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(♭) flat


Flats and double-flats in piano music.

Flats and double-flats in piano music.

Image © Brandy Kraemer
Definition: A flat is an accidental that indicates a slight decrease in pitch. It can take the form of a noun, a verb, or an adjective:
  1. (n) A flat is a symbol (♭, also ‘b’ in type) placed in front of a note, decreasing its pitch by a half step; Db is a half step lower than D.

  2. (v) To “flatten” a note means to lower its pitch by a half step (see double-flat).

  3. (adj.) The word flat can describe a pitch that is slightly lower than desired, even if the pitch does not match an existing flat note. For example, when tuning a piano, a particular string might sound “a little flat,” and would need to be raised in pitch to be in-tune.

See (♯) sharp.

Also Known As: More Musical Terms:

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