top of page
< Back

Learn About Accidentals and Alterations

Accidentals and Alterations: A Music Theory Lesson.

In this video, you'll learn about accidentals and alterations. By the end of the video, you'll not only know what they are, but you'll also see them used in a musical context, and you'll understand how to use them.

There are five accidentals: natural, sharp, double sharp, flat, and double flat. And all five of those accidentals can be applied to all of our notes. We use seven notes in Western music, which are the first seven letters of the alphabet - A to G. Every single one of those notes can have every single one of the five accidentals applied to it.

So what do we mean by accidentals and alterations? An alteration is the act of altering the note. We use the accidentals, which are the graphic symbols we put in front of the note to show that it's been altered.

When we talk about sharpening and flattening notes, what we're doing is raising or lowering it by a semitone - one semitone, which is the smallest interval in Western equal-tempered scale.

Let's go through the five accidentals one by one. The natural symbol means that the note is played without any sharps or flats. It's essentially the letter of the note without any alterations. The sharp sign is used when we want to sharpen a note. When we add the sharp sign, we're raising the note by one semitone. The double sharp sign is used when we want to raise the note by two semitones. It's a rare symbol, but it's important to know. The flat sign is used when we want to lower the note by one semitone. The double flat sign is used when we want to lower the note by two semitones.

It's important to note that if you've been taught a keyboard, or you're playing a keyboard instrument, sometimes people are told that the black notes are the sharps and flats. However, if you play a wind instrument or string instrument, you know that any note can be a sharp or flat.

In conclusion, accidentals and alterations are an essential part of music theory. Understanding them will help you read music and play your instrument with more accuracy. Remember, practice makes perfect, so keep practicing and enjoy the journey of learning music theory.

bottom of page