Root tone

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Schematic representation of a keyboard

The root tones in music are called C , D , E , F , G , A and H in the German-speaking area . They correspond to the notes of the C major - or a minor - scale . On the piano and similar keyboard instruments , the root tones correspond to the white keys.

There are semitone steps between E and F and between B and C , and whole steps between the other neighboring root tones . The tones in between correspond to the black keys on keyboard instruments. They are in German by appending -is and -es (see below exceptions) and in the name of the root sounds named notation by crosses ( ) and Be ( ) in (as dislocation or sign ).

Any root can

  • by a cross ( ) by a halftone increased ( Cis , Dis , ice , F sharp , G sharp , Ais , His ), or
  • be lowered by a semitone by a Be ( ) ( Ces , Des , Es ( not Ees) , Fes , Ges , As ( not Aes) , B (not Hes )).

In equal tuning , tones that sound the same can be denoted differently through enharmonic confusion and displayed differently in the note image (e.g. Cis - Des , but also H - Ces and His - C ).

When forming diatonic scales (e.g. major , pure minor, or modes ), each root note or a derivative of it must be present in the scale. The determination of an interval always starts from the root tones.

H and / or B

Since the Middle Ages and the music theory book Micrologus Guidonis de disciplina artis musicae by Guido of Arezzo a distinction was made between

  • the original B, which was written as a small angular b ( b quadratum ) and from which today's tone B developed, as well as

This was the beginning of the development of the and accidentals. Due to the different spelling from the b rotundum and the similarity with the letter h , the b quadratum spread as the tone name H in German , but also in West and South Slavic (with the exception of Bulgarian ), in Hungarian and Scandinavian countries. This development later solidified with the invention of the printing press .

In the Anglo-Saxon-speaking area, however, there was no such development, the B was retained (in the sense of the b quadratum ). Tone names in other languages therefore sometimes deviate very strongly from the German names.

Coexistence of the German and English note naming

While the German variant is still used in the classical area, in the rock / pop and jazz area there are various linguistic and written mixed variants between the German and the internationally used English variant, which - especially in music education practice - repeatedly causes confusion cares.

In many German plants, for example, the B is completely dispensed with, only H and B exist . Although this creates clarity within the works, the overall situation remains confusing, since the majority of the works in rock / pop and jazz are written in the international variant, where the B is used.

The written naming of the other signed tones in the international variant (F instead of F sharp, D instead of D flat , etc.), on the other hand, poses no problem, as there are no ambiguities.

See also

Web links