Understanding Scientific Pitch Notation

What is Scientific Pitch Notation?

Scientific pitch notation gives numbers to pitches to help us work out where they are in the spectrum of human hearing. If you know music theory at all, you’ll know there’s not just one type of C – there’s many.

C ‘Zero’ or C0 is theoretically the lowest C normally available to human hearing (not entirely true but basically). As such, that’s where our counting starts from. All the notes above C0, until we get to the next C are given the number 0 – e.g. ‘D0’ and ‘E0’.. etc.

So why is middle C c4?

Every subsequent C is then given a new a higher number and all the numbers following after to that are given that number. Middle C is 4 octaves above the low C and is therefore given the number 4. So middle c is in the 4th octave above C0 and is therefore called C4.

Watch the video above and it should give you a good overview of the concepts of scientific pitch notation. If you wanna go super geeky – go to Wikipedia.