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  1. Steve Joslin
  2. MIDI Specifications
  3. Wednesday, 02 May 2018
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Hello -

I’m curious if anyone knows WHY the MIDI note numbering includes sub-audio frequencies? I’m thinking this had to do with LFOs but I might be wrong.
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MIDI Note numbers fundamentally have nothing to do with the pitch. A Note Number can be used to trigger a drum sound, a light, an event in a theme park or in a lot of cases a note on a piano keyboard. But even that Note Number which plays a note on a piano keyboard and may be identified as C3 does not tell you what the actual pitch the tone generator is going to play. Almost all keyboards that also have a tone generator have the possibility to offset the pitch in semitones (half-steps) and by cents (100th of a semitone).

Although it is convenient to have a table that equates MIDI note numbers to pitch like the one here MIDI Tuning, it is really only for those cases where there is nothing else modifying the pitch of the TG and the synthesis engine is perfectly tuned.

It is better to think of the MIDI Note number as an event index than a specific pitch.

If the MIDI note number is triggering a white noise sound, what is the pitch? There isn't one.
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  2. MIDI Specifications
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