What's the highest note/chord vs lowest

What note typically is considered the lowest? And what the highest?

Is there even an order? On guitar it’s normally the low E string, on keyboard it’s C.

But if we were to put the notes on paper, ignoring an instruments octaves. What would the order be? And why?

Not sure if I understood your question correctly. Or even sure I didn’t understand… Of course there’s an order. Let’s put it this way – note considered lowest is the one which has the lowest frequency (in Hz). And what keyboard are you talking about? For instance, the lowest note on my 88-key digital piano is A and it’s very low. I doubt I’ve ever used it in my playing.

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Right but if we ignore instruments. And just stick to theory, what would be the lowest.
Is it always C? As thats what theories based around right? C major scale.

The notes rise in pitch, so what’s the lowest or first note?

Musical notes are cyclic in log-frequency with a periodicity of note(freq) = note(freq*2n). In other words they repeat infinitely, in theory. So your question doesn’t have an answer. It’s like asking what’s the largest number.

I suppose you could say that the highest/lowest note corresponds to the highest/lowest frequency you can hear, but that makes it dependent on the person asking the question.


It is considered that the lowest frequency human ear perceives as a pitch is about 16 Hz. (That’s lower than amount of notes per second some guitarists play.) So 16 Hz may be the lowest note for those who really perceive it as a pitch. (And yes, 16.35 Hz seems to be very low C note according to frequency table I’ve just looked up.)

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Here’s one example of an online tone generator, which, while imperfect, can give you a rough idea of your perception of different pitches. Personally, with a sine wave, I can detect differences between notes down to about 35Hz, but they only sound “musically useful” to me from about 65Hz and up. With a square wave, I can go lower.



Theory tends to address things like lower interval limits with regards to usability, but not so much extremes. What is your use case? Your question seems relevant to music software and instrument development, but not so relevant to everyday theoretical hurdles…

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Good info, thank you.

I know this might be a historical question.
If you were to teach someone the note names, is it important to start on C and not the more logical A?

Anyone wondering in future:

The lowest note is such that frequency = 1/(age of the universe) :sweat_smile:


NASA says it’s Bb. Probably some dang aliens playing their interstellar doom metal too loud :alien::guitar: https://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/universe/black_hole_sound.html


I often start teaching with A, especially for piano lessons just because it gives them a mnemonic aid. This just helps them memorise the notes before I introduce any music theory.

The order should make sense, unfortunately I live in a part of the world that is still in the dark ages in terms of music theory. So they have the nonsensical order of A (B) h C D… to learn. I still think it helps to start with A though.


H? What form of theory is that?

It’s common in german-spoken regions, maybe surroundings, but I donÄt know about that.

The myth says, that some monk misspelled the letter b as an h while copying some literature (while I find this explanation quite improbable).

Yes, I’m in Norway, and I think its used in Scandinavia in general at least.

Way back in the day, Gregorian chants had 8 notes in the scale, A, Bb, B, C, D, E, F, and G. It’s actually a bit more complicated than that but it boils down to 8 notes. Back then what we call “Bb” today the monks called “B” and “B” was called “H”. The H stuck around in some parts of Europe.

It’s also where we get the flat and natural symbols. Bb was used in the soft hexachord and was notated with ♭ and in the hard hexachord it was notated with ♮.


Dane here, can confirm!

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Sine waves are like needles. Square waves comprise a set of many needles of decreasing height. Might not “see” that 20hz needle in a square wave, but you will likely feel some of its other component needles that appear in audible range. Careful with those needles!

So each note has a number next to it that most people don’t know about, and that number gives the octave of the note, you can see it here:

So a guitar can get you roughly E2 to E6. The famous “middle [of a piano] C” is C4, you can see that it fits on a guitar, but not the lower and higher notes of a piano, many fall off. Lots of common instruments are here, and you can directly compare them to see where they overlap:


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