"Music Theory Sharps & Flats"
Applying Sharps and
We need to start the music theory sharps with the notes that are used
in modern music. There
are 7 basic note names.
The 7 note names
These notes are repeated over and over again on the staff or a
keyboard and modified for chord or scale conditions. We will use an
octave of the keyboard to explore sharps and
Note Sharps and Flats
There are 7 base note names can each
also be called a sharp (#) or a flat (b).
The sharps and flats are shown on the staff lines
with these symbols.
Also note that the when you identify a sharp or
flat that with in a
measure if you what to go back to the natural note then you use the
symbol () here we show an example of this on the master
staff. See where the natural sign was used? It took the B flat note and
made it a B natural.
Here is also one thing to remember when you are
moving from one measure to the next:
A note that has been changed by a sharp or flat
symbol will only last for that measure. It changes back to a
natural note when once again seen in the next measure unless
specificly changed by another symbol.
Key signatures also can make all notes for sharps
or flats consistant for the whole song. The symbols will be at the
first of the song and each line there after. So when you see this type
of notation you know that all notes will be sharp or flat for those
Here we take a look at the notes on a keyboard
known as sharps and flats.
So how in music theory sharps and flats are defined or
simple way to look at this is to say a note is sharped by adding a half
step up the scale, and a note will become flat when when go
down a half step on the scale. Let's take a closer look.
As can be seen on the keyboard we show 5 sharps, the C#, D#, F#, G#,
You can see that the E and B notes don't have a sharp. There
however, a sharp note associate with them. The E# is the same
as the F note, and B# is the same as the C note.
As well, you can see on the same keyboard we show 5 flats, the
Db, Eb, Gb, Ab,
You can see that the F and C notes don't have a flat. There is
however, a flat note associate with them. The Fb is the same
as the E note, and Cb is the same as the B note.
Why Not Call Them by Their Simple Note Name?
So why wouldn't we just call E# a F and B# a C; or Fb an E and Cb a
B? Well, you will find that many people do call them by there
single note name, but this isn't correct. At least not in true theory
which you will learn when you study music scales.
Remember when we stated above that the definition of sharp and flat was
a half step up or down respectively? The reason for this is to
consider other musical elements known as the scale and the key
major and minor scales each have a note name A through G in the scale.
It only changes starting position depending on what key (aka. key
signature) you begin with.
As an extreme example, the C# major scale starts with C#, and continues
with D#, E#, F#,
G#, A#, and B#.
See where we used both the E# and B# and did not
duplicate any note names. If we had used F and F# the notes would have
been correct but the names would not. We would not have had an E in the
be aware there are altered scales that will violate this rule for
convinence, but in general we can apply this concept to the basic
theory we will learn hear.