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Pitch Names

Traditional staff-based pitch notation is difficult to incorporate into text. In this work, a completely equivalent textual representation, as suggested by the Acoustical Society of America, will be used. The following explanation is adapted from [13, xiii]. Pitches will be identified by class and register. Class will be symbolized by a letter in the set {A,B,C,D,E,F,G} followed by any number of sharp (\ensuremath{\sharp}) or flat (\ensuremath{\flat}) signs. Register will be symbolized by an integer following the class. A register refers to all pitches that can be notated on the area of the staff from a given C to the next B above it. Defined in this way, any B\ensuremath{\sharp} has the same register as the B that is its natural version; thus in 12TET B\ensuremath{\sharp}3 sounds the same as C4. Likewise, any C\ensuremath{\flat} has the same register as the C that is its natural version; thus in 12TET C\ensuremath{\flat}4 sounds the same as B3. Middle C is C4.



Ben Denckla
8/29/1997