The musical scale

The most basic elements of music are pitch and rhythm. The pitch of a sound is how high or low we hear its frequency. Pitch corresponds closely to frequency, but pitch is also a matter of perception. The way you hear a pitch can be affected by the sounds you hear immediately preceding, along with, and just after a note. Rhythm is the repeating time pattern in a sound. Rhythm can be loud or soft: tap-tap-TAP-tap-tap-TAP-tap-tap-TAP. Rhythm can be made with sound and silence or with different pitches. Read the text aloud
Although styles vary, all music is created from carefully chosen patterns of frequencies of sound called musical scales. Each frequency in a scale is called a note. The diagram below shows some of the notes on a piano along with their frequencies. There are eight primary notes in the Western musical scale, which correspond to the white keys on the piano. Read the text aloud Show Why are the black keys needed?
Frequencies for notes in just tempered and equal tempered scales
The range between a frequency and twice that frequency is called an octave. Notes that are an octave apart in frequency share the same name because they sound similar. An 88-key piano can play notes across a little more than seven full octaves, corresponding to a frequency range from A-27.5 Hz to high C-4186 Hz. Read the text aloud
Frequency ranges for various musical instruments
The ratios of the scale were discovered in the sixth century BC by Pythagoras, whose mathematical analysis of sound forms the basis of Western music. Look at the frequencies in the top figure: All of the frequencies are spaced apart such that none make unpleasant beats with another and none of their harmonics make beats with the harmonics of other notes! Since the mid-18th century, however, Western music has adopted the equal tempered scale, containing frequencies that deviate slightly from these perfect ratios. Read the text aloud Show Equal-tempered scale

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