The Black Keys
So far, all of the examples in this book use only the white keys to create music. You only used the black keys as a reference point to find the letter names (A through G) of the white keys. However, the black keys play an important role in music, and they are just as important as the white keys.
Rather than having a different letter name for all of the black keys, they borrow their letter name from one of their white key neighbors. For example, the black note just above middle C is called C-sharp, borrowing the letter from the neighboring white key. Another way to think of it: if you raise the note C one-half step, you get the black key C-sharp. If you raise the note D one-half step, you get the black key D-sharp, and so on. The shorthand way to write a sharp is with the # symbol, so D-sharp is written D#.
Something interesting happens when you raise the note E one-half step: you land on the white key F. That is because there is no black key in between E and F on the piano keyboard. Nevertheless, the note E# is the same as the note F, even though it is a white key.
Instead of raising a white key one-half step to get a sharp, you can lower a white key one-half step to get a flat. The symbol because you lowered the D one-half step. Anytime you lower a note one-half step it becomes flat.
It's both! Every black key has two names: one sharp and one flat. It all depends on how you think of it. If you raise the F one-half step to F#, you get the same note as if you lowered the G one-half step to G .
FIGURE 7-6: Sharps and flats
) signs placed in the musical notation in front of notes are called accidentals.
In musical notation, once you add a sharp sign # or a flat sign . The natural sign tells the pianist to play the natural or white key. In fact, if you just refer to the letter name of any note, A, B, C, etc., you really mean A #, B #, C #.
FIGURE 7-7: Naturals