In music theory, natural sign is a musical sign from the family of symbols called accidentals.
Here's what a natural sign looks like:
What does a natural sign do?
The position of the natural: The natural sign can be placed in front of a note (it is an accidental) or next to the clef in the key signature, and in both cases it cancels the effects of all other accidentals.
With letters, we write "C natural" or "C♮" for short. But on a staff (stave ), the natural, like all the other accidentals, is written before the note. Here is a C natural:
And here are naturals signs in the key signature which cancels the previous key signature of A major scale (3♯), the three sharps are canceled, and the new key signature has now two flats:
- A sharp (♯) raises the note by one half step (semitone ).
- A flat (♭) lowers the note by one half step.
Naturals and doubles accidentals
Nowadays, a single natural sign is enough to cancel the effect of a double flat or of a double sharp:
But in the past, you had to use the double-natural to cancel the effect of a double accidental, because a single natural will cancel only one of the two accidentals of the double accidental.
The natural sign in quarter-tone symbols
The natural sign is used to represent quarter tone accidentals:
|Half flats||Half sharps|