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In lesson 10 we learned that black keys don’t have unique names. They are named in relation to the white keys. And we learned to name the black keys as sharps. The black keys can also be named as flats.
Every black key has 2 names, depending on if you’re referencing the white key below it or the white key above it. We learned that we use sharps to raise the sound of a note by a semitone or half step.
We use flats to lower the sound of a note by a semitone or half step.
Just as we can label every black key as a sharp, we can also label them as a flat:
In this image all of the black keys are labeled as flats. The flat lowers the sound of the note to the black key to the left. Examples: G lowers to G flat, E lowers to E flat and a lowers to A flat.
Flats are written in front of the notes when written on the staff, this is to ensure that we see them before playing the note!
Flats can be used to lower the pitch of any note by a half step. This can include notes that when flattened, land on white keys.
Ex. C is lowered to C♭ which is a white key (B).
Remember from lesson 10 that when a key has 2 names, we call these enharmonic equivalents.
The enharmonic equivalent of C♭ is B.
The enharmonic equivalent of F♭ is E.