Sunday, October 1st, 2023

Frequency Table – Acoustics of Music – Part 4


Main Article Photo - Frequency Table

Scales in Music – A Tonal System

Acoustics of Music – Part 4

Frequency Table

Continuing our series about the Acoustics of Music, we are proceeding here with a very cool chart, the Frequency Table, showing the frequencies of sound commonly associated to music in general.

The frequency table shown below provides the pitch name and its’ associated numerical frequency for all notes over a span of eight full octaves. The frequency values spanning the whole chart range from 16 Hz to 7902 Hz.

Frequency Table

Eight Octave Note Values - Frequency TablePlease Left Click on the Table for Easier Viewing

Note: Decimal places were not used when producing the chart so there may appear to be slight differences in some of the frequency values as shown.

About the Frequency Table

All of the tone frequencies, used in this table are within normal hearing range for most people. All twelve tones in each column are within the chromatic scale, top to bottom.

The octave levels are represented by the numbers 0 through 8 running from left to right across the top row. Only one octave is in each column.

All of the frequencies shown in red are representing notes that have been raised by a half step. They could have also been marked using the flat symbol lowering them a half step from the note immediately above them. These tones are known as enharmonic notes and we will be reviewing them in an upcoming article within the Scales in Music – a Tonal System overall article series.

There is only a half step between the notes E and F. Also, there is only a half step between the B and C notes which is not shown in the table of frequencies.

A point of significance is the discovery that even though the note names remain the same in each column and for each octave their respective frequencies change as the octave changes in each row.

Let’s look at the middle C note with a frequency of 262 Hz, at the 4th octave level.  Notice that as we move from left to right into the next octave the frequency level changes. When comparing octave 4 to octave 5, the frequency doubles, from 262 Hz to 523 Hz. Also, when comparing octave 3 to octave 4, the frequency is again doubled from 131Hz to 262 Hz. The rule of thumb regarding frequency values is, as you increase the frequency into the next octave you double its frequency rate.

This fully explains the similarities in the overall perceived sound of two notes exactly an octave apart. Although there are other qualities to the sound that help us to delineate between them, we hear the two notes as sounding similar in their basic nature.

We will be discussing the octave in more detail later in this series. For now we hope that you have understood the reason why two notes an octave a part sound similar to the ear even though they are two distinct and different frequency rates.

In addition to this table of frequency, Part 5 of the Acoustics of Music article series continues with a basic understanding and introduction to the Fast Fourier Transform. The FFT meter is a unique tool for looking at sound frequencies in a very close up fashion. It also enables us in making observations of multiple frequencies as well.

Please continue to Part 5 of the Acoustics of Music series. It is titled Fast Fourier Transform.

Mini Series Links

To return to the Music Theory – Level 1 directory for the article listings within the series, please proceed to Music Theory Section – Level 1 – Series Introduction – Part 10.

To continue onto Music Theory – Level 2 directory for the article listings within the series, please proceed to Music Theory Section – Level 2 – Series Introduction – Part 20

To continue to Acoustics of Music directory for the listings within the mini-series, please proceed to Acoustics of Music – Part 1 – Series Introduction.

The Frequency Table was produced using MS Publisher. MS Publisher is a product of the Microsoft Corporation.

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