Pitch is vibration.
Pitch is measured by frequency and expressed in terms of
cps (cycles per second) or Herz. The human ear can
differentiate between frequencies ranging from about 20 to
What is pitch?
Intervals are proportions.
Pythagoras and the blacksmith
"A famous discovery is attributed to Pythagoras...
that the central musical concords (the octave, fifth
and fourth) correspond to the whole number ratios
2:1, 3:2 and 4:3 respectively.
One story has it that Pythagoras passed by a
blacksmith's shop and heard the concords in the
sounds of the hammers striking the anvil and then
discovered that the sounds made by hammers
whose weights are in the ratio 2:1 will be an octave
apart, etc." (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy).
Just intonation requires deviation from "absolute" pitch.
Equally tempered Third (5:4) Fourth (4:3) Fifth (3:2)
G 392.0 B 490.0 C 522.7 D 588.0
A 440.0 D 586.7 E 660.0
B 493.9 E 658.5
C 523.3 E 654.1 F 697.7 G 784.9
D 587.3 G 783.1 A 881.0
E 659.3 A 879.0 B 988.9
Frequency (in Herz)
Early notation is used only as a memory aid.
The earliest musical notation indicates rhythm and melodic contour, but not exact pitch.
It is impossible to learn a song from this notation alone without having someone who
knows it teach it to you.
Bibliothèque municipale de Laon, Manuscript 239 (9th or 10th century).
Guido names the notes of the major hexachord.
UT queant laxis
Hymn to St. John the Baptist. Melody attributed to Guido of Arezzo