Flat or sharp

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chrispike306

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Joined: 07/23/17

Posts: 27

Really random one from my brain.

Doing minor scales using the pattern in "Lets streamline the major scales"

I thought to myself "This is a good time to do fretboard note stuff too."

I started naming them to myself, G, A AsharpC D Dsharp F G

I then looked at wikipedia to check I had remembered correctly, but instead of Asharp, it was Bflat.

Any particular reason for that?

#1

Really random one from my brain.

Doing minor scales using the pattern in "Lets streamline the major scales"

I thought to myself "This is a good time to do fretboard note stuff too."

I started naming them to myself, G, A AsharpC D Dsharp F G

I then looked at wikipedia to check I had remembered correctly, but instead of Asharp, it was Bflat.

Any particular reason for that?

jarkko.eklund

Full Access

Joined: 09/25/13

Posts: 151

Those flat/sharp notes between a whole step are enharmonic notes. A name of a note comes from a key signature, if it has sharps or flats.

Example:

E major (or C# minor) has four sharps in it (F#, C#, G#, D#), thus the scale is

E, F#, G#, A, B, C#, D#, E

Ab major (or F minor) has four flats in it (Bb, Eb, Ab, Db), the scale is

Ab, Bb, C, Db, Eb, F, G, Ab

In these two scales we have three pairs of notes, which are the same pitches, but the context is different: G#/Ab, C#/Db, D#/Eb

#2

Those flat/sharp notes between a whole step are enharmonic notes. A name of a note comes from a key signature, if it has sharps or flats.

Example:

E major (or C# minor) has four sharps in it (F#, C#, G#, D#), thus the scale is

E, F#, G#, A, B, C#, D#, E

Ab major (or F minor) has four flats in it (Bb, Eb, Ab, Db), the scale is

Ab, Bb, C, Db, Eb, F, G, Ab

In these two scales we have three pairs of notes, which are the same pitches, but the context is different: G#/Ab, C#/Db, D#/Eb

derek.hanley

Registered User

Joined: 11/12/14

Posts: 1

Yep, should just point out that it is equally valid to use both enharmonic equivalents (ie A# or Bb) when there is no scale context to define the note names. So if you’re just naming the notes on the fretboard, you can use either name. The scale context is a convention in music which says that you can’t use the two of the same note names when spelling out a scale.

For example, the G major scale has one sharp – F#, and the enharmonic equivalent is Gb. If we were to use Gb when defining the scale, we would get:

G A B C D E Gb

This definition includes the G note twice, and so is technically incorrect when spelling the scale. The correct spelling is:

G A B C D E F#

So it is really just a naming convention which prevents any confusion when spelling out scales and which allows us to define the key of the piece (as defined by the number of sharps and flats in the scale) when writing notation.

If you’re more interested in this side of music theory, look for a circle of fifths or chord wheel, which maps out the notes in a scale and their enharmonic equivalents.

Guitar Tutor at Guitar Lessons Glasgow

#3

Yep, should just point out that it is equally valid to use both enharmonic equivalents (ie A# or Bb) when there is no scale context to define the note names. So if you’re just naming the notes on the fretboard, you can use either name. The scale context is a convention in music which says that you can’t use the two of the same note names when spelling out a scale.

For example, the G major scale has one sharp – F#, and the enharmonic equivalent is Gb. If we were to use Gb when defining the scale, we would get:

G A B C D E Gb

This definition includes the G note twice, and so is technically incorrect when spelling the scale. The correct spelling is:

G A B C D E F#

So it is really just a naming convention which prevents any confusion when spelling out scales and which allows us to define the key of the piece (as defined by the number of sharps and flats in the scale) when writing notation.

If you’re more interested in this side of music theory, look for a circle of fifths or chord wheel, which maps out the notes in a scale and their enharmonic equivalents.

Guitar Tutor at Guitar Lessons Glasgow

zmirlinazim

Registered User

Joined: 03/10/18

Posts: 2

notation

Can someone explain why we have two notations for semitones when you could do the same with just one? For example, if D sharp and E flat are the same note, why not just use one notation?ShowBoxLucky PatcherKodi

#4

notation

Can someone explain why we have two notations for semitones when you could do the same with just one? For example, if D sharp and E flat are the same note, why not just use one notation?ShowBoxLucky PatcherKodi

ChristopherSchlegel

Guitar Tricks Instructor

Joined: 08/09/05

Posts: 5145

Originally Posted by: zmirlinazim

Can someone explain why we have two notations for semitones when you could do the same with just one? For example, if D sharp and E flat are the same note, why not just use one notation?

This tutorial covers natural & accidental notes & how the musical alphabet is organized on the guitar fretboard.

https://www.guitartricks.com/tutorial.php?input=1136

The musical term for 2 notes with 2 different spellings is enharmonic.

The reason for 2 different possibles names for accidentals (sharps & flats) is to create perceptual convenience & conceptual clarity. Whether we call a note sharp or flat depends on the musical context of the song being played.

The default setting of naming a scale or key signature is to only use each letter once if possible. So, the key of E major has 4 sharps.

E - F# - G# - A - B - C# - D#

Rather than:

E - F# - G# - A - B - C# - Eb

This skips the note D, uses E twice. That makes for potential confusion in written form, in music notation & when communicating.

Also rather than:

E - Gb - Ab - A - B - Db - Eb

This is all flats, skips a lot of letters, uses E twice & again makes for a lot of potential confusion.

Let's try using th E-flat! The first key that contains an E-flat is B-flat major.

Bb - C - D - Eb - F - G - A

As opposed to:

Bb - C - D - D# - F - G - A

2 D's in a row! No use of E! Potential confusion!

By using all the letters in order & a consistent system of accidentals we get perceptual convenience & conceptual clarity. So, when possible, we make all of the accidentals either sharp or flat.

Hope that helps!

Christopher Schlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor

Christopher Schlegel Lesson Directory

#5

Originally Posted by: zmirlinazim

Can someone explain why we have two notations for semitones when you could do the same with just one? For example, if D sharp and E flat are the same note, why not just use one notation?

This tutorial covers natural & accidental notes & how the musical alphabet is organized on the guitar fretboard.

https://www.guitartricks.com/tutorial.php?input=1136

The musical term for 2 notes with 2 different spellings is enharmonic.

The reason for 2 different possibles names for accidentals (sharps & flats) is to create perceptual convenience & conceptual clarity. Whether we call a note sharp or flat depends on the musical context of the song being played.

The default setting of naming a scale or key signature is to only use each letter once if possible. So, the key of E major has 4 sharps.

E - F# - G# - A - B - C# - D#

Rather than:

E - F# - G# - A - B - C# - Eb

This skips the note D, uses E twice. That makes for potential confusion in written form, in music notation & when communicating.

Also rather than:

E - Gb - Ab - A - B - Db - Eb

This is all flats, skips a lot of letters, uses E twice & again makes for a lot of potential confusion.

Let's try using th E-flat! The first key that contains an E-flat is B-flat major.

Bb - C - D - Eb - F - G - A

As opposed to:

Bb - C - D - D# - F - G - A

2 D's in a row! No use of E! Potential confusion!

By using all the letters in order & a consistent system of accidentals we get perceptual convenience & conceptual clarity. So, when possible, we make all of the accidentals either sharp or flat.

Hope that helps!

Christopher Schlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor

Christopher Schlegel Lesson Directory