C4 = 60 or 72?

Apr 18, 2008 at 8:20pm

C4 = 60 or 72?

It seems the number value for midi note names depends on the vendor. I was really confused about this when making a note name parser. When I search the web a lot of pages say C4=60. And in this case A4=440, which I think is nice and easy to remember. So I went with that…

But in Logic, and the default for Max’s number box, it’s C4=72. It looks like Live is this way too. I want my stuff to work seamlessly with other software, so it looks like the best bet is C4=72. But I don’t know if it’s the same for NI, Propellerhead, Cakewalk, etc, not to mention MIDI hardware.

Any thoughts?

#37009
Apr 18, 2008 at 8:40pm

For a very long time and in much historical literature middle C WAS C4. For
some reason the designers of midi chose C3 = 60. It’s not the only thing
they got wrong. The frequency for middle C is also NOT 256.

Cheers
Gary Lee Nelson
Oberlin College
http://www.timara.oberlin.edu/GaryLeeNelson

> From: Adam Murray
> Organization: Cycling ’74
> Reply-To:
> Date: Fri, 18 Apr 2008 13:20:51 -0700
> To:

> Subject: [maxmsp] C4 = 60 or 72?
>
>
> It seems the number value for midi note names depends on the vendor. I was
> really confused about this when making a note name parser. When I search the
> web a lot of pages say C4=60. And in this case A4=440, which I think is nice
> and easy to remember. So I went with that…
>
> But in Logic, and the default for Max’s number box, it’s C4=72. It looks like
> Live is this way too. I want my stuff to work seamlessly with other software,
> so it looks like the best bet is C4=72. But I don’t know if it’s the same for
> NI, Propellerhead, Cakewalk, etc, not to mention MIDI hardware.
>
> Any thoughts?
>
>
> –
> Adam Murray
> compusition.com

#127397
Apr 18, 2008 at 8:41pm

Read all about it

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Middle_C

Cheers
Gary Lee Nelson
Oberlin College
http://www.timara.oberlin.edu/GaryLeeNelson

> From: Adam Murray
> Organization: Cycling ’74
> Reply-To:
> Date: Fri, 18 Apr 2008 13:20:51 -0700
> To:

> Subject: [maxmsp] C4 = 60 or 72?
>
>
> It seems the number value for midi note names depends on the vendor. I was
> really confused about this when making a note name parser. When I search the
> web a lot of pages say C4=60. And in this case A4=440, which I think is nice
> and easy to remember. So I went with that…
>
> But in Logic, and the default for Max’s number box, it’s C4=72. It looks like
> Live is this way too. I want my stuff to work seamlessly with other software,
> so it looks like the best bet is C4=72. But I don’t know if it’s the same for
> NI, Propellerhead, Cakewalk, etc, not to mention MIDI hardware.
>
> Any thoughts?
>
>
> –
> Adam Murray
> compusition.com

#127398
Apr 18, 2008 at 8:45pm

Sorry should have combined this but get info on the number box for note
names C4 option (not available in the table object).

Cheers
Gary Lee Nelson
Oberlin College
http://www.timara.oberlin.edu/GaryLeeNelson

> From: Adam Murray
> Organization: Cycling ’74
> Reply-To:
> Date: Fri, 18 Apr 2008 13:20:51 -0700
> To:

> Subject: [maxmsp] C4 = 60 or 72?
>
>
> It seems the number value for midi note names depends on the vendor. I was
> really confused about this when making a note name parser. When I search the
> web a lot of pages say C4=60. And in this case A4=440, which I think is nice
> and easy to remember. So I went with that…
>
> But in Logic, and the default for Max’s number box, it’s C4=72. It looks like
> Live is this way too. I want my stuff to work seamlessly with other software,
> so it looks like the best bet is C4=72. But I don’t know if it’s the same for
> NI, Propellerhead, Cakewalk, etc, not to mention MIDI hardware.
>
> Any thoughts?
>
>
> –
> Adam Murray
> compusition.com

#127399
Apr 18, 2008 at 9:02pm

Quote: Gary Lee Nelson wrote on Fri, 18 April 2008 13:40
—————————————————-
> For some reason the designers of midi chose C3 = 60.

Ok, so for interoperability with MIDI-compatible software, I should use C3=60 (C4=72)

I realize it’s configurable in Max (that’s part of why I am confused), but it is usually not configurable in other software. I just want to pick the most common definition of midi note names in audio software today.

Thanks Gary.

#127400
Apr 18, 2008 at 9:18pm

On 18 Apr 2008, at 22:02, Adam Murray wrote:
> I realize it’s configurable in Max (that’s part of why I am
> confused), but it is usually not configurable in other software. I
> just want to pick the most common definition of midi note names in
> audio software today.

Back in the day, as I remember, all the manufacturers said 60=C4
except Yamaha, who said 60=C3, and then a few said, “Oh well, if
Yamaha are doing that, then we will too.” These days I think you’ll
find both varieties (and I’ve seen at least one 60=C5, perhaps because
that yields 0=C0, so none of this messy C-1 or C-2 stuff).

Of course, there’s no established correlation between MIDI note number
and pitch anyway, so I’m not sure there is a right or wrong. Oh, and
Japanese electronic instruments certainly used to come tuned with
concert A=442.

– N.

Nick Rothwell – nick@cassiel.comhttp://www.cassiel.com
— open-source goodies for MaxMSP: Python, Groovy, Nixie Tubes,
— rotatable text bricks, databases: all at http://www.loadbang.net

#127401
Apr 19, 2008 at 3:21pm

That would, of course, depend on the tuning system you’re using and
the frequency of your reference pitch. ;) I often use middle c = 264
for just tunings where a4=440.

On Apr 18, 2008, at 2:40 PM, Gary Lee Nelson wrote:
> The frequency for middle C is also NOT 256.
>
> Cheers
> Gary Lee Nelson
> Oberlin College
> http://www.timara.oberlin.edu/GaryLeeNelson

—-
Steven M. Miller
Professor, Contemporary Music Program
College of Santa Fe

Home < http://pubweb.csf.edu/~smill>
SFIFEM <
http://sfifem.csf.edu>
Atrium Sound Space <
http://atrium.csf.edu>
OVOS <
http://pubweb.csf.edu/~smill/ovos.html>
CMP <
http://www.csf.edu/academics/contemporary_music/>

#127402
Apr 19, 2008 at 5:28pm

In the very early days of popular music technology there were some people -
more technicians and musicians – who though that something so basic as
middle C must be a power of 2 in frequency. Some even published this “fact”
in primers on electronic music. I used to use it as a trick question in
beginning classes alongside “How big is a decibel?”

Cheers
Gary Lee Nelson
Oberlin College
http://www.timara.oberlin.edu/GaryLeeNelson

> From: Steven Miller
> Reply-To:
> Date: Sat, 19 Apr 2008 09:21:29 -0600
> To:

> Subject: Re: [maxmsp] C4 = 60 or 72?
>
> That would, of course, depend on the tuning system you’re using and
> the frequency of your reference pitch. ;) I often use middle c = 264
> for just tunings where a4=440.
>
> On Apr 18, 2008, at 2:40 PM, Gary Lee Nelson wrote:
>> The frequency for middle C is also NOT 256.
>>
>> Cheers
>> Gary Lee Nelson
>> Oberlin College
>> http://www.timara.oberlin.edu/GaryLeeNelson
>
> —-
> Steven M. Miller
> Professor, Contemporary Music Program
> College of Santa Fe
>
> Home < http://pubweb.csf.edu/~smill>
> SFIFEM <
http://sfifem.csf.edu>
> Atrium Sound Space <
http://atrium.csf.edu>
> OVOS <
http://pubweb.csf.edu/~smill/ovos.html>
> CMP <
http://www.csf.edu/academics/contemporary_music/>
>
>
>

#127403
Apr 20, 2008 at 11:56am

On 19 Apr 2008, at 18:28, Gary Lee Nelson wrote:
> I used to use it as a trick question in
> beginning classes alongside “How big is a decibel?”

Is “one tenth of a bel” the wrong answer?

– N.

Nick Rothwell / Cassiel.com Limited
http://www.cassiel.com
http://www.myspace.com/cassieldotcom
http://www.last.fm/music/cassiel
http://www.reverbnation.com/cassiel
http://www.linkedin.com/in/cassiel
http://www.loadbang.net

#127404

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