# Topic: Middle C

1. ## Middle C

In the first lesson, I'm looking at the string ranges, and I notice that the cello has a low end of two octaves below Middle C, and the bass has a low limit of three octaves... with regard to programming, is Middle C "C3" or "C4"?

Thanks...

-Al

2. ## Re: Middle C

Most commonly, and most correctly in terms of scientific pitch-notation, middle C is labeled C4. Note, however, that this convention isn't universally followed. Cakewalk Sonar, for instance, uses C5 to mean middle C, which has sometimes caused me no end of confusion.

-Robin

3. ## Re: Middle C

at what pitch does the octave number change? C or A?
so is the B just below middle C B4? or B3?
is the A-440 A4? or A5?

4. ## Re: Middle C

If middle C is C4, then the B just below is B3 and A=440 is A4.
And if middle C is c¹, then B below is h and A=440 is a¹

5. ## Re: Middle C

In the first lesson, I'm looking at the string ranges, and I notice that the cello has a low end of two octaves below Middle C, and the bass has a low limit of three octaves... with regard to programming, is Middle C "C3" or "C4"?

Thanks...

-Al
See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_Pitch_Notation
for more detailed information

Keith W.

6. ## Re: Middle C

Originally Posted by Nickie Fønshauge
If middle C is C4, then the B just below is B3...
Well that explains why it took me like 30 attempts to properly split a harp stave one day.

7. ## Re: Middle C

Originally Posted by apdobko
In the first lesson, I'm looking at the string ranges, and I notice that the cello has a low end of two octaves below Middle C, and the bass has a low limit of three octaves... with regard to programming, is Middle C "C3" or "C4"?

Thanks...

-Al
Al,
Different MIDI keyboard manufacturers have different standards for where middle C is. Keyboard makers in particular; some place middle C as C4, some as C3 and some as C5. This has made things problematic for keyswitching using our libraries. When in doubt - hit the "MIDI transpose" function (up or down an octave).

Gary Garritan

8. ## Re: Middle C

I've been studying music for more than 30 years (and more to come!). I even got a dual degree in Composition and Music Production & Engineering at Berklee College of Music. For me (and most of the people I know), the middle C in the grand staff has been always called C3. Now, if C3 is the middle C, then A4 (440 Hz) is the second space in the treble clef. This also means that the octaves are numbered from A to A, i.e., C3=middle C; A3=5th line in bass clef; A4=2nd space in treble clef. Otherwise, if we numbered the octaves from C to C, that would mean that the second space in treble clef would be an A3, which is wrong, because the frequency of 440 Hz belongs to that second space in the treble clef.

I believe it was in 1936 that after a meeting in Geneve, it was agreed to tune the A4 at 440Hz. It took years to get established, though. In 1972, after a second international meeting held in London, hundreds of countries joined the party.

I'm sure there's a lot of controversy in this subject! Feel free to make any comments on this.

Dave

9. ## Re: Middle C

They must do things differently at Berklee...
Originally Posted by davidest
For me (and most of the people I know), the middle C in the grand staff has been always called C3.
Some manufacturers do that, as mentioned above, but C4 is more common.
Now, if C3 is the middle C, then A4 (440 Hz) is the second space in the treble clef. This also means that the octaves are numbered from A to A, i.e., C3=middle C; A3=5th line in bass clef; A4=2nd space in treble clef.
Nope. Never. Not in my experience. Every MIDI instrument manufacturer that I am aware of switches octave numbers at C, not A.

See http://tomscarff.tripod.com/midi_ana...or_octaves.htm for more discussion of these issues.

10. ## Re: Middle C

I've seen this one before, many times.

Keyboard makers started this confusion by some choosing to start numbering at 0 ( zero ), while others began numbering at 1 .

Thus the offset when you reach middle C

C5 seems to be the more common, but I still always have to re-confirm this between whichever MIDI keyboard I'm using, and whichever notation app I'm using at the time ... sigh ...

good luck

-- atonal

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