When you look at the piano keyboard, you can
see there are white keys and black keys. The white keys are called naturals and the black
ones are sharps and flats. After your first few lessons you’ve learned all the names of
the natural keys and that’s easy, and then you learn sharps and flats. A common question
that comes up though is what’s the difference, for example, between C sharp and D flat? Is
there a difference? Hi everybody, CJ here. Is there a difference
between c sharp and D flat? Yes, yes there is. There are many people that think there
isn’t a difference, they say it’s the same thing. Well, they’re wrong. The simple fact is that
even though they share a same note C sharp, sharp means to raise it up a half a step and
D flat, flat is to lower a half a step. So C sharp and D flat appear to look the same
and they sound the same. They share a frequency of 277.183 Hz so logically, they’re the same.
But actually just because they sound the same, doesn’t mean they actually are the same. Even
in the English language we have words that sound the same but aren’t the same like To,
Too and Two, Write, Rite and Rite; There Their and They’re. It all depends on context and
it’s the same way with C sharp and D flat. So If I play this note and use it as a C Sharp,
I could use it like this. C Sharp, you can hear it.
And how about if I use it as D Flat? Now, what’s the difference? The difference
is, when I use it as C sharp I’m using it in a family of notes that have all sharps
in it. Not all the notes are sharp, three of the notes are sharp, C Sharp, F Sharp,
and G Sharp. All of the letters of the alphabet are included, A B C D E F G, A. But the C
is Sharp and the D is Natural, so because the D is natural we know that it’s not D flat.
We’re using it as C sharp. And when we play in A Flat Major then we’re using D Flat because
the C is natural. A B C natural , D flat. And it’s actually as simple as that. That
is the difference between C sharp and D Flat, just context. Now, why does it matter? It
matters because this is about musicianship. Music is a language. Language has rules of
grammar and spelling and this rule is called Enharmonic Spelling. It’s not musical elitism,
it’s just Musicianship. So that’s the difference between C Sharp and D flat. Just Context,
that’s it. So I hope you learned something today and if you did then please feel free
to subscribe and click on the notifications bell and introduce yourself in the comments.
I look forward to hearing from you, Thanks again.