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Old 05-30-2011, 04:20 PM
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Default What is middle C: C3 or C4?

Good afternoon everyone:

Hope you are enjoying Memorial Day (for those who celebrate it).

Music theory question: what is the 'Middle C' (the C on the ledger below the G clef, or on the ledger above the F cleff) - is that C3, or C4? I thought that it was C4, corresponding to the middle key on an 88 key piano, or a pitch of 261.626 Hertz. That is what wikipedia says (for what it is worth) as well as the Sibelius Reference (which however notes that it may be different in other music programs).

By contrast, the EW Play manuals refer to that C as C3.

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Old 05-30-2011, 04:36 PM
Daryl Daryl is offline
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According to Roland it is C4, according to Yamaha it is C3, according to International Scientific Pitch it is C4.

D
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Old 05-30-2011, 04:38 PM
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Yea it varies, I think it;s C3 in Play and C4 in Sibelius - Check the manual for your equipment to be sure
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Old 05-30-2011, 04:48 PM
Michael M Michael M is offline
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Only programers seem to call it C3. Tell a musician that C3 is middle C, and they'll probably be confused.

I've always known middle C to be C4.
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Old 05-30-2011, 05:48 PM
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Yup - always a bone of contention.

middle c = 261.625565 hz

middle c - the note on the ledger line halfway between the bass and treble clef on the great staff.
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Old 05-30-2011, 06:07 PM
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Big PITA actually. Project Sam has there protocol as well.

Last edited by admin; 05-31-2011 at 07:44 AM.
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Old 05-30-2011, 06:50 PM
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Thanks for the feedback everyone! That got me really confused but it is clear now.

Apparently there is no uniform convention about C3 / C4, guess from now on I will include a reference like "middle C = C4" whenever appropriate.
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Old 05-30-2011, 07:59 PM
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C4 is better for blowing things up (so I hear)
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Old 05-30-2011, 09:00 PM
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"C3 or C4?"

Neither. It's C3PO.

According to R2D2.
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Old 05-30-2011, 10:39 PM
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I gotta say, this bugs me too. I always think of Middle C as C4, and am always irritated when software companies follow the Yamaha example and label it as C3. Seriously, it's been how many decades now that this debate has persisted? As far as I can tell, the companies who doggedly maintain the C3 label are in the minority. Why can't they join the rest of us and start calling Middle C C4?

Perhaps these are the same people who still own Betamax tapes?
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