A video I saw said the C note above middle C (octave) is called Treble 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 treble notes E thru F are called treble notes and same for bass notes. Is that the correct music terminology? And any notes above the treble staff are called high C, high D and below the bass staff is low C, low D, etc.? Something isn't right because there are 2 D notes above middle C. They wouldn't both be treble D.

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    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
    Jul 20, 2019 at 19:12
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    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. 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... 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
    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. Jul 21, 2019 at 14:13

1 Answer 1


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
    Jul 22, 2019 at 17:25
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    @Dekkadeci, is that an electronic versus acoustic thing? (Either way it reinforces the main point.) 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
    Jul 24, 2019 at 3:41

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