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6: Sharps & Flats

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Lesson 6: Sharps & Flats

If you've learned the "white-key pitches" (the white keys on a piano; see Lesson 4: Pitch Names and Lesson 5: Letters Game), then now you're ready to learn the names of the black-key pitches. For this, we need sharps and flats.

In music, sharp means "raise the pitch" and flat means "lower the pitch". Here are the symbols for sharp and flat:
= sharp (raise the pitch)
= flat (lower the pitch)

We use "sharp" and "flat" to name the black pitches. For example, the black pitch just above C is called C sharp (C♯). But this black pitch is also just below D, so it can also be called D flat (D♭). Here it is on the keyboard:

C C♯ D♭ D

Now we can name all the black pitches:

C C♯ D♭ D D♯ E♭ E F F♯ G♭ G G♯ A♭ A A♯ B♭ B C

Notice that every black pitch has two names; it can be named with either sharp ♯ or flat ♭.

Study the keyboard above until you understand how to name all the pitches, white and black. Then, go on to Lesson 7: Half-Steps, the next step toward understanding scales, chords, and melodies.

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1: Introduction
2: Teaching Yourself
3: Pitch & Keyboard
4: Pitch Names
5: Letters Game
6: Sharps & Flats
7: Half-Steps
8: Whole-Steps
9: Steps Game
10: Scales
11: Major Scale 1-2-3
12: Major 1-2-3 Games
13: Major Scale 1-5
14: Major 1-5 Games
15: Chords: Major Triads
16: Major Triad Games
17: Minor Triads
18: Minor Triad Games
19: Major Scale 1-8
20: Major Scale Games
21: Scales Above 8
22: What Next
23: Keys
24: Roman Numeral Chords
25: Diatonic Triads
26: Using Diatonics
27: Tonic Function
28: Subdominant & Dominant
29: Diatonic Function Analysis
30: 7th Chords
31: 7ths Games
32: Treble Staff
33: Treble Staff Game
34: Melody: Chord Tones
35: Pitch & Frequency

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