A sign indicating a momentary departure from the key signature by raising or lowering a note. The term can also indicate the note raised or lowered.

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43
votes
6answers
3k views

What's the difference between a G♭ and an F#?

I've heard it said that, whilst on most instruments these notes are played with the same fingerings/technique/etc there is a subtle difference. This isn't specific to this particular note ...
38
votes
7answers
6k views

Purpose of double-sharps and double-flats?

In a few pieces of music I have read through, I have come across double-sharps and flats. To my understanding, they are two semitones above/below the note indicated. What is, then, the point of ...
19
votes
4answers
880 views

Why do we need note names like B♭, D♭ etc.? Why not use only A♯, C♯ and so on?

The very same sharp/flat tones can be written in two ways: C♯ is the same as D♭ D♯ is the same as E♭ …and so on This is so confusing. What is the reason for it? ...
16
votes
5answers
2k views

Why is music theory built so tightly around the C Major scale?

Lately, I'm trying to study deeper into music theory, learning Intervals, key Signatures, Chords, Progressions etc. I can see that everything is built around the 'normal' notes that belong to the C ...
15
votes
4answers
586 views

Should one write # or b?

In the staff, would one write enharmonic notes with # or b? Does it matter which you'd use and why? For example: In the key of C Major, would it be better to write this passage with an A#, as it is, ...
14
votes
5answers
1k views

If between E and F is a halftone, why can F not be an E#

A ♯ raises a note by a semitone or halftone. I'm confused. If E and F are a halftone apart, why can't F be E#?
12
votes
6answers
862 views

Do accidentals override key signature?

I am wondering how the accidental in the first chord (see what is circled) is played? Does any accidental simply move the note up or down a half-step from what the note is supposed to be based on the ...
11
votes
5answers
604 views

Collective word for sharps and flats in the key signature

On a mailing list I'm subscribed to, someone recently asked what the collective name was in English for the sharps and flats you find in the key signature. Apparently, the closest translation from ...
11
votes
2answers
2k views

Can an accidental carry over to the next measure?

I have been practicing this piece (The Stars and Stripes Forever) for a while. On the first note of the second measure of the second line, there is a natural sign. I have always understood accidentals ...
11
votes
2answers
256 views

Small natural above C in G Major

Here is a picture of the sheet music (Eine Klein Nachtmusik, movement 1). The odd accidental has a red freehand circle around it. What does this natural sign mean? As you can see, the key is G ...
9
votes
4answers
1k views

Is G sharp major a real key?

I'm mostly self-taught, so I don't know much in the way of theory beyond the basics. I have heard of G sharp Major a few times. I believe a scale in the key goes as such: G♯, A♯, B♯, C♯, D♯, E♯, Fx, ...
9
votes
1answer
302 views

Do accidentals on ornaments carry over to the other notes in the measure?

In the first measure from this section of Schubert's Serenade, does the accidental on the ornamental C at the beginning affect the "regular" C that follows?
9
votes
1answer
4k views

What is the difference between sharp note & flat note?

In guitar or generally in any musical instruments, what is the difference between sharp notes & flat notes? For example : Are A♯ & B♭ the same? And are C♯ & D♭ the same? Does that make ...
6
votes
3answers
494 views

Flat symbol in key signature and bar

If i have a flat for a note in the key signature, and then in a bar the same note with an flat symbol, does that mean the note is "double flatted"? For example in the key of D Minor with hash one ...
5
votes
5answers
1k views

What purpose do accidentals serve in music?

I'm having trouble writing music containing accidentals. If the diatonic scale contains 7 related notes, what purpose do accidentals serve? If the accidental notes are not related to the overall ...
5
votes
4answers
2k views

What are Accidental notes?

Can any one please explain what is an accidental note.? Do they have any rules to play accidental notes in a scale? I only have just basic knowledge in keyboard. Thank you..... :)
5
votes
3answers
425 views

What is the difference between equivalent Flat and Sharp keys as far as musical notation? Are there any reasons to prefer one over the other?

I wrote a sone in Dd Major, but I could also notated that it would be equivalent to say C# Major as well. I am not well versed in musical theory and I think both are equivalent to each other and ...
4
votes
6answers
639 views

Sharp / Flat: Collectively known as property by what name?

If a chord can be said to have a Quality which relates to whether it is major, minor, augmented or diminished then by what name do we call the property of a single note's flatness or sharpness? Note: ...
4
votes
2answers
318 views

Why do so many pieces written in a minor key sharp the 7th?

I've been going through several pieces (mostly of Bach, but also others) and I noticed that very commonly, the 7th is sharped when played coming down from the tonic. Examples: Little Fugue, Toccata ...
4
votes
1answer
97 views

Where do accidentals go when voices overlap?

When two different voices on the same staff have overlapping note ranges, they get shifted and written side-by-side. For example: What happens if there is an accidental on a note of the voice ...
4
votes
3answers
388 views

Temporarily Changing Keys - Which accidentals to use?

I've was taught that whenever you write a run of notes going up, you should use sharps instead of flats; And whenever you go downwards, you should generally write flats instead of sharps. My question ...
2
votes
4answers
307 views

Can the the same note be trilled two different ways?

C# and Db are one and the same, as shown in the first measure of the example. If you trill the two, as seen in the second measure, you'd expect the two trills to be the same. However, a trill is ...
1
vote
3answers
247 views

Why isn't this a c flat?

I am always wondering why the second c isn't flat? There is no signs before it? I know it is supposed to be played as natural, without natural signature? This question was roughly answered by my ...
1
vote
2answers
111 views

Accidental in Chopin Opus. 69 No. 2

This is an excerpt from Opus. 69 No. 2 by Chopin from the Henle Urtext: In the last bar seen in the excerpt, there is a sharp on the A in bass line. Since A is already "sharped" in the key ...