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I'm having trouble learning Moonlight Sonata without a piano teacher. What does a natural notation and a sharp symbol mean in front of the f, which is already sharp in the key signature?

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    Got a measure number? I'm checking. My guess is that it has something to do with a previous double sharp. – Josiah Jun 6 '15 at 22:58
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    My guess is that it was an F## earlier in the measure and now it's an F# instead and the natural is to cancel the second sharp and the first is to remind you F's are still sharp. – Dom Jun 6 '15 at 23:05
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I can't find it in the edition I'm looking at, but probably this is a courtesy accidental to make it easier to remember what note you're playing.

Strictly speaking, courtesy accidentals aren't needed for any theory reason, but they can make a difference when playing. Usually they are found at the start of a measure canceling the accidental in the previous measure. They are up to the editor since they don't affect the playing of the music, and vary between editions.

In c♯ minor, fx is the leading tone to the dominant (g♯), so it occurs pretty frequently. To remind you when you're looking at a "regular" f♯ after a passage of fxs, you could see a natural and then a sharp.

  • Exactly. The natural negates the "double" in the F double sharp, and makes it just plain F sharp. – wrschneider Jun 7 '15 at 0:54
  • Thanks! that's it. Yes, there is a double sharp F in the preceding measure. – jane Jun 8 '15 at 11:21
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It means that you are going from a double sharp to a sharp.

In classical notation for instance when you write a melodic minor scale with a double sharp going up and just a regular sharp going down you use a natural sign followed by a sharp to indicate the E## is going back to a E#.

  • I would add the word "Usually" to your first sentence. :-) – Carl Witthoft Jun 7 '15 at 12:14

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