Forums > MaxMSP

C4 = 60 or 72?

April 18, 2008 | 8:20 pm

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?


April 18, 2008 | 8:40 pm

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


April 18, 2008 | 8:41 pm

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


April 18, 2008 | 8:45 pm

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


April 18, 2008 | 9:02 pm

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.


April 18, 2008 | 9:18 pm

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


April 19, 2008 | 3:21 pm

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/>


April 19, 2008 | 5:28 pm

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/>
>
>
>


April 20, 2008 | 11:56 am

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


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