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Accidentals, the principal name

Now we know our diatonic scales and we know our key signatures. We are ready to believe that F# is more common than Gb. The more common a name the more familiar it is to us. The common name is the principal name.

Recall how 9 of our 12 notes have two names.

  C#
Db
  D#
Eb
    F#
Gb
  G#
Ab
  A#
Bb
 
C
B#
D E
Fb
F
E#
G A B
Cb

Well let us do some detective work. How many key signatures is F# in? 7. How many key signatures is Gb in? 3. F# is the principal name of the F# / Gb enharmonic pair.

Enharmonic names The enharmonic name that appears in the greater number of key signatures is the principal name Principal name
B# C B# is in 1 key signature C is in 7 key signatures C
C# Db C# is in 6 key signatures Db is in 4 key signatures C#
D     D
D# Eb D# is in 4 key signatures Eb is in 6 key signatures Eb
E Fb E is in 7 key signatures Fb is in 1 key signature E
F E# F is in 7 key signatures E# is in 2 key signatures F
F# Gb F# is in 7 key signatures Gb is in 3 key signatures F#
G     G
G# Ab G# is in 5 key signatures Ab is in 5 key signatures Ab
A     A
A# Bb A# is in 3 key signatures Bb is in 7 key signatures Bb
B Cb B is in 7 key signatures Cb is in 2 key signatures B

 

 
C#

  Eb     F#   Ab   Bb  

C

D E F G A B


Music Theory


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