Why Is There No B Sharp Or E Sharp in Music?

Affiliate disclosure: In full transparency – some of the links on this website are affiliate links, if you use them to make a purchase we will earn a commission at no additional cost for you (none whatsoever!). Will this be a problem? This is how we manage to create free content for you. Please know that your trust is so important for us. If we recommend anything, it is always because we believe it is worth exploring. And, buy me a coffee ☕️

Do you ever wonder why musicians don’t use the B sharp and E sharp in music? We have a theory of why this is so, and you’ll find out in this article, so keep reading until the end.

Let us take, for example, the guitar or the keyboard.

A, A #, B, C, C #, D, D #, E, F, G, G # are the standard notes.

Assume the B sharp or the E sharp existed. This is what your typical octave would look like. A, A #, B #, C #, C #, D #, D #, E #, F #, G #

Isn’t that ambiguous?

Well, if you want to find out why there is no B sharp or E sharp Music, read because will show why in this article.

Why Is There No B# and E# On Instruments?

Why does B sharp not exist

The main reason there is no B # or E # is because of the Western music system and how they designed it.

It appears to be full, with no room for additional notes such as the B # or the E #.

But how come this is the case?

In the world of music, an octave used to have only seven notes. You would repeat these notes once for each octave.

These notes are A, B, C, D, E, F, G,

The major scale evolved into what we know today because of these seven notes.

First, forward

The western music scale now includes five new notes. This is what we call the chromatic scale. A, A #, B, C, C #, D, D #, E, F, G, G #,

If you look at a keyboard, all the white notes and black notes in an octave make up the chromatic scale.

There are 12 natural notes on the chromatic scale.

The introduction of the chromatic scale caused the confusion and strangeness you are currently experiencing.

The chromatic scale is perplexing because western composers added sharps instead of notes, which is quite odd.

This chromatic scale had to be designed in such a way that they could still use it in the Western musical scale system.

They gave the composers five notes and seven spaces to write them in. This meant they had to leave the two spaces out.

They did not pick up the B # or E # for the system to work, which is why they do not exist on the chromatic scale.

Does E Sharp Major exist?

What is the distinction between A sharp and A flat

At the same time, the E sharp major exists and does not exist. Isn’t it perplexing?

Allow me to explain.

The E sharp major isn’t real because it would sound out of tune or out of key to the human ear.

Allow me to elaborate on that.

When you tune your instrument in standard tuning, only the first 12 notes sound pleasing to your ears; however, if you add another note, in this case, the E sharp Major, everything begins to sound out of tune. Because your ears, like your guitar, are tuned to standard tuning, only notes from the chromatic scale are pleasant to you.

However, because there is no black key between E and F, E sharp is technically F, and F flat is also E. When played on an instrument, they have the same pitch and sound.

The E sharp scale exists in theory, but it does not exist in practice.

Why does B not have a sharp?

Is B sharp the same as C flat

In theory, a B has a sharp; it’s just that when it does, it’s referred to as a “C.”

This is because the distance between B and C is not the same as the distance between other notes; in this case, it is a semitone. That is why B lacks a B sharp.

Western music does not allow for a B-sharp.

Even if we did have it, the music would now be out of tune because the B# note is not in standard tuning, as instruments and our ears are.

Is there an E sharp note?

The distance between E and F is also one semitone, as seen for the B sharp above. The E sharp doesn’t exist for the same reason.

Although some people use E sharp in their music, it is technically an F rather than an E sharp. Western music notation, as shown above, doesn’t have room for an E sharp or a B sharp.

If the E sharp existed, you would not appreciate music as much as you do now because it would sound out of tune and be irritating to your ears.

Wrap up

You’ve got it now. You now understand why there isn’t a B sharp or an E sharp in music.

As previously stated, the B sharp does not exist because it does not correspond to the Western music scale, which only allows for 12 notes in the chromatic scale.

Any additional notes would disrupt the standard tuning of the instruments, causing your sound to be off-key and out of tune.

Because our ears are also in standard tuning, the B sharp and E sharp notes would be perceived as out of tune if they were added to Western music.

We also talked about why some people still label their sheet music with B and E despite the fact that they don’t exist, which is because B and E are technically synonymous. Check out Indian classical music if you want to listen to something other than Western music.

I hope you found this article to be useful. Goodluck.

Jennifer Max

Jws

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.

Follow my blog for regular content :-)

SoundMaximum is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon LLC owned websites. 

Copyright © 2016 – 2022 SoundMaximum | Designed and Maintained by KreativeKraft Designs