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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 previous answerers.

Original question: Why isn't the second whole note's accidental natural?

  • See my extra comments to your other question. Apr 16, 2014 at 19:48
  • 1
    If you know it's supposed to be play as natural, then you already have the answer to your question. Aug 26, 2021 at 18:07

4 Answers 4


There is no Cb in the key sig. In fact, Cb rarely appears in a key sig.Since there is a bar line preceding the C, any accidentals would be cancelled.So it couldn't be a C#.There is no reason at all why it should be a Cb.(Often called B, often incorrectly...) Therefore, it is played as a simple C natural, the white one on a piano.

  • 4
    C flat is also a white one on a piano ;-)
    – phoog
    Aug 26, 2021 at 23:47
  • Depending on where you are, B might be the correct one and Bb considered anglo-american weirdness
    – ojs
    Aug 30, 2021 at 7:46
  • @ojs - not following the comment.
    – Tim
    Aug 30, 2021 at 7:52

I would advise you take some time to learn how to read sheet music. Teoria has a set of beginner tutorials that will really help you to understand how music notation works, and how to understand what all the symbols and notes mean. That said, on to the question.

Key Signatures

In the key signature(the 2 b signs on the left) you have a Bb and an Eb. this means that every B and E noted will actually be Bb and Eb respectively.


That's it for key signatures, that applies across all bars. However, you also have accidentals which only take affect for the bar which they occur on. the sign on that note in the first bar is a natural sign. it means ignore all sharpening and flattening that is being applied to this note for the rest of this bar.

As I mentioned before, accidentals only apply to the bar they are on. that's why you have a Bb in bar 2 and not a B natural.

In bar 3, the C is sharpened to a C# by the # sign. as I said before, all accidentals only take effect to the end of the bar, so it will not sharpen the C in the next bar.

Why the C is natural

Okay, now on to the bar with the C in it. As I said at the start, the key signature affects all B and E notes, so the C note will not be affected. The # sign from the bar before stopped taking effect before this bar, so there are no alterations to be made to C notes appearing on this bar. this means that the note marked on bar 4 is an unsharpened, unflattened C, also called C natural.

I've been as thorough as I can, I hope this helps clear up any concerns :)


The key (Bb Major/G minor) has a signature of two flats (Bb and Eb). So, all notes except these two will be natural unless they are modified by an accidental (sharp, flat, or natural). When a note is modified by an accidental, all following notes of the same pitch in that measure will be modified by the same unless they have another accidental.

So, the C# only applies to that measure. The next measure starts off with the basic key signature, so that C is unmodified and hence a C natural.


The second C is C natural because there is nothing to indicate that it's anything else! C isn't mentioned in the key signature. The ♯ in the preceding bar only lasts as long as the next barline. So it's C natural. (C FLAT? Where did THAT idea come from?)

Having said that, it would be normal practice to add cautionary accidentals, thus:

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  • 5
    Some editors also place the courtesy accidentals in parentheses, in hopes that the reader will recognize that the accidental within is not necessary. (I'm sure you knew that, but I thought it worth mentioning in the comments at least)
    – user45266
    Aug 28, 2021 at 4:46

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