Comparing Harmonic Similarity Measures Using Extracted Chord Features and Ground-Truth Data


Overview of Music and Computation


A Primer on Western Music Theory

Notes: The Basic Building Block

In music, a note is the most basic element. A note is based on pitch, a subjective and perceptual property. Though the pitch of a note is closely related and usually resembles its objective physical frequency (as measured in Hertz, or cycles per second, of a waveform), pitch differs in that its semantic meaning is derived from the listener. This distinction can be demonstrated with a visual analogy used by Terheardt(Terhardt 1974) in figure \ref{fig:virtualpitch2} in which the word PITCH is apparent even though the visual information suggests only shadow – a pitch can be heard even if its perceived frequency is not physically present. A note also consists of a duration.

[Terheardt’s visual pitch analogy]Terheardt’s visual pitch analogy. In this illusion, the eye perceives contours not present. Pitch describes the information received by a listener even if physical frequencies are not present.

Western music is based on a division of 12 distinct frequencies per octave. An octave is an interval, or distance between two frequencies, that corresponds to a power of 2 multiplication. Musical pitch is perceived in a logarithmic