Singing Tips | Learn the Keyboard Numbering System

Today’s singing tip is fundamental to the vocal training process. Every note in music is identified by a “number”, which is actually a letter followed by a number. The letter is the musical note, such as B, or Cb, or F#. The number that follows indicates the octave for that note. So, for example, the first note in the first octave is C1.

One thing to note if you are a beginning singing or new to music is that, even though the seven notes in music are designated by the letters “A” through “G”, our musical system actually is designed to begin each octave on the letter “C”. It’s not the most logical system, but it’s been that way for so long, its never going to change./

Why is this important? Well, for starters, when we as students want to communicate with our coach, or the other way around, we need to have a way to refer to notes or ranges of notes that we sing in a way that removes confusion. If we refer to a note simply as “G”, we don’t know which “G” we are referring to. If I say that my long-term goal is to sing a G5 clearly and without stress or tension, there’s no ambiguity.

This also applies to when we watch videos with singing tips on Youtube, or communicate with other singers and voice coaches in online forums or social media sites. It’s also very useful when you have a collection of mp3 files to choose from when you are building your custom layouts. The mp3 files provided at Vocal Nebula, for example, are labeled with the lowest note and the highest note you will encounter in the exercise.

It doesn’t take long to learn. Have fun with it.

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