Help with sharps and flats

• Mar 21, 2017 - 15:12


I haven't been musically trained, so I was wondering if anyone could help me with learning the difference between sharps and flats? I can play anything with it perfectly fine, but now that I've started doing sheet music I find myself a lil stuck ;-;

For example, I'm stuck on a piece where I don't know how to work out if it's 7 sharps or 5 flats - how would I work that out?

I have also looked at things like the circle of fifths but it makes no sense to me :x

(Regretting not going to lessons now ._.)


Do you understand the C major scale? That helps. You need to know the layout of that before anything else will make sense.

In reply to by Joe H

Yeah I do, I've picked up things like that over the years I've been playing but I haven't actively tried to work on my theory.

Also something I didn't explain right in the post, I have had musical training but only until around grade 2 - then we stopped doing grades and just working on the pieces for grades 3-8 and didn't do any other aspects of it. Hense why my theory is so much worse than my playing :/

In response to your first specific example, 7 sharps is the key of C# while 5 flats is the key of D-flat. These are enharmonic, which means if you played both no one could tell the difference. Every note has at least 2 ways to write it. In the case of notes like Db and C# (the b represents a flat sign) this is how they would be written as individual notes.

I would suggest reading up on music theory. There are several sites out there that explain everything. You will have to google the term and find the site that best suits you. Wikipedia even has multiple pages that you can cross reference to understand music theory.

In reply to by a really sad cat

I found it easiest to just learn the keys one at a time. C is also A minor. Spend some time learning the one sharp key, if you're composing. That will put you in G major or Em. Then learn the one flat key - that puts you in F or D minor. Then learn the others in order. That's one way to do it.


"An accidental is a symbol that raises or lowers a note.
If we raise a note, we use a sharp sign: #.
if we lower a note, we use a flat sign: b.
To cancel or deactivate a previous sharp or flat, we use a natural sign:♮ .
In music notation, the accidental sign is placed to the left of the note head.
When we speak or write about such notes,the words"flat", "sharp",or"natural" go after the note name."

for more, visit :
(free material and a PDF book, 113 pages)

for download free complete_theory_text in PDF format, click "COMPLETE THEORY TEXT" title.

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