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A Dictionary of Music and Musicians/A

A. The name of the sixth degree of the natural scale of C. The reason of its being applied to the sixth instead of the first degree will be found explained in the article Alphabet. It represents the same note in English or German, and in French and Italian is called La.

A is the note given (usually by the oboe, or by the organ if there be one) for the orchestra to tune to, and it is also the note to which French and German tuning-forks are set, the English being usually tuned to C.

In all stringed instruments one of the strings is tuned to A; in the violin it is the second string, in the viola and violoncello the first, and in the contrabasso generally the third. A is also the key in which one of the clarinets in the orchestra is set. In German the keys of A major and A minor are occasionally expressed by A♯ and A♭.

[ F. T. ]