What Does Pitch Mean In Music Terms?


2 Answers

Mark Henderson Profile
Mark Henderson answered
Pitch means the ordering of sounds by their frequency - and requires a clear and stable sound which is not just noise.

Pitch is qualified as frequency, which is symbolized in music by notes. However, whereas the frequency of a vibration is a scientific concept, pitch is subjective. Sound waves themselves do not have pitch, and it takes a human brain to assign a frequency to a pitch.

Notes, (which are pitched sounds) are represented in music by the first seven letters of the alphabet (A, B, C, D, E, F, G). The eighth note of a scale is known as the octave and whilst it has the same pitch as the first note it is vibrating twice as fast.

These letters can be modified by accidentals known as sharps and flats which raise or lower a note by a semitone. In the complete chromatic scale five additional pitch classes are added to the seven letters to give a total of 12 notes each separated by a half step. The 13th not completes the octave.

Not all of the seven letters have an accidental because some will create equivalences between pitches. For example, whereas a C can be raised by a semitone to C sharp (denotaed by a #) if a E is raised by a semitone there is an equivalence and therefore just becomes an F. Flats are the opposite to sharps and are donated by a "b" symbol.

The Chromatic Scale and their approximate frequency
C : 262 Hz

C# : 277 Hz

D : 294 Hz

D# : 311 Hz

E : 330 Hz

F : 349 Hz

F # : 370 Hz

G : 392 Hz

G # : 415 Hz

A : 440 Hz

A # : 466 Hz

B : 494 Hz
Shannon Profile
Shannon answered
Pitch - a term referring to the high-low quality of a musical sound. The pitch is determined by the frequency of the tone, i.e., the number of vibrations per second.

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