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Pitch (music)

perceptual property in music

In music, the pitch of a note means how high or low the note is. In physics, it is measured in a unit called Hertz. A note that is vibrating at 261 Hz will be caused by sound waves that vibrate at 261 times a second. This will be Middle C on the piano.

Not all musical instruments make notes of a certain pitch. Many percussion instruments like drums, triangles and cymbals are instruments used for rhythms. They do not play tunes because they have no definite pitch (although often a definite pitch can just be heard when listening carefully.)

Some musicians have a sense of absolute pitch or perfect pitch. This means that they always know what note is being played, even without comparing it to another note. Having a sense of absolute pitch does not necessarily make someone a good musician, although it can be very useful.

There is evidence to suggest that well-known composers of classical music, such as Haydn, Beethoven, Mozart, and Bach, had developed and perhaps even mastered their sense of pitch.

Pitch is often confused with frequency. Frequency is used as a scientific means for measuring and changing sound and its possible pitches, though pitch is used to describe a more psychological phenomenon.

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