Hot answers tagged

58

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 said to have the same pitch chroma and the collection of all these notes are said to be in a pitch class. The octave, however, does differ in pitch height ...


32

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 accidentals in the key signature which do apply to every octave. It's also possible that in the pieces you are playing you are seeing a courtesy accidental instead of ...


30

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 C5, an octave below Middle C is C3, etc. In short, the C's octave range is in play until the next C changes the octave register. In other words, from C3 to B3 ...


30

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 not the same as setting it to A4 (440 Hz). Not only will the sound be different, but you might make the string very hard to play if it is too slack, or break ...


24

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 the scale, which means they'll function similarly (but not the same) as part of chords and harmonies. You may be able to hear that two different A notes, played ...


18

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 piano that come into play when considering how to notate chords on sheet music. These distinctions center around (and are affected by) the way chords are played ...


17

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 way, but it's not universal. Here's a question from someone who complains that they don't hear things that way, for example! shared harmonics alone can't be ...


15

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 exactly an octave higher. In fact, on some instruments, this note is almost as loud as the fundamental, so the two can sound nearly the same. Most of us would hear ...


15

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 some musical systems - for example our western musical tradition using certain tuning conventions (not all musical systems throughout the world, and not all of ...


14

The words denote totally different concepts and the difference lies in the arrangemental intent for the instruments playing tones in parallel octaves: Parallel, or consecutive, octaves If the intent of an arrangement is to have independent voices but two (or more of) them happen to move in parallel at the octave (or in unison, or two or more octaves apart) ...


12

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 note - but maybe an A note in a different octave. If so, the frequencies of each note are double or haqlf to arrive at another A. It will be an 'octave copy' ...


11

I'm somewhat influenced by the philosophy of Jamie Andreas' guitarprinciples.com -- although please don't take this as a book recommendation, because I haven't read the book! A lot of what she says, I suspect, applies as much to the piano -- or any other instrument -- as it does to the guitar. The core of her approach is that we are trying to train our ...


11

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 sound wave, while 'pitch' refers to (subjectively) how low or high the note sounds to us. You would think that the two would be very closely-related. For ...


11

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 wave even when only one note is played on one instrument. We perceive the pitch of a note through our ears analyzing all of the frequencies simultaneously, not ...


10

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 the octave). The most basic exercise was that the teacher played the root note of the A myxolidian scale, and a random interval (which we had to guess and name)...


10

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 frequency. What you say about an octave and a half (but not exactly, that's a tritone) has caught out several singers in my past, where they pitch on a 4th or ...


9

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 type of harmony we are taught to write, we can fall into the trap of thinking it's the ONLY way of doing it! Orchestration is all about doubling lines, often in ...


9

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, and they have to almost anticipate in order to sound on the beat (especially when playing arco). This is less of a problem on the piano because of the way in ...


8

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 that it is also seen in monkeys and other mammals, but not (apparently) in some songbirds. There has been quite a bit of work on the neurological basis for ...


8

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 to settle into stable oscillation; It's often physically harder to change frequency quickly on a larger instrument (which tend to be the lower sounding ones); ...


8

@topomorto provided a very nice answer so I won't repeat what he already wrote. But... FWIW, it does matter to me in which octave the reference pitch is. 1 (E) 329.63 Hz E4 2 (B) 246.94 Hz B3 3 (G) 196.00 Hz G3 4 (D) 146.83 Hz D3 5 (A) 110.00 Hz A2 6 (E) 82.41 Hz E2 When I tune the low E2 string, I have trouble tuning it to the ...


7

I'm going to assume that you've already checked your flute to see if it needs repairs. Here are a few tips I can give you to improve your output of low notes (I've been playing the flute for about 6 years, so I used to encounter these issues in the beginning too): Practice the lower notes: If you are adapting your sheet music to an octave higher, then ...


7

I'm unsure what to make of the pain you're describing. I've encountered a similar problem attempting to play a piece with a similar technical challenge, but I never felt pain in the wrist joint; rather, the muscles in my forearm were very fatigued. I assume that's what you were describing. That fire is lactic acid building up in your forearm muscles, which ...


7

As you detune strings, they start to get "floppy" and the guitar becomes hard to play well. To prevent those problems, you can use thicker strings, a longer scale length, or both. At some point, the strings become so thick that you need to widen the nut slots or else the strings won't sit in them correctly. You also may find that you need a higher action and ...


7

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 (25-1/2" or 24-3/4") tuned down an octave (or tuned down to F# below the standard low E) would not be very practical to play in a typical guitar playing sort of ...


7

If you play CEGC, it won't be parallel eighths. It will simply have the octave doubled. In order to have parallel eighths, you have to have the voices move. If you take guitar chords and put them into sheet music for piano, should you double the root ? There isn't any definite answer here. You certainly have to option to easily double the root (C). So, ...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible