website that some keyboard systems use C3 for Middle C instead of C4.
    – Dekkadeci
    Commented Jul 22, 2019 at 17:25
  • 2
    @Dekkadeci, is that an electronic versus acoustic thing? (Either way it reinforces the main point.) Commented Jul 22, 2019 at 17:31
  • The note name + octave number system isn't perfect either. Some systems start at -1, some - at 0, and some start at 1... That's particularly noticeable with certain DAW's (like Renoise) and VST's. For the saxophone "Middle C" is a term used to refer to what is in effect a "median" C. 3 different C's can be played within the instrument's formal range, the 1st one is called "Low C", the 2nd one is called "Middle C" and the 3rd one - "High C". This is probably similar to what you tried to explain referring to human vocal ranges.
    – Pyromonk
    Commented Jul 24, 2019 at 3:41

There is an established naming convention which uses the words - Bass, Treble, High and Low to identify specific notes:

enter image description here

I am trying to figure this out myself, but it looks like the names originate with this Landmark System for learning the musical staff - https://standrewspianotuition.co.uk/natural-piano/the-landmark-system

It looks like it only refers to the particular landmark notes used.




  • I dismissed the 1st video as his own ideas, not a well accepted concept. And not particularly helpful anyway. Never come across those ideas in decades of playing. And don't even work convincingly on piano, let alone any other instrument. Not good.
    – Tim
    Commented Mar 19 at 13:28
  • The Piano with Sarah video unfortunately calls the “bass C” and “treble C” in your image “low C” and “high C” respectively. The Dolmetsch dictionary (perhaps a more authoritative source) uses the terms “pedal”, “bass”, “middle”, “treble”, and “top”. But it also gives each of these an entire octave of notes, so that that “treble G” in your image is called “middle G” — it’s all very confusing. Commented Mar 19 at 17:24

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