C or Do is the first note of the fixed-Do solfège.
In Western music, the expression "Middle C" refers to the note "C" located exactly between the two staves of the grand staff and near the top and bottom, respectively, of the bass and soprano voices. When calculated in equal temperament with a reference of A above middle C as 440 Hz, the frequency of the middle C note is approximately 261.626 Hz; see pitch (music) for a discussion of historical variations in frequency.
Middle C is designated C4 in scientific pitch notation because of the note's position as the fourth C key on a standard 88-key piano keyboard. While other note-octave systems (including those used by some manufacturers of digital music keyboards) may refer to "Middle C" with a different designation, the C4 designation is the most commonly recognized in auditory science and in musical studies it is frequently used in place of the Helmholtz designation c'.
While the expression "Middle C" is generally clear across instruments and clefs, some musicians tend to use the term to refer to the C note in the middle of their specific instrument's range. For example, C4 may be called "Low C" by someone playing a Western concert flute (which has a higher and narrower playing range than a piano), while C5 (523.251 Hz) would be "Middle C". This technically inaccurate practice has led some pedagogues to encourage standardizing on C4 as the definitive "Middle C" in instructional materials across all instruments.
Within vocal music the term Soprano C, sometimes called High C, is the C two octaves above Middle C. It is so named because it is considered the defining note of the soprano voice type. It is also called C6 in scientific pitch notation (1046.502 Hz). In Helmholtz notation, it is c′″. The term Tenor C is sometimes used in vocal music to refer to C5 as it is the highest required note in the standard Tenor repertoire. The term tenor C can also refer to an organ builder's term for small C or C3 (130.813 Hz), the note one octave below Middle C. In stoplists it usually means that a rank is not full compass, omitting the bottom octave.
For the frequency of each note on a standard piano, see piano key frequencies.
|Scientific Designation||Helmholtz Designation||Bilinear Music Notation||Octave Name||Frequency (Hz)|
|C4 :Middle C||c′ :Middle C||(zC) :Middle C||One-lined||261.626|
Middle C is the name given to the musical note C which is in the middle of the piano keyboard. It is not actually quite the middle note of the keyboard, but very nearly, and of all the Cs on the piano it is the one nearest to the middle.
When writing Middle C in music notation it is just below the stave when using the treble clef and just above the stave when using the bass clef. This is shown in the first and last notes of the musical example below. The Middle C sits on a leger line (an extension of the stave written just for one note).
When starting to learn the piano, most books make their easiest pieces start on Middle C. This is because the right hand can then play tunes using 5 notes (C to G) using white notes only (no sharps or flats). It is also easy to recognize Middle C in notation. It is also a help to find the correct place to sit at the piano (Middle C is opposite the player's "middle" (tummy)). One problem can be that young children learning the piano may think that all pieces start on Middle C. Pieces can start anywhere on the keyboard.
Middle C is the lowest note of the flute. It is a fairly low note for a child or woman to sing, but a fairly high note for a man to sing.
Middle C vibrates at 262Hz.
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