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Note names

The name of a note is used to designate the pitch of a sound.

Seven notes

There are 7 musical notes and several different conventions to name them. Here we discuss the essential elements to know.

Anglo-saxon convention

A B C D E F G

Anglo-Saxons use the first 7 letters of the alphabet to name the musical notes. This convention, prior to the Latin convention and resulting from Pope Gregory, is also used by Latin countries to name the chords and key signatures in jazz, rock and contemporary music.

KEYBOARD 1  - Anglo-saxon convention. The notes of the scale correspond to the white keys of a piano.
C B D D C E E D F F E G G F A A G B B A C C D D E F G G A A B C B D D C E E D F F E G G F A A G B B A C C D D E F G G A A B C B D D C E E D F F E G G F A A G B B A C C D D E F G G A A B C B D

The German system also uses the letters of the alphabet, but the H is used instead of B (si), the B being reserved for B flat (si ) (see table below).

Latin convention

do ré mi fa sol la si (do)

This convention, resulting from the religious music of the Middle Ages, is used in Latin-speaking countries (France, Italy, Spain, etc.) for all styles of music.

KEYBOARD 2  - Latin convention. The notes of the scale correspond to the white keys of a piano.
do si do mi mi fa fa mi sol sol fa la la sol si si la do do mi fa sol sol la la si do si do mi mi fa fa mi sol sol fa la la sol si si la do do mi fa sol sol la la si do si do mi mi fa fa mi sol sol fa la la sol si si la do do mi fa sol sol la la si do si

Going up and down. The note names above are given in the ascending direction, that is, from the bass to the treble. To make learning easier, it is important to know the notes in the ascending and descending directions: do si la sol fa mi ré do. Knowing the scale in both directions will help you accelerate your learning of reading notes.

Be careful, in Latin, the initial note is do, in letter, it is the A, which corresponds to la (see table below).

Tableau - Equivalences between the different names of musical notes.
LatinAnglo-saxonGerman
laAA
siBH
doCC
DD
miEE
faFF
solGG
laAA
siBH

Last update on 2018/12/03

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