What Is a Double Flat in Musical Terms?
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.
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.
Also Known As:
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.”