Enharmonic Equivalents

Different names and notation for the same pitch.

Published: 01 Sep 2005 Updated: 24 Aug 2022Visits: 136Code: ML-basic-19

Topic: Theory Instruments: ukulele Subjects: Theory • Reading • Beginner • Intermediate • Advanced • Enharmonic • Equivalent

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Enharmonic Equivalents

An Enharmonic Equivalent is where a musical pitch can have different names depending on the context in which it is functioning. An example is G# produces the same pitch as Ab.

Enharmonic equivalents, same pitch — differnt name, will sound the same but are notated differently using standard music notation.

Enharmonic Equivalents are used for the correct spelling of scales and chords.

Sharp to Flats

  • A# <=> Bb
  • B# <=> C
  • C# <=> Db
  • D# <=> Eb
  • E# <=> F
  • F# <=> Gb
  • G# <=> Ab

Flats to Sharps

  • Ab <=> G#
  • Bb <=> A#
  • Cb <=> B
  • Db <=> C#
  • Eb <=> D#
  • Fb <=> E
  • Gb <=> F#

So Yes, there is an E♯, B♯, C♭, and F♭.

Enharmonic Equivalents…

The Piano

The piano provides a great graphical representation of the natural notes ( A B C D E F G ) their sharps and flats. ALL the white keys are the natural notes.

Note: Although a lot less common than the above sharp and flat equivalents, there are also double sharps, double flats. And although very, very rare even triple sharps and flats These would be called Enharmonic Equivalents as well.

Often in the quest to have something played correctly and not knowing the final musician's musicial level that would play a piece. It is safer to use a more common Enharmonic equivalent.

Chord Spelling

The notes of ALL chords can be determined from their corresponding major scale.

Using the C, C♯, and C♭ Major scales as examples. The chrod tomes for the major triads are the 1st, 3rd, and 5th scale degrees of theor corresponding scales.

C

Major Scale: C D E F G A B C`. The C major triad is C E G.

C♯

Major Scale: C♯ D♯ E♯ F♯ G♯ A♯ B♯ C♯`. The C&sharp; major triad is C♯ E♯ G♯.

C♭

Major Scale: C♭ D♭ E♭ F♭ G&flat; A♭ B♭ C♭`. The C♭ major triad is C♭ E♭ G♭.

As you see, the letter E is the 3rd and can never be the 4th. E♯ is not the same name as F — same pitch, yes, name, No.

End of Lesson - Thanks, Hope You Enjoyed It!

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