Two Notes Can Have The Same Name – How Can It Be?

Posted on 18. Sep, 2013 by in Music Theory

Enharmonic Spelling

I have been practicing every since I ordered the CCF and I am delighted with my progress.  I have been working on the Sec. 3c 2-5-1 in Minor chords, and I think that there is a mistake on the A flat minor9 chord.  Should that chord be Ab/Gb Bb B Eb?


There is a term called enharmonic. Enharmonic refers a single note or pitch having a different name. For example a C-sharp could also be called a D-flat. But which name should you rightfully call that key–C-sharp or D-flat?  The answer is, either of them because they’re the exact same pitch. In traditional music theory the key signature determines which name you should used.  In fact, all notes have two names assigned to them– they are the sharp of the key that precedes it and the flat of the key that follows it. This concept in music theory is called enharmonic.


Musicians will often call the note by the name they are most familiar. In the Abm9 chord you mentioned above, I believe you’re referring to the “B” natural. In the My Contemporary Chord Finder I used the enharmonic spelling, “Cb”  because It’s the b3rd in the Ab minor scale.

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