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. The enharmonics introduced in this chapter not nearly as common as the ones you already know. However, they do appear from time to time, which is why you need to understand two new symbols: the double sharp and the double flat.
The double sharp looks like an ‘x.’
The double flat consists of two flat symbols.
Rules For Enharmonics
- Sharp means one fret higher in pitch.
- For example, ‘E-sharp’ is one fret higher than ‘E.’ The note ‘F’ is also one fret higher than ‘E.’ Therefore, ‘E-sharp’ and ‘F’ are enharmonics.
- Flat means one fret lower in pitch.
- For example, ‘C-flat’ is one fret lower than ‘C’. The note ‘B ‘ is also one fret lower than ‘C.’ Therefore, ‘C-flat’ and ‘B ‘ are enharmonics.
- Double sharp means two frets higher in pitch.
- For example, ‘D-double sharp’ is two frets higher than ‘D.’ Therefore, ‘D-double sharp’ and ‘E ‘ are enharmonics.
- Double flat means two frets lower in pitch.
- For example, ‘G-double flat ‘ is two frets lower than ‘G.’ Therefore, ‘G-double flat‘ and ‘F ‘ are enharmonics.
Double sharps and double flats may seem unnecessarily bizarre. However, music theory presents logical reasons for their usage in music notation. If you are interested understand why, and in what circumstances, double sharps and double flats are used, please view this video.
Comparison of Enharmonics
Each measure below contains notes that are enharmonics. In the first measure, ‘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 can be played on the second fret of the third string.
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
The present changes the past. Looking back you do not find what you left behind. —Kiran Desai
Exercise 20.1: Audio
Exercise 20.2: Audio
Let’s Play Patterns
The goal is connection; not perfection. —Bronwyn Saglimbeni
Exercise 20.3: Audio
Exercise 20.4: Audio
Let’s Play Duets
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).
Discipline is creating the situation. —Shunryu Suzuki
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: 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: 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.