# Accidentals

### SHARP

• Sharp: raises a note a half step

• The letter name of the note remains the same.

• On the keyboard, move to the nearest note to the right.

• The black key C sharp is a half step higher in pitch than the white key C.

• The white key E sharp is a half step higher in pitch than the white key E.

• The black key A sharp is a half step higher in pitch than the white key A.

• There are two notes with sharps that are white keys: E sharp (E#) and B sharp (B#).

• Note that B# corresponds to C, and E# corresponds to F. When a note has more than one spelling, this is called an enharmonic spelling.

• Double sharp: raises a note two half steps

• The letter name of the note remains the same

### FLAT

• Flat: lowers a note a half step

• The letter name of the note remains the same.

• On the keyboard, move to the nearest note to the left.

• The white key F flat is a half step lower in pitch than the white key F.

• The black key B flat is a half step lower in pitch than the white key B.

• There are two notes with flats that are white keys: F flat (Fb) and C flat (Cb).

• Note the enharmonic spellings: F flat is the enharmonic equivalent to E, and C flat is the enharmonic equivalent to B.

• Double flat: lowers a note two half steps

• The letter name of the note remains the same.

### NATURAL

• Natural: cancels a previous accidental

• All naturals are white keys.

• The white key C natural is a half step lower than C sharp.

• The white key F natural is a half step higher than F flat.

• The white key B natural is a half step higher than B flat.

• Accidentals drawn on the staff are placed precisely on the same line or in the same space as the note being modified and directly in front of the note.

• However, when labeling a note, accidentals follow the letter name: we draw “sharp F” and say “F sharp.”

• An accidental lasts for one complete measure or until another accidental cancels it..

• Bar lines cancel previous accidentals.

• An accidental applies only to a note on one line or space; notes an octave higher or lower are not affected by previous accidentals.

• A “courtesy” accidental may be placed in front of a note as a reminder.