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  • Writer's pictureTom Glasson

Grade 1:16 - Accidentals

Sometimes we may want to use sharps or flats in our music which are not in the key signature. This is possible, and we use something called accidentals.

Before moving on to this lesson, make sure you understand key signatures as well as sharps, flats and naturals.

If you do, lets get into it...


Any note can be raised to a sharp, or lowered to a flat within the piece.

To do it accidentals are used, they are the same sharp and flat symbols shown in lesson 8. The accidental is always drawn next to the note you want to change. It is drawn to the left, before the note, because you will need to see it before playing the note. It goes within the same line or space as the note head, not above or below.

Sharp, Flat and Natural Notes

When an accidental is used, it applies to all of the same notes in the bar. So the sign is only needed once per bar. To remove it, the natural is used.

Unlike a key signature, the accidental only applies to the note at the same pitch, so the F# in the example below does not apply to the other F#, and both symbols would be needed.

Sharps in different positions

The accidental does apply to a tie over the bar line, but will need to be used again after it to continue.

Tied Sharp

Next lesson is the final lesson in the Grade 1 series, it covers how to group notes together within a bar, to make the music as clear as possible.

A Free Gift for you...

Download the Grade 1 Music Theory Workbook - An Introduction to Music Theory for free. The workbook is a written course which teaches you the entire content of Grade 1 music theory from start to finish, it is the full written version of our video course. It contains activities, with answers, to test your knowledge and give you chance to practice what you are learning.

There are 19 sections, covering every topic as well as reference sheets and materials which will come in handy as you study.

Click here to check it out.

Introduction to Music Theory Workbook

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