Robert Estrin - piano expert

What is middle C?

Learn the secret behind the middle C location on the piano

In this video, Robert tells you about the middle C and why it is so called.

Released on May 3, 2017

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DISCLAIMER: The views and the opinions expressed in this video are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Virtual Sheet Music and its employees.

Video Transcription

So what is going on here? Why do they call this Middle C when it's not the middle of the piano and it's not the middle C of the piano?

Welcome to LivingPianos .com, I'm Robert Estrin. And the subject today is Why Middle C Isn't Middle C. What am I talking about? Have I gone off the deep end? Well, no, I'm going to prove it to you right now.

That's not Middle C, but that is the middle of the piano. Did you ever realize that? Well, you might say, well, it's the middle C of the piano. Here again.

These are both Middle C, aren't they? So what is going on here? Why do they call this Middle C when it's not the middle of the piano and it's not the middle C of the piano? Well, generally, it kind of is. So while it's not technically the middle of the piano and it's not technically the middle C on the piano, it is about the middle of the piano where the closest C occurs. So it kind of is Middle C. More than that, if you go back to the 1870s, even the 1880s, and certainly before then, the piano ended up here.

The highest note was A on the piano. And indeed then, if you score with all the Cs, that would be Middle C. So it sort of is Middle C, but if you ever thought that Middle C is the middle of the piano, now you might want to adjust where you sit. You should be sitting here in the middle of the piano. Not that this makes a big difference, but it could make a little bit of a difference lining yourself up between E and F, because indeed this is the middle of your piano, and these are two of the Middle Cs, but this C is closer to the middle. So I guess it is Middle C after all. How do you all feel about this? Did you all realize this before? I'm interested in the comments here on livingpianos .com and YouTube. Again, Robert Estrin at, your online piano resource. Thanks for subscribing and ringing the bell. We'll see you next time.

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Comments, Questions, Requests:

peter campisano * VSM MEMBER * on August 30, 2017 @9:23 am PST
what is the name of the introductory music you open and close your videos with? can you post a copy of the music?
you are a great teacher.
many thanks
Robert - host, on August 31, 2017 @12:34 pm PST
The opening theme is something I composed for Virtual Sheet Music. I based the composition on the short intro I play at the beginning of many of the videos. Glad you like it! I haven't transcribed the music. I simply sat down at the piano and played it. I will probably notate this at some point when I have time.
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