A concert is simply a live music event in front of an audience, often with several musicians. The performance can be by just a single performer, called a recital, or by an entire musical group, including a band, choir, or orchestra. Sometimes the concert will feature two or more performers, the first of which will play an encore after the previous concert. In some instances, the concert will be one large concert, with both concerts occurring at the same time and sometimes on the same day. Regardless of how it occurs, there is some type of musical entertainment involved.
To understand the music world better, it’s important to understand what constitutes a concert. The term concert pitch refers to the actual pitch (not the tone) of the music. Just because a concert has a particular pitch, that doesn’t mean that performance would be of that particular pitch, especially if other instruments are involved and the exact pitch needs to be broadcast.
A common term for a concert is “common” or “standard.” While concerts may fall into different categories depending on their particular nature and purpose (televised, open, formal, free), almost every concert falls into one or more of these broad categories. Many people use the term “concert” to refer to any event that features musical performances by a large number of participants, whether these participants are also performing in an open or special venue or concert hall, or if they are part of a professional group such as a symphony orchestra. Even a school or community event may feature a concert, as schools often have music recitals.
Concert Pitch refers to the exact pitch(s) of a piece of music. For example, if you’re listening to music off of a CD player, and the words to that song are A major, you know that this is an A flat. The term concert pitch can also be used for describing the timbre or richness of a musical performance. Some musicians prefer a richer, timbral sound, and may choose to “transpose” or modify some notes in a song (and even the entire composition) to achieve this rich sound. A common term for modifying a song’s concert pitch is “transribing,” and musicians who perform this technique often refer to themselves as “transcriptionists.” (Not to be confused with transcriptionist, which is a slightly different profession).
The term concert pitch is used frequently in music circles, but not well-known among non-musical listeners. Commonly used in classical music, the term concert pitch refers to the range of notes that a string can play, as well as the width of the string, to give an idea of how closely each note will match to the others in the overall composition. This term can also apply to playing single notes in a scale, as well as playing notes and chords in a progression, regardless of the order or sequence in which they occur. For instance, playing a G flat (a note an octave higher than the root note in a major scale) in the order “F#m7” or “B”, as in the example above, would produce an E flat (a second higher than the root note in the scale) in the phrase “E sharps B”.
When it comes to transposing keys on a keyboard, however, I find that my preference falls more on the “concert” tone. This term applies to any transposing instrument, whether it’s a piano, violin, guitar, flute, sitar, etc. In my opinion, the best way to learn to transpose keys is to study music theory, so I can explain it in terms of notes, or keys, and how they go together in a progression. There are a number of books and websites that provide detailed instruction on playing various types of instruments, in particular concert pianos. If you’re looking for a comprehensive instructional set, check out Transcribe Guitar, and I’ll provide an example of a product that I used to teach myself how to transpose G flat keys (G-sharp) in my home acoustic guitar.