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When I first started learning music theory while learning to play the guitar, I was shocked to see only C, C #, D, D #, E, F, F #, G, G #, A, A #, B, C when I looked down the chromatic scale.
There were no B-sharp or C-flat notes. I wondered aloud. But, as I was self-learning, no one could really explain what was going on to me.
This is a scenario that occurs when attempting to learn an instrument, whether it is the guitar or the keyboard.
But why is the scale constructed in such a way that B sharp and C flat do not exist?
Let’s find out.
Why does B sharp not exist?
The main reason the B sharp does not exist is due to the way western music theory was created in general.
More notes, such as the B sharp, would complement the theme music.
However, you may be wondering what we mean by Western music theory in general.
Notes in the western music
Western music was designed in such a way that not all notes could be accommodated.
Naturally, in Western music, an octave is made up of only seven notes. This holds true for any instrument, be it a guitar, piano, or keyboard.
These notes are A, B, C, D, E, F, and G.
When you stroke these seven notes, they all sound different and have different pitches. But they sound in tune.
In addition to the seven natural notes, there are five additional notes in between the seven that are known in western music theory as “sharps and flats.”
What is the distinction between A sharp and A flat?
A sharp and a flat are both half-notes.
A flat note is a lower pitch halftone, whereas a sharp is a higher pitch halftone.
Let me explain.
Take a look at notes A and B.
A sharp is the higher pitch halftone, and B flat is the lower pitch halftone. The sound and pitch of the A shape and the B flat are similar. They are the same thing.
If we add the 5 notes sharps and flats, we now have a total of 12 notes, one octave.
These are the 12 notes: A, A #, B, C, C #, D, D #, E, F, G, G #.
A semitone is a distance between these musical notes.
Why is there no C flat in music?
The C flat, like the B sharp, does not exist because of rules in western music theory.
Adding a C flat would interfere with the western music octave, resulting in 13 notes in an octave instead of 12, which would be incompatible with the musical ear and other notes.
Is B sharp the same as C flat?
The notes B-sharp and C-flat are not the same.
The B sharp and C flat do not exist in Western music theory.
You’re probably wondering how, if the B sharp and C flat don’t exist, I can see them on music sheets.
As in western music theory, some composers like to refer to the C as the B Sharp and the B as the C flat. C flat’s direct enharmonic equivalent is B.
B sharp is technically the same note as C, and C flat is the same note as B. On the keyboard, they sound the same.
If the B sharp and the C flat existed, they would have been the same thing, but since they do not, they aren’t
But why use so many different names? Isn’t it confusing?
Well, this is the beauty of music.
Why is there no half-step between B and C?
Because an additional note cannot fit between B and C in the Western music theory system, there is no half step between B and C.
Because there are no notes in between, the half step from B to C is known as a whole step because there are no notes in between.
As a result, if you look down at your keyboard, you’ll notice that in-between notes B and C, there are no black keys in between, as well as E and F, which is unusual and distinct from other natural notes.
You are now a music theory whiz. You now understand why no B sharp or C ligature is used in music theory, keyboard, guitar, or other instruments.
The primary reason for this is that the octave has reached its limit and no more notes can be added.
A B sharp or a C flat would disrupt the Western Music note arrangement, causing notes to be out of tune and sound bad.
There are two kinds of musicians, as you can see.
One school of thought holds that B’s sharp pitch is similar to C’s and that C’s flat is the same note as B.
The opposing viewpoint holds that B-sharp and C-flat do not exist.
While Western music has no room for more notes, if you like to explore other notes you can try Indian classical music for more possibilities.
While western music has no room for more notes, if you want to experiment with different notes, you can try Indian classical music.
I hope you found this article to be beneficial. Goodluck.
Hi, I’m Jennifer I’m a passionate singer and an audiophile from Detroit, MI.
I’m on a mission to help music creators to create fine music that help them position uniquely in the saturated music space.
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