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Lesson 1.8 - Accidentals

There are three types of accidental:

  • Sharps: These raise the note by a semitone (i.e. you play the very next note to the right whether it is black or white).
  • Flats: These lower the note by a semitone.
  • Naturals: These cancel the effect of a sharp or a flat.





Notice how these signs are placed directly in front of the note head and notice their size too usually about the same as a space on the stave. 

The "horizontal" lines of the sharp and natural are not exactly horizontal, but slightly slanted, so that they can be distinguished from the stave lines.

Notice too how these accidentals are drawn for notes on the lines of the stave.



You also need to remember that the effect of an accidental lasts for the whole bar.


Consider the notes marked 1 to 7 in the stave above.

  1.  This is a B flat from the key signature.
  2.  This is also B flat.
  3.  The accidental makes this a B natural.
  4.  Because of the previous accidental this B is also / still natural.
  5.  The accidental makes this F sharp.
  6.  This F is also sharp because of the earlier F sharp.
  7.  To have a normal F a natural sign is needed to cancel the previous sharp.
Download a worksheet for this lesson HERE


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