# upper lower case in the letter song notations?

### upper lower case in the letter song notations?

hi, usually I just read dots but I was looking at the letter notations of the tunes and trying to figure out that system.. mostly it’s obvious, but could someone please let me know what upper and lower case signifies? thank you

### Re: upper lower case in the letter song notations?

Murray, upper case signifies all the notes up to the ‘c’ [on the mandolin or fiddle, 2nd string 3rd fret] and lower case all the notes up from there. A comma is used for the lowest octave - so a fiddle or mando is tuned
G, D A e

### Re: upper lower case in the letter song notations?

oh, of course…thank you!

### Re: upper lower case in the letter song notations?

Just to clarify:
UPPER case = LOW octave
LOWER case = HIGH octave

### Re: upper lower case in the letter song notations?

Funny it’s that way round CreadurMawnOrganig, you’d have thought it was just the opposite i.e. high =high and low = low. Have just had a pint - gone awry.

### Re: upper lower case in the letter song notations?

Brass played use doubled letters in addition to uppercase/lowercase like "cc" for the note "double high c" on trumpet and "CC" for a contrabass C tuba but this wouldn’t work for ABC notation.

What I always forget when I’m trying to write ABC is whether the C in the middle of the scale of the uilleann pipes is c or C. All the other notes are obvious.

Since uilleann pipes (and whistle) in D don’t have a C below the C in the middle of the scale, but do have a C above that (for which there’s a "high C key" on the pipes) the logical thing for notating the pipes (and whistle) would be "C" for the pipes’ lowest available C (in the middle of the pipes’ scale) and "c" for the pipes’ highest available C (near the top of the pipes’ scale).

### Re: upper lower case in the letter song notations?

Susan K: "Funny it’s that way round CreadurMawnOrganig."

Not really. It makes sense that larger letters represent lower notes (produced, as a rule, by larger instruments, longer/thicker strings, longer organ pipes etc.). I imagine it was the consensus for alphabetic musical notation systems long before abc notation existed as a standard format.

What is funny is the nomenclature ‘upper case’ and ‘lower case’. Here’s an explanation (from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Letter_case#Terminology ):
‘These terms originated from the common layouts of the shallow drawers called type cases used to hold the movable type for letterpress printing. Traditionally, the capital letters were stored in a separate shallow tray or "case" that was located above the case that held the small letters.’

When printers began using the terms, I doubt whether the possibility of this semantic conflict was foremost in their minds.

### Re: upper lower case in the letter song notations?

"What I always forget when I’m trying to write ABC is whether the C in the middle of the scale of the uilleann pipes is c or C. All the other notes are obvious."

Just remember that the scale starts on c, and that each octave has the same format.

C,D,E,F,G,A,B,
CDEFGAB
cdefgab
c’d’e’f’g’a’b’

### Re: upper lower case in the letter song notations?

Upper case letters are thicker, thus heavier, vibrating at a lower frequency. Just kidding, but that’s how I remember.

### Re: upper lower case in the letter song notations?

"Just remember that the scale starts on c"

Not the pipes’ scale! Nor the whistle’s scale. Nor the flute’s, unless your flute has an operational Low C key.

It’s why the logical and easiest-to-use ABC for pipes/whistle/flute would be

D E F# G A B C d e f# g a b c

because it’s at d where the scale begins repeating. Doing it this way requires no added marks for the entire normal gamut.

### Re: upper lower case in the letter song notations?

"Just remember that the scale starts on c"

Not the pipes’ scale! Nor the whistle’s scale.

"Just remember that the scale starts on c" shoulda been "Just remember that the notation starts on C"

The notation starts with the middle C of the piano, not the scale or range of the instrument. If you declare K:D in abc notation you need not notate the F’s as F sharps etc. The score will show which notes on the staff are F# or whatever. It’s been that way for a very long time.

### Re: upper lower case in the letter song notations?

Callison, thanks for clarifying what I meant.