A sharp symbol (#) looks like a pound sign or a hash tag, and it raises the pitch (note) a half step. The parallel lines should be slanted a little. Let’s say you are playing middle C (white key) and needed to play C#, you would play the black key to the right of the white key. A sharp note is an alteration of the natural note. It raises the note a half step higher (or semitone higher) than the natural note that appears on the line or space of the staff.

How are sharp notes written in music notation? The square in the middle of the sharp symbol (#) goes on the line or space of the note it represents. When you are writing the symbol with the note (in the staff) you place it before the note. When you are writing the symbol with the letter name C#, you place the symbol after the letter.

You can also raise a note that is already sharp by using a double sharp symbol, indicated by the symbol X or ##. There is also a triple sharp (which is rarely used). If you played a double sharp C (C## or Cx), you would actually be playing D.

A sharp symbol is used in some key signatures, they are always in the same order F#, C#, G#, D#, A#, E#, B#. If you have one sharp in the key signature it would be F#. If there are 3 sharps in the key signature they will be F#, C#, G#. The key of C has no sharps or flats in the key signature. The key signature is located to the left of the time signature (see 9/16 blog about “How To Count In Music”). It is in between the treble & bass clef and the time signature. (See blogs from 9/14 & 9/15 How To Read Music part 1 & 2). We will discuss key signatures in future blogs.


What's the difference between a dead chicken in the road, and a dead trombonist in the road? There's a remote chance the chicken was on its way to a gig.

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