# How to draw in a staff a chord containing C and C#

How should one draw in a staff a chord that contains both a note and the same note with an alteration?

For example: How would you draw in a staff a chord that contains both C2 and C#2?

Addition: Tim's answer provides a good workaround: simply draw the C# as a Db. However, now we have a new weird case: What if the chord contains C, C# and D?

• Possible duplicate of What does this split stem notation mean? – Richard Sep 7 '18 at 17:47
• Are you asking how to "draw a note and the same note with a [sharped] alteration" or how to notate a pitch and pitch one half-step above both of which share the same note name? – seanreads Sep 7 '18 at 18:08
• Agreed with Richard here: split-stem notation – jjmusicnotes Sep 7 '18 at 19:16
• I'm not sure about the duplicate mark. The other question goes in the opposite direction, asking what does the split-stem notation mean. It may seem that both are the same, but my question seems to have several different answers, one of them being the split-stem. Saying that both questions are equivalent would mean that the way and only way to answer my question is with a split-stem, which doesn't seem to be the case. Still, I'm not a musician and this comment is based in the answers I've got until now, so if you really think that this question is a duplicate, I'd be happy to mark it as such. – Racso Sep 7 '18 at 19:40
• (I don't necessarily think it's a duplicate; this was my way of simply showing a related question to others.) – Richard Sep 7 '18 at 21:56

Chances are the C# is going to be Db! Now, it's fairly straightforward. Put the C on blob on one side of the stem, and the Db on the other. make sure the b sign is in line with the D note, and not the C!

• What if the chord contains C, C# and D? – Racso Sep 7 '18 at 17:36
• What if? Then it's going to be a really strange sounding chord, the like of which I haven't played in 60-odd years! Technically you could get around it by making the C a B#, but it would probably not be the correct notes, although with a chord like that, who knows?! – Tim Sep 7 '18 at 17:38
• Haha. The thing is that I'm working in a musical game that draws chords, and the player is able to play that weird chord. I'm trying to conclude what to do in that case. Perhaps the answer is that is not possible to draw that specific case in a staff? – Racso Sep 7 '18 at 17:41
• @Racso then you would spell it B# C# D.We can keep going down this rabbit hole, but at some point it sounds like you would just move away from any staff or diatonic notation. It does have its limits. – Dom Sep 7 '18 at 17:45
• @Dom Bx is C#... – Tim Sep 7 '18 at 17:58

If I understood the question right, when you mark there will be an alteration, let's say in C (so all C occurrences will be C#), if you want to say you're playing an actual C, you make use of the natural symbol, which cancels the alteration.

Here is the wikipedia article.

This is the symbol

I hope it helps.

• Hi. You misunderstood the question, which is how to draw a chord that contains both notes (C and C#) at the same time. – Racso Sep 7 '18 at 17:36
• Okay I'm sorry! Maybe this post helps you! – Sergi Mascaró Sep 7 '18 at 17:41

Here is what Musescore does with your example.

CORRECTION:

• If you are deliberately notating two simultaneously sounding notes from a chromatic scale, this is fine and addresses the question as stated. – seanreads Sep 7 '18 at 17:47
• This just cannot make sense. The # sign makes both notes to be played as C#. – Tim Sep 7 '18 at 18:21
• That makes more sense. However, I haven't yet come across a chord that would use the same name note in a different guise. C# and C may come into use in an Dbmaj7, but the C# would inevitably be known asDb., Thus in written form, would not be on the same line/space. – Tim Sep 7 '18 at 19:02
• On the one hand, Tim is right; that is a clunky notation that wouldn't really work, but almost nothing really works there, as unisons are notated next to each other. Perhaps a ♮C♯C (written in notation with the sharp between the two C noteheads)? – user45266 Sep 7 '18 at 22:13
• Yes, it really is a strange requirement. I cannot think of any time this need be done, save maybe weird split-third chords? Or a tone cluster like C-C♯-D-E♭-E. – user45266 Sep 7 '18 at 22:41