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All About Accidentals and Key Signatures

Right about now, you'll probably be wondering how you play these sharps and flats. Well, you see the black keys on the digital piano below that I told you to ignore in Lesson #4? Those are the accidentals. These are the infamous sharps and flats which wind, brass and string players have learned to hate. As a pianist, you should have little or no trouble playing these notes.

The notes that are a little to the left of the natural notes are the sharps of that particular note. The notes that are a little to the right of any given natural note is the flat of that note. Therefore, a C sharp is the same thing as a D flat. The use of a C sharp or a D flat depends on the key you are playing in. Question: What is the tonic equivalent of a G sharp, a C flat? (ANSWER: A flat, B respectively. The second one may be tricky since there is no black key to the right of the note C.)

Now let's try some random notes of accidentals. Try it out on the digital piano below and see if you were correct by clicking on "Download MIDI File" and playing the correct solution. One thing to note about accidentals is that if a note is sharped or flatted, every note in that measure, whether actually shown as flat or sharp is also accidented.

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