5: Sharps & Flats
Lesson 5: Sharps & FlatsIf you've learned the "white-key pitches" (the white keys on a piano; see Lesson 3: Pitch Names and Lesson 4: 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:
Now we can name all the black pitches:
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.