Take the 2-minute tour ×
Musical Practice & Performance Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for musicians, students, and enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I've been playing piano by ear for a long time and now I am trying to learn the first movement of the Moonlight Sonata. I am a little confused about the meaning of a little cross placed right before a note ; if I rely on my ear it seems to cancel a sharp or something, but the meaning is not quite clear! If you understand the symbol I'm describing help me out here!

share|improve this question
    
This probably seems like stupid notation, but it has to do with spelling stuff using notes in the scale. –  Josh Infiesto Mar 29 '12 at 19:35
add comment

1 Answer

up vote 14 down vote accepted

I'm assuming that you're talking about the one that looks like a blocky X.....this is a double sharp. Instead of shifting the tone up one half step, it shifts the tone up 2 half steps (i.e. 1 whole step).

enter image description here

This image shows G double-sharp in the treble clef, and E double-flat in the bass clef. G double sharp is enharmonic with A natural, and E double-flat is enharmonic with D natural.

Coincidentally, Moonlight Sonata is the piece where I first encountered double-sharps, too!

share|improve this answer
    
I think what brought confusion while I read was that at some point I think there was a double sharp on a note which was already "sharpened" in the scale, is it possible that in this case it only "raises half a tone"? If you understand what I mean. –  Patrick Da Silva Mar 25 '12 at 3:59
4  
Yes; this overrides any other accidentals in the key signature. Think of it as sharping a sharp, if it helps. For a more thorough discussion than I can provide, you should look at this question. music.stackexchange.com/questions/87/… –  Babu Mar 25 '12 at 14:55
    
@PatrickDaSilva: Like you noticed, it really raises it half a note from the already sharpened note in the key signature. This is the most common situation to use the double-sharp. I have never seen it used to raise a note a whole step that is not already raised by a normal sharp. See the linked question in Babu's comment for more details on why it is used. –  awe Mar 30 '12 at 11:03
    
@PatrickDaSilva All accidentals "cancel" whatever was in place before; adding a sharp to a note that's already sharped in the key signature is equivalent to "reminding" the player that this note should be sharp, not adding an additional sharp. Similarly, adding a flat would lower it two half-steps from the "sharp" version of the note, not bring it back to a natural. –  Kyle Strand Jun 1 '13 at 21:12
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.