21 Enharmonics


In this unit you will learn more about enharmonics.


More About Enharmonics

As you learned in Unit 10, enharmonics are notes that create the same pitch, despite being notated differently. In other words, the notes are spelled differently but sound the same. You already know that every sharp note has a flat enharmonic. For example, ‘F-sharp’ and ‘G-flat’ are enharmonics. Most likely you will encounter more complicated enharmonics in your sight-reading future. For this , you need to understand two new symbols.

Double Sharp

Double Flat

Rules For Enharmonics

If you remember the following rules you will play every note correctly:

  1. Sharp means one fret higher in pitch. Consider E-sharp: one fret higher than E is F. That means E-sharp and F are enharmonics.
  2. Flat means one fret lower in pitch. Consider C-flat: one fret lower than C is B. That means C-flat and B are enharmonics.
  3. Double sharp means two frets higher in pitch. Consider D double sharp: two frets higher than D is E.
  4. Double flat means two frets lower in pitch. Consider G double flat: two frets lower than G is F.

The chart below will help you apply the rules above. Each measure contains enharmonics. In the first measure, for example, ‘G-double sharp ‘ is the same as ‘A’, which is the same as ‘B-double flat.’  Despite the different spellings, all three of these notes will be played on the third string/second fret (or fourth string/seventh fret or fifth string/twelfth fret, or sixth string/seventeenth fret).


Let’s Play

Sight-Reading Tip

The study of music is a life-long adventure. You will most likely embark on a new musical endeavor upon completion of this series. But before you do, take a moment to reflect on your accomplishment. What has sight-reading developed in you? In what ways have you grown, not just musically, but in other aspects of your life as well? Take a moment to celebrate these new gifts! Well done!

Checklist for Sight-Reading 

  • Count the beats out loud (including the &).
  • Keep going (even if you make a mistake).
  • Maintain your best playing posture.
  • Look at the score, not your hands.
  • Play with the feel of the meter.
  • Play patterns instead of individual notes (AKA chunk).
  • Cultivate a calm demeanor.
  • Have fun! (format: paragraph and bullet points)

Let’s Play Rhythms

Attitude Tip

The present changes the past. Looking back you do not find what you left behind. —Kiran Desai

Exercise 20.1: Score

Exercise 20.1: Audio

Exercise 20.2: Score

Exercise 20.2: Audio

Let’s Play Patterns

Attitude Tip

The goal is connection; not perfection. —Bronwyn Saglimbeni

Exercise 20.3: Score

Exercise 20.3: Audio

Exercise 20.4: Score

Exercise 20.4: Audio

Let’s Play Duets

Attitude Tip

When you do something you should burn yourself completely, like a good bonfire, leaving no trace of yourself. —Shunryu Suzuki

Exercise 20.5: Audio

Exercise 20.6: Audio

Exercise 20.7: Audio

Let’s Play Compositions

Note: These compositions are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International license  (CC BY-NC 4.0).

Attitude Tip

Discipline is creating the situation. —Shunryu Suzuki

Pigeon Dream by Peter Yates: Score

Pigeon Dream: Audio

The next piece contains similar notes to Process II. However, now they appear on different strings. The standard method of fingering applies to the next compositions in which circled Arabic numerals represent string numbers.

Process III, from The Art of Process by Bahaa El Ansary: Score

Process III, from The Art of Process: Audio

The next two pieces are at the level of advanced sight-reading. You may want to clap the rhythms first, sight-read Guitar 1’s upper voice second, Guitar 1’s lower voice third and the entire Guitar 1 part last.

Binary Repair by Felix Salazar & Eric Kiersnowski: Score

Binary Repair: Audio

Sdüuit by Felix Salazar & Eric Kiersnowski: Score

Sdüuit: Audio


You have completed this unit! If you kept up with the beat and accurately played approximately 70% of the pitches and rhythms, you are ready for the next unit. Feel free to repeat the exercises. However, do not play them so often that you memorize them. Once you memorize the notation, you are no longer developing the skill of sight-reading.



Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Enharmonics by Chelsea Green is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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