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Questions tagged [accidentals]

A sign (♯, ♭, ♮) indicating a momentary departure from the key signature by raising or lowering a note a semitone, respectively called sharp, flat and natural (which cancels a previous sharp or flat.The term can also indicate the note raised or lowered. Also found as a double sharp and double flat.

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61
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5answers
10k views

What's the difference between a G♭ and an F#?

I've heard it said that, whilst on most instruments these notes are played with the same fingerings/technique/etc there is a subtle difference. This isn't specific to this particular note combination,...
74
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13answers
50k views

Purpose of double-sharps and double-flats?

In a few pieces of music I have read through, I have come across double-sharps and flats. To my understanding, they are two semitones above/below the note indicated. What is, then, the point of ...
37
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9answers
10k views

Why is music theory built so tightly around the C Major scale?

Lately, I'm trying to study deeper into music theory, learning Intervals, key Signatures, Chords, Progressions etc. I can see that everything is built around the 'normal' notes that belong to the C ...
32
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8answers
12k views

Does an accidental apply to all octaves?

I've been playing French Horn for 20 years, and thought I had most basic concepts regarding accidentals understood. But the other day I came across the following image via Wikipedia, which had me ...
22
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4answers
2k views

Should one write ♯ or ♭?

In the staff, would one write enharmonic notes with # or ♭? Does it matter which you'd use and why? For example: In the key of C Major, would it be better to write this passage with an A#, as it is, ...
21
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6answers
10k views

Is G sharp major a real key?

I'm mostly self-taught, so I don't know much in the way of theory beyond the basics. I have heard of G sharp Major a few times. I believe a scale in the key goes as such: G♯, A♯, B♯, C♯, D♯, E♯, Fx, G♯...
13
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5answers
2k views

Are accidentals in the key signature and measure additive?

If I have a flat for a note in the key signature, and then in a bar the same note with an flat symbol, does that mean the note is "double flatted"? For example in the key of D Minor with hash one ...
7
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3answers
2k views

What conventions are used with accidentals and tied notes?

If I have a tied note across a bar line, say 2 whole G notes, and I have an accidental, say a sharp, on the first G, my assumption is that the accidental applies as well to the second G because it is ...
38
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2answers
115k views

What does a small x-like symbol before a note mean?

I've been playing piano by ear for a long time and now I am trying to learn the first movement of the Moonlight Sonata. I am a little confused about the meaning of a little cross placed right before a ...
21
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5answers
5k views

If between E and F is a halftone, why can F not be an E♯

A ♯ raises a note by a semitone or halftone. I'm confused. If E and F are a halftone apart, why can't F be E♯?
19
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9answers
4k views

Collective word for sharps and flats in the key signature

On a mailing list I'm subscribed to, someone recently asked what the collective name was in English for the sharps and flats you find in the key signature. Apparently, the closest translation from ...
35
votes
10answers
42k views

What is the difference between sharp note & flat note?

In guitar or generally in any musical instruments, what is the difference between sharp notes & flat notes? For example : Are A♯ & B♭ the same? And are C♯ & D♭ the same? Does that make ...
24
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4answers
1k views

Where do the double accidentals go in “theoretical” key signatures?

Recent questions led me to discussions of theoretical keys, which are defined by Wikipedia as keys with at least one double accidental in the key signature. (Unfortunately, the source of that ...
22
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7answers
20k views

What is the difference between equivalent Flat and Sharp keys as far as musical notation? Are there any reasons to prefer one over the other?

I wrote a song in Db Major, but I could also notated that it would be equivalent to say C# Major as well. I am not well versed in musical theory and I think both are equivalent to each other and ...
16
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7answers
7k views

Do accidentals override key signature and previous accidentals?

I am wondering how the accidental in the first chord (see what is circled) is played? Does any accidental simply move the note up or down a half-step from what the note is supposed to be based on the ...
17
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1answer
791 views

Do accidentals earlier in the measure affect a trill?

I was attempting to help someone understand all the markings in a piece with which they are unfamiliar. One, however, has given me pause: Now, I know the rule for a trill is that it ordinarily ...
14
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3answers
15k views

Can an accidental carry over to the next measure?

I have been practicing this piece (The Stars and Stripes Forever) for a while. On the first note of the second measure of the second line, there is a natural sign. I have always understood accidentals ...
2
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3answers
809 views

Are tonal (sharp, flat and natural) key signatures octave specific? [duplicate]

I recently bought a piano for learning (by myself at the moment) and apart from doing basic exercises, I decided to start learning a piece to get a grip on music sheet reading as I go. On the sheet I'...
2
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3answers
312 views

Unusual Accidentals

I sometimes see a natural where it is unnecessary. Sometimes it is a courtesy natural but other times the note has not been flattened or sharpened at all and yet I see a natural that is already there ...
26
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5answers
2k views

Why do we need note names like B♭, D♭ etc.? Why not use only A♯, C♯ and so on? [duplicate]

The very same sharp/flat tones can be written in two ways: C♯ is the same as D♭ D♯ is the same as E♭ …and so on This is so confusing. What is the reason for it? ...
3
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6answers
2k views

Sight reading piano pieces with sharp or flat key signatures using intervals

I need help with reading piano pieces with key signatures that have sharps or flats (other than C Major or A Minor). I learnt to sight read music using intervals (but do have a very good grasp on ...
6
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2answers
7k views

Do accidentals last for the entire measure? [duplicate]

When I mark a note with an accidental, is that accidental gonna be applied to that note for its duration or is it applied every time that same note is played in that same measure?
6
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3answers
282 views

Key Signature with all Notes naturalized

I’m still new to piano and just getting into key signatures. In Beatles’ Best (easy Beatles sheet music) Get Back is in G, however, all F’s have a natural accidental next to them. Is this sheet music ...
59
votes
7answers
19k views

Why are there both sharps and flats? [duplicate]

If we can get away with just having sharps (aka black notes on a piano) then why complicate things and add flats as well? For example, if I have a C# why call it Dflat? Why not just leave it as C# and ...
7
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4answers
1k views

Do accidentals apply to other staffs of the same type?

In this excerpt from Bach's BWV 772, does the B flat accidental on the lower staff also apply to the upper staff(second to last beat)? I know that accidentally usually do not apply to different ...
5
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4answers
2k views

Temporarily Changing Keys - Which accidentals to use?

I've was taught that whenever you write a run of notes going up, you should use sharps instead of flats; And whenever you go downwards, you should generally write flats instead of sharps. My question ...
3
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3answers
241 views

Tuning of Accidentals & Scales

In his Book Basics, Simon Fischer wrote in a footnote that: The exact tuning of a sharp or a flat depends on the key, style and character of the music. For example, Bb as the tonic of Bb Major is ...
16
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4answers
12k views

Can a scale contain both a sharp and a flat note?

So, the question should say it all, but for example: The G minor scale (G - A - Bb - C - D - Eb - F - G) To change this into the G harmonic minor scale, I would need to raise the seventh note a ...
8
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5answers
25k views

What are Accidental Notes?

Can any one please explain what is an accidental note? Do they have any rules to play accidental notes in a scale? I only have basic knowledge of keyboards.
6
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2answers
2k views

Double Sharps And Double Flats

A double-sharp (x) raises a natural (♮) note by two semitones. A double-sharp (x) raises a sharp (#) by one semitone. What does a double-sharp raise a flat by? A double-flat (♭♭) lowers a ...
5
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2answers
844 views

Double- to single-sharp notation in lilypond - how to get rid of natural symbol?

I'm currently transcribing a work into Lilypond, and I have a situation where an F already sharpened by the key signature is itself sharpened (i.e. F♯ → Fx). The subsequent note within the same ...
1
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3answers
82 views

Are these notes with accidentals chromatic?

I'm having some difficulty deciding which notes with accidentals are considered as chromatic, and was wondering if someone could confirm/deny my assumptions about notes in the attached notation of ...
1
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2answers
473 views

Useless natural accidental? [duplicate]

Why is that natural accidental placed on that G? does the slur extend the sharp on the previous measure to the next one? that wouldn't make sense for the bass though.