A Physicist’s Introduction to the Piano Keyboard and Western Scales Allen Hermann The figure below shows a portion (one octave) of the piano keyboard. The frequency ratio of the C’ to C is exactly 2, and this portion is called an octave because there are 8 “white” notes in this portion. The keyboard repeats this pattern of notes above and below this octave (i.e. the octave is the smallest repeat unit of the keyboard). The “interval” D to C specifies a ratio of the frequencies fD/fC, and is called a second (since D is the second note of this octave) That of E to C is a third, F to C a fourth, etc. Intervals outside this octave ,e.g. the D’ (above C’) to the C continue this nomenclature , and this interval would be called a ninth. The black note between C and D is called either C# (C sharp)or Db( D flat). The black note between D and E is either a D# or Eb. These notes (e.g. C#, Db) have the same frequency in the “tempered scale” (described below). Adjacent notes ( black to white or white to white)are called
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Enharmonic, Musical instrument, Major scale, Semitone, Perfect fifth, Musical keyboard