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Pitch naming conventions, Helmholtz

Hermann von Helmholtz (1821-1894) was a German physicist who developed conventions for naming pitches and designate specific octaves using upper- or lower-case letters and a series of primes. When applied to standard tunings of stringed instruments, Helmholtz conventions can considerably reduce ambiguity. Using the most common format, the octave c'-b' begins on middle C. Octaves above add primes, and those below lose primes and move to upper-case designations. Some practical examples of standard tunings:

mandolin: g-d'-a'-e"
mandola/mandoliola: c-g-d'-a'
octave mandolin/mandola (in Europe): G-d-a-e'
mando-cello/mandoloncello: C-G-d-a
bass/mando-bass: EE-AA-D-G
guitar: E-A-d-g-b-e'

Authored by: Eugene Braig

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