C Music Note: The Complete Complete Guide to The Note and Key 🎶

By Jade Bultitude
Last Update:

As one of the twelve notes in Western music, the C music note sits between B and C#/Db. Learn how to recognise C in different clefs, the different scales and modes that start on C and listen to famous songs that feature C prominently in their melodies.

C Note on The Staff

Middle C in treble clef

Here is probably the most common C you’ll see. It sits on the first ledger line below the treble clef and is also known as middle C.

Below are different Cs that you will see on the treble and bass clef. Remember that we can play C notes an octave higher or lower from middle C. This means that technically there are infinite C notes to choose from!

C music notes in treble and bass clef

Below are notes that are enharmonically equivalent to C. B sharp means one half-steps above B, which is a C natural. D double flat means two half steps below D, which is also C natural.

C music note, enharmonic equivalents

C Note on the Piano and Keyboard

C sits between the B (white key) and C# (black key) on the keyboard. The black keys move in groups of two then three. The C note is just before the first the black key in the groups of 2.

You might also remember it as the right key in one of the pairs of white keys without a black note in the middle of them. Just make sure you don’t mistake it for F!

Cs labelled on the piano

C Note Accidentals

We can add accidental signs to a C note and these are shown below. Remember that all these notes (with the exception of C natural) are not enharmonically equivalent to C.

C Music Notes in Different Clefs

Here are typical C notes that you will see in different clefs. Some are lower or higher and for more on how to name the different C notes, check out our post on octaves.

Treble Clef – C

Middle C in treble clef

This is middle C (C4), which sits on the first ledger line below the treble clef staff.

Bass Clef – C

C in bass clef

The C below middle C (C3) sits on the second space of the bass clef.

Alto Clef – C

Middle C in Alto Clef

Middle C (C4) sits on the middle line of the alto clef.

Tenor Clef – C

Middle C in Tenor Clef

Middle C (C4) sits on the fourth line of the tenor clef.

Mezzo- soprano – C

Middle C in mezzo soprano clef

Middle C (C4) sits on the second line of the mezzo-soprano clef.

Soprano Clef – C

C in soprano clef

Middle C (C4) sits on the first line of the soprano clef.

Baritone Clef – C

C music note in baritone clef

The C below middle C (C3) sits on the first space of the baritone clef.

Popular Scales starting on C

C Major

The major scale formula is W-W-H-W-W-W-H, where W= whole step and H = half step. Below is the C major scale.

c major scale

C Natural Minor

The natural minor formula is W-H-W-W-H-W-W. Below is the C natural minor scale.

c minor scale

C Harmonic Minor

The harmonic minor formula is W – H – W – W – H – W1/2 – H. Note that this scale has a three semitone step or a whole-step-and-a-half.

c harmonic minor scale, note labelled

C Melodic Minor

When ascending the melodic minor scale follows this pattern: W-H-W-W-W-W-H.

c melodic minor, ascending treble clef

When descending it follows the natural minor pattern.

c melodic minor, descending

Modes Starting on C

Below are the modes that start on C.

C modes

Frequency of C Music Note

Using the equal temperament tuning system, the A above middle C is 440 Hz. This means that middle C would be approximately 262 Hz.

frequencies for equal tempered scale C highlighted

Solfege G Note

solfege do = C

In the solfege system, the syllables Do, Re Mi, Fa, Sol, La, Si are used to refer to the notes names, C, D, E , F, G, A, B.

The C music note in solfege is referred to as ‘Do’,

What’s Next…?

Photo of author
Jade is a flute player and music educator with a passion for educating the next generation of musicians. She is a Masters Graduate from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. Jade has been helping people learn music theory for more than 10 years from pre school children all the way to degree level studies.