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67 votes
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A (440 Hz) and A (880 Hz) are completely different sounds to me. Does this mean I'm tone deaf?

Note: For the physics and neurophysiology covered in this answer I am going to be oversimplifying for brevity. They are not the "same" but they have the same pitch class. Notes that sound similar are ...
syntonicC's user avatar
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44 votes
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Does an accidental apply to all octaves?

Wikipedia has it right. An accidental that is written in, as shown in the example above, only applies to the note in that octave until the end of the measure. You may be confusing it with the sharps ...
Dom's user avatar
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31 votes

How do you refer to a note that is more than one octave above or below middle C?

This is an issue of what we call octave designation. There is actually an international standard here: called International Pitch Notation (IPN), it labels Middle C as C4. An octave above Middle C is ...
Richard's user avatar
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30 votes

Does octave not matter when tuning?

Why does it not matter what octave you're tuning to? If you want to set a string to a certain pitch, of course it does matter what octave you adjust the string to. Setting a string to A3 (220Hz) is ...
Нет войне's user avatar
25 votes

A (440 Hz) and A (880 Hz) are completely different sounds to me. Does this mean I'm tone deaf?

They're not the same sound, and depending on how specific you're being, they're not the same note (though they're both 'A', 440Hz is A4, 880 is A5). In most contexts, they'll be the same degree of ...
Нет войне's user avatar
23 votes

How many notes are in an octave in Indian classical music? Is it 7, 12, or 22?

To use Indian musical terminology, there are 7 swara, 12 swara-prakaar, and 22 shruti in an octave. The seven swara in Indian music are the equivalents of the Western do re mi fa so la ti. In Indian ...
Sadhana's user avatar
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20 votes

Why don't two Boomwhackers with a one-octave pitch difference have a 2:1 length ratio?

Elementary acoustical theory is based on the 'ideal string' with zero mass and no stiffness and the 'ideal tube' with zero diameter. Real strings and tubes behave slightly differently. The discrepancy ...
Laurence's user avatar
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18 votes
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Is doubling the root when converting guitar chords to piano wrong?

It is not necessary to double the root when converting guitar chords to piano chords but it could be done if fits better with the music. But there are important distinctions between the guitar and ...
Rockin Cowboy's user avatar
17 votes

Why do octaves sound equivalent?

It is, I think, a perfectly clear observation that one note an octave above another note sounds as if it were the same in a certain sense. It's certainly common for people to perceive things that ...
Нет войне's user avatar
16 votes

A (440 Hz) and A (880 Hz) are completely different sounds to me. Does this mean I'm tone deaf?

They are both the same note, if note means letter name. They're both A, but 880 is an octave higher than 440. The 440 A has harmonics on most instruments, one of which being the second harmonic ...
Tim's user avatar
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15 votes
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How come we squish everything into one octave?

Our music did not originate from the harmonic series to which you are referring. People played what sounded good and what was within their ability to play well. Subsequently, it was discovered that ...
Vector's user avatar
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15 votes

Was the term "octave" coined after the development of early music theory?

Was the term “octave” coined after the development of early music theory? No. As shown below, it was already in use by the 11th century to denote the musical interval (although the principal name ...
phoog's user avatar
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14 votes
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Why do octaves sound equivalent?

There are indications of an underlying neurological (and arguably evolutionary) basis for perceiving octaves as equivalent, see for example this discussion. This phenomenon is pretty fundamental in ...
Dave's user avatar
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12 votes

Speed of playing notes in different octaves

The first thing I suggest you think about is the fact that a musical note is not a single frequency. Depending on the timbre of the instrument, there can be hundreds of frequencies present in a sound ...
Todd Wilcox's user avatar
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12 votes

Does octave not matter when tuning?

True enough, sonically. You'll also probably end up with two different guitar parts too. 'Why does it not matter?' - it does. I think you may be referring to tuning an A string (for example) to an A ...
Tim's user avatar
  • 194k
11 votes

A (440 Hz) and A (880 Hz) are completely different sounds to me. Does this mean I'm tone deaf?

I have been following guitar lessons in a small group for over a year. Recently, we've begun specific training to recognize intervals in scales (such as major third, perfect fifth, and evidently also ...
MarioDS's user avatar
  • 211
11 votes

What is an octave?

There are two words that we use to describe how 'high' (or 'low') a musical note is in absolute terms - frequency and pitch. Frequency refers to the measurable number of cycles per second (Hz) in the ...
Нет войне's user avatar
11 votes

What determines a Note?

Historically, two pitches whose frequencies are in a 2:1 ratio (or 4:1, or 8:1, etc.) are considered "the same". This is known as octave equivalence, and it based on how well frequencies in ...
Aaron's user avatar
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11 votes
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Why do we call Bb tubas BBb?

The predecessor to Helmholtz notation used doubled upper-case letters to refer to the lower octave. (Before that, medieval notation used doubled lower-case letters to refer to upper octaves.) the ...
phoog's user avatar
  • 22.9k
10 votes

Why do octaves sound equivalent?

The frequency of a pitch is n. the frequency of a pitch an octave higher is 2n. So, yes the harmonics are going to be very similar, but the first harmonic of the original pitch IS the second pitch in ...
Tim's user avatar
  • 194k
10 votes

Does an accidental apply to all octaves?

The book "Behind Bars: The Definitive Guide to Music Notation", by Elaine Gould (Published Faber Music, 2011) states: An accidental holds good for the duration of a bar. It applies only to the ...
Mary Jo Disler's user avatar
10 votes
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8 below note played as octave or singular note?

This notation is incorrect, but it does save space here (better would be "col 8" or "col 8vb" but "+8vb" or "col 8vb" are often used): the E should be played in ...
PiedPiper's user avatar
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9 votes
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Are parallel octaves okay in other styles of music?

The rules about parallal octaves only apply when writing Bach chorale-type harmony where the aim is rich harmony with no one part "sticking out" disproportionately. Because this is often the first ...
Laurence's user avatar
  • 93.3k
9 votes

Is it possible to tune guitar down an octave?(or to f#?)

Tuning a guitar lower than standard will certainly impart a darker, heavier sound. That's the reason many metal bands seem to employ various type drop tunings. A standard scale 6 string guitar (25-...
Rockin Cowboy's user avatar
9 votes

Speed of playing notes in different octaves

Is it common for pieces to have lower notes played slower? Do instruments with lower registers typically play slower? Yes, for a number of reasons. It often takes longer for a low-frequency resonator ...
Нет войне's user avatar
9 votes

Speed of playing notes in different octaves

It is true that low instruments don't 'speak' as easily or as clearly and high instruments, and therefore have to work harder to achieve that clarity. Double basses can sound behind because of this, ...
Jomiddnz's user avatar
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9 votes
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How many octaves can be heard?

"How many octaves are there in the human range of hearing?" From http://www.penguinproducer.com/Blog/2011/09/did-you-know-octave-frequency-facts/: The human ear can hear a maximum of 10 octaves: ...
Нет войне's user avatar

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