Interrelated Dimensions of Music: Pitch

Pitch is the word we use to describe how high or low a sound is.

The pitch of something is determined by how quickly it vibrates the air around it; sounds that are higher vibrate faster than sounds that are lower. We can put these pitches in an order that makes sense, like a major scale.

In written music the higher up on the stave the note is, the higher the pitch is, the lower the notes on the stave, the lower the pitch is.

Small instruments such as the piccolo play notes at the highest pitches.

Big Instruments like the tuba are instruments that play notes at the lowest pitches.

Other instruments such as the violin and the saxophone are medium sized instruments so will play the pitches in-between the higher and lower pitches.

When writing music, we tend to use a combination of higher, lower and middle pitches to construct melodies. We often think of these as moving by step to the next door note, or by leaps to notes further away. Try playing small steps and big jumps on your instrument and see what melodies you can make!

Listen out for sounds in your environment and think if they would be a high or low pitch. An ambulance siren or car horn will be a high pitch whereas the sound of moving traffic will be at a low pitch!

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