# Frequency of musical notes

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Is there anyway to get the frequency of notes (from a midi or wav)? Through matlab or other softwares perhaps?

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That depends; do you have a midi/wav that contains a set of frequencies, and you just want to approximate them to notes? Or do you have a song you want to make sheet music for? Because I'm pretty sure the latter is impossible; the same note on a guitar, piano, and trumpet will be very different when looking at the frequencies; while the note is the same, the sound is completely different. The former should be possible, but I'm not aware of any software that does this, and if there is anything like that I'm pretty sure it wouldn't be for free. A third option arises if you actually know the frequencies in question. You can then just use a simple chart to convert them to notes. A Google search for "frequency of notes" turned up a bunch of them. Or, if you're fluent in a programming language, you can try and make your own piece of software, although I have no idea how hard that would be.

Cheers,

Gabe

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The frequency of tenes are on each instrument the same. For example, the frequency of "A" is something about 446 Hz. (musical instruments are sometimes "harmonised" by pitchfork (Gabe, please explain how it works, i can't do it )

Try google, but the point is that each "A" played on guitar, piano, marimba or something has the same frequency. The diffrence of sound is in Czech called "tone color" and I really don't know what causes that...

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I am sorry, I meant right but explained wrong; must have been completely out of it when I wrote that.

The frequencies are of course the same; frequency = vibrations per second. I guess the difference in sound is caused by the difference of the materials that are vibrated. That said, all you have to do is extract the frequencies from the MIDI/Wav, which I have no idea how to do but which shouldn't be that complicated, and then, as I said before, just compare the frequencies with a chart, alternatively using a program such as this. I couldn't find a program that does both of these things at once, but maybe a more thorough search will yield better results.

Cheers, and my apologies for the rubbish I wrote once more,

Gabe

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There should be a way to do it; display the sound as amplitude vs time and do a Fourier transform.

Since none of the sounds represents a pure tone, there will be harmonics as well — this is what differs between the sources, and is also what allows a synthesizer to recreate (to some extent) those sounds.

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Petanquell, most bands and orchestras tune A at either 440 or 442 hertz. (I think I remember hearing that 442 is more common in Great Britain) Not all instruments have the same frequencies for the same notes, especially for band instruments. For example, I think a b-flat on most trumpets is the same as a c on a piano. (The thing in the picture is called a "tuning fork," and you use it to "tune" your insturment. Harmonizing is something entirely different.

paganinio, I know that audacity has some frequency spectrum analysis tools. If the audio file is of a single instrument, you will probably be able to do it, otherwise, it may be very difficult to do anything, especially with a lot of drum sounds in it.

The best way is probably to use a tuner and a good ear.

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Officially, or at least according to wiki, it's 440, but i see in the United States and United Kingdom it's 442 (wiki:"19th and 20th century standards"). It surprised me..

Back to frequencies, I've never played on trumpet but violin, vibraphone and bass have the same frequencies. I'll ask our conductor, in our orchestra we tune all instruments (including tumpets and flutes) by one "A", but i really don't know, which button are trumpetists pressing...

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A deep and cool subject. I have practiced piano tuning and rebuilding for more than thirty years. The real-life answer depends on what instrument you are trying to refer to. All have differing scales and inharmonicity. We can also talk in pure scales, with like A440 Hertz, and C is 523.3 if I remember correctly my C-fork. The equal temperament divides the twelve notes of half-steps in one octave, into equal fractional changes. An octave is a doubling of frequency (half the wavelength), so each half-step is multiplying the frequency by the twelfth root of two. This is close to 1.06. Go mulitply. NORM ALBERS, PIANO TECHNICIAN

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http://www.celemony.com/cms/index.php?id=dna

I'd suggest finding something that can do a FFT spectrogram and running the music through it. I've used baudline before on Linux.

However, if there are several instruments playing at once, the picture may be too "cloudy" for you to really tell what's happening.

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Tone color is the specific mix of frequencies that a certain instrument creates. Pluck a guitar string at a different point, nearer the bridge, say, and you excite a particular set of harmonics. Closer to the center you pluck a more mellow tone with fewer high harmonics. Instrument such as the piano have notable inharmonicity because the strings have notable thickess. This spreads apart the otherwise numerically exact relations I mentioned above, where octaves are exactly twice is frequency. This is why two pianos of different lengths cannot be played together. Once I tuned a nine-foot (!!!) grand for a George Winston concert. The last piece in the first set was a duet with guitarist Will Ackerman. Most unfortunately he tuned his guitar a little flat compared with the piano's midsection. The fact is the upper octaves on the piano are quite a bit higher that 2,4,8, 16. Oppositely, guitars have thin strings and much less inharmonicity. They sounded terribly out of tune, and everyone heard it. I spoke to Winston backstage and he tried to lay it on me. I immediately checked the piano and there was nothing out of tune. I wrote him a letter. These are the hassles of high-line work.

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• 3 weeks later...

Here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piano_key_frequencies

And should be the same for all instruments.

Japanese and some oriental instruments are tuned at different frequencies; this site may be of particular interest for your signature:

http://www.math.nus.edu.sg/aslaksen/gem-projects/maa/Early_Mathematics_in_Chinese_Musical_Scale/index.htm

Edited by Externet
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Now realize the wide possibilities. Vocalists and fretless string players are quite free to detail the pitch of notes other than open strings. Consider the major third interval. In the tempered scale there is a beat in the 5/4 partial which is 6-7 per second just below middle C. I hear many performers seeking naturally the more pure beatless interval which is quite a lot lower than the tempered in the third. This is part of the glory of real music: there are built-in beats which are indeed vibrato and then again there is all the hopefully tasteful chaos of the symphony orchestra. Great writers like Beethoven knew when they wanted to score one, two, or three clarinets or whatever, playing the same note. The listing by Externet is a mathematical virtual piano. Now think about guitars and how you place the bridge exactly according to how the harmonics, especially the octave, relates to the fretted octave. However much inharmonicity there is in the guitar string will make the frequency of the freely vibrating "harmonicked" note actually a little higher than 2.000 but you will not care. You are establishing the most harmonius scale in the ranges of that one instrument. Now think about a bass guitar, with really thick strings. Quite wild!

Edited by Norman Albers
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• 5 weeks later...

I have a table of frequencies posted on my website, with MIDI note numbers, musical name, instrument ranges, etc.

Frequency Table

Is that what you were looking for?

If you have a MIDI file, you can simply load it into a music notation program (I think Finale has a free version), and look at the notes directly (you can get frequencies off the table in the link above). If you're trying to decode a WAV file, there are programs for this too. I think Finale comes with Autoscribe, which will take a microphone input and transcribe it into musical notation (my guess is that it would also work with a recorded file). I suspect that Autoscribe does not come with the free version...

Enjoy,

Grant

Edited by GDG
Clarifying

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