Recently I have seen E# in my sheet music. I play a flute but I also have a piano. And on the piano there is no black key above E. Can somebody tell me how to play E# on a flute or at least on a piano.

  • You mean probably: how to play e# (not c#) - I assume. As you may know ef and bc are a half step or a minor second. You can see it as there is no black key between this white keys. You also know that the function of a sharp is to augment the referring note a semi tone. So a sharpened e is equivalent with f (e# => f as well b => c: well tempered tuning!) Mind: This works on keyboards. On a flute and on many other instruments we can adjust this tones to their lead tone function by lifting them a little bit higher. Commented Feb 24, 2020 at 21:44

1 Answer 1


The # sign means to raise the note one half-step. On the piano, that means to play the next note immediately to the right, regardless of whether or not it is a black note!

If you look at E on the piano, you’ll notice that the key one half-step above E (immediately to the right of E) is F. Therefore, E# = F.

It may seem rather silly to spell it as E# when they could’ve just put F natural instead, but there are times when, depending on what key you’re in and the context of the music, it is actually correct to spell it as E# rather than F.

  • Thanks. I feel like an idiot for not figuring this out.
    – LuckyFire
    Commented Feb 24, 2020 at 21:41
  • 6
    No need to feel silly, I appreciate that you asked the question. Asking questions is how we learn, and being willing to ask what seems like a silly question is what sets apart a true learner from a half-hearted dabbler.
    – Kevin H
    Commented Feb 24, 2020 at 21:45

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