Which vocal range is C3 to C6

B.1. Representation of the pitch

[2] Pitch - pitch naming - note names

In order to distinguish between the different pitches that are precisely defined in music, they were initially named with letters.

Since the 10th century, the first seven letters of the alphabet (a b c d e f g) is used.

At first it meant a major scale. After adapting to ancient Greek tone systems, this tone series got the meaning of a minor scale.

From the 16th century, b was replaced by b, since b was the only changeable tone. In the degraded form it was written down round (b rotundum, b-molle), in the non-degraded form it was angular (b-quadratum, b-durum [similar to the letter h]; from this symbol the natural symbol has developed).

Fig. [2] -1 b rotundum - b quadratum

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[3] Trunk series - trunk tones

The root series is the ascending order of the seven Root tones and reads, after the keyboard instruments had become of paramount importance (from around 1600):

c d e f g a h

In other countries the tones are sometimes called differently.

The root tone series in English-speaking countries is:


In the Romance languages ​​the key sequence is:

ut ré mi fa sol la si (French)

do re mi fa sol la si (Italian)

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[4] Solmization

The tone names that are in use today in the Romance languages ​​(Guidonic syllables) go back to a supplication to Saint John (for liberation from hoarseness).

The individual verses of this hymn (Fig. [4] -1) began with these syllables and with the respective root note (from c to a - six-tone row = "Hexachordum"). It was used by Guido von Arezzo as a memory aid and learning aid (solmisation).

The unsangible "ut" was later replaced by "do". The designation "si" for the 7th root note (h), which does not appear in this hymn, was formed from the first letters of "Sancte Iohannes".

Fig. [4] -1 John's hymn Ut queant laxis

Tone word methods - tone word systems

Today the Guidonic syllables are used in solfège (leaf singing on tone names - solmization).

Tone word methods try to train a sense of tonality with special tone names - sometimes also with hand signals - in connection with singing and to teach sight-singing. One distinguishes Toneword systemsin which either the tone syllables designations for the seven scale levels (and their alteration) - regardless of the key - (relative tone naming), or as designations of the root tones mean fixed pitches (absolute tone naming).

Singing the notes with their (absolute) note names becomes Clave or Abecedieren called.

A list of the most important tone word methods can be found in the appendix to this chapter. => Appendix tone word methods

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[5] Keyboard

The key series corresponds to the C major scale and is played on the keyboard with the white keys (sub-keys).

The black keys (upper keys) are arranged in groups of two and three; to the left of the group of two is the key for the main tone c.

Fig. [5] -1 Keyboard: arrangement of the keys - position of the root tones

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[6] Octave ranges

The series of root tones is repeated as soon as it has been run through from c to b.

After seven main tones appears as the eighth (octave) a tone that sounds very similar to the original tone (Octave phenomenon). It bears the same name and appears acoustically lighter (upper octave) or darker (lower octave).

Successive root tones - starting with c - each belong to an octave range. All tones of an octave range are given their designation as an affix to their name. (Fig. [6] -1)

The series of root tones through the octave ranges is theoretically infinite. The hearing range of the human ear, however, sets limits (tonal space). Musically useful are about 7 1/2 octaves. They have the following names - starting from the bottom:




Subcontra octave

Capital letter + 2

A2 (or 2A)

A pipe organ can produce lower tones, but these are usually combined with the same tone of the higher octave


Capital letter + 1

D1 (or 1D)

Great octave

Capital letter


Small octave

Lowercase letter


Dashed octave

Lowercase + 1

c1 (i.e. c1)

Two-stroke octave

Lowercase + 2

e2 (i.e. e2)

Three-stroke octave

Lowercase + 3

h3 (i.e. h3)

Four-stroke octave

Lowercase + 4

f4 (i.e. f4)

Five-stroke octave

Lowercase + 5

c5 (i.e. c5)

Only the root note c is used here. Some instruments can produce higher tones, but the timbre becomes ambiguous, as the partial tones are sometimes already beyond the audible range.

The range of human -> voices (soprano, alto, tenor and bass) is in the range from the major to the two-stroke octave.

In the past, dashes (actually Roman numerals) were added to the tone letter, which indicated the octave range (hence the designations "-stroke" etc.): e.g. c ′ (c1), e ′ ′ (e2), h ′ ′ ′ (h3), f ′ ′ ′ ′ (f4), cV (c5).

in the American the octave ranges (according to the USA Standards Association):

C2 = C0, C1 = C1, C = C2, c = C3, c1 = C4, c2 = C5, c3 = C6, c4 = C7, c5 = C8

For organs and harpsichords, Contra-C was previously designated with CCC, capital C with CC and small c with C.

In the MIDI terminology the tones are numbered from 0 to 127:

C3 = 0, C2 = 12, ..., c1 = 60, c2 = 72 ... g6 = 127

Fig. [6] -1 musically usable pitch range that can be represented with violin and bass clef (corresponds to the pitch range of the piano) - designation of the octave positions

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© 2005 Everard Sigal