# Double flat

## What is a double flat?

The double flat is an accidental that lowers the sound of a music note by two whole steps (two semitones ).

In other words, the double flat lowers the sound of the note by one whole step (tone ).

## What does the double flat look like?

Here is how the double flat is symbolized on a staff (stave ):

## Example

Here is a G double flat, which like any accidental, is placed before the altered note:

As there is only one whole step between F and G, playing a G double flat is like playing an F on a piano, because this accidental lowers the sound by two whole steps:

## Why complicate things when they can be simple?

The note B double flat will never be an A note, a B double flat will always be a B double flat, and one of the reasons is very simple, let's take the F flat Major scale, even if it is rarely used:

In this scale, there is a B double flat. When this note is played on a piano, it is played with the same key as an A note. Let's imagine that we replace this B♭♭ by an A note, this becomes absurd, because just like in the C major scale, the names of notes follow each other (C D E F G A B), and we can't have fun replacing notes with enharmony when it suits us. The F flat Major scale is F♭ G♭ A♭ B♭♭ C♭ D♭ E♭ F♭ and not F♭ G♭ A♭ A C♭ D♭ E♭ F♭, because otherwise we can write the C major scale like this: C C♯♯ E G♭♭ F♯♯ A C♭ B♯? Absurd, right?

## Famous works using the double flat

You can be sure that you will find double accidentals in Chopin's music, let's look at the Nocturnes.

### Nocturne opus 9 n°1 by Chopin

Frédéric Chopin's Nocturne opus 9 n°1, composed in the main key of B flat minor, has double flats, notably in measure 7 (bar 7 ). You will also notice the use of tuplets in measures 3 , 4 and 11, and you will find eighth-note triplets in measure 12:

(Royalty free sample performed by pianist Samson François in 1964, Creative Commons Zero 1.0 license, source)

### Nocturne opus 27 n°2 by Chopin

Frédéric Chopin's Nocturne Opus 27 No. 2 in D flat Major has double flats in measure 8, and you will notice the use of a turn (gruppetto) in measure 7:

(Royalty free sample performed by pianist Samson François in 1964, Creative Commons Zero 1.0 license, source)

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