Note "Names/Terminology"

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by jdostie, Mar 14, 2008.

  1. jdostie

    jdostie Piano User

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    Feb 20, 2008
    So I've seen quite a few places - and I assume well known trumpet people naming the the C in the staff as middle C.
    Unless I am misreading the page, Bbtrumpet.com does this, "Middle C or 3rd space C is the exception." see Trumpet Lessons
    That's what I thought it was in my high school days. However, when I took up piano, unless my mind is playing tricks on me - middle C was - below the treble cleff staff. Of course it's the middle of the grand staff, so maybe that's the rub.

    In the end it's just words, but it's very basic, and when we talk about music, we should all have the same basic reference.

    This started with comments about G above high C and double G. Again a referential problem.

    From Wikipedia
    Middle C

    Middle C (on the grand staff) is named so because it appears exactly in the middle between the bass and treble clefs. Middle C is not exactly in the middle of any keyboard instrument, including the piano. Middle C is usually the splitting point between the two staves on the grand staff, and can be shared between the staves.
    Grand staff - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia



    This is consistent with my understanding.



    However also wiki:
    Although C4 is commonly known by the expression "middle C", the expression is somewhat keyboard-specific: players of some instruments may refer to the note by another name, and may use "middle C" to refer to a different note. For example, that note (C4) would be "low C" to the player of a Western concert flute (as it is in the lowest register of that instrument — see playing range), while C5 would be middle C. Nevertheless, the expression "middle C" is generally clear across instruments and clefs.
    C (musical note) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    So some see C5 as middle C?

    Now the question, is there a resource that "names" these notes properly? This came up initially because of the "double g" vs "g above high C" terminology, which I learned wrong (or maybe never really learned).
     
  2. jdostie

    jdostie Piano User

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    Sorry for the double post, if the mod can delete one . . . The page was just "sitting there" so I clicked the button again.
     
  3. MFfan

    MFfan Fortissimo User

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    I would say you are right. Middle C, piano wise is the reference I have used all my pretty long life. I started out on piano, so got that long standing reference during intial theory and orientation lesson. I did have a pretty good idea, as my mother played piano and my dad was a professional reed player. I have never heard 3rd space C referred to as "middle C" by anyone.
    :-) Playing the trumpet I have always thought of "low C" as Bflat concert, at the middle C piano pitch. High C was the C above " G" located above the treble clef staff. The one that many players have trouble hitting well, including me. To me, double high G would be the G above high C, and up the scale to the double high C, 3 octaves above middle C, definitely in screamer land. Instruments with different ranges may have a different pitch points of reference octaves below or higher than piano middle C.
     
  4. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Most of the C-onfusion comes from bragging rights on an open internet forum. There is some international discrepancy on what notes get called what though.

    I agree with the middle C between the staffs, high C is above the staff and double C is an octave above that. Double C is the BEGINNING of the double octave(C is always the beginning of the repective octaves). The double G is the G above double C.

    The Germans have an easier system, C0 is the C in the bass clef, an octave lower is CC (this also corresponds to the pitch of the tuba.......
    Middle C is C1, C in the staff is C2, above the staff C3 and C4 would be comparable to the "double C".

    C being the beginning of the respective octave also has its history in the construction of pipe organs. They have 32, 16, 8, 4, 2 and 1 foot pipes - which are the C pipes. There it is common to read about the 4' octave although only the C pipe is that long, the higher notes are respectively shorter!
     
  5. MFfan

    MFfan Fortissimo User

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    Thanks Rowuk for the international perspective. Leave it to the Germans to have the most efficient system. Must have something to do with being on the decimal system:-) Thanks for the organ info, also.
     
  6. jdostie

    jdostie Piano User

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    Feb 20, 2008
    Thanks, that's very helpful. As MFfan said, German efficiency. :)
     
  7. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

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    But wait, a story from good old Germany! Playing Bach with two other trumpeters,(all playing parts for trumpet in D and all playing piccolo trumpet in A) we, never could agree on what to call notes: for one of us it was the sounding pitch (D) for another the written pitch (C) and the other the pitch on piccolo--F!

    While music theory may be more advanced in Germany, trumpeters aren't!
     
  8. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    VB,
    "REAL" trumpet players in Germany only brag in concert pitch............
    Successful trumpet players play down their capabilities - the Michael Haydn only having a high A or the "G" in the Brandenburg....................

    The super-accurate description is there for the players with a wish list........
     
  9. commakozzi

    commakozzi Pianissimo User

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    Thank you rowuk!!! This is actually the system I was taught. The C1, C2, etc. designations are instrument specific in the method I was taught. Therefore, C0 is our "low" or middle C and C1 would be third space C, and so on. I've posted here before using this system to name notes and people have had a hard time understanding because they're using the pianos designations. It is instrument specific!!!
     

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