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5: Sharps & Flats

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Lesson 5: Sharps & Flats

This lesson teaches the names of the black-key pitches, using sharps and flats.

Before taking this lesson, you should know: the names of the white-key pitches on the keyboard (Lesson 3: Pitch Names and Lesson 4: Letters Game).

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 6: Half-Steps, the next step toward understanding scales, chords, and melodies.

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1: Introduction
2: Practicing Songwriting
3: Pitch Names
4: Letters Game
5: Sharps & Flats
6: Half-Steps
7: Whole-Steps
8: Steps Game
9: Scales
10: Major Scale 1-2-3
11: Major 1-2-3 Games
12: Major Scale 1-5
13: Major 1-5 Games
14: Chords: Major Triads
15: Major Triad Games
16: Minor Triads
17: Minor Triad Games
18: Major Scale 1-8
19: Major Scale Games
20: Keys
21: Roman Numeral Chords
22: Scales Above 8
23: Diatonic Triads
24: Using Diatonics
25: Tonic Function
26: Subdominant & Dominant
27: Diatonic Function Analysis
28: Melody: Chord Tones
29: Treble Staff
30: Treble Staff Game
31: Time: Beats & Measures
32: Note Lengths
33: Tied & Dotted Notes
34: Rhythm: Rests
35: Melody Rhythm: Rolling Stone
36: Major Pentatonic Scale
37: 7th Chords
38: 7ths Games
39: Pitch & Frequency

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