shars and flats

Learn Piano Sharps and Flats

Now that you’ve had some experience with the white keys of the piano, we will introduce the black keys…

If you’ve had any musical experience or have been around musicians, you’ve definitely heard the words, “sharp” or “flat.” These terms are the names given to the black keys of the piano.

shars and flats

Actually, each black key has two different names. However, only one name can be used at a time. So then, the question is: “How do I know when to call a black key a sharp or a flat?”

The answer is very simple: Sharp is the name given to the black key directly to the right of a white key while Flat is the name given to the black key directly to the left of a white key.

Notice the black key directly to the right of C: It can either be labeled as C Sharp (because it is to the right of C) or D Flat (because it is to the left of D).

To recap, if you are referring to the note directly to the right of C, you would use C Sharp … but if you are referring to the note directly to the left of D, you would use D Flat. (Please keep in mind that C Sharp and D Flat share the same key and sound exactly the same.)

Using “#” and “b“

Sharps are notated with the symbol, #, while Flats are noted with the symbol, b.

Note that the sharp names for the three-grouped black keys above are: F#, G#, and A#. Why? Because one key is directly to the right of F, one is directly to the right of G and one is directly to the right of A. Contrary, the flat names for the three-grouped black keys are: Gb, Ab, and Bb. This is because Gb is directly to the left of G, Ab is directly to the left of A, and Bb is directly to the left of B.

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