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You are watching: Why is there no b sharp

Hey… wait a second! If you look at all the notes of a chromatic scale, you’ll see this: C, C#, D, D#, E, F, F#, G, G#, A, A#, B, C. Where is E or B Sharp?

The C major scale (7 notes)

This is whereby the man started. Notice just how the planks space uneven!

This unevenness is what provides the significant scale its unique sound. The intervals go like this:

Full Step, complete Step, fifty percent Step, complete Step, full Step, complete Step, Half Step

Whether or no the very first discovered notes made up a significant scale are irrelevant, though, the point is that it’s exceptionally likely the the note were no all the same logarithmic street apart. See later on in the article to hear why.

Whether the is recognized that the distance in between each keep in mind was various at the time once they to be “discovered” is unknown, but then, the reason of the weirdness of ours music mechanism came afterwards.

The Weirdness Starts

Fast forward to today’s music notation, musician’s agreed that there were an ext than 7 notes in between the financial institutions of the river and also eventually western musicians settled on 12 complete notes in a scale.

The trouble is that we didn’t redo the existing musical notation! quite than starting from scratch and going from A to together (which we should have done in mine opinion), we tried come meld the old system with the new.

So, instead of adding letters, we chose to add “sharps” and “flats”, together a method to define the “semitones” in between notes.

So, we have 12 full notes, make 12 intervals, i beg your pardon looks more like this:


Our modern-day 12-note chromatic scale

Notice how the planks in the 12 keep in mind bridge room all precisely even. They follow the exact same logarithmic ratio all the way up (2^(1/12)) the scale.

Now let’s compare these 2 bridges side by side:




Let’s take it a look at the two bridges and pay attention to a few things:

The starting and finishing points space the same— in other words, the octave is the very same distance in a 7 note scale vs a 12 keep in mind scaleThe C major Scale bridge (right) contrasted to the 12 keep in mind scale follows this pattern: 2 planks, 2 planks, 1 plank, 2 planks, 2 planks, 2 planks, 1 plank

So, earlier then, the musicians had actually a problem where they wanted to include 5 more notes to the original 7 keep in mind scale, yet where to placed them? There to be no gap in between E and also F and also B and also C, however there to be room for an additional note in between the rest of the notes.

Thus, a likely reason why we have actually no E# or B# this day is because new music systems had actually to it is in designed to occupational with old music systems.

Is B spicy the same As C?

So, you might be wondering, if there is no B sharp, climate why carry out you see it in music sometimes?

Well, the reality is that there is together a thing as a B# and also an E#, it’s just that they space the very same notes as C and F. It is right, when you check out sheet music that says B#, it will sound precisely the same as if you play a C.

In fact, the means we organize our current music counts on your being E#s and B#s, it’s every a component of how all of the notes connect together.

What renders far much more sense is to not think of a sharp as one half-note higher, however instead one semitone.

A semitone is the street of one expression in the 12 keep in mind scale. 12 notes = 12 semitones.

So, when a letter note has actually a sharp, prefer C, that way that C# is one semitone greater than C.

Conversely, a level would it is in one semitone lower.

What’s the objective of E# or B#? Why perform we require multiple names because that the very same note?

The price is all a component of the beautifulness that the one of fifths. Check out Musical-U’s website for a super in-depth guide to the one of fifths and how all the notes occupational together.

See more: Which Of The Following Is Not A Characteristic Of The Inner Planets ?

What If The initial 7-Note Scale had actually Equal Intervals?

So, earlier to our bridge analogy, what if the initial 7-notes to be the exact same (logarithmic) street ( 2^(1/7)) apart? In various other words, what would it sound favor to have only 7 notes in a range of same temperament? (Check out Wikipedia for more detail on same temperament)

In other words, what if the bridge looked favor this:


*
7-note scale with equal temperament

To meet your curiosity (actually, probably mostly my curiosity), right here is a sound clip that what it would sound like if every the notes were the very same logarithmic street apart:

7-note equal temperament scale

The note don’t yes, really line up through the notes we are acquainted with. However it sound interesting! Not precisely pleasing come the ear however definitely interesting.

It makes sense that back in the work without computers to help us how daunting it would be to figure this stuff out.