Tuesday, July 28, 2015

TILAP #3: Sharps and Flats

TILAP: Things I Learned About Piano

Okay, I got bass and treble clef, and A to G down. The upper, thinner, black keys were still a mystery to me. Touching them still wasn't allowed, so I ended up going home and mashing all the black keys for fun to show people who the boss was. Then I was finally taught to properly use the narrow, black colored keys.
 
Sharps and Flats, The b and the pound key


Flats and Sharps
With a piano, the black keys were not accessible without using sharps and flats. The flat looked like a lower case letter b. The sharp was like the symbol for a number or the pound key on a phone (#).

What exactly did they mean? That was somehow not too difficult. When looking at sheet music and I saw a flat symbol (b), it meant I would press the next key over to the left instead of the lower, white key I would have pressed. If I saw a sharp symbol (#), I was to press the key to the right instead of the lower, white key I would have pressed.
A Piano Keyboard for Reference
Most of the time, that meant pressing the narrower, black key to the left or right of the wider, white key. A C# turned into the narrower, black key between the wider, white C and D keys. An Ab turned into the narrower, black key between the wider, white G and A keys.

But what if there was no black key to the left or right like between the keys for B and C, and E and F? I was then supposed to press the next white key over. That meant that B# turned into an C, and E# turned into an F. A Cb turned into a B, and an Fb turned into an E. And that also meant that keys had more than one name. I didn't learn until later that there were double-sharps and double-flats. These were simple, just go two steps up or down. A Cbb would become a Bb.

This was, apparently, all about moving semitones up and down. A flat would push a key a semitone down, and a sharp would push a key a semitone up. Two semitones made a full tone.


Disclaimer
I'm not a music expert, especially after a decade of having virtually nothing to do with music. How do I put this nicely: I wouldn't consider any of this stuff to be accurate. Everything was written off the top of my head with no further verification. This was mainly written for my amusement.


Related
TILAP #1: Keyboard Layout
TILAP #2: Reading Piano Sheet Music
TILAP #3: Sharps and Flats

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