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pitch class notation

Page history last edited by Andrew Alder 10 years, 10 months ago


If I say a guitar standard tuning is E - A - D - G - B - E it's not actually wrong. Rather it's just giving the pitch_class of each string, instead of the actual pitch. It may even be the best way of describing the tuning in some contexts.


If I give the tuning of a twelve string guitar as E - A - D - G - B - E, just listing the pitch classes of the courses rather than the strings, that's not wrong either. But it lacks a lot of information. There are at least three different and important twelve string tunings that all fit this rather loose description: Standard, Rickie 360/12, and Unison G. For many purposes, it's enough, but if for example you want to recreate the sound of the Byrds, you won't get it right on a standard tuned twelve string.  


A similar problem occurs with lute tunings, and it's probably more important, as many lute players are very interested n authenticity.


Many websites give pitch class tunings, and it's better than nothing. In some contexts it's all the information that is required. But we suspect that sometimes it's because the site authors don't know the exact tuning themselves.


And we plead guilty to this too. We'd prefer to provide accurate pitch-class-only data than dodgy guesses.


If you can fill in any gaps, please do!


External links




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