[Top][All Lists]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: Concert Pitch (a second try)

From: Carl D. Sorensen
Subject: Re: Concert Pitch (a second try)
Date: Mon, 6 Apr 2009 18:11:32 -0600

I'm going to step in here, perhaps where wise men fear to tread.

The LilyPond  music glossary isn't intended to be a definitive music
dictionary, is it?

So do we care what reference concert pitch uses?  Does it matter if it's
A=440, or A=445, or A=450?

Aren't the key issues that:

1) Concert pitch is established relative to some frequency standard.
2) Transposing instruments use notation relative to some other frequency
standard, such that a C in the transposing instrument notation is the same
frequency as the transposing instrument's note in concert pitch.

Thus, when a player playing a Bb clarinet plays what's notated in the Bb
clarinet part as a C, it sounds as a Bb in concert pitch.

It seems to me that all the rest of the information is more than is needed
for the LilyPond glossary; it's available in some other music dictionary.

Of course, I barely qualify as a musician, so don't feel any obligation to
follow my suggestions.


On 4/6/09 12:55 PM, "address@hidden" <address@hidden>

> On Sun, Apr 5, 2009, "Anthony W. Youngman"
> <address@hidden> said:
>> Okay, we've got more feedback (isn't this fun :-).
> welcome to electronic commiteedom :-)
>> 1.64 Concert pitch
>> The convention (standardised by ISO 16) that A above middle C represents
>> the note at 440 Hertz. This is commonly notated by the statement
>> "A=440".
> slight rewording -
> The Convention (formally affirmed in 1975 as ISO 16) that musical
> instruments shall be designed and tuned so that A4 ('A' above middle 'C')
> sounds at 440HZ,  Concisely phrased as "A=440".
>> There are many other conventions, such as "diapason normal" which was
>> established by French law as "A=435". Many of these conventions have
>> fallen into disuse, although there are orchestras which typically tune
>> to other pitches (usually pitching A slightly higher in order to sound
>> "brighter").
> not quite on the mark for me.
> Other reference pitches have been informally adopted and even legislated,
> most  are now disused, but several orchestras and ensembles specializing
> in early music adopt other reference pitches better suited to the replica
> instruments they use.  Some modern orchestras perform at slightly higher
> pitch (eg A=445) on the theory that "the violins sound brighter"; to the
> consternation of the wind players.
> Thinking conservativly, maybe we can leave off this last sentance.  Its
> true enough, but perhaps inflamatory?
>> Regardless of the exact frequency of A, instruments which play the
>> standard frequency upon reading the note A
> only the note A?  hmmmm.
> Sorry to keep beating this horse, but it aint dead yet.  I think the
> discussion is much easier to introduce with a little background, something
> like this.
> Many Orchestral instruments developed as families, varying by fundamental
> pitch.  Composers will often take advantage of the contrasting tone colors
> of these otherwise similar instruments, players have to be capable of
> reading for each of them at sight.  It is challenging to maintain sight
> reading skills on several instruments, eg  'C' Clarinet and 'A' clarinet,
> where a particular note, say, D4, has different fingerings on each.  The
> convention of writing some instruments parts in transposition is employed
> to deal with this.
> Certain instruments within each family are selected by convention to play
> at the pitch that is notated, they are said to be 'in C', or 'at concert
> pitch'.  Music for the other menbers of each family is written transcribed
> by an appropriate interval so that the fingerings, slide position,
> valveing or whatever technique is associated with the written notes will
> always be the same, and the piches produced will be as the composer
> desired.  The player reading from a transposed part pretends to be playing
> an instrument 'in C';  assuming the part was correctly transposed and the
> player has the corresponding instrument in hand it all works out.
>> Typically, these are instruments
>> with multiple sounding parts such as tuned percussion or strings.
> my first thought for 'tuned percussion' is tympani (which jars against the
> concept of multiple sounding parts) maybe a more specific example?
>   ... such as Marimba, Harp, Viola.
>> These are typically instruments with a single
>> sounding part such as brass and woodwind.
> Counter examples are Guitar and Lute, both of which have awkward ranges
> and use an octave G clef when noted in staff; often employing tablature (a
> sortof transposing notation) to facillitate reading when used in families.
>  Do we need this at all?
>> See also: "transposing intruments" and wikipedia entry
> for concert pitch 'A440'.
> -=-=-=-=-=-
> enough in this post
> --
> Dana Emery

reply via email to

[Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread]