German Pitch


Tonh — German Tonhöhe (pitch) notation


The Tonh representation permits the encoding of Western musical pitches using the common German system for pitch naming. This system is similar to the English system of pitch designations with the exceptions noted below.

The Tonh representation distinguishes three types of data tokens: pitches, rests, and barlines. Pitches are encoded using pitch letter-name, accidental, and octave designation. In addition, Tonh provides limited capabilities for representing phrasing and slurs.

Pitch tokens consist of three logical parts — without any intervening spaces. The first part is the pitch letter-name; only the upper-case letters A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, and S are permitted. The second part is an optional accidental: the suffix `is' designates a sharp, while the suffix `es' designates a flat — hence `Cis' for C-sharp and `Ges' for G-flat. Suffixes may be repeated for double and triple sharps and flats. Special exceptions include the following: `B' for B-flat, `H' for B-natural, `Heses' for B double-flat (rather than `Bes'), and `As' and `Es' rather than `Aes' or `Ees'. In addition, `S' may be used as an alias for `Es' (E-flat).

The third part of a pitch token is the octave designation. The number 4 is used to designate all pitches between middle C and the H a major seventh above, inclusive. Octave numbers are incremented by one for each successively higher octave, and are decremented by one for each successively lower octave. Negative octave numbers are not permitted, so the lowest pitch in the Tonh representation is C0 (16.35 Hz). Only a single octave digit is permitted, so the highest Tonh pitch is H9 (15,804 Hz).

Once again, no intervening spaces are permitted within a single note. Notice that the order of signifiers is important for pitch encodings. Pitch letter-name is followed by one or more accidentals (if appropriate), followed by an octave designation.

Several notes may be encoded concurrently in a single spine by using the Humdrum multiple-stop convention: notes within multiple-stops are separated by single spaces. The following example encodes a C-minor chord as four pitches in two Tonh spines — each spine containing a double-stop.


**Tonh **Tonh C4 Es4 G4 C5 *- *- ———- ———-

Pitch tokens may be modified by the presence of additional signifiers. The open brace `{' denotes the beginning of a phrase. The closed brace `}' denotes the end of a phrase. The open parenthesis `(' denotes the beginning of a slur. The closed parenthesis `)' denotes the end of a slur. The semicolon `;' denotes a pause.

Rest tokens are denoted by the lower-case letter `r'.

Barlines are represented using the "common system" for barlines — see barlines.


It is recommended that files containing predominantly Tonh data should be given names with the distinguishing `.tnh' extension.


The following table summarizes the Tonh mappings of signifiers and signifieds.

0-9 octave designation, where C4 equals middle C; A-H absolute pitches letter name es flat eses double flat (`eseses' for triple flat) is sharp isis double sharp Heses B double-flat (rather than `Bes') As A-flat (rather than `Aes') Es E-flat (rather than `Ees') S alias for `Es' n natural r rest = barline; == double barline ( slur start ) slur end { phrase mark (start) } phrase mark (end) ; pause sign ——- ———————————————–

Summary of Tonh Signifiers


A sample document is given below:


!! Anton Webern !! Klavierstück, opus posthumous !! Im Tempo eines Menuetts **Tonh =2 (Cis4 Dn5) Es3 Fis3 F4 E2 =3 Cn6 B2 A3 H4 Gis2 G3 Cis4 D2 S3 =4 *- ———————————-


The following Humdrum commands accept Tonh encoded data as inputs:

cents translate Tonh to cents deg translate Tonh to deg degree translate Tonh to degree freq translate Tonh to freq hint calculate harmonic intervals from Tonh input kern translate Tonh to kern mint calculate melodic intervals from Tonh input pc translate Tonh pitch to pc pitch translate Tonh pitch to pitch semits translate Tonh pitch to numerical semits solfa translate Tonh pitch to solfa solfg translate Tonh pitch to solfg trans transpose Tonh score vox determine active and inactive voices in a Humdrum file

The following Humdrum command produces Tonh data as output:

tonh translates cents, degree, fret, freq, kern, MIDI, pitch, semits, solfg, and specC to Tonh – ———————————– ———————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–


The following tandem interpretations can be used in conjunction with Tonh:

meter signatures *M6/8 key signatures *k[f#c#] key *c#: tempo *MM96.3 —————— ————

Tandem interpretations for Tonh


` barlines, **cents, **deg, **degree, **freq, **hint, hint, **kern, **mint, mint, **pc, pc, **pitch, pitch, **semits, **solfa, **solfg, solfg, **specC, tonh`