Academic Writing

Features of Academic Writing

Introduction - Exercise

Text 5

Introduction to Pitch

2/1 Pitch names and notation

Playing any note on a piano produces a fixed sound. The sound gradually fades away, but it does not go up or down. Music is made up from fixed sounds such as this.

Many instruments (including all the stringed instruments and the trombone) are capable of producing an infinite number of fixed sounds between any two notes on a keyboard, with only minute differences between them. It is the same with the human voice. But in practice all instruments, and singing voices too, normally use only the particular notes of the keyboard. When a player such as a violinist 'tunes' his instrument, he is trying to find exactly the one fixed sound he wants. All the other notes in the music will be placed in relation to this one note.

If one note is played on the keyboard and then another note is played anywhere to the right of it, the sound of the second note is said to be higher than that of the first. A note to the left of it would produce a lower sound. In the same way men's voices are said to be lower than those of women or young boys. The technical word referring to the height or depth of sound is pitch.

On the keyboard, groups of two black notes alternate with groups of three black notes. This makes it easy to distinguish between the white notes, which are given the letter names from A to G. A is always between the second and third of the group of three black notes. After G comes A again.

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