An accidental is a music symbol, such as a level or spicy sign, the tells us to transform a keep in mind either by “raising” or “lowering” it.

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Raising a note way that instead of play a details note, we play the note over it. Lowering a note is just the opposite, we play the note below it. So because that example, if us raise C by a semitone, it way that rather of playing C, we play the keep in mind directly over C, which wake up to it is in the black note right next to it. (It is also feasible to raise or reduced a note by a whole step, together we’ll watch later.)

Accidentals and How Music Sounds

At this point, you might be wonder what the suggest of this system is. Why no just offer each note its very own name, and also be done through it?

The key reason is that music theory and also notation are claimed to represent the means music sounds. As soon as we listen a note followed by the keep in mind a half step up (out the the key), the sounds choose the initial note has been transformed (as opposed to a totally brand-new note). So the keep in mind name mirrors this. Instead of giving it a totally brand-new name, we use the exact same name but indicate that it has actually been changed. Like if her friend costume up in a costume, you can still tell it’s them, yet their appearance has been altered. Castle haven’t turned right into a brand-new person.

That’s the basic concept. We don’t need to know this perfectly just yet; all will end up being clear in early time. As we move forward, we’ll see exactly how accidentals job-related when it concerns note names, scales, and ear training, and also in different musical situations.

Sharps and Flats

Let’s start by discovering the two most common accidentals:

If us take any note, and also raise that by a half step, that keep in mind is provided a sharp symbol, i m sorry looks choose this: (similar come a pound sign or number symbol). Because that example, C raised by a fifty percent step would end up being C♯, pronounced C sharp. F increased a half step would certainly be F, or F sharp.

The exact same idea works in opposing direction, too. If us lower any note by a semitone, the note gets a flat symbol (, looks kind of favor a small letter “b”).


To totally appreciate our mechanism of accidentals and raising/lowering notes, we require to understand a thing or two about scales, chords, and also tonality. For now, we understand what we need to in bespeak to surname the black color notes, and also we additionally understand this basic concept of elevating or lowering a keep in mind by a fifty percent step or totality step.

Practice Quiz

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concern 1 the 7
1. Question

What go it typical to “raise” a note?

come play the note over it to play a note and then usage the pitchbend to raise the pitch to the next greatest note to elevate a keep in mind emotionally


question 2 that 7
2. Question

Which symbol is offered to indicate that a note must be lower by a half step?

level symbol spicy symbol dual flat symbol twin sharp prize organic symbol


inquiry 3 that 7
3. Question

Which price is provided to show that a note must be elevated by a half step?

spicy symbol level symbol twin flat symbol twin sharp price natural symbol


concern 4 the 7
4. Question

What is the surname of the black keep in mind directly above an A? (Choose all the apply)

A spicy B flat G sharp A flat C double flat


concern 5 of 7
5. Question

Is over there such thing as a twin flat?

yes no


question 6 of 7
6. Question

Is there such point as a triple flat?

no correctly


question 7 that 7
7. Question

What is the objective of a natural symbol (♮)?

To indicate that a note need to not be increased or lower To suggest to a performer come play a note normally To lower a note by a whole step to raise a keep in mind by a fifty percent step