So i cant figure out why B# and E# are skipped
does it have to do with frequencies? if so why not just make it A, A#, B, B#, C, C#, D, D#, E, E#, F, F#, A, A#, etc..
anyone care to explain??!?
In the chromatic scale, just like any other scale, you only want one letter name (though, that's not possible with the chromatic), so we do the best we can.

The reason we don't have E# and B# is the same reason we don't have A# and Bb: they sound the same in (EDIT: and out of) the context of a scale (EDIT: they're enharmonic notes to F and C, respectively). However, in the major scale you can have them... but only if you follow the order of steps (WWHWWWH). The C# Major scale uses BOTH B# and E#: C# D# E# F# G# A# B# C#.
Last edited by DiminishedFifth at May 26, 2010,
Easiest way for me to explain it..... The concept that each key has one of each letter, whether they are natural, flat, or sharp, this concept wouldn't work if we didn't skip those two letters. Branching from that disturbance, every element of music theory becomes broken. You'll see when you get into chord construction that those skipped notes are really a convenience to you.
Technically, there is a pitch between B and C, and a pitch between E and F. But there is also a pitch between A and A#. Original western music (the accepted standard) is based on a 12 note octave. From one A another A has been divided into 12 notes, evenly separated. It does have to do with the frequencies. This is just the way music has advanced and the 12 note octave has been accepted. If you bend a string 1/2 way from B to C, then that's where the non-existent Cb is lol. But it isn't in the standard octave.

EDIT: And you could have a 14 note octave, but it wouldn't fit in with all music, because then today's known notes would not be a part of the 14 note octave because, remember, each note is evenly spaced y pitch from the one before/after it.

And all theory, like the circle of fifths, would not work. The modern 12 note octave is a great convenience, as someone mentioned above.
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Last edited by gatechballer at May 26, 2010,
Quote by DiminishedFifth
In the chromatic scale, just like any other scale, you only want one letter name (though, that's not possible with the chromatic), so we do the best we can.

The reason we don't have E# and B# is the same reason we don't have A# and Bb: they sound the same in the context of a scale. However, in the major scale you can have them... but only if you follow the order of steps (WWHWWWH). The C# Major scale uses BOTH B# and E#: C# D# E# F# G# A# B# C#.

I think he was asking in general, not about enharmonics to be honest. Think of it this way, if we had A A# B B# C C# D D# E E# F F# G and G#, wed have 14 notes. but we know that this doesnt work. If we just labeled the 12 we have, as A A# B B# C C# D D# E E# F F#, then we still have 12 notes. But think about how hard it would be to find the positions on a piano if it were like that? There would be no indication to where notes were seeing as youd have a black key after every white key. Thats my opinion on why they do it
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Quote by Zinnie
But think about how hard it would be to find the positions on a piano if it were like that? There would be no indication to where notes were seeing as youd have a black key after every white key. Thats my opinion on why they do it

I never though of that.....wow that's well planned haha. Thank the lords of music for thinking of such conveniences
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Last edited by gatechballer at May 26, 2010,
thanks everyone when i combine all of your explanations it kinda makes sense