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Sharps And Flats On A Piano, Keyboard And Organ

Mar 6, 2008
Sharps and flats are normally associated with the black notes on a keyboard. A sharp or flat can be applied to any note on the keyboard. Sharps are always one semitone to the right of the note you want to sharpen and always one semitone to the left for flats. Sharps to the right and flats to the left. To sharpen or flatten a note you must move one semitone to the right or left of that note.

Each note can have a sharp or flat applied to it but not all sharps and flats are black notes. For example if you wanted to sharpen E to make E sharp, you would move one semitone to the right of E to play F. Now while you might know this note as F, depending in which key you are playing this note can also be called E sharp. Other examples of white notes as sharps and flats are F flat, B sharp and C flat. In modern written music, these type of sharps and flats are not very common and are sometimes replaced to make easy reading. So instead of B sharp you will see C. However, you will never see this replacement in examination music. So if you intend to take exams in piano playing, learn them.

Sharps and flats in written music are sometimes indicated at the beginning of a piece of music. This also tells the player what key the piece of music is written in. Sharps and flats can also appear in a bar and this occurrence is known as an accidental. When this happens, all instances of that sharp or flat remain until the end of the bar. For example, if a B is flattened in a bar, any other B's that occurs in that bar will also be flat without the need to write the flat sign again. To cancel flats or sharps after the initial accidental a natural sign would be used. This naturalises the note back to the original. Therefore, B flat would become B again.

Here is a list of keys using sharps and flats.
The key of C major is known as open key and has no sharps of flats.
D flat major has five flats.
D major has two sharps.
E flat major has three flats.
E major has four sharps
F major has one flat.
F sharp major has six sharps.
G major has one sharp.
A flat major has four flats.
A major has three sharps.
B flat major has two flats.
B major has five sharps.
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