Silly Question : Naming Notes, Numbering Octaves

Hey there. When I was a kid, I learned the notes as “do ré mi fa sol la si”. Later, I discovered that there is a widespread use of “A B C D E F G”. I can understand it is easier to remember, but I’ve wondered about two related things :

  1. The two notations doesn’t start from the same note, as “A == La” …
  2. … but the octaves are numbered starting from “C == Do” !

So you get something like

C1 D1 E1 F1 G1 A1 B1 C2 D2 E2 F2 G2 …

Which leads to the conclusion that B1 is actually a higher note than C1.

I’ve always thought “WTF !!??” about this. anyone has an explanation ?

edit: oh, sorry… that wasn’t what you asked. long day at work i guess :<

oh, and yes… it’s retarded. check all the variations of how it’s used across the world :

I guess it is to do with the piano layout and the fact that the major key which uses white notes only, is C Major.

Therefore it makes C a logical place to start when numbering octaves as it is the easier scale to follow.

I understand your point/ irritation fully though :)

If it makes you feel any better, when you start talking about written music, ‘c’ is middle c, and c1 is an octave above… ‘C’ is an octave below and ‘C.’ is an octave below that.

So at least you don’t have to deal with that.

I think pianos are the reason. Musical notation used A - G (starting from A) for voices & stuff in the early days, but pianos got build in “do ré mi fa sol la si” layers. So we are actually using the piano / “do ré mi fa sol la si” notation for octaves, while using the old names for the notes…

damn, wikipedia has some very interesting stuff on the subject. it looks like the “a b c” notation comes from ancient greece and was adopted by germans and anglo-saxons, while the “do ré mi” notation appeared during the 11th century.

in ancient greece, they were using a reduced number of octaves :

A B C D E F G a b c d e f g aa bb cc dd ee ff gg

and the “gamma” allows to express the notes below A.

but there is nothing about this inconsistency. I guess this is what happens when two standards collide … ^_^