Monday, October 3, 2011


In Music, so many times we come across the terms SHARP & FLAT. Some one says the note is F SHARP & some one says the scale is A FLAT etc. By practice we just accept & say C SHARP, E FLAT, F SHARP & A FLAT like that. Often during the rehearsals we hear that the guitarist adjusting the strings & listening to the pitch of the singer screams out the scale is B FLAT. Now let us understand what are these SHARPS & FLATS. By practice we identify a note as F# but why dont we say G FLAT for this when both are true because when the note F ascends it becomes F# or when the note G descends it becomes G FLAT. Finally F# & G FLAT are the same.
By the word SHARP we mean something ' pointed ' or ' piercing'. Imagine we are at the base of a steep mountain. Standing at the ground level we observe the tip of this cliff & we say its pointed or its sharp. It means we are at the base & our point of concentration is the highest level being our point of observation. It means by making a travel from base & proceding forward/ higher we acheive the highest point which we have confirmed as SHARP. Putting the same logic in music when we take a NOTE of a particular frequency & give an increment to its frequency we arrive at a particular frequency where the note gets SHARPENED, at that instant we say that the second note is the SHARP of the first one. The reverse order is also true. Thats,when we start decresing the frequency of the note we get the lower frequency where we say the Note is FLAT of the first one. Therefore SHARP & FLAT are inter related.
We conclude that the increase in frequency of a note to a particular value is the SHARP of that note & the decrease in frequency of a note to a praticular value is the FLAT of that note.
For example when note F steepens it becomes F# & when the same note F# widens that becomes note F.

Now coming to the word FREQUENCY & what does it mean in actual. The word frequency is dervied from the word 'Frequent' which means OCCURING OF AN ACTIVITY DURING A PARTICULAR TIME WITH AN INTERVAL. When the time interval , which we say GAP as a lay man , is more than the occurence , we say its less frequent & Vice versa. In music, frequency means the vibration of sound waves & the time interval is considered as one second. Therefore the frequency of a particular musical note is the vibration of its sound waves per second. Internationally the frequency of the note A is taken as the reference & all the rest of the notes have been designated with respect to this A note. The frequency of vibration of sound waves for this note A has the value 440 Cycles per second. According to the name of the scientist of its discovery the unit of frequency is also known as HERTZ & in short written as HZ.. Note A has the frequency of 440 HZ. This A belongs to the fifth octave & denoted as A4. About the OCTAVES it will be explained in the future posts. This note A has been taken as the reference because in olden days A was taken as the start with the notes of the scale as A,B,C,D,E,F,G & A of the next octave. You can observe in a key board all these notes are the white keys. Gradually due to the advent of the Major & minor scales this notes pattern of A scale became the A minor scale. This A was replaced by the note C as the threshold creating the C scale with the notes as C,D,E,F,G,A,B & C of the higher octave in the ascending order of the scale. This C scale has all the white notes on a key board making it the C Major scale with all the notes being the natural ones.
As regards the concept of OCTAVES, MAJOR , MINOR SCALES & CIRCLE OF FIFTH etc we will discuss in the future posts.