#1
So the first fret on the e string is an f note. But the first fret of the a d g are a# d# and g#, respectively. Same goes for the b string's first fret being a c note. Sorry im sure this is an elementary question but I just dont get it.
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#2
Well it is E# in some contexts, such as the key of F# major. But most of the time it's F natural because that's the note in the key.

Remember that the first fret of each string can also be called Bb Eb and Ab. What you call a pitch depends on the key and chord in which it appears. 
#3
cdgraves
Thats not really what im asking though. Im asking since its the first fret, that note would be a half step higher than an e, making it e#/fb. But instead it isnt the half step and is a full step higher
Country music sucks
#4
The difference between the B and C notes are only one semitone.. Same goes for the difference between E and F.. That goes all over the fret board, the notes will only be one fret apart. All the other notes are two semitones apart and are two frets apart.. That's why the frets in between will be sharps or flats
#5
Quote by CENSORED.
cdgraves
Thats not really what im asking though. Im asking since its the first fret, that note would be a half step higher than an e, making it e#/fb. But instead it isnt the half step and is a full step higher

There is only a half step between the notes E and F. A full step above E is F# (2nd fret).

It's the same same with B and C, which is why you wouldn't normally call the first fret of he B string B#, either.

There are only rare circumstances when you'll call that note E#. Again, the note name changes depending on the musical context. What you call any given pitch depends on the key and chord.
#6
Ok thanks for the explanations. I didnt realize that b to c and e to f were only a half step apart
Country music sucks
#7
Quote by CENSORED.
cdgraves
Thats not really what im asking though. Im asking since its the first fret, that note would be a half step higher than an e, making it e#/fb. But instead it isnt the half step and is a full step higher


note: i have a basic understanding of pythagoras, etc. in the development of 12TET, but this is less historically accurate and more a basic theory on why the conventions have stuck in the state they have. actual history buffs can correct me cause i'm definitely getting the semantics wrong

the short answer is, there are only 12 notes in western theory, but 7 are diatonic, so you have to skip 2 sharps (B->C and E->F) outside of contexts where the notes they precede diatonically are also sharp

similarly, part of the reason the circle of fifths revolves around the C major scale instead of A is because A440Hz is the frequency relative to which we tune, while C is simply harmonically digestible without getting into sharps and flats

it's just how notes work. like cdgraves said, in context, there can be E#, but unless the notes were only A-F or there were 14 tones in western music, not every note will default to being a sharpened version of itself when ascending semitones. it's somewhat arbitrary, but rooted in logic and convention.
modes are a social construct
#8
Quote by Hail
note: i have a basic understanding of pythagoras, etc. in the development of 12TET, but this is less historically accurate and more a basic theory on why the conventions have stuck in the state they have. actual history buffs can correct me cause i'm definitely getting the semantics wrong

the short answer is, there are only 12 notes in western theory, but 7 are diatonic, so you have to skip 2 sharps (B->C and E->F) outside of contexts where the notes they precede diatonically are also sharp

similarly, part of the reason the circle of fifths revolves around the C major scale instead of A is because A440Hz is the frequency relative to which we tune, while C is simply harmonically digestible without getting into sharps and flats

it's just how notes work. like cdgraves said, in context, there can be E#, but unless the notes were only A-F or there were 14 tones in western music, not every note will default to being a sharpened version of itself when ascending semitones. it's somewhat arbitrary, but rooted in logic and convention.


western theory...harmonically digestible..rooted in logic .. builds strong ears..even guitarist use it..great after school snack..12 tones and vitamins too..even the Beatles used it !!

harmonically digestible,,really...
play well

wolf
#9
Quote by Hail

similarly, part of the reason the circle of fifths revolves around the C major scale instead of A is because A440Hz is the frequency relative to which we tune, while C is simply harmonically digestible without getting into sharps and flats

Except the F instruments. And the Bb instruments. And the Eb instruments. And the Ab instrument(s). On those instruments C can get weird, except when it's actually Bb.

#10
the orchestra still tunes to A regardless of what key an instrument is built to naturally play
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Going up by fifths led to an approximation of 12 notes in total; the note distances are proportional in frequency and wavelength by approximation (then) and by definition (12TET, more or less. Waves can't exactly vibrate with an irrational frequency, however)

Note names start on A because Boethius' writings preserved this from the Greek (I need to learn more about the gap between ancient Greece and the Middle Ages). It used to be A-O (14 letters, no J); eventually, it was changed to A-G repeated twice (roughly - the octaves are all notated slightly differently)

People naturally held to 1-2 vocal octaves until the Middle Ages (read monophony in high music) from roughly A2-G4 as we know them (male voices only in the church). The range was extended down to G2 (notated as Greek symbol Γ - Gamma), and hexachords sung with the earliest ancestor of movable do were used. The three used were: G/hard hexachord, C/natural hexachord, F/soft, all with the intervals WWHWW (ut re mi-fa sol la: mi-fa is a half-step, the others a whole step). (for more info, see the Guidonian hand)

=> the half-step between B-C and E-F was generated ages ago, but the historical information of why is mostly lacking because of wars and document wear; it just is via preservation of status through the Church (which is where apprentices would go to hone their craft at the time).
#11
The simple answer is that diatonic scales have two discontinuities where adjacent pitches are only a half step (one chromatic step) apart rather than a whole step (two chromatic steps). This makes the step structure of diatonic scales have two "kinks" in them.

The names of the pitches could have been assigned in various ways, but the way that was selected allowed for a clever result. It is a kind of medieval data compression...


- the note names A B C D E F G are mapped to the spaces and lines of the staff
- the note names A B C D E F G are assigned to the diatonic scale degrees in such a way that each letter name occurs, and only once
- in order to force each letter name be used, and used only once, accidentals (sharps and flats) are used - the key signature

This means that a particular pitch may take multiple note names and may include accidentals... but if all the above is done, an amazing thing happens! All diatonic scales in all keys run strictly along alternating space - line - space - line... etc. on the written music staff. The discontinuities in the scales visually disappear and on the sheet music score all diatonic scales make straight diagonal lines of notes without any kinks, gaps, or jumps (no doubled marks on a space or line, and no missed spaces or lines).

This was done to make written music very very much easier to read. If you can understand that assigning the letter names of the notes to the staff's spaces and lines is one thing, and deriving the proper pitch for those note names comes from the key signature, then many quirks and artifacts of music terms and notation will make much more sense... the ancients that figured out all this were very clever.
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Last edited by PlusPaul at Jun 2, 2017,
#12
Just look at a keyboard and you'll see it. The two places on the keyboard in each octave that are not divided by a black key. They would be B to C and E to F. i always find music theory is easier to grasp when you see it on a keyboard.
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Last edited by Rickholly74 at Jun 3, 2017,
#14
CENSORED. A good way to visualize this is by using the keys of a piano. On the piano each key is one half step apart. As you can see there are no black keys between B and C and similarly E and F. 
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#15
Quote by CENSORED.
So the first fret on the e string is an f note. But the first fret of the a d g are a# d# and g#, respectively. Same goes for the b string's first fret being a c note. Sorry im sure this is an elementary question but I just dont get it.


It mostly starts with a piano -- oh, wait, DissonantTimbre just covered this.
The white notes are just notes. The black notes are sharps and flats. Sometimes people *refer* to a white note as a flatted or sharped note in order to maintain some kind of order when you're in a specific key, but that's a musical construct.
#16
Quote by PlusPaul
The simple answer is that diatonic scales have two discontinuities where adjacent pitches are only a half step (one chromatic step) apart rather than a whole step (two chromatic steps). This makes the step structure of diatonic scales have two "kinks" in them. blah blah blah blah more blah blah blah...


Wait. That was the "simple" answer?