(♭♭) double-flat

Double-flats on the staff.
A C double-flat and G double-flat on the staff means you'll play a B flat and F natural, respectively. Image © Sidney Llyn

Meaning of Double- Flat

A double-flat is the equivalent of two flats, and lowers a note’s pitch by two half steps. The double-flat symbol (♭♭) is placed before a note like other accidentals.

While single flats usually point to black piano keys, double-flats often point to piano naturals; an Ab is a black key, but Abb is the G natural key (see enharmonic notes).

  • Exceptions to this are Fb and Cb, which point to the E and B natural keys, respectively; and Fbb and Cbb, which are the Eb and Bb keys.


    The Purpose of the Double-Flat

    Double-accidentals are not seen in any working key signature. In fact, if there were a key signature after Cb major (which has the maximum seven flats), it would contain a B double-flat (learn more about theoretical key signatures).

    But in everyday notation, double-flats are necessary in certain scenarios. Suppose you were composing in the key of Cb major (which puts a flat on every note) and wanted to write a G natural in a measure or passage containing a lot of Gb’s. Instead of alternating between writing G natural and G flat, you could indicate the tone of G by writing an A double-flat instead.


    **Double-accidentals were previously canceled using double-natural symbols. Today, only one natural sign may be used.

    See (x) double-sharp.


    Also Known As:


    More Beginner Musical Terms:


    Italian Music Commands to Know:

    ▪  : "from nothing"; to gradually bring notes out of complete silence, or a crescendo that rises slowly from nowhere.

    ▪  decrescendo: to gradually decrease the volume of the music. A decrescendo is seen in sheet music as a narrowing angle, and is often marked decresc.

    ▪  delicato: “delicately”; to play with a light touch and an airy feel.

    ▪  : very sweetly; to play in a particularly delicate manner. Dolcissimo is a superlative of "dolce."

    Forming Piano Chords
     ▪  Chord Types & Their Symbols
     ▪  Essential Piano Chord Fingering
     ▪  Comparing Major & Minor Chords
     ▪  Diminished Chords & Dissonance
     ▪  Different Types of Arpeggiated Chords

    Reading Piano Music
     ▪  Sheet Music Symbol Library
     ▪  How to Read Piano Notation
     ▪  Memorize the Staff Notes
     ▪  Illustrated Piano Chords
     ▪  Tempo Commands Organized By Speed

    Beginner Piano Lessons
     ▪  Notes of the Piano Keys
     ▪  Finding Middle C on the Piano
     ▪  Intro to Piano Fingering
     ▪  How to Count Triplets
     ▪  Musical Quizzes & Tests

    Getting Started on Keyboard Instruments
     ▪  Playing Piano vs. Electric Keyboard
     ▪  How to Sit at the Piano
     ▪  Buying a Used Piano

    Reading Key Signatures:

    • All About Key Signatures
      Everything you need to know about the accidentals & key signatures.

    • Use the interactive key signature locator to identify or double-check your key.

    • There are always two keys that relate to one another more than any other key. Find out what this means.
    • Comparing Major & Minor
      Major and minor are often described in terms of feelings or mood. The ear tends to perceive major and minor as having contrasting personalities; a contrast that is most obvious when the two are played back to back. Learn more about major and minor scales and keys.


      Learn About Enharmony:

      • The 6 Enharmonic Key Signatures
        If you’re familiar with the circle of fifths (or you just know your way around the key signatures) you may have noticed a few anomalies. Some keys – like B-sharp and F-flat major – are seemingly absent, while others go by two names
      • The Inefficient Keys
        The circle of fifths shows only the working scales. But, if we expand on its pattern, we can see that it’s actually more of an infinite spiral, so there’s no end to the possibilities of musical scales.
      • Table of Working & Non-Working Keys
        See a clear visual of which keynotes are workable and which would be redundant.