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 what is a note

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Michael Green

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Join date : 2009-09-12
Location : Vegas/Ohio/The Beach

PostSubject: what is a note   Thu May 08, 2014 2:34 am

"The musical note is the basis of all music. A wide variety of instruments are manufactured to create sounds each with an individual timbre and color. Brass, woodwinds, strings, and even percussion instruments issue distinctive tones, but they all have one thing in common: the ability to emit a note."


A musical note is a single tone of a specified pitch that is sustained for a given duration. For example, pressing a single key on the piano and, assuming it is in tune, will sound a musical note and it's harmonics. Hold the piano key for a bit, and the note will sustain until it fades.

The pitch of the note is given a name, things like "Middle C" or "B-flat". A note is sound waves and their harmonic support system, caused by vibration, of a specified wavelength for the fundamental. The source of the vibration could be as diverse as a string (piano, guitar, violin), a reed (clarinet, sax),  or even lips against metal (trumpet, trombone, tuba). All materials that vibrate though have the potential of being a note maker.

looking inbetween the notes

Like so many hard and fast rules in the world, music has many exceptions to the absolute. some examples

Slurs and Slides - Musical notation allows for playing one note and moving to another in the same breath for wind instruments. This is sometimes called slurring. The physical construction of most wind instruments, though, usually prevents a truly smooth transition from one pitch to another. For those, a slur is more-or-less a breathless transistion between two notes.

A slide trombone, as its name implies, does not have this limitation. In fact, this unique feature of a trombone has been taken advantage of by many composers. The distinctive sound of the low brass slide is immediately recognizable, lending an air of anticipation to the listener as the dissonance resolves into a standard pitch.

Fretless stringed instruments, violins, violas, cellos, standup basses, etc., have similar abilities to slide into notes. If a musician's finger slides up or down a string while sounding a note (i.e. bowing or plucking the string), then a smooth transition between the two notes occurs. Like with the trombone, many composers take advantage of this ability to create a particular atmosphere or feeling to their composition.

A fret is raised strip on the fingerboard of a stringed instrument, used to terminate a string's vibration at a designed location rather than the finger itself.

The Bends - Any instrument with strings directly exposed to the musician lends itself to bending. This holds true for both fretted and fretless instruments, including guitars, violins, and cellos.

what about note sizes

There are different size notes even though technically they may read the same if being tested in frequencies. All instruments sound different from each other because of the physical characters each one possess. A violin for example can play the same note as a piano and sound different.

audio equipment

Stereos and other audio components also play notes. Like the musical instrument the parts used in components have there own unique sound. Larger parts sound different than smaller ones, and because of the wide range of materials used to make audio parts electronic components have different signatures. For example, set two amplifiers next to each other playing the same notes and they will sound different.

michael green
PH 702 762 3245
Email mgtune@yahoo.com
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