CarTalk.com Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

The F above middle C?

On a recent show, a caller was trying to describe a high note emanating from his engine…one of the guys jokingly said, “What, the F above middle C?”

Being both a nerd and musician, I guffawed aloud while I was driving on my way to work.

But then one of them (not sure who) actually sung a note, in a crystal clear falsetto! I laughed again, but then I paused. Could that have been…it seemed awfully close to the F above middle C! As I have relatively perfect pitch, I’m usually pretty good at sensing these things. Someone with absolute pitch would’ve been able to confirm right away if indeed he sung that precise note. Since I don’t have absolute pitch, I struggled for about 30 seconds and determined that if it wasn’t spot on, it probably was really close!

I wonder, can anyone find that particular broadcast and test it?

If so, DAMN I’M IMPRESSED.

If not, it’s only off by a semitone or two, and that’s still impressive!

Ah the mellifluous tones of click & clack!

I’d be absolutely amazed in one of the brothers could hit an F note…any octave…when willing. That takes training and excellent pitch.

Or he could have gotten lucky.

"In music, an octave is the interval between one musical pitch and another with half or double its frequency."
You can try and match a note here, down side only 3 octaves.


It would be fun for someone with an oscilloscope!

Everything is fun for someone with an oscilloscope.

Barky, “Middle C” in music is the designation give to the C note in the center of the common 7 octave piano keyboard. It is a specififc frequency. “F above middle C” is the first F note above that note, also a specific frequency.

My piont was that I seriously doubt of either of the brothers could intentionally hit an F note (or any other note) in any octave, above or below middle C. Unless one of them actually has a hidden talent. And some training.

Perfect pitch is a bit like the ability to roll your tongue into a tube. You either have it or you don’t, and no amount of training can give the ability to someone who isn’t born with it.

Leave us not forget, Tom and Ray do have some musical talent. I’ve got their a cappella performance of “Goodbye, My Coney Island Baby” right here on my hard drive as proof.

You have to have the ear to begin with, but training really does help and is necessary for all but a rare few. I was surprised to learn from my son when he attended Berklee that voice training is part of their regimen.

I’m sorry to hear about your hard drive.

The telephone dial tone is an F. That’s all you have to reproduce.

Tommy did a little singing on the show two-weeks prior, and I think he has a pretty talented singing voice. There’s musical talent in them boys!