Sharps and Flats
In any scale there is a series of eight notes, which are separated by wholetone or semitone intervals.
In the latter case, often a black key is consulted for the required pitch.
If the interval is a raised pitch it is known as a sharp; a lowered semitone is a flat.
Sharps and flats are called accidentals.
In a piece of music written in a key with many sharps or flats, the music would be confusing to read due to all the print in the limited space of manuscript paper.
In the 1700s a system called key signatures was developed which effectively eliminated this problem.
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