Simply put, concert pitch refers to the specific pitch range that a band of instruments are tuned to for a given performance. Concert pitch can vary greatly from band to band and is different for each instrument in a given performance. The pitch of a string instrument can be different from that of an electric guitar, for example, or the low E can differ from the high E. This means that if you want to learn how to play great concerts, there are a few things you need to keep in mind.
First of all, it is important to know what a concert pitch is not. A concert pitch is not a measure of how much of the musical piece is performed in one octave. Rather, it is a general guideline so that the conductor and performers know which notes to play at certain times. In short, it’s a “rule” rather than an exact science. So don’t be discouraged if your notes run the complete length of the scale – this is common.
But how does this have any relevance to playing great concerts? Well, knowing what a certain note is corresponds to having the ability to recognize the specific pitches necessary to play the piece correctly. It means you’ll be able to play the piece “on the nose” (a flat note) or at level (over an E flat). Just by being familiar with these notes, you can skip parts or even entire songs you’re unfamiliar with. Of course, knowing the whole song (or parts of it) won’t be much help unless you know the notes as well – and that’s where the concert pitch comes into play.
Basically, a note – or a series of notes – make up a chord. The notes of a chord are always in order from lowest to highest. So, for instance, the bass note – E – makes up the first string of a chord. Next, the treble notes – G, A, D and so on – make up the second string. And, lastly, the tone (the highest note) makes up the third string.
Now, what does this have to do with what is a concert pitch? Well, by memorizing the chord and the melody, you’ll be able to recognize which notes should go where when you play the piece. For instance, if you were singing the melody of a song, then you wouldn’t play the bass note with your left hand, but the treble notes with your right. Likewise, the higher notes would not be played with the index or middle fingers, but the palms of your hands. When you look at the musical score, it will help you see the relationships between the notes. In other words, it will show you which notes are in what positions.
This may seem confusing, but I’ll make it easier to understand. If you look at the musical score, you’ll see that the scale (the circle) that appears above each note is a perfect circle, so that all of the notes play on the same plane. Now, if you look at each note, you’ll see that it is played on its own plane, as opposed to the perfect circle. As a result, the notes will be played in different places on the fretboard, making the notes sound differently than they would if they were all played on the same plane.
So, what is a concert pitch – what it is, why it matters, and how it can be used to your advantage. To answer the question posed above – what is a concert pitch – we have to turn to theory. In order to understand what a concert pitch is, you need to look at how different notes are figured in a scale. There are twelve notes in a scale, so that means there are two hundred and sixty-six possibilities. Theoretically, one could sit down and learn all of the notes on the piano, but most people don’t have that much time.
One of the best ways to learn them all is to play them on the piano. This gives you a physical way of figuring out how each note should be played, and your hands will feel much better for doing this than trying to memorize the entire piano book. Practice, and more practice are what is needed to become really good at playing. The more you practice, the faster you’ll get!