So the other day I was in the studio with PhilTheCarl and we were looking at a song I’d written. At one point he was looking at the chords and he asked what seemed like a good question: “Why do you have both A sharp and B flat here?”

On the face of it, this question makes sense. I mean, these two chords require the same notes! I’m afraid he thought I’d made a mistake in my notation. Hahahaha*. I’d never do that! I’m an awesome musical notater, impervious to the possibility of doing something as (to a casual musician) obviously wrong as that.

No. No mistake was made, I assure you. It comes down to this. I think the really astute musician will be able to differentiate between the two, and even come to the point where they might choose one over the other. It’s my opinion that an A sharp just feels different from a B flat.** Other chords work this way as well.

Can’t you just hear two elder English musicians listening to some fine music . . .

“Ah yes, that’s a proper G sharp, that is”
“Indeed, subtly but still notably different from an A flat!”
“Indeed.”

* Yes, I know ‘hahahaha’ isn’t a real word. But as I see no options when I right-click on it for a correct spelling, I ask the reader to think of this a gently condescending chuckling.

** And don’t get me started about how a dotted quarter note is not the same as a quarter note tied to an eighth note.

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