Keyboard Notes By Frequency (Part 1)

As I’ve been away from the wonderful world of the Internet for a week, I’ve had some time to do a bit of writing. The fruits of this labour will be presented in their entirety before too long, but in the meantime I have devised a couple of reference charts that may be of some benefit to musicians/producers, particularly those interested in the arts of arranging, equalisation and mastering…
(from DAW)

Take Note Of Your Frequencies

Each musical note vibrates at a particular frequency; musicians tend to think of a song in terms of notes and chords, whereas a producer or mastering engineer might be more inclined to look at it in terms of frequencies.

Different instruments have different ranges in terms of the number and pitch of notes they can play. One of the keys of a good arrangement is to give each instrument its own space on the soundstage, without having too many instruments in the same register playing at once. Similarly, a good mix ensures that different sounds are not fighting each other for air within the same frequency range.

The most common frequency reference for notes is the A above middle C, also referred to as A4. This vibrates at a frequency of 440Hz. However, many of the other notes are not so roundly numbered and easy to remember, which is why I created this reference chart.

Keyboard Notes Frequency Chart

Knowing what fundamental frequencies are at work can be very useful when trying to clean up a messy mix. If you want to boost or cut a particular fundamental, then you may also want to turn your attention to the higher harmonics to treat the knock-on effects.

In equalisation terms, octaves 1, 2 and 3 occupy the low-end (30-250 Hz), where octave 1 comprises notes C1-B1, and so on. Octaves 4-7 then provide the mid-range (250Hz – 4kHz).

In this table, you can clearly see that the frequency of each note doubles as you go up an octave. For some more details on note frequencies, check out part 2 where I present an instrument frequency chart.


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