Scientific pitch notation

Scientific Pitch Notation

Scientific pitch notation

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Scientific pitch notation is one of several methods that name the notes of the standard Western chromatic scale by combining a letter-name, accidentals, and a number identifying the pitch's octave. The definition of scientific pitch notation in this article is that proposed to the Acoustical Society of America in 1939, is in the region of the lowest possible audible frequency at about 16 Hz.

Scientific pitch notation is a logarithmic frequency scale.

Scientific pitch notation is an example of a note-octave notation (see below).


The transition in octave number occurs on the note C. Hence in ascending the white notes on a keyboard, "C<sub>4</sub>" follows "B<sub>3</sub>", and "A<sub>4</sub>" refers to the A above middle C (that is, A440, the note that has a frequency of 440 Hz).


Scientific pitch notation is often used to specify the range of an instrument. It provides an unambiguous means of identifying a note in terms of musical notation rather than frequency, while at the same time avoiding the transposition conventions that are used in writing the music for instruments such as the clarinet and guitar. The conventional octave naming system, where for example C<sub>0</sub> is written as ′′C, or CCC in Helmholtz pitch notation, or referred to as subcontra C, and C<sub>4</sub> is...
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