October 21, 2021: Vocabulary & Pronunciation: Enharmonic Equivalent

Hi everyone!

I’ve been writing a song that seems to belong in Db minor – don’t hate me! But when I tried to use notation software to create a score, the software did not offer me Db minor in the list of available keys. Why? Upon further investigation, it seems that Db minor is most frequently rendered in its enharmonic equivalent: C# minor. Enharmonic equivalent: It's a challenge to pronounce in English, isn't it?

As you may know, enharmonic equivalents are notes, chords or keys that sound the same but are spelled differently. In the example from my song, Db and C# are the same pitch but are spelled differently according to the scale being used. And, for example, if your piece is in the key of G major, the scale is G -A – B – C – D – E – F# - G. Even though F# and Gb are the same pitch, we use F# in the key of G major so as not to skip any letters for notes in the scale.

Now for the pronunciation of enharmonic equivalent – it’s a mouthful, but keep practicing!

Listen and repeat:

1. Syllables in red are stressed (louder): ɛnhɑːrˈːnɪk ɪˈkwɪvələnt

2. Now link - say the words togther with no sound in between - for the most common English pronunciation: ɛnhɑːrˈːnɪkɪˈkwɪvələnt

Pronunciation Practice: If you can, work with a partner. Pronounce the linked form of enharmonic equivalent in your sentences.

1. Name the key(s) of music you are studying, playing or listening to. Name the enharmonic equivalents of those keys.

2. Find notes that have sharps or flats in a piece of music (especially near key changes), and name their enharmonic equivalents

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