Among musicians, you will often hear the word sharps, flats and octave. They are some of the fundamentals of music playing and so you should learn them first when learning music. So here is the lesson.
Sharps and Octaves.
There are seven different main notes which are A,B,C,D,E,F,G. Out of these seven notes, all the notes except B and E have sharps which is indicated by the symbol #. So when you write down the complete notes starting from A note, it will look like this:
Notice that B and E don’t have sharps. Other than B and E, all the other notes have a sharp (#) next to it. So the total number of notes is 12. These twelve notes form an octave.
An octave is an interval with a distance of twelve notes. It is distance between two similar notes with different pitch.
For example it is the distance between a lower sounding E note on the first open string and the E note on the 12th fret of the first string of a guitar. An octave means the cycle from the first note to the last note. After the cycle ends, it will repeat itself again. In other words, an octave is simply a set of 12 notes.
A flat (which is indicated by the symbol ‘b’) is an indication that the note or chord played is actually one step previous note or chord to the shown note or chord. That means when you see a flat, you will have to go down a half step to play the actual note. A half step down means D to C# and a half step up means C# to D for example. More on half steps and full steps ( also called whole tones and semitones ) in the next post.
For example, if you see Db (which means D flat), you will have to play C# and if you see Fb (which means F flat), you will have to play E.
So when someone asks you to play B flat next time, know that they are actually asking you to play A#.