(♯) sharp

Sharps and double-sharps in piano music.
Sharps and double-sharps ( x) on the piano staff. Image © Brandy Kraemer

Definition: A sharp is an accidental that indicates a slight increase in pitch. It’s seen as a noun, a verb, and an adjective:

  1. (n) A sharp is a symbol (♯, also ‘#’ in type) placed in front of a note, increasing its pitch by a half step. D# is a half step higher in pitch than D; and D is a half step higher than C#.
  2. (v) To “sharpen” a note means to raise its pitch by a half step (see double-sharp).
  3. (adj.) The word sharp can describe a pitch that is slightly higher than desired (or “off-pitch”), even if the pitch does not match an actual sharp note. For example, when tuning a piano, a particular string might sound “a bit sharp,” and would need to be “flattened” to match the correct pitch.


  1.  

See () flat.
 

Also Known As:

  • diesis (It)
  • dièse (Fr)
  • Kreuz (Ger)

  •  



 

More Italian Music Symbols to Know:

▪  marcato:    informally referred to as simply an “accent,” a marcato makes a note slightly more pronounced than surrounding notes.

▪  legato or slur:    connects two or more different notes. In piano music, the individual notes must be struck, but there should be no audible spaces between them.

▪  : "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."


Reading Piano Music
 ▪  Sheet Music Symbol Library
 ▪  How to Read Piano Notation
 ▪  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

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

 

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.

 

More Italian Music Symbols to Know:

▪  marcato:    informally referred to as simply an “accent,” a marcato makes a note slightly more pronounced than surrounding notes.

▪  legato or slur:    connects two or more different notes. In piano music, the individual notes must be struck, but there should be no audible spaces between them.

▪  : "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."



    More Musical Terms: