Use This Handy Chart of Note Frequencies and Instruments to Eliminate Background Noise From Your Mix


This article originally appeared on CD Baby's DIY Musician blog, and was written by Alex Andrews of Ten Kettles Inc. .

What's the frequency of C, and why should you care?

It's 261.6 Hz. Why would we ever need to know this? Well, there could be a few different reasons, but one has to do with mixing audio. When equalizing (EQing) an audio track, one common challenge is filtering out background noise – especially if the track was recorded with a microphone. Here's what the mic might be picking up:

  • The rumble of a streetcar or truck going by in the distance

  • An accidental knock of the microphone stand

  • A door closing somewhere in your building

Your best route to eliminating background noise is to cut it out at the source, but in many cases (barring time travel) that's just not possible. So we use an equalizer, or EQ, to lend a helping hand.

Take a guitar track, for example. What's the lowest sound you'd expect to come from a guitar? If it's in standard tuning, the lowest string is tuned to E2, which has a frequency of 82.4 Hz (see the table below). This means that any sound below ~80 Hz is not guitar. So, if we filter out everything below that frequency, we cut out the low noise (like the streetcar rumble) but keep all that great guitar sound. Not bad! The name for this kind of filter is a high-pass filter, because it lets all the high frequencies pass, and keeps out the low ones.

Below is a table of all the note frequencies, with the highest and lowest notes of various instruments highlighted. The first column is the octave number. For example, the low E string on a guitar is tuned to E2 – that’s E in the second octave.

NoteFreq. (Hz)Instrument

0C16.35

C♯/D♭17.32

D18.35

D♯/E♭19.45

E20.60Approximate lower limit of human hearing (increases with age)

F21.83

F♯/G♭23.12

G24.50

G♯/A♭25.96

A27.50

A♯/B♭29.14

B30.87Lowest note of a 5-string bass

1C32.70

C♯/D♭34.65

D36.71

D♯/E♭38.89

E41.20Lowest note of a 4-string bass

F43.65

F♯/G♭46.25

G49.00

G♯/A♭51.91

A55.00

A♯/B♭58.27

B61.74

2C65.41

C♯/D♭69.30

D73.42

D♯/E♭77.78

E82.41Lowest note of a guitar

F87.31

F♯/G♭92.50

G98.00Approximate low-end of male vocals (depends greatly on individual)

G♯/A♭103.8

A110.0

A♯/B♭116.5

B123.5

3C130.8

C♯/D♭138.6

D146.8

D♯/E♭155.6

E164.8

F174.6

F♯/G♭185.0

G196.0Approximate low-end of female vocals (depends greatly on individual)

G♯/A♭207.7

A220.0

A♯/B♭233.1

B246.9

4C261.6(Middle C)

C♯/D♭277.2

D293.7

D♯/E♭311.1Highest note of a 4 or 5-string bass

E329.6

F349.2

F♯/G♭370.0

G392.0Approximate high-end of male vocals (depends greatly on individual)

G♯/A♭415.3

A440.0

A♯/B♭466.2

B493.9

5C523.3

C♯/D♭554.4

D587.3

D♯/E♭622.3

E659.3

F698.5

F♯/G♭740.0

G784.0Approximate high-end of female vocals (depends greatly on individual)

G♯/A♭830.6

A880.0

A♯/B♭932.3

B987.8

6C1047Highest note of a 20-fret guitar

C♯/D♭1109

D1175

D♯/E♭1245

E1319

F1397

F♯/G♭1480

G1568

G♯/A♭1661

A1760

A♯/B♭1865

B1976

7C2093

C♯/D♭2217

D2349

D♯/E♭2489

E2637

F2794

F♯/G♭2960

G3136

G♯/A♭3322

A3520

A♯/B♭3729

B3951

8C4186

C♯/D♭4435

D4699

D♯/E♭4978

E5274

F5588

F♯/G♭5920

G6272

G♯/A♭6645

A7040

A♯/B♭7459

B7902

9C8372

C♯/D♭8870

D9397

D♯/E♭9956

E10,548

F11,175

F♯/G♭11,840

G12,544

G♯/A♭13,290

A14,080

A♯/B♭14,917

B15,804

10C16,744

C♯/D♭17,740

D18,795

D♯/E♭19,912Approximate upper limit of human hearing (decreases with age)

E21,096

F22,351

F♯/G♭23,680

G25,088

G♯/A♭26,580

A28,160

A♯/B♭29,834

B31,609

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