Is a note the same on every instrument?

Home Ear Training Forums Ear Training Is a note the same on every instrument?

This topic contains 4 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of quintusvw quintusvw 3 years ago.

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    Profile photo of dayzd

    Okay this may sound like a really stupid question!

    But is a note the same on every instrument? Like if I play an A on my piano is that the same as an A on the guitar?

    I think it must be, but someone told me that in orchestras the different instruments have to tune up to different notes to sound the same.

    I’m asking because I want to start using computer software to write songs. Will I need to put each instrument in a different key to make them sound good?

    Profile photo of horn8287

    Hi there,

    This is not a stupid question! For someone who plays a concert pitch instrument, the idea of transposing instruments is very confusing.

    Basically, all “C” instruments like guitar, piano, strings, flute, oboe, etc. will sound the same pitch when they play A=440.

    There are a few different transposing instrument families:

    Bb instruments include clarinet and trumpet.

    Eb instruments include Alto Saxophone and Eb Clarinet (the smaller one).

    F instruments include the French horn and English horn.

    When you play C on the Bb trumpet, it sounds the same as a Bb on the piano. When you play C on an Eb saxophone, it’s the same pitch as Eb on the piano. Etc, etc.

    I hope this is helpful!

    Profile photo of trentvon

    I think the notes are the same in all instruments, just different names given to them due to tunnings.

    Profile photo of britanica

    Thanks for that horn! I had no idea. I was clicking on this hoping someone would explain it for me as I was wondering the same thing. I never though it was so simple. haha

    Profile photo of quintusvw

    I think Horn put it quite clear there. Another thing (things?) to remember is (are?) the following 3 points: Intervals – Timbre – Texture.

    These three concepts of music makes for what we come to enjoy about music. They tell the story that music keeps locked up inside itself. I hope this makes sense.


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