Semitone Pitch


semits — semitone absolute pitch representation


The semits representation is used to represent absolute pitch in semitone units with respect to middle C. Middle C is designated zero semitones. All other pitches are represented with respect to this reference, hence A4 is 9 semits and A3 is -3 semits. Fractional values can also be represented, hence 1.5 is midway between C#4 and D4.

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 semits data should be given names with the distinguishing `.sem' extension.


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

0-9 decimal values - minus sign + plus sign (optional) . fractional delimiter; null token r rest = barline; == double barline ( slur start ) slur end { phrase mark (start) } phrase mark (end) ; pause sign —– ———————————-

Summary of semits Signifiers


The following sample document shows a kern spine with corresponding semits pitch values.


**semits **kern *M4/4 *M4/4 *c: *c: = = r 8r 12 16cc 11 16bn 12 8cc 14 8dd 5 16f 7 16g 8 4a- 7 16g 5 16f = = 4 7 1e 1g == == *- *- ———— ———-


The following Humdrum commands accept semits encoded data as inputs:

cents translates semits to cents freq translates semits to freq kern translates semits to kern melac calculate melodic accent values for successive pitches pc translate semits pitch to pc pitch translate semits pitch to pitch semits change numerical precision of semits values solfg translate semits pitch to solfg tonh translate semits pitch to Tonh vox determine active and inactive voices in a Humdrum file

The following Humdrum commands produce semits data as outputs:

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


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

MIDI channel *Ch1 meter signatures *M6/8 key signatures *k[f#c#] key *c#: —————— ————

Tandem interpretations for semits


` barlines, **cents, cents, **freq, freq, **fret, **kern, kern, **MIDI, midi, **pitch, pitch, semits, **solfg, solfg, **specC, specc, **Tonh, tonh`