the Music Alphabet & Accidentals
- Note – A Pitch played on a Musical Instrument. Music Notes have letter names.
- The letters used to name Music Notes are called the Music Alphabet.
- The Music Alphabet = A B C D E F G
- The Black Keys on the Piano are called “Flats” b and or “Sharps” # along with a Letter Name.
- Music Alphabet with Flats (b) = A Bb B C Db D Eb E F Gb G Ab A (Octave).
- Music Alphabet with Sharps (#) = A A# B C C# D D# E F F# G G# A (Octave).
- Octave – Octave means “8 Tones” because the definition relates to a musical Scale. In the C Major Scale, the notes are: C D E F G A B C the 8th note in that scale is the Octave of the first C note. The Octave has double the frequency (Hz).
- Looking at a Piano or Keyboard, the white key Notes are named from the letters A thru G. The black key Notes have 2 different names (either the letter name and Sharp which symbol is # , or Flat which symbol is b ).
- # or b symbols are placed before the notes on the staff.
- The guitar has no markings or colors for Sharps and Flats on the Fretboard, therefore Guitarists have to memorize where the notes are by what fret.
- A Half-Step is one Fret in movement (one note ascending or descending).
- Accidentals placed before a Note will change the Pitch of the Note by One Half-Step.
- Flats, Sharps and Naturals are Accidentals.
- A Sharp placed before a Note will raise the Pitch higher by One Half-Step (one Fret up the Neck).
- A Flat placed before a Note will lower the Pitch by One Half-Step (down one Fret).
- Accidentals change the Note for the entire Measure unless cancelled out by a Natural sign.
- Key Signature – Accidentals placed at the beginning of a piece of music after the Clef.
Notes ascending as half steps using Sharps #
- A Natural Sign placed before a note returns the note to its Natural Pitch – the note is neither sharp or flat. If you play a Bb (B flat) note in a measure and a B note follows that Bb note in the same measure, there has to be a Natural Sign before the B, because if there is not a Natural Sign before that B note it would be played as a Bb again.
- An Octave is a repeated note in a scale. Octave means “8 Tones” in Latin, meaning that Octaves are 8 Scale Tones apart. A Higher Octave Note Frequency is twice the Hz of the lower octave. For Example, an A Note is 440 Hz, the Higher octave of that A note would be 880 Hz and the Lower octave of that note would be 220 Hz. The scale starts over every octave: C D E F G A B C D E F G A B C etc..
Notes ascending as half steps using Flats b
Sharp and Flat Note Examples
- Flat Example – The E Note is played as two Quarter Notes, then E Flat is played as two Quarter Notes.
- The Accidental Flat is placed behind the 3rd Quarter Note in the Measure and makes the rest of the E notes in the measure Flat (Eb) (E Flat).
- Sharp Example – The first note D is played as a Quarter Note, the last 3 Quarter Notes are played as D Sharp due to the Accidental Sharp placed before the 2nd Quarter Note in the measure.
- The Accidental Sharp is placed behind the 2nd Quarter Note in the Measure and makes the rest of the D notes in the measure Sharp (D#) (D Sharp).
Natural Sign Examples & Explanations
Natural Sign Sharps Example 1
Natural Sign Flats Example 2
Natural Sign Flats Example 3
- Natural Sign Sharps Example 1 – The first # makes the first note F# as well as all other F notes in the measure unless the sharp # is cancelled out by a Natural Sign. In Exampled 1: F# Sharp is played as a Quarter Note, then F# again is played as a Quarter Note, then the F Note is played as a Half-Note because the Natural sign is placed before it.
- Natural Sign Sharps Example 2 – G Flat Note is played as a Quarter Note, G Flat is played as a Quarter Note Again, the G Note is then played as a Half-Note because a Natural sign is placed before it.
- Natural Sign Sharps Example 3 – G Flat Note is played as a Quarter Note, Natural sign placed so the G note is played as a Quarter Note, G Flat Note is played as a Quarter Note, Natural sign placed so the G note is played as the last Quarter Note.