Pitch/Notation FAQS

  1. What is pitch register?
  2. What do the authors mean in Exercise 3 on page 24 when they say, "in the register of the first note?"
  3. Can send me via email a picture of a keyboard that tells what key gets what letter?"
  4. What is the difference between a tie and a slur?

  1. What is pitch register?
  2. There are several pitches with the same pitch name, and pitch register is a way of indicating the difference between two notes with the same pitch name. See p. 23 of the text for a diagram of the pitch registers.

    Here's one way of looking at it. Let's say we have a class. The students in the class are named Jim, Ruth, Sally, Bob, Jim, Sally, Bob, and Ruth. It becomes confusing when the teacher calls out, "Sally, what is the answer?" Both Sallies want to answer. The same thing happens when the teacher says, "What do you think, Bob?" Both Bobs respond. So they come up with an idea. They'll use their first name followed by the first initial of their last name as a way to identify each student. So, Sally Smith will be Sally S. and Sally Williams will be Sally W. Bob Chase will be Bob C. and Bob McKoy will be Bob M. Each student assumes a new name: their first name followed by their last initial. Now, when the teacher wants a response, she asks, "What do you think, Bob M.?" This is similar to pitch and pitch register. In our system, we have more than one key on the piano which has the name of A (just like in the class we mentioned there are more than one student with the name of Bob). We have more than one key on the piano which has the name of B (just like in the class we mentioned there are more than one student with the name of Sally). All of the pitch names we use have several keys with the same name. If I ask you to play the pitch A on the piano, you would ask, "which 'A' should I play?" So, we've devised a way to identify specific keys We use the pitch name, but we add information which makes each key unique. We don't say, "please play an A." We say, "Please play a1."

    We use the following system:

    All of the notes in a specific register use 3 capitol letters to designate their names. The notes in that register will have the names CCC,DDD,EEE,FFF,GGG,AAA, and BBB. All of the notes in the next highest register will use 2 capitol letters. These names will be CC,DD,EE,FF,GG,AA,BB. Note that each register begins on C and continues until B and then it changes on the next C. This system continues with single capitol letters, then small letters, then small letters follwed by the number 1, etc.

    See also Half and Whole Steps FAQS

    Back to Top of Page

  3. What do the authors mean in Exercise 3 on page 24 when they say, "in the register of the first note?"
  4. The first note of Ex. # 3 is "c2". The pitch is "c" and the "2" indicates what register it is (i.e. since there are so many "c's" on the keyboard, we have to know which "c" we're talking about. So, since the first note of Ex. # 3 is "c2" then the next note is "d2". Now, when we rewrite the notes in the new register, we consider "the register indicated by the first note." The new note is "c" so the next pitch will be "d". If the first note were "c1" then the next pitch would be "d1". If the first note were "C" then the next pitch would be "D".

  5. Can send me via email a picture of a keyboard that tells what key gets what letter?"
  6. I emailed this student the example she wanted:

  7. What is the difference between a tie and a slur?
  8. A tie is a curved line that connects two notes of the same pitch into one note. A slur is a curved line that connects two notes of different pitchs. When two notes are tied, they become as one. When two notes are slured, they are perfomed without space between them.
Back to Top of Page



  • Back to Pitch Page
  • Back to FAQS Page