My daughter has to learn a song and she is stumped on a specific note: the D note (re) with a # sign before: Second note in the following picture:

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Which key should she play that note with?

  • Just curious, is your daughter playing white notes for the F, C, and G's in this piece or is she playing them as F sharp, C sharp, and G sharp (the black note just to the right of the notes mentioned??
    – b3ko
    Sep 16, 2018 at 12:18
  • 1
    If her teacher hasn't even explained what the black keys are, get thee to a new teacher pronto! Sep 16, 2018 at 15:43
  • @CarlWitthoft yeah, it just seemed that they don't know what a sharp is, based on the way the question was worded, so just making sure we are not missing all those sharps in the key sig.
    – b3ko
    Sep 17, 2018 at 20:22

5 Answers 5


Aryaman's answer answers the question - but with a question such as this, the following is important.

Yes, the note in question is D#, the black key which is the right-hand one of the two blacks together. However, that note is 'foreign' to the key - it's not in the key sig. So it needs to be shown with that accidental. That accidental then lasts for the rest of the bar, unless cancelled.

Therefore, the other D in that same bar needs to be played as D#, even though there's no other accidental.In other words, the last note in that bar is also D#. Any D notes in subsequent bars will revert to D nat. unless another # sign is added. It's a trap beginners can fall into.


Play C#, D#, E and D#

Points to remember:

  1. Sharp/Flat that are preceding a note will override sharp/flat of key signature.
  2. Sharp/Flat of a note will be continued till the end of the bar.

The question is a but unclear, but the first note (right above the p, and below the 2) is a C Sharp - even though there is no sharp next to it, there is a C Sharp in the Key Signature.

The note after that is the D Sharp - here, the sharp is added to that note in particular, and not the key signature.

Just in case you're unaware, the "Sharp" notes are (usually) the black, smaller keys in a piano. The C Sharp is between the C and D white notes, and the D Sharp is between the D and E white notes.


This D# is probably because this piece modulates from one key to another, sometimes you get a change of key signature but often modulations just use accidentals to indicate this.

Most probably in this piece, there is a modulation from the original key (A major) to the dominant key (E Major). This is reiterated by the D# resolving stepwise up which indicates it operates like the leading tone.

  • The D# could also come from a secondary dominant, in this case B Major, which would lead to the real dominant, E Major. Sep 17, 2018 at 8:58

The # sign means sharp. The sharp sign means to raise a note to the next higher note -- the one immediately to the right. Instead of playing the regular note, you'll play the next higher note instead.

Placing a # in front of a D note means to play D sharp, which is the black note immediately to the right of D on the piano.

Everything the other answers say about key signatures and sharps is correct. I merely added this answer because it seems that you (and your daughter), are unfamiliar with the term "sharp", so I wanted to explain that term to you.

Hope this helps!

  • Hi. She is familiar with the sign. Her problem was that at the beginning of the row there were also 3 sharp signs. And playing re sharp did not “sound right” ( her words) when she played the song. Thank you all for the kind answers
    – user237329
    Sep 16, 2018 at 12:22
  • 1
    OK I see. I wasn't attempting to insult her intelligence, just trying to answer as specifically as possible. Thanks for clearing up. In that case, i defer to my colleagues' fantastic answers. Welcome to Music SE!
    – Kevin H
    Sep 16, 2018 at 12:25
  • Sorry for not being too clear. I am a programmer and I feel I do not know all the facts (I have no artistic skills)
    – user237329
    Sep 16, 2018 at 12:26
  • No worries! Do the other answers (Aryaman and Tim's) answer your question? If not I can attempt to clear it up further.
    – Kevin H
    Sep 16, 2018 at 12:28

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