Annual Request: User-Defined Middle C

In the Cubase, the notes are primary named by numbers, from 0 to 127. So, you can be oriented by this.

In my opinion, middle C as C3, is standard.

But you can chenga the settings of Style name of MIDI notes. In the Preferences > Event Display > MIDI, you can choose:

  • MIDI
  • MIDI and Value
  • Classic
  • Classic (German).

Two last are musical, so there is no a3, for example, there is a’, what is great in my opinion.

Perhaps I wasn’t clear.

As just one example, if you look @ the MIDI keyboard in VSL, what they consider C4 is what appears as C3 in Cubase. This varies from VSTi devs: some say middle C is C4… some say it’s C3.

In their docs, they don’t use MIDI note #s to indicate keyswitches. They say C5, C#5, etc.

Since there’s almost no chance to convince all devs to standardise, it would be nice if Cubase had a Preference to
‘shift’ C3 up/down and octave so that the MIDI Editor in Cubase matches these plugs.

Of course, the bigger issue is a lack of standardisation on -many- such issues. It would be great if all these guys would get together for a ‘MIDI3 Summit’ and cooperate a bit more. A cure for cancer would be nice too.

But in the short run, I’d settle for this Preference.


Oh, you are right! In the VSL, it is moved. The C4 is the same, as C3 in Cubase.

I’m afrain, it’s not possible to change this in the Cubase. Maybye in the VSL? To be honest, I don’t like this too, but I haven’t ever tried to change this in my VSL library.

Didn’t this always used to be a problem in that Roland and Yamaha had different start points for their midi notes? Roland being 1 and Yamaha being 0 so that Yamaha has 127 as top point and Roland 128.
There should be a standard to correct the two by now but I haven’t noticed one yet although there might be something out there or even in an obscure part of the manual.

There is a present standard scientific definition description for middle C, it is C4.

So really, Cubase is wrong to call middle C C3, but i am sure it would be easy to have a preference option to decide what middle C should be called, I seem to recall an old version of Emagic Logic had this, so why not Cubase.

I’m afraid it is really not possible to set this, and choose if your middle C is C3 or C4.

Look at this, and this.

Whichever middle C is closest to A = 440. Ignore Cubase?
Any of the scoring gurus noticed? Apparently not so far or there’d be hell to pay in this forum at least. :smiley:

‘Scientific’, eh? Look, I grew up in Ireland in the 60’s and middle C was C3. I went to 3 universities in America in the 70’s and middle C was C3. So if there’s been a big change since, I didn’t get the memo. Regardless. People in different areas tune to a different A. People use different terms for the same exact dynamic effect.

Cubase has so many accommodations for user preference. It should be no big deal to change the display of notes based on a preference… especially since so many vendors didn’t get the memo neither.

AFA ‘scoring gurus’… they/we complained about this in 2005. You’d get a -very- skewed view of what serious users care about based on what goes on here. It’s a bit like the unemployment rate… they stop counting people when they stop looking for work.



And tanx @ ‘suntower’ for again bringing up this topic.

No it isn’t. It’s c1 (at least when you’re using Nordic variation of Helmholtz pitch notation).

My history on this is rusty, but didn’t the guys writing the MIDI spec just set the first C on a Piano as C0? In other words they based the spec on playable range of spec from the physical layout of an actual 88 key keyboard. That mapping puts middle C as C3. I’m pretty sure it was something like that. Also, keep in mind that there were competing specs. And like anything like this, even though the majority adopt one thing, others will continue to do it the way they think is “correct”.

Heck A=440 is just a suggested convention. There are plenty of composers who don’t use that and their are orchestras that don’t tune to that.

And if you really want to have fun with the pseudo science of it all, go have a read … it just goes to show…

  1. If there is a standard, there will be a disagreement on that standard
  2. There will be valid reasoning behind several of the competing standards
  3. There will be some nutjob that will use that disagreement to promote pseudo science.

regardless of who made your DAW, your keyboard or your VSTi, middle C is midi note 60. All manufacturers these days choose to call it what they will, typically C3 or C4. Asking Cubase to call it C3 or C4 is not going to help resolve the matter - you need EVERY manufacturer to adhere to one common standard (as it is, they adhere to different standards).

Easiest solution I came up with is sticking small printed labels on my main midi keyboard. Highly recommend a brother label printer and some different coloured 6mm tapes.

I think that, for certain times we have to accept that some parts of music science is still evolving. Only when it becomes used by a significant majority does it become the de Facto standard.
I guess the majority isn’t significant enough here although you would have thought so.
A=xxx keeps moving. Depends on the instrumentation. Any brightness needed it gets raised and if say, the brass, is too bright it gets lowered. For computer composers and pop / rock bands 440 does match most of the tuners on the market. Ditto all the tuning forks. Anyone know of anyone with a full set of tuning forks?


:mrgreen: Now that’s a real rarity. The only one I knew was my old science teacher.

I know a couple of old piano tuners and some music teachers.

See . Middle C = C4 is the standard of the Acoustical Society of America. As a result, in my experience most U.S. music companies seem to use this standard. Outside of the U.S. Middle C = C3 seems pretty popular, although there are plenty of exceptions. Thus, Cubase (non-U.S. company) uses Middle C = C3, but Finale (U.S. company) uses Middle C = C4. It’s definitely a confusing mess!

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It definitely is. But everyone of us should get along with this fact. I’m not expecting any music software to show middle C as c1 (note the lower case … C1 is totally different animal in notation I was taught).

I suggest we stop quarrelling about which is “the right” standard or we won’t come to an end.

There are definitely some VST instruments out there that don’t use C3 for what I’d call c’ in “real music” :wink: And some of them use key switches which tends to put a knot in your brain after working for some time with them and Cubase. Since there won’t be a universally agreed common standard anytime soon, we might ask Steinberg to make life easier for us and put that effing option in their preferences :angry:

Maybe if we are good boys and girls they will answer our prayers some day … :unamused:

I don’t really care one way or the other if they added an option. But, my question is what good would it do you? The libraries and synths will still have differing roots built in. They won’t map between each other even if you change the reference C.