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Above is a staff. After the third bar, why isn't the second C either sharp or natural?

  • 3
    I think you don't understand key signatures properly. This might help you in undertanding them: musictheory.net/lessons/24 .
    – Kartik
    Apr 19, 2014 at 14:36
  • Thanks so much, I really hate reading wiki, for it covers so many unnecessary stuffs. This is highly encouraged.
    – user139024
    Apr 19, 2014 at 14:44
  • You can find many other topics and resources on that site.
    – Kartik
    Apr 19, 2014 at 14:46
  • 1
    The notation in the question is correct. However, it would be foolish not to reinforce it with cautionary accidentals.
    – Laurence
    Feb 13, 2016 at 19:39

1 Answer 1


Accidentals (sharps, flats or naturals) only change notes until the end of the bar they are in. So, the C# above doesn't affect the C in the next bar. However, flats or sharps in key-signatures affect all notes in the music, for instance the Bb and Eb above, unless "overruled" by another accidental, for example the B natural above.

  • 4
    I just want to add although it is unnecessary, most composers would put a natural sign next to the C as a reminder to the musician to play a C instead of a C#.
    – Dom
    Apr 14, 2014 at 1:44
  • 2
    @ Dom - yes, they do, and I feel it's clogging up the staves. It's not necessary, the bar line cancels anyway. Take it further, if there's another C in the next bar, should the writer remind us again, after all, it's another bar...
    – Tim
    Apr 14, 2014 at 6:26
  • 1
    There's no flat in front of the C or Cb in the key signature. So, nothing to make it flat. Apr 16, 2014 at 19:44
  • 1
    I think you might be getting the signs for sharps, flats and naturals mixed up. Apr 16, 2014 at 19:46
  • 2
    @Dom Often it's not the composer but the editor who adds the superfluous accidentals.
    – 11684
    Feb 14, 2016 at 23:13

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